Thursday, May 27, 2010

jesus in a fortune cookie

i had chinese for dinner, and as usual, i was pretty excited to crack open that fortune cookie and see just what wisdom it would impart. i'm not a very superstitious person, but i find humor in the coincidental truth that a random saying in a fortune cookie can sometimes impart to us. my "fortune" today was... "you will soon witness a miracle." my first thought was well, that's a little late. i thought immediately of the miracle that i, along with so many others were so fervently praying for this time last year. i wanted to see my mama healed from the terrible disease that was slowly taking her life. it was getting to the point where i understood that god was going to have to intervene in a miraculous fashion- but i was praying and expectant that he would do just that. well, he didn't. for a while i was a little bit angry about that, well actually, i was REALLY angry. i didn't witness the miracle that i was hoping for, that i thought i so desperately needed.
i was thinking about my "fortune" when driving home tonight, and the song "miracle in me" popped into my head. i know it wasn't a random coincidence, but instead, god trying to prove a point. these are the lyrics:
"Miracle in Me
To be there when the Savior, Spoke with a great command;
And to witness in a wonder, Of His wonder working hand;
No miracle has caught my eyes, To cause my heart to see;
But by faith I'm led to realize, There's a miracle in me.

And I have never seen the thousands fed,
Or the blind made to see;
I have never watched him raise the dead,
But I know when He lifted me;
It's a wonder right before my eyes, Close enough to see;
In my heart is where this wonder lies, There's a miracle in me.

If we have a faith that's measured, By the smallest mustard seed;
All our mountains will be mastered, By the Master of all our needs;
And if we have a child-like trust, He said, He'll do the greatest things;
He will heal the sick, He will raise up the dead, Be a miracle in me."

you know, i wasn't there to hear jesus speak his greatest commandments. i've yet to see him feed the millions of starving people. i know the most wonderful blind five year old, who has never been able to see, and to date- god has not chosen to gift riley with sight. i've stood over the lifeless body of my precious mother, wondering if somehow, god would raise her like lazarus. and, it didn't happen. however, one day, i knelt in an alter, a sinner, deserving of hell- and i prayed to a God who loved me enough to sacrifice his only, perfect, son to pay the price for my sin that i could never pay on my own. he forgave me on that day- he carried my sins as far as the east is from the west, he came into my heart and allowed me to enter into relationship with him, securing my eternity with him when this life is over in heaven. a miracle? yes! the miracle is indeed in me! not in the healing of a temporary body, not in sight, not even in feeding the hungry, BUT IN ME! it's amazing that sometimes it takes death to make us fully appreciate life. i don't think i've ever appreciated this miracle as much as i do now. i don't know how i could have watched cancer overtake my mom's body and steal her life if i didn't have the hope of her salvation and my own. to know that god saw fit to heal her not in a temporal manner, but in a manner suited for eternity! i have the hope and promise that there is so much more than this life, than the here and the now. i have the promise that the goodbye i said to my mama on october 13th was really just more of a see you later. the old song is true, "no miracle has caught my eye to cause my heart to see, but BY FAITH i'm lead to realize, there's a miracle in me.

thank you jesus, for the lessons you teach me through fortune cookies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the bonds we share...

God's sovreingty is so evident in the way that he can allow such beauty to come from the very worst we experience in this lifetime. when i look back on the last year or so of my life, i cannot help but be completly amazed at the way that God has provided for me. one of the most important ways that he has done this is through relationships. it's evident to me that long before my mom was diagnosed with cancer, god was at work putting people in my pathway to help me through the storm that was to come. i have been priveledged to meet so many wonderful people since mom's illness and death, and all these relationships are the handywork of the creator. some of the most influencial people have been those with whom i share this common bond. one of my now closest friends is someone i've known less than a year! we met in august, after my college minister shared with her the overwhelming number of girls in the college ministry who had parents with cancer. it all started with an email- just one, in which she so beautifully shared her story of losing her dad to cancer and explained the calling she felt to connect with others who had been touched so deeply by cancer. now, someone who was a stranger to me a year ago is one of my best friends, thanks to the love and mercy of a loving God who so diligently provides for His own. we've shared many, many lunch dates since then, lots of late night phone calls, tears, quite a few breakdowns, but also lots of joy and laughter. God also saw fit to provide for me another precious friend who lost her mom. we've been able to share the ups and downs of navigating through our family relationships with dads and a younger sibling, cry over the fears that we'll never be able to happily marry or have children without a mom's help, and countdown the hours until mother's day had come and gone.

i was reminded tonight of God's sovereignty when my freshman year roommate called needing a favor. a friend from high school just lost her mom. "kara, would you mind writing her a letter? i just don't know what to say." i'm a firm believer that to whom much is given, much is required. i know that God placed those two special girls in my life to be an example of how he would use me to minister to others. i've already been blessed with several opportunities, a sorority sister's mom's breast cancer diagnosis, a fellow student who lost her dad, a friend from middle school who lost her mom, and my own aunt's cancer diagnosis. the bond that we share is one we all wish we could avoid, however, it is a strong bond that words cannot describe. our God is a big, big, God, who is painting a masterpiece, our lives, as a huge mural. sometimes, our flesh limits our sight to the wallet sized here and now. sometimes is takes a phone call requesting a letter to bring the big picture, the complete and beautiful picture, back into focus.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


"to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven." when i think of seasons, my mind, like most people's, shifts directly to the natural seasons- spring, summer, fall, and winter. these seasons are predicatble, identifiable, natural...we know what to expect and when to expect it. (for the most part, at least!) after a cold winter, we welcome the signs of spring- the flowers begin to bloom, the weather warms, the "april showers bring may flowers." spring turns to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, winter back to spring, and the cycle repeats, year after year after year. i like these seasons, and i usually welcome the changes and the beauty that each season offers. i'm a person who like order and structure, i like to be able to plan, and so these seasons fit nicely into my way of thinking and organzing the world. the seasons mentioned in ecclesiastes 3 however, can be a little disrupting. seasons of weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, war and peace, love and hate- they don't order themselves as nicely into my way of thinking. i think it's pretty safe to say that this scripture can either bring great comfort or great distress. when things in our lives are going well, the reminder that the smooth sailing is only temporary, and that surely our laughter will turn to weeping can be flat out depressing! the words of jesus in john 16:33 can have the same effect "in this world, you will have tribulation..." jesus did not say may have it, could have, he said you WILL have tribulation. when things are going well, we are forwarned and should be aware that they will not always stay that way. some call this pessimism, i call it being realistic.
on the flip side however, when you are stuck in the middle of tribulation, when you are mourning, when you are weeping, these scriptures can comfort like none other. the promise that it will not stay this way forever provides the hope necessary to face another day.
i've found in my life that these seasons are not predictable, not orderly, and at times, not even natural. but what i have also found to be true is that god is faithful. he is true to his word and true to his promises. the latter part of john 16:33 says "but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world." in the midst of the weeping and the mourning, i am constantly encouraged not only by the father's great, great love for me, but also by his promises that this season will not be forever.