Saturday, September 26, 2009

Toilet Paper, Milk and give them to her...

In June my family had gathered at my parents house for lunch one afternoon. The kids were cooking, Gene and Mom were resting, Dad was playing with the babies and my sister Michelle was on the phone. I could tell from the way she answered the call that it was someone she hadn't spoken with in awhile and she walked around the house talking and smiling.

A few minutes later I glanced out to the living room and she was still on the phone, but instead of smiling, she was crying. When she hung up she looked stunned. I asked her what was wrong. "Shannon is dead", she barely got out.

Shannon was a friend from high school and they remained very close up until six years ago. Shannon's husband Bill is who Michelle was talking to and he explained that at the beginning of June Shannon had become very sick and finally after much persuasion, went to her doctor.

At just 36 years old she would find out that her body was completely filled with cancer and the only thing they could do for her was make her comfortable. While my daughter was on the 4th floor, having a baby girl on June 3rd, little did we know that Shannon was two floors up waiting to die.

Two weeks after finding out about the cancer, she was buried on a her 37th birthday and Bill had a party with balloons and cake to celebrate her short life. They never had kids, but did have a dog. Her parents had passed away also from cancer and she had no siblings as she was an only child. Bill was all she had and now he was a widow.

Shannon's life was shorter than she imagined.
She very quickly lost a battle with cancer she didn't even get a chance to fight.
Not promised tomorrow.
Not one of us.

So when we aren't promised our tomorrow, how do we live our today?

I really have to ask myself if I'm living my fullest for God and if I want to answer with truth I would say no. I mean, if I speak Christianese, I say the right things.
I know Christ died for me on the cross, He rose again and He is coming back for me.
I know I was created to have a relationship with Him which He gives me the choice to pursue or not.
I know the 10 commandments and what a good Christian girl should look like.
BUT am I living my life completely FOR Him?

Or is Jesus one of those friends I know I can rely on to pick me up during my time in the valley? Is He my in-case-of-an-emergency God?
What exactly is the role I've allowed Christ to have in my life?
The life that James describes as a vapor?
Here today, gone tomorrow kind of life.

James 4:14

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

What is your life?

That is a hard question to ask myself...Lelia, what IS your life?

At the Beth Moore simulcast a few weeks ago she encouraged us to not put God on a priority list. She said how He doesn't want to be on a list, but that He wants to be our life.
"Make Him your life Girls. Make Him your life," she said.
That just stuck with me and now James is asking me...what is your life?

I want to say without any hesitation...Jesus.
But that would be my Christianese voice speaking up.
Asking myself these hard questions though makes me think.
Really makes me think of what I place value on in my life.

Last night Alyssa and I took my sister to a movie for her birthday. Afterwards, we went to the grocery store for a few things. When we were checking out the cashier told me that she really liked my earrings. Instantly I felt the Holy Spirit impress on me to "give them to her". Instead, I just thanked her and I did mention I got them at Kohl's. You know, in case she wanted to get herself a pair.

Now, I heard that voice inside me loud and strong. But I was able to walk out the door without the cashier, my sister or daughter knowing what I chose to ignore. See, these are my favorite earrings. Really, I love them. And I was going to go home with them regardless of what God wanted me to do.

When we got out to the car I remembered I forgot to get milk and toilet paper and since we were on our last roll, I figured I better go back inside. Michelle and Alyssa wanted to wait in the car, but told me to hurry. So back inside I went quickly picking up my forgotten items. And back through the same cashier's line I went as she was the only line open. And back came that voice again telling me to "give them to her".

And this time when she turned around to push some buttons on her register, I slid my most favorite dangly, silver and black earrings out of my lobes and when she turned and handed me the receipt, I placed the earrings in her hand.

She thanked me and I smiled as she said, "These will go perfect with my work outfit".
As I left that store without my earrings, I knew it was more about putting a smile on this late night cashier's face.
I didn't walk out of that store the same way I entered.
No flashy earrings swayed as I walked.
My sister or daughter didn't notice that my earrings were gone.
Nobody noticed but God.
I smiled and silently thanked God and right then if James were to ask me Lelia, what is your life?
I could honestly say at that moment...
Jesus, James. It's Jesus.

I'm not sharing this with you to get a pat on my back or anything like that. If you know me, I 'm not that kind of person at all. I am not one to attempt to share in God's glory.
I'm just sharing with you to say there is a girl in Nebraska that has the desire to go deeper with Jesus Christ.
A girl who has a history with the father of the world that makes her Heavenly Father love her even more.
A girl who writes in her journal, prayers begging God to help her with surrendering her life to Him.
A girl who adores a God that doesn't ignore her cries.

I'm sharing this with you to let you know that there is a God in a girl in Nebraska that is willing to take her deeper.
A God who starts by asking her to let go of what He knows is her favorite pair of earrings.

He heard my prayers and He started my journey of going deeper with simple.

A simple pair of ten dollar on sale at Kohl's earrings.
No big deal, right?
God gave me a 2nd chance to give those away by forgetting the two main items I entered that store to get.
My response to "give them to her" was important enough to Him for me to be given another opportunity.

And the 2nd time around I got it.
If I can let go of what I love for Who I love where is He going to take me?
I have no idea what God has for me.
But I do know that I want Him to be my life.

If you are interested in going deeper with God, then join me on
Tuesday, October 6th
for the fall YES to GOD study of the new book,
Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl
by the beloved Lysa TerKeurst.

Details on the right side of my blog.
Get your book today and have chapter 1 ready to discuss on October 6th right here.
All welcome...bloggers and non-bloggers.

I encourage you today to ask...




Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Wow, Lelia! Absolutely beautiful...and profound. This tugged at my heart on many levels. I keep trying to put God at the top of my priority list. I need to get Him off the list and into my life.

~Jamie (formerly Purposeful Pursuit Jamie)

Andrea said...

This post reminds us once again of the fleeting time we have on this earth. Having lost a sister at a young age, I am deeply touched by your post. I pray for each person affected by this loss and I pray all will use this to reflect on their own lives and how they are living them, just as you have asked of each of us.
Blessings, hugs, and prayers, andrea

PS: I have a prayer request on arise 2 write.

Joyfulsister said...

Hey Sis,
A lot to ponder on in this post!! powerful as well as speaking the truth in love. I know for me, I have learned to depend on the Lord each day, my health is in his hands and so is my life. There are those times when I do go ahead of him and use him as a 911 when I mess up. Praise God for his mercy and grace. you are so right, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

Hugz Lorie

Danielle said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, sister! I loved this post. More than you'll ever truly know!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I remember that comment from the simulcast and it stuck in my heart also.

God isn't a priority list. He IS the priority.

Beautiful post - will continue to remember SHannon's family.

Jill said...

Great post Lelia! I love the question- I will ponder it for awhile I'm sure!! Thanks for always being so real, Jill

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow...what an extremely moving post, Lelia. And, I know with all my heart you did not share this post to gloat or share in God's glory but to shine His Glory for us to see. For us to see by a beautiful example the reward in following Him. The thing that strikes me the most is how you expressed though you ignored His loud voice to begin, He still gave you a second chance. How ironic that He used two items you really needed. It's not like you could make an excuse with an item and say we can go another day...but rather an item with which you were on your last roll, your last square. He is awesome to give us another chance at many things in life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. You never cease to touch me. Such power in your writings.

I received my book Friday and I was one of the three people who read the introduction as Lysa indicated.

Love you,

Paula said...

Love this, and love you!

Mel said...

Wow power packed post and question!!!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I've recently been rereading Kings and Chronicles and repeatedly was struck with the fact that they all imitated the behavior of those around them. They acted like the pagans they were in the midst of. But God calls us to be different - to stand out in a crowd. Christians have to look different, act different, be different. Ordinary folks don't give away their favorite earrings, but Christians do. As we act so shall we be. Keep up the good work. You know I love you and you know God loves you. :) blessings, marlene

Laura said...

Sometimes I need a do over too, Lelia, before I listen to what He has to say. Aren't you glad He gave you that second chance?

He's just that kind of God.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A great encouragement, Lelia. I'm just an NC gal wanting to go deeper with God, earrings and all.

You have a good heart. Keep sowing kingdom seed.


Susan said...

awesome post. I like your blog

Kelly's Ideas said...

Strong and powerful and needed to be read.. thank you.


HisPrincess said...

What IS my life indeed....hmmm...I'm not loving the answer I'm afraid.

Stacy said...

Hi, Lelia. I've been experiencing computer problems so visits to the blogging world have been few and far between? Would you mind emailing me your personal email address? There seems to be so much going on in my heart, mind, life right now I would really appreciate your input (if you felt comfortable sharing such). This is an awkward request yet God keeps laying it on my heart to "talk" with you. I've missed being a part of the blogging and am so looking forward to the study next week. Praying for you and yours continually. In Him, Stacy

Liz said...

God is so relentless, is He not? He will continue to move us in the direction that He wants us to go, just like He did with you. I rejoice with you in your listening!
What is my life?
That is a deep question. These past few months, I have spent a good amount of time prioritizing and thinking about what is my life. And I can only say my life needs to be about being reconciled to God. Only. Now, to measure everything I do and want to do to that statement - tough! But, my goal. I pray. Thanks for the reminder today!
Love you!

Liz said...

God is so relentless, is He not? He will continue to move us in the direction that He wants us to go, just like He did with you. I rejoice with you in your listening!
What is my life?
That is a deep question. These past few months, I have spent a good amount of time prioritizing and thinking about what is my life. And I can only say my life needs to be about being reconciled to God. Only. Now, to measure everything I do and want to do to that statement - tough! But, my goal. I pray. Thanks for the reminder today!
Love you!

Faith Imagined said...

Wow! I am speechless! This is such a powerful post in so many ways!