We Are Not Consumed

Yesterday, she would have turned 82.

Just a month after her 80th birthday, she joined her parents and siblings in eternity worshiping the King.  The last time I visited, the bathroom mirror still had a flowered slip of paper with her favorite verse written in her curly, slanted script, It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Due to a childhood accident, my grandma lived everyday with pain.  She knew what it meant to depend each morning on the Lord’s mercies.  She was a living testament that because of His mercy, we are not consumed.

At her funeral, I watched person after person stand beside her casket, wet-eyed and grateful.  Young marrieds, elderly widowers, they told me what a special woman my grandma was (though, I already knew).  Her faithful prayer had made a profound difference in the lives of many.  She could have been consumed, but she grabbed onto his new morning mercies—just enough for each day.  She poured into lives with notes, phone calls, visits, volunteering, smiles, hugs, and so many prayers.

Her memory compels me to cling to the promise of Lamentations 3:22, and refuse to behave as though I am consumed—consumed by sick babies, consumed by my people messing the house faster than I can clean, consumed by guilt, consumed by my own weaknesses, consumed by what culture claims is important—and rather grab His mercies and pour them into others.  As we are entering Easter weekend, let us celebrate the incredible mercies our Father has lavished on us; Jesus was consumed, so we don’t have to be.

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What is working to consume you?  Where do you need to grab hold of this truth?  Share your thoughts on Facebook.


Is Your Cashier an Angel?

Stranger Danger is for your children, not you.

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)  God tells you and me, flat out, not to forget to entertain strangers.  He doesn’t mean be ready to give a little song and dance.  The word entertain here means showing hospitality, kindness, love to strangers.

Often, when a grizzly snowstorm settles in, I ask my mom to tell me the story of the angel who helped push our minivan out of a ditch.

Coming home from a Christmas gathering in the heart of a classic Michigan blizzard, our minivan slid off the road and into a deep ditch.  It was dark and our headlights were the only ones on the back road.   I was seven sitting in the backseat.  My parents were unable to get us back onto the road, until a broad-shouldered man stopped behind us in his pick-up.  My mom recalls, he seemed to help slide the minivan easily out of the ditch, and after receiving their chattering-teeth thank-yous, he was gone.  His truck was gone; no tail lights out in front of us.

If you want to debate with me about angels, that’s fine.  You and I can happily agree to disagree on whether an angel helped us out of the ditch; we won’t know for sure on this side of eternity.  I am convinced that we often don’t know who we are talking to.  We don’t know if we are entertaining an angel when we help the single mom get her kids and cart to the car.  We don’t know if the gas station attendant just lost his better-paying job.  We don’t know.

Walking the neighborhood, picking up your kids from school, waiting at the hair salon, buying stamps at the post office. Through my most recent Loving God Greatly study, God’s been teaching me to look up and be ready to entertain strangers.

Get out of survival mode; if your children get to their lunches and naps fifteen minutes later, your afternoon might be a little uncomfortable.  But, if you miss that stranger, her eternity might be more than uncomfortable.

How do you look up and show hospitality to those around you? Share your thoughts on Facebook.

(Beautiful featured image is a painting called “Gentle Reflections” that hangs in my home done by Karin Nelson.  Check her work out here)