“Yet I still dare to hope, when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends, His mercies never cease.” (Lamentations 3:21-22, NLT)
“Some of the summer will be challenging – life always is – but I am looking forward to remembering and realizing that God’s grace will spill over and nourish us. When the warm weather ends, let us look back, making this a summer to remember.”
Those are the last words of my Creekside article right after Memorial Day. I didn’t realize just how challenging the summer would be, that a loved one (my husband’s mom) would suddenly die. My first reaction to figuring out how this fits in our lives is, “No, thank you! It was too soon. I miss her.” And as we were spending time with Doug’s dad after the beautiful memorial service and beyond, I missed seeing them together as a couple. But I love thinking about her being happy and healed, being able to see clearly, exquisitely, the face of her Lord, and how she can move, even jump and run around, without pain.
I don’t have regrets about my relationship with my mom-in-law. I was close to her, and each of her children was even closer to her. I love that. So many families have emotional distance with each other, or some severe dysfunction, but our family – even with all our faults, disparate personalities and human brokenness – is there for each other. She, a woman of faith, humor and generous love, led a life well lived.
Sometimes it’s time to take stock of what your life is like. What are you doing to be intentional about growing as a person, as a son or daughter in Christ?
“It’s just like me to _________.”* How would you fill in this blank? Is there something you’d like to change about yourself? We can’t change other people, but with God’s help, we can be changed. We struggle with ourselves, with our idea of who we are and what we tolerate.
What if your idea of your identity changed? Your true identity – as soon as you followed Christ -has been constant. Fully forgiven, fully accepted, fully loved. You are his child. Not only that, God, in an amazing act of grace, lives in us through his Spirit.
Sometimes we have a skewed view of our identity. Something we picked up, experienced, said to us, something perhaps we did, has shaped our view of ourselves along the way. On which idea of your identity do you act? Do you feel accepted? Or are you struggling? Or maybe you are coasting, just surviving, trying to get through your season.
I want to grow closer, I don’t want to coast. At the end of my life I want someone to say I led a life well lived, a life of faith, humor and generous love.
It was good to see my family and extended family at the memorial service and afterward. I loved being with our twin son and daughter, who hadn’t seen each other since last Christmas. The four of us shared a hotel suite and got to spend a couple days together. My favorite memory: Matt talking about Noah’s ark, and how it was re-created on Mount Ararat, with the exact specifications of the Bible, and he was wondering how it could fit all the animals in the world (one male, one female). Without missing a beat, the other nerdy three of us said together, “It was bigger on the inside!” I love our family.**
* Rick Warren talks about this in a Saddleback Church sermon (8/18/13), about how to bring our laments to God.
** A fabulous Doctor Who reference
Kelly can be reached via email.