Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grace for the Moment

I am back in Seattle. It's catch up time. The result of travel...overseas for three months, off to speak at a Women's Retreat in Washington and then a 9hr drive to be with family in Boise Idaho for two weeks. I was now preparing for summer ministry. Suddenly I saw the Max Lucado flip calendar in my living room and wondered what the message was for the 26th of May - the day I lost my cousin. It was now June 1st but the calendar was still set to May 2nd, the day I flew back from Australia to the U.S.
This is what May 26th said:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed." Psalm 34:18
"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us." Romans 15:4

These are not just Sunday school stories. Not romantic fables...
They are historical moments in which a real God met real pain so we could answer the question, "Where is God when I hurt?"... The God who spoke still speaks... The God who came still comes. He comes into our world. He comes into your world. He comes to do what you can't. Max Lucado

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Jeanette Remembered

The weekend after Mother's Day, my cousin Jeanette passed away. She was like a big sister to me. Our families vacationed each summer together growing up. She was a vibrant bubble of joy and her laugh still echos in our hearts. I remember one winter when the youth group went tubing in the mountains (climbing up a long hill and sliding down). We didn't have enough truck inner tubes for everyone to use so we took turns. I was all bundled up in a snowmobile jumpsuit. It was the slickness of the jumpsuit that gave me the idea that maybe the suit was slick enough to slide downhill without a tube. I told Jeanette "Why don't I lay down and you can ride me down the hill?" She asked if I was sure she wouldn't be too heavy and I assured her it would be fine. I layed on my back and she sat on my stomach. We pushed off and started to slide quickly downhill. It was working great! However I forgot one thing - moguls, or as non-skiers know them, bumps. The first one we hit and flew up in the air and slammed down still picking up speed. We were screaming laughing as we hurled down the mountain bump after bump. That was Jeanette - game for anything and laughing all the way.

When Jeanette was a teen, she asked a visiting pastor from Australia if he knew another teen she could write to as a penpal. That simple request led to a bridge between two nations, one which ultimately resulted in the present founding of 5 camps for kids in foster care (Southern Cross Kids Camps) in Australia with more to come. It seems quite a fitting legacy. Her life was a simple one of loving and caring for those in need around her. I don't think she realized the ever increasing ripple effect of her small acts of kindness done in obscurity. I'm glad she does now.