shine

The phrase “jot and tittle” indicates that every small detail has received attention.

With a group of wonderful women I am studying through the book of Mark this year. The leader of the study is a woman who I have known for many years now; she is old enough to be my momma, but she is just my friend.

She is a woman who I have a lot in common with and a woman who I admire and often call on her godly wisdom and sweet experience to inform how I make decisions and do life, especially as a mommy.

She is a godly woman, fearer and follower of the Lord, intimate with Him, cultivated by the time she has spent for years day in and day out early in the morning. Before the sun, she rises to meet Him.

She has a wonderful husband, successful in all parts of life; her children, my peers, are grown and wonderful, living life the way in which the Lord intends and enjoying His blessing, and she and her husband are building a new-normal house, a beautiful luxury in my favorite part of Raleigh by my favorite builder.

She is happy and caring, and was raised mostly by her grandparents, so there is a particular sweetness about her that marks her words and actions towards others.

Tyler and I became friends with her when we were only high schoolers; she opened her home and her heart to hostess both Wednesday night church bible study in her home as well as FCA leadership meetings through our school. Her open door and welcome hug helped us and many other high schoolers graduate with hope.

Even in the JOY – Jesus . Others . You . – bible study that I am enjoying under her, she is a gracious leader, an explicit teacher, and loving lady to all of us.

Everything that she is and that she has, all of her relationships, are good. She is godly and her life is good.

Because of her age in life and the season of her life, you might just think – she has arrived. Surely she will sit back, sip tea, and impart all of her loveliness to others from now until she’s 80. Look at her! Look at her life! I want that! O Lord, could I have that, please?

Recently this precious woman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

After all of that description, did you expect that? She surely didn’t. As she went from doctor to doctor with this ailment and that new condition, she didn’t expect that in this season of life she would come into a season of life that would be marked by

pain

physical therapy

slow motion

a decaying physical body

prescription drugs

special treatment

And maybe now you are not quite so sure that you would like to have that. be her.

Maybe it irritates you and you respond to the new information by questioning, Why her? and Why now?!

This is who I wanted to be – this is the kind of life I wanted to have! Lord, what in the world!?

She eagerly attends her physical therapy appointments. She makes sure you know she is still the same woman she was yesterday. She through tears declares the Lord knew that she would have Parkinson’s even before she was fearfully and wonderfully knit together in her mother’s womb. She fears Him, follows Him, lives in His freedom and love, even in this tenuous transition.

This part of her life didn’t slip through His fingers, unnoticed. He holds her in His hands; He fashioned – and fashions her. Parkinson’s is from the Lord’s hands. And He still holds her together, just like He did yesterday. and all of the days of her life to come.

every little jot and tittle

The other night, Leland, my son, and I, were praying and he said “Deb-Deb”, which is what he calls her. So we prayed for Deb-Deb and Deb-Deb’s Dale, her husband, praying that the Lord would uphold them with His righteous right hand and Leland said “Deb-Deb back sick” and I replied “Well Deb-Deb’s whole body is sick” and he asked “Why?”

Wanting to answer him so well, for his little ears and heart, I asked the Lord how to respond and said

“For the Lord to display His glory”

And felt in my heart,  “O Lord, yes, Lord. How sweet you are, precious Jesus.”

This is Debra’s shining moment – for her to display the glory of God to everyone around her so that they all may see Him.

And so you too, sweet friend. Where you thought you wanted to be her or have that, where you thought life could be so good and everything would be perfect, where life is falling short and you are falling flat on your face; where stress has settled and sickness is taking over; where the comforts of this world just aren’t so comfortable anymore…

This is your shining moment. The Lord is putting you on display to reflect His glory to everyone around you.

Let eternal life be your comfort. Let the Lord uphold you with His righteous right hand.

And in everything, whatever it may be, whatever insignificant secret or out in the open difficult,  do it without complaining or grumbling. Shine like the stars in the heavens. Remain pure and innocent, His child. Do it for the joy who is Christ who is set before you. Live, holding fast to His Word, which is Life, so that those around you may see your Father in heaven and so glorify His name. Be glad and rejoice. And through this inconvenience, through this temporary trial, through these various tests, through sickness and health, in fear and in trembling before the Great and Mighty, and in full confidence at the throne of Grace come in your time of need and work out your salvation. Take hold of that which is truly life and SHINE.

{Isaiah 41 / Matthew 5 / John 9 / Philippians 2 / 1 Timothy 6 / Hebrews 4; 12 / James 1}

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