A face book post from a childhood friend interrupts my morning—a beautiful tribute to her elderly faith-filled mom who passed into Glory two days’ before. “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves”, writes Mason Cooley. I stop in a moment of compassion and allow the memories to rise, and a familiar image of a younger version, childhood-friend mom emerges from the outer edges of childhood past. She smiles, and I remember.
How often do the faith-full parents of our childhood friends dot the horizons of our childhood memories? They appear standing at a distance—silent guardians, watching and waiting; guideposts pointing the way; some already joined with the heavenly cloud, yet still encouraging us to run with patience and endurance the race of a faith-full life.
My thoughts take a leap to our own children’s childhood friends—those boys and girls who we got to love and serve in the Spring-season of their young lives. Some were broken; all were hurting in one way or another (aren’t we all?). And for a brief period of time, God graced us to share in their lives as faith-full guardians—watching and waiting amidst agonizing moments and gut-wrenching prayer.
I begin to rise above myself … Could I possibly be a dot on the memory-horizon of our adult children’s childhood friends? Is it possible that even now, more than a decade later, I linger as a childhood memory—a guidepost helping to lead, to direct, to encourage? If true, then all of the pain, the heartache, the sleepless nights and gut-wrenching prayer can finally make sense.
In the rising, new perspective comes. Yes, we are road signs; we are guideposts. We are the prophet Isaiah whispering a word from behind, memories from years past, “This is the way; walk in it”. We are memory markers that dot the horizons of a multitude of childhood memories —even as the memory of my childhood friend’s mom marks me.
This morning, compassion brings me to a stop and I rise above myself and say, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Philippians 1:3).
Jacob was terrified to meet his brother, Esau. He wrestled all night with “a man”. At daybreak Jacob calls the place Peniel–meaning God’s face”, because he saw God face-to-face and lived.
The next morning Jacob limps out to meet the brother he feared. He looks into Esau’s face and says, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God”.
Sometimes God hides Himself in our enemies. Sometimes He hides Himself in those who are just plain annoying. Keep wrestling through until the blessing comes–when you can see God’s face in the face of your brother.
“… Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8
Husband on a mission—tightening the hinges on every door throughout our house. I have no idea why. Yet, after 30 plus years of marriage, I do know my husband. He does nothing without good reason, and whether I understand or even agree, I listen with my spirit because God uses him, and I know it.
So I ask, “What’s going on?”
The question catches him off guard. He stops. He thinks for a moment. Flash of Holy Spirit inspiration…, “Batten down the hatches”.
Yikes, not sure I like the sound of that. “Batten down the hatches”—a nautical term that generally means “to prepare for stormy weather”.
Volcanic adrenaline-filled thoughts erupt in my mind. Stormy weather coming. Hang on tight; here we go.
But then he proceeds to tell me something he learned while sailing the New England coast as a boy. The command to “batten down the hatches” is not just given at the approach of stormy weather but also when the captain decides to pick up speed and sail faster. And, as a young boy, sailing fast is pure joy!
So, whether we are preparing for stormy weather, or preparing for a spiritual season of acceleration when God moves things to us and through us at an increasing rate of speed, or maybe even both, I’m not sure. But of this I am sure. God is good—period. Therefore, something good is about to happen. He is the good captain of our ship. He is in control of our lives. And we give thanks for it.
“Our choicest plans have fallen through, our airiest castles tumbled over, because of lines we neatly drew and later neatly stumbled over.” Piet Hein, poet and scientist
Our daughter has followed the path of her God-formed interior design into a career in interior design. “Form follows function”, Amanda says, “always.”…“The way a space looks is not as important as how the space functions.” Her words throw light; I am intrigued, HGTV-binger me.
Form follows function… yet, how often do I do just the opposite—elevating outward form at the cost of diminishing function?
Form-chasing. Neatly drawn lines that look good but later cause me to stumble for lack of the more important heart-function?
Could it be that my function in life is what is most important—not the form it takes? Form follows function… if true, wouldn’t the God-created interior design of heart-function be what matters most—to Him?
In a moment of clarity, mind-eye opens … forms are designed to change; we are movable designs, fluid, ever-changing with the ever-changing seasons of life. Function remains constant, foremost; the unique heart-function design within each of us—a design first rendered in the heart of the Master Designer Himself.
We begin living the words, form follows function… elevating our inward heart-function above outward form; the becoming, more important than the doing. And life’s airiest castles tumble; the lines we neatly drew now gone. And we find ourselves living, moving and breathing the words, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.
© Erol Berberovic | Dreamstime Stock Photos