Today I went to the memorial service of a remarkable woman. I've written about her before... Her name was Linda. She came to my church about a year and a half ago. She was dealing with a recurrence of cancer - and wanted to pray. She began coming to my "Open Sanctuary" nights (the sanctuary was open to anyone who needed a place to seek God; the lights were dimmed, there were candles to light, and peace to find) - and would often allow me the privilege to pray with her before she left. We cried when the cancer worsened. We laughed and hugged when there were breakthroughs... But in the end, there was nothing more the doctors could do. She died peacefully last week.
But she fought. And she fought hard! There was so much more she wanted to do with her life - to travel more, dance more, hug her kids more. Her strength, faith, determination, and courage astounded me. She was a remarkable woman.
I've been asked several times over the last year if I think God has a special plan for each of us... As I'm sure Linda was asking the same question in these last months... And how do we know if we've done it? How do we know if there's something still to do? What are we supposed to do next?
I never have a good answer. Mostly because I don't really look at life that way, I guess. I know that my faith doesn't eliminate the days of sadness and darkness - but I know that God is with me in them. I know that no one is going to point me in the direction of "this is what you should be doing" - and so I try to experience all I can. I have dreams of what I'd like to do with my future - but have no idea if I'll be able to accomplish those things... All I can really do is take life one day at a time, trust in God, and choose to find joy wherever I can.
Last month, at Don Miller's "Storyline Conference" in Portland - we were talking about what we want our life stories to be. Looking at our settings - where we are and who we are with. Examining the plot twists in our lives so far - and looking at what we've learned from them and how they may be "foreshadowing" what's to come... We were looking at the ways in which we choose and make our own story (life)... and as I look back through my notes the same phrase has been echoing in my head ever since the conference - a phrase that may now answer what I think when I'm asked about my life purpose:
"You are a child of God. Created so that you may enjoy Him, and He may enjoy you."
I love it. There isn't a "plan" written in a book for me to follow. God doesn't stare us down with expectations and pressure... God is asking us, "What do YOU want to do? Let me do it WITH you!"
I think if I can live my life in a way that allows God in - into the process, into the scary days, into the joys and celebrations - then I'll be living my purpose...
And from the stories I heard about Linda's life this afternoon... I'm pretty sure she did, too.
Thank you, Linda, for the time we spent together, for the lessons you taught me, for the beautiful person you were. We were blessed to know you.
Things I am thankful for today:
1. The life of Linda.
2. A beautiful memorial of her - including an Open Sanctuary moment.
3. Stories of spontaneity and joy.
4. Lunch with a friend.
5. Presenting Jacob with his 3rd grade Bible - so cute!
6. Pumpkin bars.
7. A LONG nap.
8. A dog who can't seem to get enough cuddles this weekend.
9. The hubby getting home safe and sound.
10. My new magazines arrived - meaning, new recipes to try!
3 hours ago