A few weeks ago the Lincoln Public Schools district office burned down.
Today, I had to call the temporary office to ask some questions.
In the midst of sorrow and loss, Jean, who answers the phone has made a deliberate choice to rise above.
She answered the phone with one question:
"How may I serve you?"
Usually when you call an office you're asked how they can help you, but serve you?
It took me off guard and got me thinking.
Sometimes when I talk to God I just ask.
Days can go by when I may not even praise, just ask.
Ask for help, guidance or relief for my husband who is in chronic pain.
Ask for interference in a friend or one of my kids' life who is seeking anything but You.
Ask for peace, wisdom, insight and energy.
Salvation has been given from asking.
Forgiveness has been granted from my asking.
Grace has been poured over my undeserving self from asking.
I ask. Sometimes He answers. Sometimes He tells me to be still and just know.
Know that He is God. That He is able.
But I can honestly tell you in all my asking with hopeful gain I have never simply asked Him
"How may I serve You?"
And I humbly ask,
"Lord, how may I serve You?"
My sister Michelle said something the other day while we were in the car together that stayed put in my mind.
"I wonder if God ever looks at us and says, you're too much."
We live in a world that we can dismember a baby while God's in the midst of forming him or her.
We can break every vow we took on our wedding day and make walking out on our family
look like an exercise.
We live in a world that
a woman can go out on the town with no plan and the next morning a pharmacist can hand her Plan B over the counter and erase her night of irresponsibility before she leaves the store.
We can fill our arteries with heart stopping fast food made by a teenager that just returned from a smoke break.
We can go broke living beyond our means no matter the cost to keep up with the Jones', the Smith's and the Johnson's trying to portray what we want others to see and yet be a mess within the walls of our heart.
We live in a world that
has low morals and and high teen pregnancy and crime.
Where morons are trying to take God out of the school, the state and get Him off of our radios.
Being a Christian in today's world is not easy.
But He never said it would be.
When the media didn't have something meaningful like Alabama or Joplin to focus on,
they gave us hours of Charlie Sheen and his ridiculous lifestyle while he yelled "Winning"
Such a clear picture of what Satan must think and do.
When a Daddy confesses to secrets he thought he could hide from his wife and kids all while attending church because God is just a religion...Winning!
When a woman overturns her belief in abortion so her life won't be inconvenienced...Winning!
When a teen turns to drugs instead of the Jesus inside of them...Winning!
And yet in the midst of crazy, our God doesn't look down and say "you're too much" but instead says
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you".
He sees us for who we are and wants relationship with us in spite of ourselves.
He endured the beatings, the torture and the cross for us
He stuck to God's Plan A and was carried into that grave dead to walk out alive
with the hope that we would accept His sacrifice and choose to spend eternity with Him.
And when we do choose Him all the angels shout...WINNING!
And through the tears of my grateful heart all I can manage to whisper is...
What an amazing
My friend & neighbor Mary Beth has taken care of her Dad, Dell, in their home for the last 10 years.
Last Saturday afternoon she told Gene that he was now on hospice so we should say our goodbyes.
Alivia was at my sister's house and came home right away so she could go see him. Her and Grandpa Dell as he was called, were very close. 86 years apart and they had such a special bond. Click here
to read their story.
He had a stroke about a week before and wasn't able to talk so along with Mary Beth, Gene and Alivia and I stood next to him and held his hands. As Gene prayed over him, I had my arm around Alivia and tears slid off her pretty nose. When I told him I loved him there was no response, but when Alivia did, he kissed her cheek twice, it was so sweet. Sunday afternoon Alivia went to see him again and came home and said he gave her a kiss again. Hours later at 9:39pm, surrounded by his entire family, Grandpa Dell's eternity began.
Exactly what he had wanted.
Thursday we went to his celebration of life.
His son-in-law Keith, Mary Beth's husband who is a pastor, spoke and did a beautiful job.
I sat there listening to all the funny stories shared and memories each family member had wanted said about their Dad and Grandpa.
The consistency within in each memory was Jesus.
I learned that Dell's desire to be with Jesus wasn't just in his latter years, but that he wanted to go from the time he invited Jesus to be his Savior.
I learned how he and his bride Ruth would pass out Bibles and how he'd leave a big tip for a waitress or waiter in a Bible saying "they're going to have to open their Bible to get their tip".
They joked about the hitchhikers he would pick up and how the passenger probably "couldn't wait to get out of the car away from this crazy man talking about end times". We laughed when Keith said how whenever someone died and they told Dell, he'd accuse them of "cutting in line before him".
But most of all, I heard of his love for Jesus Christ.I heard his legacy.
And being his neighbor, I was blessed to see it first hand too.
Clearly, Grandpa Dell was all about Jesus.
He wanted the rapture to happen the minute he accepted Christ as his Savior
Family or friend, neighbor or stranger, son or daughter, in-law or grandchild was going to hear of Jesus whether you wanted to or not.
Keith shared how the grand kids remember seeing him in God's Word all of the time
How his meal time prayers would go on so long the food would get cold.
And how he was generous beyond the imagination.
I have been to many funerals, but I can honestly say it was the first one that I left feeling a little jealous of the deceased because he sincerely wanted death so he could live with Jesus.
I love Jesus Christ, but have never expressed a desire to want to die to be with Him. "Die to self" I've said before but I've never wished for my physical death.
Sitting there listening to the stories about my neighbor, I realized that I didn't have the same zeal for Jesus that Dell had. I want to be with Jesus, but not to the point of leaving this earth right now.
And this man did.
He wanted to give up everything here to be with Jesus there.
Now, don't miss the point here.
Grandpa Dell loved his family deeply and he loved being with his family. But he loved God more.
He knew God is the Author of life and He is the One to write our final chapter and so his death would happen on God's timing. Knowing that though didn't stop his prayers urging God to pen the words THE END.
He didn't obsess with death, instead, he just desired for his eternal life to start.
He lived the life God gave him well and without a doubt heard the welcome words of his Father, Well done good and faithful servant.
At other funerals, I have been so saddened by the loss that celebration was far from my mind.
But as I sat in the pew Thursday and laughed at the family stories, I felt no guilt from being happy for him. Tears filled my eyes at the beautiful Chris Tomlin song, "I Will Rise"
that was sung and I came to the conclusion that it was easier to celebrate his passing because he really wanted to go.
Since Thursday, I've been thinking about the legacy I'm leaving my children and grandchildren.
The thing is that we all might not stick around until we're 95 like Grandpa Dell did...against his will, I might add. :)
We may not have years to get it right.
So as of today...
What kind of legacy will you leave?
I want to get to the point of being so deep with Jesus that my desire to be with Him out weighs my desire to get things done on earth or get my ducks in a row.
Just like Grandpa Dell.
Last Monday, the day after Grandpa Dell died, I received an e-mail from Proverbs 31 Ministries updating me on my scholarship for She Speaks
. On this update they list each gift giver's name.
As I scrolled down the page, I praised the Lord for such generous souls with tear filled eyes.
I burst into tears when I read the last name on the list: Dell Sand.
Our sweet neighbor,
Later that evening in conversation with his daughter, I thanked her for the gift in his memory.
She said, "Oh no, I sent that in for him a week and a half before he died".
What a gift.
What a man.
What a life.
What a legacy.
Thank you Grandpa Dell for believing in me. Have fun with Jesus and your beloved Ruthie.
And thank you for the friendship you and Alivia shared; she will miss you forever and never forget you.
Alivia and Grandpa Dell, a week before his homecoming unable to flash that handsome smile due to the stroke.