You Matter

I apologize in advance as I don’t know exactly how this entry will end.  I usually have a plan when I write but this morning I will write simply from my heart.

This week I received news of the suicide of a young girl I once babysat.  She was 20 years old.  I haven’t stopped thinking of it since; it seems impossible.  She was young and beautiful, was studying at university and had oodles of friends.  From the outside, she led a charmed life.

I started jotting down some ideas a few weeks ago about how we matter to each other.  People I mean.  I meant to turn it into a blog entry but I just never got around to it.

You know, life can get hectic.  I know…I have 4 children under the age of 6.  Our jobs, our homes, even our ministries and projects can consume us.  It’s not that we don’t care, most of us do truly care, it’s just that we’re busy and distracted.

Friends, some of the things we put the most energy into are things that will pass away.  The ONLY thing that matters in the end is people; relationships.  Your spouse, your children, your neighbour, your co-worker, that girl sitting on the sidewalk crying…THEY are what matter.

How we love is the most important thing we can do in this life.  I believe it was how God intended for us to reach people.  To care, truly and deeply.  To ask the difficult questions and to listen to the answers.  To expend ourselves for others; to be available to those who are hurting and need encouragement.  To look outside of our circumstances and see who God is putting in our paths to reach out to.

Those of us who have lived through the questioning years, through the unsure years and have come out the other side…we OWE it to the younger generations to be there for them.  It is God’s own design.  Never underestimate the impact you can have on a young life and never get too busy to be a mentor or a friend.  Talk to them, listen to them, take them seriously.  LOVE them.

It was my own children clamouring for the attention of a young friend of ours that really drove this home for me.  Now, I do A LOT with my children…I mean, I spend every day caring for them, listening to them, engaging them in conversation, planning activities, going on outings, I even homeschool!!  They are not lacking for attention by any means.  Yet, I watched as they hopped eagerly from foot to foot, each one trying to talk over the other to keep our friend’s attention.  We matter to one another.  YOU matter!

I wish I could have been there for Jenepher.  In that moment, when she believed that she just couldn’t take it anymore, I wish I could have held her and told her how precious she was and how valued she was by our Father.  God, help me never to miss an opportunity to show your love to someone who needs it.

love

A Lesson from 3 Hot Guys

My kids are really into story telling these days.  I confess I am not great at thinking up off-the-cuff literary adventures so I usually fall back on stories I remember hearing as a kid.  Bible stories are great because a lot of cool stuff happened to people in the Bible.

We are still making our way around the city by tuk tuk and since Chad was teaching this morning at the Bible college, I decided to take the children, yes all four, out with me as I ran errands.

Aside from the regular incredulous remarks of buon, buon (four, four), the tuk tuk also provides a good time to tell stories and no sooner were we on our way than they chimed in chorus “Tell us a story”.

We started with David and when I had run out of stories to tell about him (it takes a really long time to get anywhere in Phnom Penh!) and the kids were still begging for a story, I remembered I had always enjoyed the story of the fiery furnace as a kid.  Ok, mostly I just like saying Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego – but who doesn’t?  There’s something about the way it rolls off the tongue but I digress and there is a point to this post which I will get to now.

As I was telling the story, I got to the part where Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego were going to be thrown into the fiery furnace and I paused.  The bible says these men were young but they did not hesitate when faced with what to do about bowing before a God not their own.  “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

These three young guys refused to follow a king’s command even when they knew it meant imminent death.  Now that is faith I admire!  But more than that, I admire how they didn’t require things to go their way.  “Even if he does not”.  Even if God did not rescue them, did not vindicate them….they would still hold strong to their faith.  We are in an age of answers and proof.  If you can’t show it to me, then it doesn’t exist.  But these three; they didn’t require proof.  They didn’t require God to show Himself all-powerful.  They simply believed regardless of the outcome.  Critics would call that blind faith.  I call it heroism.  To believe in something so completely that you don’t need to have all the answers; that is a true feat.

That is the kind of faith I want to have.  That I strive for.  After all, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things we do not see Image