Psalm 139:23

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of the everlasting."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's in a Name?

This week I have been on vacation with Lexi's family. We are staying with Donna's sister in Oregon. It has been such a great week as a family! The kids have spent time with cousins, aunts, uncles, & their Grandma. It is wonderful to see them all laughing & having a good time. But I can't help but look around & realize we are short one precious baby girl! When we drove to the airport Saturday afternoon my heart hurt because there should not be room for me in their Suburban. Lexi should be in that car too! 

Last night one of Lexi's cousins had a friend over. His mom was meeting all the kiddos & told Lauren that she had a friend named Lexi who was a lot littler then Lauren. As I watched how Lauren responded to hearing that name my heart sank! I absolutely hate hearing that name! When I hear Lexi my mind is flooded with memories. On good days I am able to remember the times she was well, her laugh, her smile, the little things she said to me, & her precious little voice. Other days are not so great, & I remember the pain of her battle with liver failure. Even still, there are times when I go back to that moment Brian told me she was gone, the hopelessness, the emptiness, the brokenness all comes pouring back & there is a pain so deep inside of me!

As I think about the effect Lexi had on my life, the effect her life still has when I hear her name, I am reminded of another name that changed my life, the name of my precious Lord! Jesus life also changed my life! This past Sunday had been five months since Lexi went to heaven. While I worshipped my Lord my mind was overwhelmed with the sacrifice He made. Because He came & lived a perfect life in a human body, died on the cross, & rose again, I have salvation! I will spend an eternity with my Lord, because a man named Jesus took the nails for me.

On my way back from summer camp with my Contact Kids one of my girl's was looking at a picture Bible. She looked up & said "Miss Kayla, why did Jesus have to die with two other people?" I was able to discuss that Jesus died with thieves, because they were sinners & He was dying for our sins. While discussing Jesus' death, I saw myself in the thieves being crucified with Him. I have been a thief! I have taken things that weren't mine to take. I have walked outside of the will of God. I have followed my own path, rather then the Lord's. And even still He looks at me & says, "Today you will be with me in paradise!" I have no way of knowing when my day will come, but I do know that there is immense power in the name of my Lord & savior Jesus Christ! Praise God that there is power in His name & power in His blood! Someday I will walk with Lexi again. Until then, I hold onto my Father like never before!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I don't want none of that!

So many exciting things have gone on at Contact lately that I have had a hard time deciding what to write about. Working at Contact I have been blessed enough to meet with all kinds of people. One particular situation stands out to me right now. About a month ago... yes I'm behind in updating... we had a mission group from Chickasha working alongside us. We decided that one of our mission projects would be to go downtown & hand out cookies to the homeless. Our hopes for the day were simply to start conversations with people who are generally avoided. We split up into groups. I took Judith O'sborn, Joel Osborn's (better known as Big O) daughter with me.

If you do not know Judith you truly are missing out on a relationship with one of the best ministers I know. This little girl has an incredible ability to get inside people's lives & by doing so, she touches hearts for the Lord. Anyway, we took our bags of cookies to the bus station & sat beside a young lady. I fully expected Judith to be intimidated by the whole situation, but she wasn't at all. As we shared with this lady, she began to tell us that she has been unable to keep a job because she suffers from schizophrenia & had just been diagnosed with hepatitis C. We continued to listen to her story & asked if we could read the word with her. About this time another man sat down with us & started sharing his story. He was in some legal trouble for various reasons.

After sharing the word with these two individuals I asked if I could pray for them. The young lady asked that I pray for the Lord to heal her from Hepatitis C. I will never forget what happened next. The man sitting beside her jumped up & said "Don't touch me! I don't want none of that!" Watching this all take place, my heart broke for the women. I couldn't help but wonder how many times in her life she had heard, "I don't want none of that!" The statement alone took her humanity & her dignity. The man stood on the other side of me. He held my hand as Judith & I held hands with the young woman & went into the presence of our Lord. After we walked off Judith asked me if we could catch Hepatitis C? I told her I wasn't exactly sure what the disease was, but I didn't think we could catch it. At this moment I was so in awe of Judith's young faith! She had no idea what this disease was & yet she still reached her hands out & touched this woman anyway. She had absolutely no concern for herself!

I have not seen the young woman we met at the bus station since that day & more than likely I will never see her again. I will never know whether God brings healing into her life on this earth, but I do know that I saw a glimpse of eternity that day! I saw a small portion of the love of the Father being poured into a woman who had not experienced His love on a regular basis. 

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the Good Samaritan. I have taught this story several times at Contact from the aspect of what it means to be the person who helps the Samaritan. But on this day, I viewed that story in a whole new way. I wonder what it felt like to be the Samaritan laying injured on the side of the road watching people walk by who wouldn't even give you a second look. What would it feel like to know you are in need of help, know that you would not receive it? The humility must have been beyond unbearable for this poor man! Examining this story countless times, I can honestly say I have been every person in that story. I have been the person in need of help, I have been the person willing to help, and shamefully I have been the person that saw the person in pain & passed them up because I didn't want to touch them. On that day I was forced to face the truth about my own walk. The sad truth is that if there has been even one time in my life that I have devalued someone that was created in the image of God, I have also devalued my Lord. I have been a pew warmer. I have been the Christian that had the answers, but it didn't affect my heart. But today I write this blog with a different set of eyes. I write from a heart that has been broken time & time again by the pain in this world. And I write from the reality that God created each of us to be the hands & feet of His son regardless of who He is asking us to touch. We do not have an option to sit back & allow opportunities to pass any longer! Just like the lady at the Bus Stop, there is someone in your path that needs someone to meet them where they are at. I encourage you to let go of the worldly standards you are held to & simply love like He first loved you. You will be changed, the people you come into contact with will be changed, & ultimately eternity will be changed. Praise God that He chooses to bless us by working in us & through us.

Matthew 10:38-39
And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lessons Learned

I have learned so many hard lessons about my relationship with my Lord through Lexi's battle with liver failure & through her death. To be completely honest, I wish I could've learned those lessons another way. But if I have learned nothing else about God from this horrible tragedy, I have learned that HIS grand design in life is not to please me. I was created to glorify Him! If I truly believe that God is who He claims to be, I have one option in this situation... submit to His wisdom. Submitting is not something that comes easy for me. Actually, I HATE submission! I like to be in control of my own life. I want to have the final say in how things are going to take place, but truly walking with the Lord means giving Him the first say, as well as the last. 

While Lexi was sick I remember staying up several nights praying all night long & begging God to move on her behalf. When she first passed away I was so angry that He had told me no! I felt like everything I had ever believed about God was a lie! But as I reflect on what Jesus did on the cross, I am reminded that He too asked the Lord to let this cup pass. God's answer was simply, "No, I cannot allow this cup to pass because I have a bigger purpose." Almost 5 months later I can honestly say that God did act on behalf of Lexi... it just wasn't how I wanted Him to. In the garden of Gethsemane He answered His only son with a No so that some day I could enter into an eternal home with Him. And on February 18, 2010 I was told that God's answer was no. Just like Jesus' cup of agony did not pass, our cup of anguish would not pass either. We were forced to say goodbye. 

Although, I do understand the purpose behind Jesus dying on the cross, I don't understand why Lexi died & I probably never will. What I do understand is that my God is not a God of chance, but rather a God of precise planning. He has a beautiful plan in spite of tragic loss. I believe with everything in me that there will be people who come to know Him simply because of Lexi's life & for that I am eternally grateful! Until I get to see my Lord face to face I am going to choose to submit to His wisdom & accept His plan. I am simply a tool in His hand. I may set a path for my life, but I have to allow Him to direct my steps. From now until He calls me home, I am going to strive to give Him complete control!

My sweet Lexi, do you know that in three years you taught me more about God then I had learned in the 16 before you were born? I think about you every day! I miss seeing you & Linds play together. I miss praying with you & kissing your sweet head. I thank God for you every day! I could never have repaid you for everything you gave me in those short three years. I can't wait to walk with you in Heaven. I love you most Lex!

1 Peter 5:6-7
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."