I don’t know what it is that is making me this way – a dear friend passed away unexpectedly this week, and I was out of town for a week and the changes in Grace in just that time were astonishing – but all of it added together just has me very thoughtful, thankful, and tearful. I want to slow things down and remember this time with my sweet girl and my sweet husband.
And I want to prepare for my next sweet girl – Rebekah is growing at an astonishing rate as well – kicking me constantly. I’ve only been pregnant twice but both times it has been suddenly obvious almost overnight that they are BIG and getting ready to come join us in our crazy world. It is like one day they are there and you feel them occasionally – and the next you feel them all day everyday and it is sometimes painfully obvious that they are running out of room in their little safe home.
My friend Alton was too young to die. I thank God for the comfort that comes from knowing he had a relationship with Christ and from knowing definitively that he is home with Jesus – feeling no pain and loving the wonderful presence of Christ. But I mourn for his wife and daughter. It is so shocking. He was so young. His little girl is only 13. I keep thinking about times I spent with Alton, and I’m sure at the funeral tomorrow I’ll see pictures of him as a little boy and I know my heart will break all over again. We are just not meant for this world. I pray that the truth of the Gospel of Christ will reach all of his family and friends – I have just been begging the Lord to show up in power at his service and give salvation and comfort and peace and assurance to the people who have suffered such an unexpected loss. I pray for my Pastor that he would have the words to say straight from the mouth of God. I pray for David and Brian and Liz as they sing that the words of the songs and the truth of the message would penetrate through the fog of shock and change lives.
Alton cherished life with his daughter – I know he did. He talked about her, and his wife, constantly. He picked Chelzi up from school almost every day. He was good at being present with people.
I have been so convicted this week. I have ALWAYS known that being present with people is my weakness. I am a doer – task oriented more than people oriented. In every review with every ministry I’ve ever worked with it comes up – in many of my prayers it is the theme. It is my nature to think that hanging out talking with someone is sometimes wasted time when things need to be done. It is one of my biggest faults – if not my biggest. I hate it about myself – and want it to change. Have wanted it to change for years and am frustrated with myself that I am still struggling and praying through it years after I became aware of it. I have remembered with shame this week times where I would be in the middle of things and even my sweet friend Alton would call and I would answer his question, do a small amount of “small talk,” and then get off the phone. How much I have regretted that this week. How much I wish that I had taken every chance to get to know better the heart of this man who I now have lost.
Jesus please continue to shape and mold me and change that about me. As I sit here writing this on the sofa with my sweet little girl laughing at Clifford the Big Red Dog beside me tucked in at my side – I don’t want to be that kind of mom – that kind of wife. I want to be the kind that makes her feel that she is the single most important thing in my life. Alton had that gift. My friend who is home with the Lord, John Weber, had that gift. I desperately want it.
So I am tearful and contemplative and begging the Lord to change me today. And tomorrow I say goodbye on this earth to my sweet friend and am thankful that in heaven I will no longer be flawed – and I can spend more time with my friend in perfect relationship.