Three Things This Week

1 – Knee injections are good.  No doubt the knowledge that brought these things into our medical forefront has to be directly from God.  I had disabling pain in my most osteoarthritic knee on Monday.  Today, I could dance a jig.  Not worrying about how long it will last, but instead, revelling in the wonder of being pain-free.  It has been a long time.

2 – Celebration-of-Life funerals are the bomb.  I can hear my friend, Jeddie, saying that.  She died earlier this week, after a short, courageous meeting with cancer.  I rarely attend visitations.  Or funerals.  Or graveside burials.  And if there’s an open casket, I tend to not want to look in those.  But because of who my friend Jeddie was to me and so many – a continual wealth of wisdom and spunk – and a perpetual educator – I coudn’t not go to the visitation, funeral, graveside.  As crazy as it might sound, I could hear Jeddie’s voice, with that “you are kidding me” inflection, saying, “Oh, darlin’ – you oughta go to mine and then decide what you think”.  So I did.  And when I saw from a distance that there was an open casket at visitation, I couldn’t not peek in to see my friend.  Of course, she wasn’t there, only her earth’s case.  The thing that held her whilst here.  The thing that allowed us to embrace each other, share smiles, exchange comforting nods.  I couldn’t cry.  And I couldn’t help but notice how peaceful her body was at rest, and how good blue looked on her.  Why didn’t I notice that before, when she was in her case?  I guess I was probably distracted by the sparkle in her eye, as any encounter was always filled with the love of the Holy Spirit.  She was so captivating, with her passion for Jesus and love for His people.  Jeddie’s funeral was simple, poignant, and filled more with laughter than tears.  Her family was strong.  Loving.  Welcoming to all of us who came to celebrate her life.  Mrs. Jeddie always inspired me to dig deeper into His word and to value every moment of life as the gift that it is.  She always was teaching me about the tireless, unconditional love Jesus has for me.  For his people.  And even in her death, Mrs. Jeddie has taught me, still, how to celebrate life, through the recollection of hers, as shared by her family and friends.  I’m so thankful for Mrs. Jeddie.  And it tickles me to no end to know that I will see her again!

3 – God’s Grace is a gift to be shared.  In scripture, His word says, “but to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Eph 4:7).  As sinful people, we don’t deserve God’s grace, but He lavishly gives this to us anyhow.  Grace.  Pardon.  Forgiveness.  I remember hearing of a young man who was killed.  Murdered.  And a while later, the news people shared with the world how the mother of the young man who was killed had befriended the murderer.  She had met with him and become friends with him.  She prayed for him.  Showed him nothing short of kindness.  And because of her willingness to show this man grace and mercy, his life was forever changed.  The murderer came to know Jesus Christ through the friendship of the murdered man’s mother.  Grace.  Grace.  It’s enough.  Grace says, “I don’t care what you did to me.  Jesus loves you, and so, I love you, too.”  Grace overlooks what is ill-intentioned, and instead, loves.  In spite of, loves.  I know God’s grace.  And I, the undeserving, am charged to share His grace.  This week, I’ve experienced His blessings of being able to offer grace.  And I’ve experienced His blessings of being offered grace.  My friend, Renea, is a daily reminder of the beauty of His grace.  I have offered grace to her, and she to me, and our lives are both forever changed.  If  there is anyone in your life who has wronged you or hurt you somehow, please forgive them.  And if there is anyone in your life who you have wronged or hurt somehow, please ask for their forgiveness.  I cannot put into words how incredibly blessed you’ll be for this obedience — God calls us to offer the very gift of grace we’ve been given to others.  Won’t you put aside your pride, fears, guilt and doubt and do that today?

In summary, stop being a whimp, and get that shot of steroid in your knee – it’s so worth it!  Know where you’re headed after this life ends.  Have a Celebration Of Life, not a funeral.  Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life.  Invite Him into your heart and be certain those left behind will be celebrating your ‘home going’ when you die.  And finally, forgive.  Isn’t it time?  Christ carried the weight of the world on that cross.  Won’t you put down your stones and ask for forgiveness, too?

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