The many words of comfort and stories I’ve received this past month (since our daughter, Laurie, went to be with the Lord after a sudden and unexpected stroke), particularly from other parents who also lost a child far too early, have helped me to focus on the wonderful memories I had with my child. In one sense it helps to write out the memories and to “live in the past” for a moment in time. It is helpful to look back to our ‘first loves’, physical and spiritual, and I’d like to stay there, 24/7. But there are others who lovingly tell me they need me in the present.
Much of the ‘present’ these days for all of us is filled with people who are not really present. Our culture accepts as normal if they are on their phone and ‘with’ someone else mentally while you are with them only physically. We are truly gifted to have those in our lives who have learned to be present, even though many are from a distance. To gift a note, a word, a prayer or a promise of prayer. They have given strength, and the power of those prayers continue to strengthen. Many I speak of are reading this and I thank you for being a present one.
I’m reading Falling in Love with God, by Bob Hostetler. I’d purchased the book at a conference a while ago, and an online pastor friend steered me to Hosea. I thought of that book, which I’d opened, and put down ‘for later’ because Hosea is such a painful story. But now I needed it. That is my precious present right now.
I also re-read a precious lighthearted Christian fiction story Sisterchicks in Sombreros by Robin Jones Gunn. Though the Sisterchicks stories are fun and entertaining, their essence has an underlying message of deep truth which I always find applicable to my life – and this one is Falling in Love With God. Isn’t it amazing how things get brought into our lives in themes!
Both of these books are encouraging me to let the future of I John 5, to guide my present. A quote from Augustine in Gunn’s book:
I came to love you late, O Beauty, so ancient and new; I came to love you late. You were within me and I was outside where I rushed about wildly searching for you like some monster loose in your beautiful world. You were with me, but I was not with you. You called me, you shouted to me. You broke past my deafness. You bathed me in your light, you wrapped me in your splendor, you sent my blindness reeling. You gave out such a delightful fragrance, and I drew it in and came breathing hard after you. I tasted, and it made me hunger and thirst, you touched me, and I burned to know your peace.
I burn to know His peace. And to be present for you as you have been and are for me.