Friday, October 22, 2004

No Regrets

Every now and then I’ll find something I wrote a while back that really seems to make sense. In one of these random notes to myself I found this on the back of an old bulletin today. “Keeping Sabbath: Doing those things that you would wish you had done if you died tomorrow, nurturing those things that go with us beyond death.” I’m sure this is one of those God things that I just happened to catch as it flew by. It really speaks to me today. It puts into perspective all of those things whirling around inside my heart and mind. Here’s the question: What am I doing right now that is really worth doing? What am I worrying about that is really that important? What in my life right this minute has lasting significance?

Now I know that life demands its share of busy work and things that we would rather not do. But is there some space in our life when we focus on the good stuff? Have you hugged your cat today? Have you called your best friend just to say hi and tell him or her thank you for being there? Have you told your mom and dad that you love them? Have you let the Lord smile on you? It’s a pretty neat thing to just sit there and feel the pleasure of the Lord dwelling upon you. God gets the biggest grin when we will just be still and let Him love on us. When was the last time you let the good stuff have part of your day?

No regrets. That’s what I would give each of you, a life with no regrets. Of course this isn’t in my power, but it is in God’s. So we’ve wasted time. So we’ve given too much attention to non-essential stuff and not enough to the important things. The forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ wipes that slate clean. He gives even our missteps meaning. And then He shows us how to grab hold of REAL life now. I want to challenge you (and me) to spend some time this weekend keeping Sabbath, doing those things we wish we had done if we were to die unexpectedly, nurturing those things that go with us beyond death.

Jesus loves you so much; and I do too. Keep hanging in there.



Monday, October 18, 2004

Miracles in the Mundane

It is hard to come up with something profound to say. Two words: sleep deprivation. Sometimes I think my only life consists of making bottles, feeding, burping, changing. When I worked as a pastor in a church I would counsel with women who had children who were trying to get their spiritual lives in order. I would say, “just set aside five minutes a day to read your Bible.” I would still offer the same challenge today, but today I know now how difficult squeezing out even five minutes can be. I guess what I am learning is that there is a lot of holiness in the mundane when we invite the presence of Christ into it. Now I know many of you are not up at night feeding a baby. But many of you are up at night studying for exams, writing papers, completing projects. I know that you probably spend a good hour each day just walking up and down the hill. I know that going to the grocery and looking for a new parking place when you return can be a frustrating but necessary experience.

What mundane things can you invite Jesus into? How can the mundane things in life teach you about a Heavenly Father that is actively involved in every detail of your living? I look into the face of Noah, hoping and praying that he loves me, that he knows me. And then I wonder if God looks into my face wondering the same thing? What about you? When you climb the Hill do you imagine Jesus climbing with you? Do you imagine how Jesus helps you climb the mountains of adversity and challenge? When you ask questions in the classroom do you consider how the Lord welcomes your questions about faith and then helps you to find the answers?

Returning to the Wesley Foundation has helped me connect with that part of life beyond diapers and spit-up, helping me appreciate even more the gift of diapers and spit-up. My prayer for you is that you will find a place of serenity within the ordinary, that Jesus will be real to you every moment: the serious ones, the boring ones, the challenging ones, the funny ones, the tedious ones, the frustrating ones, not just the spiritual ones. Please know how precious you are in His eyes and how thankful I am to be sharing the mundane with you!



Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Live and Learn

For those of you who don’t know, Noah Joseph Wilson was born at 8:50am on Friday, August 20th. From the beginning I had a really hard time getting him to eat. Because of this he became very dehydrated. When we went to the doctor his sodium levels were dangerously high, and he had to be admitted to the hospital. Since Greenview didn’t have the staff or facilities to take care of him, he had to be taken to Vanderbuilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville. His first two weeks of life were the most difficult two weeks of my life. It is hard to even put into words what they were like.

When we got to the ICU at Greenview (before being transferred to Vandy) there was a wonderful nurse who put her arm around me and said, “I want you to repeat after me: I will not blame myself; I’m here to take care of Noah; and I’m here to learn.” She would make me repeat these three things to her every time she saw me. As a friend of mine from seminary would say, “That will preach!”

Sometimes in life things happen that are beyond our control. My mom says we each do the best we can at any given moment. And sometimes our best still comes up short. It is so easy to look at the difficulties of our lives and meditate on “what might have been” or “if only . . . “ But looking backward that way just seems to heap more heartache on top of what we already have. I like what the nurse said to me: take care of what you can right now and learn what you can right now.

Maybe you are in the middle of the hardest semester of your life. Maybe you are having relationship problems. Maybe you have regrets. Maybe you’ve made mistakes. Maybe you are at .the hardest point in your entire life, and just need someone to put an arm around you and say it will turnout all right. Maybe God sent the words of that nurse to encourage you too. We cannot change the past, but we can seek the Lord and entrust to Him the present and the future. In the meantime we can take care of what we can now and learn what we can. From my experience I have learned that God is there even when we feel most alone and forsaken. I know that God loves you and is with you right now. Just keep holding on to those words of hope. Soon you will see they really are true.