This morning, I'd had to deal with a plumbing problem, which our handyman/plumber fixed, and made plans for fence repair and landscaping. As I got ready for a birthday lunch party for one of my Bible study girls, I was grateful that following the lunch, a hairdresser would be stepping in for my regular gal who has kept me dyed and dolled up for decades, because she has been down with the flu. I'd allowed myself to be aggravated --ignorantly--by my calls and texts not being returned but I soon realized that God was in this the whole time! In Isaiah 43:18-19 God tells His people,
Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
We began talking about my recovery from Steve's death, because her former fiance is afflicted with cancer. I'm not sure how we began talking about the difficulties of childhood. She mentioned moving quite often because of her military officer father's career.My family moved a few times for the same reason, but settled in Redlands by the time I was in the 3rd grade. Even though my parents eventually divorced after 27 unhappy years, I know I have nothing to complain about, because my sister and I were loved and cared for very well. My wild pre- Jesus life occurred after I was 21 years old and had been out of the home, including 3 years at UCLA, for four years. She and her brother, on the other hand, were victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse until their angry, violent, vicious father was shot to death by an enlisted man for perceived bigotry. Her life was a struggle, and some difficulties remain now that she is a grandmother, as they do for all of us. But she has committed her life to Jesus and is staying in fellowship with her church. When she asked me how I managed to make it through, I said, and received nods from around the salon, "Jesus was and still is, with me every day! There is no other answer!" My friend is determined to go forward and trust Jesus, not look back. Philippians 3:13b-14 says it best:
...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
I've been listening to a Bible study series on honoring one's father and mother, and realize that though I have my memories of unfortunate incidents, I also have long forgiven my parents and spent as much time as possible with each of them, while raising a family. My mother died in 2006. I now stay very involved with my dad, who is suffering from bladder cancer and now experiences shortness of breath after walking just a few steps. The two of us had a good experience working on his living trust, and I will be putting a trust in place using his attorney and my personal acquaintance next week. So we both enjoy financial planning, bargain hunting, saving, investing and critiquing local and State officials). (And we enjoy grocery shopping on sunny days). He's been a believer for many years now, and is reading books by Billy Graham and Anne Graham Lotz on aging, death, and heaven. His current aches, pains and tiredness bother him more than passing away.
May every believer have such dying grace!
As Pastor James MacDonald said this morning, let each of us seek ways to honor our parents that we might pass on a legacy to our children and grandchildren, and enjoy the manifold blessing of obedience to God and His word.
P.S. My substitute hairdresser may have been confiding horrid experiences, but she certainly let her creative juices flow!