Wednesday, November 9, 2016

These Three Remain

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love..." I Corinthians 13:13a.

I Corinthians 13 is a Scripture passage that many of us may know from attending weddings.  This chapter is often referred to as the "love chapter" in the Bible.  It truly is a beautiful piece to read, full of truth, encouragement, conviction, and challenge.  I have read this part of the Bible over and over and over.  I have read it through the romantic do I shape up as a wife when it comes to all of these attributes?  I have read it through the eyes of am I using the passage to determine how I am being love to my children, parents and siblings?  This evening, I am processing this passage by thinking of my past and future.

I have been blessed to have had many great role models in my life.  My Grandmama taught me how to clean, cook and garden.  My Mama taught me how to be organized, how to persevere, how to exhibit grace.  My Daddy showed me the power of being hospitable and compassionate.  My Dad has shown me how to be joyful in all circumstances.  I have been under the leadership of incredible pastors and teachers who have poured God's Word into my heart and mind.  I was brought up with three incredible siblings, each blessed with skill sets that motivate and astound me.

There are a few "extra" people who have made deep impacts on my life.  They were not my physical flesh and blood, but they were those who were in my life from day one.  They are still very much a part of my life.  While one has passed away, the other three are still here; and I know no matter what, I could call them with any burden and they would pray for me and with me.  They are my spiritual role models.  When I read the above passage today, "these three remain: faith, hope and love", the names of these powerhouse individuals were brought quickly to my mind.

Aunt Martha, Mama, Daddy, Papa, Me
My "Aunt" Martha is a faith hero.  She was my godmother growing up.  She was around from the day I was born.  She still checks in on me in the midst of the adventures of her life.  She is the largest person of faith whom I know.  She has the sweetest disposition, a sharp wit, and a fantastic way with words.  I have bountiful memories of time with my sweet Aunt Martha.  I remember when I was in seventh grade and had written a speech for English class that my teacher had submitted into a contest.  There was an opportunity to attend an event to give the speech and the chance to win an award.  My Mama went to school at night, my Daddy worked nights, and my Grandmama was taking care of my siblings (who would be less than thrilled to attend a night of middle school speech-giving).  My Aunt Martha was the one who took me.  She picked me up, took me to dinner, and she and I headed to the event.  I remember when I stood up to share my speech feeling confident because Aunt Martha was there.  I know she was praying for me as I spoke.  That night I won second place.  I remember feeling the combination of pride and disappointment.  More than that, I remember Aunt Martha hugging me and telling me that God was going to use me and my words.  As I have grown up and gone through many trials, Aunt Martha is the one I know I can email with all of the details.  I know she will pray over me and the situation.  I know she will point out God's truth through it all.  I know she will remind me that God is sovreign.  She has faced her own trials through life, and through them all, she gives God the glory.  Her faith never seems to waiver.

Tyler, Uncle Chip, Me, Aunt Denise, Timothy
There is a couple in my life who radiate with hope.  My "Uncle" Chip and "Aunt" Denise always seem to remember that no matter the circumstance, God is going to show up and show out.  These two rock stars were also around at the start of my life.  I can remember countless parties, dinners and visits with them.  I remember time spent in their home in Charlotte (which was basically where we went on our family vacations.  They were always so hospitable).  I can remember my Uncle Chip teaching me to drive.  I can remember my Aunt Denise making sure I had the best baby showers.  I remember when I faced medical trials, Uncle Chip would joke with me, and Aunt Denise would feel certain God would bring answers.  When I went through my divorce, they both reached out to me and my ex-husband.  They prayed fervently for reconciliation.  They had hope that our family could be saved.  When they learned the circumstances that would prevent reconciliation, they began to hope and pray for whatever and whomever God had next for me.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of a Firehouse Subs a few years ago and having my Uncle Chip pray over the phone for me, knowing my Aunt Denise was sitting beside him praying quietly.  Anytime they are in town, we do our best to get together.  When I am with them, my hope is recharged.  When I get a text or email checking on my family and me, I am encouraged.  They never act defeated.  They never allowed for me to have an attitude of giving up.  They shared their hope with me; and they continue to lift me up!

My siblings and Aunt Rose
When I think of love, I know I was blessed to have had many years with the personification of love in my dear "Aunt Rose".  Aunt Rose passed away a few years ago.  I miss her greatly.  I still have her phone number embedded in my brain, and there are times when I just want to call her and hear her charming southern drawl.  Aunt Rose oozed love.  She hugged me as soon as I walked through the door.  If I sat beside her, she would hold my hand or pat my arm as we talked.  When we were younger, my brothers, sister and myself looked forward for the days when we knew we were making the drive to Weaverville.  We always had  fun running around the yard, walking to the creek, picking tomatoes in the garden, or climbing the perfect tree in the front yard.  The highlight of any visit was when Aunt Rose would call us into the kitchen to give us whatever delectable delight she had baked.  Everything in her kitchen was made from scratch.  Her red velvet cake would melt the instant it touched the tongue.  Her Christmas fudge was so good that one piece was never enough.  While we would be in the kitchen, Aunt Rose would ask us to share what Bible verse we were learning, to sing a hymn, or to share a Bible story.  She always had a smile on her face...always.  She knew the favorite dessert of everyone in our family, and she would make that dessert for our birthdays.  When my Daddy passed away, I lived in Georgia, and I struggled deeply with anger.  I would call Aunt Rose and she would speak Scripture to me.  Her tone was like music.  No matter what she said, her words were sweet like honey.  I remember her telling me that holding onto anger would damage my heart and eventually my testimony.  Those words stung, because they were true; but they also began a wonderful healing process.  Aunt Rose went through an intense amount of physical pain, especially towards the end of her life.  Even then she would say that she was hurting, but she would also have a way loving me and making me feel better.  When I lived far away, I always wanted to be able to hop into the car and go see her.  Her words were so wise and so loving.  Whenever I think of a spiritual role model, she fits the bill.  She exemplified the love of Christ in the way she loved others.

Anytime I reflect on my past, I make sure to spend some time thinking ahead to my future.  It is my goal to be a person who others rely on spiritually.  I want to purpose my life to be as much like Jesus as I can.  Anyone who knows me knows how far off that mark I am.  I want to train up my children to be those who lead.  I want to be a wife who brings only good to my husband.  I want them to feel that fire inside that the Holy Spirit gives to help lead others to His saving grace.  I want to be the person who gets a prayer request email or phone call and immediately drops to my knees to lift up that need.  I want to be the person who faces Jesus at the end of it all where He says "well done".  It's not enough to want to be like Jesus or to be a spiritual role model.  Like any other goal setting, there needs to be an action plan.  With daily time in God's Word and sharing with Him through prayer, I am taking steps to improve my walk.  I have asked God to stop me the minute when someone asks me to pray--and that whatever else is going on in that moment goes to the back burner so my mind and heart switch to prayer mode.  I am working on developing a more constant state of prayer by talking with the Lord throughout the day.  I am trying to commit more of His Word to my memory.  I am keeping a prayer journal.  I am building a prayer wall.

How about you?  What impact do you want to have on others?  What kind of role model do you want to be?  We all have people looking to us everyday.  Like it or not, we are modeling something for everyone.  What do you want that to be?  What action steps can you make and take to reach your spiritual goals?  Who are some people in your life who inspire you and encourage you to get your spiritual walk in shape?  Do they know what they mean to you?  If not, let them know!  If they do, tell them again.  I am a very blessed girl.  God has been so good to me.  He has made sure that I have been surrounded by strong mentors of faith through every season of my life.  I treasure each relationship and every memory.  What memory will I leave in the minds of the people I love?  What memory will you leave?  Where do you measure up when reading I Corinthians 13?  That passage is great guideline for a spiritual check-up...join me in working on becoming a person who exemplifies faith, hope and love!

1 comment:

  1. Simply incredible! Amazed how your words speak to our hearts! Blessed beyond measure to be your mom! Love you!