A Time to Focus on Family

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“‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:19

Remember the biblical account of Jesus healing a man who was possessed by a legion of demons? No one had been able to subdue this man, no one had been able to help him. Until Jesus. Jesus cast the demons out and restored this desperate man to his right mind.

How grateful he must have been. In fact as Jesus was leaving, this newly healed man begged Jesus to let him go with him . The man’s reason for wanting to accompany Jesus may have been an overflow of gratitude, a desire to be part of Jesus’s powerful life-changing ministry, fear that he had nowhere to go since he had destroyed all his relationships with his family and friends, or possibly a combination of these reasons. Whatever the reason, Jesus had another plan for him.

Instead of saying yes to the man’s request to go with him, Jesus told him to go home. He wanted him to tell his family how much he had done for him. To tell them about the mercy he had shown him.

We don’t know all of Jesus’s reasons for asking the man to go home. The Lord certainly wanted the man’s family to hear this amazing testimony of Jesus’s love and power. We know Jesus wanted more people to come to know him. But maybe he also knew the man’s family ached for news of him or that the man himself needed to be reassured of their love. Maybe he knew this family’s reunion was what was most important for that group of people at that moment in time.

Whatever his reasons, Jesus wanted this man to focus on his family. And there are times I’m sure that his plan and task for us is the same. We may have a desire to go somewhere or do something big for the Lord or we might just wish we had a more exciting role in life and in God’s kingdom, but sometimes in some seasons God shows us our main ministry is at home. Our main ministry is to be focused on our family.

The Lord has called me to such seasons at times. Whether staying home to raise our girls or serving in caregiving roles for loved ones with health problems or giving my time to help with our twin grandsons this past year, I’ve seen that at times serving my family is indeed a major part of my role in life and in ministry for the Lord. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t be involved in other activities, but I did have to say no to many things in order to fulfill the ministries to family that God placed before me.

I wonder if today the Lord is leading any of us to focus on our families? Is his plan for us to “go home” for now? If it is, let’s accept it as from him and go joyfully and in peace. Let’s shine for the Lord at home.

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:4

*When has God called you to a season at home?

*Don’t miss out on the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10th!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out early last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Ryan Smith Photography, Creative Commons License

Balm to a Broken Heart

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It’s no secret to most of you that I’ve been dealing with a broken heart the past few weeks. For those who don’t know, I lost my mom unexpectedly a few weeks ago as a result of injuries she sustained in a car accident.

My heart—and the hearts of our entire family—also sustained injury. They’ve been pierced and torn in two by the grief of losing Mom. My poem “Fragile” gave a glimpse into what that grief has looked like in my life and how God is helping me through it.

Today I’d like to tell you how God has applied balm to my broken heart and show you what it has looked like. It has looked like you. It has looked like every person who has reached out to me and my family in love.

Yes, God has ministered to me through his Word and through music, but the main avenue of healing balm has come through caring people—through words and gestures of concern and love.

Every word, every touch has been balm to my broken heart. Some of you came to be with us, to stand with us, to listen to us, to cry with us. Others sent cards or plants or flowers. Some gave practical gifts like food, stamps, and cash. And countless others showed their support and promises of prayer through comments and “likes” on Facebook or here on my blog. Each gesture has given comfort.

Thank you, friends, for showing your love and support. If you’ve ever wondered if a few words or a card or a comment on Facebook can help someone who is grieving, let me assure you they can. Each one makes a difference.

So join me, won’t you? Let’s be balm to the broken hearts around us. Let’s make a difference.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

*When has God used others to apply balm to your hurting heart?

*Flickr photo by Nina Matthews Photography, Creative Commons License

*It’s not too late to receive the new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. It’s a special Advent issue this time. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Cloudy No More — Cataract Removal

Some simply call it cataract surgery. I call it a minor miracle. The sky gets bluer, the grass turns greener. Cloudy vision is made clear again with a simple outpatient surgery.

The patient? My husband Don. Last summer during his eye check-up, the doctor discovered a cataract. Don knew his vision hadn’t been as good but certainly never expected to hear that diagnosis. As the doc told me yesterday after the surgery, Don is, in fact, too young for cataracts, but sometimes for unknown reasons, younger people develop them. Don falls into the unknown reasons category. Why am I not surprised by that? :)

By the way, did you pick up on the fact that he has waited a year to get the problem fixed? Along with getting very nervous at the thought of surgery, Don also didn’t want to take time away from classes to have it done. After all, he didn’t want his students missing out on any of his stimulating lectures or outlandish stories :)

Since the timing never seemed to work out during his shorter breaks throughout the year, Don just plugged along, living with vision that was not all that it could be. Sometimes in the evenings, he’d finally set the newspaper aside, tired of trying to focus on the crossword and sudoku puzzles he loves so much. Driving at night with him became an adventure I wanted to avoid. And why was he driving? He thinks he has to do all the driving when we’re together, but that’s another post altogether :)

I’m guessing Don will soon be wondering why he didn’t get the problem corrected sooner. Who wouldn’t want the best vision possible?

I’m also wondering if some of us are struggling along with limited vision of another sort. Have we allowed hurt, anger, or bitterness to cloud some of our current perceptions? Other obstacles can be at fault as well — pride, envy, low self-esteem, buying into the wisdom of the world… The list goes on. All of these things keep us living with a vision that’s not all God wants it to be.

Why don’t we ask the Great Physician to remove the cataracts of our minds and souls? Let’s ask Him to open our eyes and use His Word to bring the healing we need today. After all, don’t we want the best vision possible?

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Flickr photo by Nicholas_T; Creative Commons License