Saturday, April 6, 2013

Miss Francie...

I wish I had a photograph of her.Her face had 80 years more of wrinkles than features and her eyes were the most brilliant blue. I imagine at one time, Miss Francie was a beauty. Her heart was still a knock-out. She was the kind of woman who had probably lived in the same place her whole life and new everyone in town. She was beloved at Frisch's Big Boy. Everyone knew her name. She allowed me to pass in front of her. She told me my eyes were beautiful.

I told her her eyes were equally so. She told me she bet I was the kind of person that made everyone feel good about themselves. I told her I would try. She told me what it was all about. Life was about loving people and expecting nothing in return. You just loved. Simple and true. She was the most precious human I ever met. And I needed her words. I had come there to have lunch. I feasted on the widow's wisdom. Her timing was fortuitous. I had just come to the realization how bad I was at loving.There, in that dingy little diner. I had the revelation that my reasoning for others to have the wisdom of heaven, the revelation of Christ, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit was entirely from selfish gain. I wanted them to love Jesus so they could love me better. It had very little to do with their place in eternity. Even less to do with the joy of salvation. It was almost entirely about the fact that they would love and understand me so much better if they just loved Jesus. How selfish. How disgusting. How humbling a thought. Mis Francie got it. She understood the beauty of unselfish love. She understood that you just love. That's your only job. It requires no participation. She understood that that's how you win your neighbor...shape a culture...change the world. Love. Plain and simple. I was so ashamed. And so inspired. I want to be Miss Francie when I grow up.

The Way of Love / / 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 ESV

 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
 As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Embrace Me...

I was going to write certain thoughts....about my transition from Nashville to Norwood. But things change. And so have my thoughts. This was a big change for me. I felt different. I breathed it different. I knew this was the big one....that moment when the course of your life is changed forever and there is no going back. This change has forged many things. The greatest birthed from its belly has been conversation....conversations I was long overdue having. Conversations with myself...the Lord...the church. I find myself with a renewed mind and a commissioned spirit. I feel led. That is a powerful thing. I feel believed in and supported and released to learn and train and begin the process of living my dreams out loud. I am so encouraged by a Papa who is excited to see them fulfilled. He wants me to know my purpose and walk in it. And my purpose is Him. He is my reason for being. He is what my heart longs for. He is the gift I want to give to the countless number of lost, broken and weary who are just looking for a little hope to cling to. How sweet it is, Father. How sweet it is.
 I have found myself so often in life desperate for the future. Saddened that my life and my dream would never collide. I still wrestle with this. But I need not. I want...I must accept the moment and really live it. The future will come without me standing there, waiting for it. There are things to be done. I will pray. I will worship. I will love my neighbor. I will honor my Father. I will live. I will not sit idly by and let the whole world move while I wallow in my doubts. I must be useful or I may not as well be at all. Remind me of this when I'm sad. Tell me these words when I'm lonely. Hold me to the hope that I must cling to. Offer to me the idea that my life is not a joke. That I was made for love. He told me Cincinnati would embrace me. I will embrace it right back.
This is my city and I am finally home.