I'm usually pretty emotionally subdued on this blog. I tend to put my personal thoughts on my other blog and leave this one well enough alone with all the informative stuff. But today I'm going to take a step out into the somewhat unknown and share with you a few things that are on my mind today.
I have a joy that I cannot explain over the thrill of someday seeing my Saviour. I've been attending a Bible study at church for the past several weeks. We're going through the Beth Moore book "Stepping Up" and I just have to tell you that it is FAN-TASTIC. Today we discussed the joy of the celebration that the Israelites experienced and pursued every year at the Feast of Tabernacles. Just the idea of a having ANY week long feast is completely foreign to us here in America, but the Israelites had several feasts each year. These feasts were solely designed to glorify God as a nation. Can you imagine if we had a national feast for an entire week JUST to obey and bring glory to our God? Incredible.
Anyway, today we talked about the word "Hosannah". Whenever the Israelites cried out "Hosannah!", they were crying out "Send now! Send the Messiah now!" What if we lived in such anticipation of our Lord's return? What if our entire life was focused on that? How differently would we live? How differently would we treat out family and friends? How much more time would we spend with those we love? Of course, the Messiah has already come, died in our place, and was raised to heaven, but HE WILL RETURN. And when He does, what a glorious day it will be! We will be united with those in heaven and united with the Lord! I mean....it just does not get any better than that! There is a certain beauty in knowing the end of the story, and I am so excited so see it play itself out!
There is something absolutely spectacular about the love of Christ! I have never in my life seen any family that loves each other as much as the family of God. In case you're not a Christian and you don't understand that terminology, the family of God is every believer - every child of God - every person who has repented of their sin and accepted Christ's gift of salvation for them.
I John 4.19 says that "we love because God first loved us" and I absolutely KNOW that this is true. It is impossible for us to love others without knowing the Lord. Impossible. (See I John 4.7) Sure, you can love your spouse or your kids or your parents in an earthly manner, but you simply CANNOT love the way God intends for you without first having a relationship with Christ.
I am continually blown away by the support of our local church body. When our friends Andy and Cari lost their baby girl this fall, the church rallied around them, brought them meals, prayed for them, encouraged them, and offered help in any way possible. What would they have done without the church? When I was pregnant and sick (with all of my pregnancies), I had friends come to my house to clean for me, cook for me, and watch my other kids so I could rest. What would I have done without the church? When a friend of mine who doesn't even belong to our church was suddenly put on bedrest halfway through her pregnancy, many people willingly brought meals to their family. What would they have done without the church? When we only had one vehicle and my husband was driving it to work everyday, I had several good friends who never failed to offer me a ride to activities so I would not be stuck at home. What would we have done without the church?
The list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I am SO grateful for the members of our church and I know these sorts of things are happening worldwide in evangelical churches. All of these things show the love of God - a love which can be attained in no other way than to have a relationship with Him - a love with can only attest to His power to change our evil human hearts.
I've mentioned Caden a few times in the past couple of months, but to sum up, our friends lost their 8-month old baby girl in September. We were not really that close with Andy and Cari before that, but we did know each other and spoke regularly at church. The kids and I had even gotten together a few times to hang out with Cari and Caden. When Caden died suddenly, it hit home so very much because my youngest daughter is very close in age to Caden and, of course, simply being a mother causes one to understand things like the love you have your children and causes one to imagine the horror of losing one.
I've told Cari that whenever I see her now, I never know what to say. I usually just give her a hug as my eyes well with tears. I always feel a little out of place telling Cari that I miss Caden. I mean, who am I to say that I miss her? I have absolutely NO idea what she and Andy (and their families) are going through. Nevertheless, I do miss Caden. It's like she was a part of me....even though I hardly knew her.
Some days I visit Cari's blog just to go back and look at pictures and videos from when Caden was here on earth with us. I don't really know why I do it. It seems a bit self-torturous, really. But sometimes I just want to see her shining face, her huge smile, and her ridiculous amount of baby hair. I like to imagine that I'm not the only one who does this somewhat regularly, but perhaps I am. I just don't want to forget her. She was such a blessing to Andy and Cari and they never once treated her as anything BUT a blessing from the Lord. Even after she died. I remember Cari saying more than once, "We were so blessed to have her for the 8 months that we did."
Never is my life have I seen faith exercised in such a way. I know there are other Christians with a lot of faith, but I have never personally met one who could graciously allow God to do His thing without even a "But, God....that's not fair!" to be heard. And if you tell Andy or Cari that they are an amazing example, they will give all the credit to the Lord. As they should, I might add. It is truly a miracle that God is working in their lives to produce such incredible faith.
I want you to know that I am always open to questions, comments, and queries about my relationship with Christ. You are more than welcome to email me or leave me a comment if you are interested in hearing more about my relationship with Christ or learning about how you too can have a personal relationship with the God of the universe.