Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Time to Mourn........

I began to write this blog after the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech last week. As I watched the images pour in of these young people who's lives had been cut short by a very troubled peer, I couldn't help but think of the book of Ecclesiastes. The words "a time to mourn" continued to flood my mind and as they did I struggled to remember the whole verse. I went to God's Word and began to read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. As I read the verses I noticed a distinct pattern. For every action there is an opposite reaction. There is a time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to kill and a time to heal. You get the picture. As I read verse 4 I noticed something that caused me to pause and think. As a matter of fact....I thought so much and my brain was so full that I couldn't continue this blog.

When I reached verse 4 I read "A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to........DANCE"? Dance? Happy I could understand. What would be the opposite of mourn? Well, in my mind it would be 'happy'. Why would God have wrote 'dance'?

As I said above, I began writing this blog last week. April 19th to be exact. I meditated on verse 4 for most of the day and night. Absolutely in awe of God. Then it struck me. God wrote 'dance' instead of 'happy' because to truly need to be filled with joy. Ah...He is very clever. On April 20th my mom, my aunt, and two of my very good friends left town to attend the Women of Faith conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

The theme of the Women of Faith conference was 'Amazing Freedom'. I knew it was going to be always is. However, I knew that this time.......God had something to say to me and I was excited to spend some time focused completely on Him. I was anxious to find out what He wanted me to know. He had been drawing me very near over the last few weeks.

Friday, April 20th, 12,000 women filed into the Wells Fargo Arena. The first speaker was a lively little lady named Patsy Clairmont. Let me tell you something, if you have never seen Patsy are missing out. She knows how to make you laugh and she knows how to make you cry! She has a contagious spirit that could only come from her Creator. I was totally engaged in her story when she began to talk about 'dancing'. My ears perked up. Did she really say 'dancing'? She began to quote Ecclesiastes 3:4 and I sat in silent amazement as she talked about dancing with your legs, your mind, and your heart. She spoke about the freedom that comes when you can dance with joy in spite of the circumstances around you. I praised God for elaborating on the answer He had already given me, in such a way that I couldn't miss His point! Patsy ended her time with us by quoting part of the song "I hope you dance". She inspired us to dance when given the choice and reminded us......we always have a choice.

The family and friends of those who were killed at Virginia Tech are mourning right now. I pray that they will be able to dance very soon and when they do.......... I pray that they will experience the freedom that goes along with it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Life's Defining Moments

I was reading the Omaha World Herald today and stumbled upon an article entitled “Artist captures life’s defining moments”. It was an article about an artist who is sketching portraits of people with diseases such as AIDS and ALS (aka: Lou Gehrigs disease). After reading a portion of the article I found myself fixated on the headline. Especially the words…’life’s defining moments’. I began to wonder….what are life’s defining moments? Finding out that your body is riddled with disease would definitely be a defining moment in your life, but there are others such as your wedding day, a birth of a baby, and the death of a loved one. All of those are ‘defining moments’.

As I pondered this thought I couldn’t help but think of my life. What are the defining moments in my life? Better yet, how have they ‘defined’ me and what does that really mean? I looked up the word defining in the dictionary and there were several answers. However, there was one answer that really stood out.

Defining: to make clear the outline or form of

Defining moments ‘shape’ our lives. They make clear the outline or form of our lives. They have the ability to change us for the better and they have the ability to change us for the worse.

There have been several ‘defining moments’ in my life, but the defining moment in my life was falling in love with Jesus. That moment truly formed and outlined my life…and it continues to shape me daily. Loving and following Christ has taught me that while there are always moments in our lives that have the ability to shape us, we can choose how we will allow them to shape us.

Every day that I choose to follow Christ, I allow Him to shape me to look more like Him. Every day I choose not to follow Christ, I allow the moments of the day to shape me. We are being shaped daily by someone or something. Whether it is friends, family, or circumstances we are being shaped daily. It’s up to us to decide who or what we will allow to shape us. Today….I will choose Christ. I pray that I will always wake up and make that decision….no matter what ‘defining moment’ is taking place in my life.