Sunday, June 15, 2014

John 15:13

I have never been more humbled and proud to be a part of my church… Today’s message revolved around “John 15:13” Never has a message broken me the way this one did. 
John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.
To hear a man tell his story about desperately needing a kidney (his kidney function was down to 14% ) and hearing how God worked EVERY SINGLE STEP out for this man to pass his medical, financial and psychological testing in record time. -All in order to even be placed on the transplant list. Then, How God laid a path for him to receive his kidney after SIX WEEKS on the transplant list -versus the 1 ½ - 3 years that he was originally told.  BUT THEN to hear that a member of our church stepped out in complete selflessness (and complete anonymity) to donate a kidney…. A man who has a small child, and one on the way. A man who could’ve gone about his days just allowing Chris to cross his mind every once in awhile. …Wondering if he was on dialysis, wondering if his health was failing or improving.  But, no. This man, Brian felt the whisper of the Holy Spirit and ACTED OUT IN KINDNESS AND FAITH.  Brian proceeded with pre-testing to see if he could be a donor and lo and behold, he was a perfect match so he and his wife set the date for the transplant- and due to a series of events and circumstances our Pastor and Chris’ wife discovered his identity. (the two men had barely met, as they attended different service times at church) The discovery allowed our Pastor to pray with BOTH FAMILIES prior to the surgery. This allowed the families to embrace, to love, to thank, and to become one- before both men had very serious operations. Brian preferred to keep his decision and his identity a secret because he in no way did this for himself or for earthly glory. He did this so a man could have life. So he could one day walk his daughter down in the aisle, get on his hands and knees and play with his grandchildren, dance with his wife at their 50th wedding anniversary. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I am trying to put into words how AMAZING  it was to be a miniscule part of this miracle- by simply listening to the story. I left church totally wrecked. If a man can donate a part of his flesh so that another man may be healed- who are we and WHAT ARE WE CALLED FOR? It may not be as a huge as organ donation, it may be as “small” as holding a door open for someone. …With the negativity. The poison. The bullying. The bad attitudes that are everywhere, it is so refreshing to hear of this astounding act of kindness. 
I want to help.
I want to be last.
I want to be humble to those in need.
I want to help.
I want to open my eyes.
I want to live for others.
I want to set an example for my children.
I do not want to be cynical or judgmental.
I want to serve.
I’m challenging everyone to something. When an ‘event’ occurs in your life… do not allow your first reaction and thoughts to be “how does this affect me?!” Instead say- it isn’t about meit isn’t about me it isn’t about me… I guarantee it will open up a lot of room in your heart to help others, to serve in a way that you never have. Even if it’s just to listen to a friend who needs to vent. Or doing your job with a little more pep in your step, or allowing the person in front of you at Kroger to take their time (even when you are tired, hungry, and in a huge hurry). :o)  If we all decreased our selfishness by 1% a day who would we be in 100 days?! I can’t imagine…. But I’m excited to find out. If someone in my church family can give an organ so that someone else may live in health than I can certainly challenge myself to be a better person. And it starts this second.  Selflessness can heal brokenness. Let the healing begin!

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The two amazing families with our Pastor. 
While Pastor Anna sings "Healing is Here" 
Amazing moment... Blessed to experience it!  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Finding the rose among the thorns...

I’m still in shock and mind boggled by the recent arrest of a friend. A friend?!? A woman that I have kept contact with via text messaging and Facebook was arrested for faking cancer…. I can’t begin to tell you the tears I’ve shed for her, the prayers I have said for her. My family prayed for her daily. She led her thousands of Facebook supporters to believe that she had less than 3 months to live. I questioned her honesty years ago when she confided in me that she was an alcoholic, and now a born again Christian- yet there would be frequent pictures of her at bars. ...It didn’t add up for an alcoholic to be casually drinking. But when a woman says she has stage 4 ovarian cancer you believe her.  It just feels like the worst kind of violation to be lied to in this way. To be misled and taken advantage of for so long… The texts I have from her are so descriptive including forcing her husband to go coffin shopping, being hospitalized for 9 days, having a shunt put in her head from excessive brain swelling, vomiting to the point of nearly tearing her esophagus. I mean I can go ON AND ON.  There are no words for the shock. They say hindsight is 20/20, but I never saw THIS coming. Did I think she was milking her support system? Yes. Did I think she was lying about having cancer? No!  It became odd to me how often she would desperately complain about money. But she seemed to be a good old, struggling American with cancer.  Turns out she is just a struggling American… struggling with drug addiction? Maybe? Mental health issues? Most definitely! The odd thing is, she started this *journey* over 2 years ago! I have Facebook messages from her from a few months prior to her announcement where she said her husband filed for divorce. I wonder if she initially started this lie to keep her marriage in tact? But if that is the case- why drag thousands of innocent people into the mix? Probably because it became a gold mine for her to cash in on- at the hand of the well-intentioned givers. She asked to clothing in certain sizes to dress her kids (4, plus a step child). Dozens of people stepped up and donated hundreds of dollars worth of clothing items to her kids…. Someone gave them a vehicle. Groceries were delivered 3 times a week. A weekend getaway was pre-paid for her and her husband. Her own mother sent her large family on a week long getaway. Build-a-bear workshop opened after hours for them so each of her children could make a bear with her voice inside. The zoo gave her a behind the scenes tour of the penguins (her favorite). The list is 14 miles and 2 years long. So while we are all left shaking our heads in disbelief. While she is behind bars, wearing an orange jumpsuit- it seems there is little else to do. But that is very far from the truth. This person, this lost soul needs more prayer now then she did when we believed she was dying. I’m diligently praying for her. Because somewhere she got off on the wrong path. She needs Jesus and she needs us to pray for her…. We need to continue with our good intentions by doing random acts of kindness. Paying for the car behind you in he drive-thru. Holding the door open for someone. Opening our eyes to those around us who are truly in need. Smiling at everyone!! Someone told me today that I am a breath of fresh air in a negative work environment. It made my day! Attitude is everything and we can walk around being incredibly angry with this person- and everyone else who wrongs us. Or we can be humble.  Be blessed. I chose the latter…. Will you join me?