Thursday, December 8, 2016

God has a plan...

God has a plan....that statement should provide more comfort than it actually does at times. It should be 'enough' on days when you just feel like you are chasing the wind. We want to know how everything will play out but our feeble mind is no match for the plans that God has for our life.  It is easy to get discouraged with the struggles that I face. a memory was made that will be seared into my brain.  It gave me hope. It encouraged me. It showed me that there are still good people out there.

On this day, 32 years ago my mom and dad got married.  They took each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health and let me tell you - they have lived that out....they have walked the walk...despite how things have changed since my dads stroke, their love for each other remains.  They have set a good example for those around.  Love is messy and scary and overwhelming and there is some happiness and joy in the mix as well. 

I have been reading a book titled, "How's Your Soul?" and my favorite chapter is about God and love.  Stick with me, this might be a bit to read but is worth it because I do see it in my parents. "Paul says that all the time and in every situation, love does these four things: bears, believes, hopes, and endures....The first term is bear. This letter was originally written in Greek, and the term translated bear is related to the Greek word for roof.....Figuratively, it has the idea of covering or keeping something confidential; it can also mean to put up with something. Paul was telling the Corinthian believers that love is a roof and a cover. It protects, shields, and conceals the weaknesses of others.....The second word is believe. Love believes all things. In other words, love looks for the best. It doesn't mean you don't see the worst; it just means that even in the middle of the worst time of someones life, you remember the best, celebrate the best, remind that person of the best, and believe the best......What does it mean that love always hopes? It means that love holds on to eventual development. Love recognizes that where we are is not where we will always be. We are on a journey. We are works in progress....Finally, love endures. To endure means you don't retaliate or reject. Love will be tested. Life isn't perfect and neither are we. No matter how strong the bonds or how passionate the commitments, the people we love will let us down at times. If we are motivated with God's love, there is no limit to what we can endure." (Judah Smith) 

I think that is a pretty thorough way of describing the love that my parents have for each other.  Today I decided to take my dad out to find something special for my mom.  Last year they spent their anniversary at Mayo Hospital. That had its own goodness, but nothing beats being home.  I went out this morning to a few different places in search of charms for my moms charm bracelet.  I found quite a selection at Kohl's and they were 65% off!  I told the lady behind the counter that I was kind of looking to see what they had and then I planned to bring my dad back up to the store later in the afternoon to pick out a charm for my mom since they are celebrating their anniversary today.  I explained that he had a major stroke a year ago and has a language disorder and that going out is difficult but that I wanted him to be able to pick something special out for my mom.  She said no problem.  I then went to pick my dad up.  He was having a difficult day.  We managed to get him up to eat some lunch but he didn't want to leave the house, he kept telling me, 'i have no money'...I asked, 'if you look in your wallet and have money will you go?'.....he just kept repeating that he had no money.  I got up and went to pick his wallet up, but before doing so I slid $25 into it.  You see, I help my neighbor out with some house work and just yesterday she gave me a little extra and told me Merry Christmas.  When I handed dad the wallet, he opened it and his eyes got big.  My brother and I convinced him to go pick a charm out.  We were off to Kohl's.  When we got there I recognized the same lady from earlier.  She said, 'hi sir, how can I help you' dad said, 'a charm?' she filled in the gap and directed him to the ones we had looked at this morning.  She took the charms out, let him look at them, she read them to him, took them off the packaging, she was so kind and patient with my dad.  During a time of year when people are having to work more hours and deal with more customers, I was amazed by how well she treated my dad.  He picked out a charm.  The original price was $60, they were marked down to $21.50...I thought to myself, 'perfect, $25 will cover it!'....then when she was ringing us up she asked if we had any coupons, and then she answered for me - well of course you do!  When it was all said and done, tax included, the total was $13.48.  I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said thank you for helping us make this day special for my mom.  I think it is amazing that the price of the charm ended up being half the amount of cash that we had to spend. I guess that is God at work showing us that he will make a way.  That employee gave me hope for this world, that there are still kind people.  She didn't have to treat us the way she did, she certainly didn't have to help us find a deal, I rarely tell people anything personal about me, certainly not some random person behind the jewelry counter.....I set out to help my dad do something nice and I feel like I received a blessing in the process.  "The blessings of God are never ends in themselves. The blessings of God are always a means to an end. And the end is blessing others. We are blessed to bless." (Mark Batterson) She sold us so much more than a charm for a bracelet, she passed along hope that I so desperately needed.  

The charm for my mom - so appropriate - had a heart on one side and the following inscription, "Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think & twice as beautiful as you'd ever imagined."  He had four to choose from and this is the one he picked!


Sherry L. Selph said...

Such a wonderful story. I'm so blessed to be your neighbor!

Ed said...

Tearsof joy for him and for how you are! Just tears of joy. Grandpa