When my aunt died unexpectedly, family and friends spoke at her funeral service of the little ways in which her kindness had impacted them, and one of the stories that most stirred me was someone’s recollection of my aunt’s faithfulness in sending cards.
She didn’t wait for a particular occasion to make someone feel special. People in her community and amongst her loved ones all recognized the hand-painted watercolor cards, with the usual chatty note inside.
“I was thinking of you the other day, and thought I would send you a note. How are you? What is going on in your life?”
My aunt’s cards are now treasures in my family, memorials to the woman who spread such light and encouragement to those around her.
Often as Christians, we seek the Lord not for the joy of simply knowing our Creator and author of our salvation, but for some benefit that we feel He can provide. We can turn the beautiful gifts He lavishes so generously into simply another layer between us and a real relationship with Him.
Beneath the spiritual-sounding words, hidden motivations lurk. We want to be righteous, not so much because of the rightness of it, but because we will feel better about ourselves, we will feel more confident about our spiritual maturity, or because a righteous lifestyle will impress other Christians. We want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we will not feel so burdened by our sin, or so we will have the power to be more effective.
This first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Incorruptible Beauty, a quarterly newsletter for Christian women. It was originally entitled "The Great Dog Disappointment."
My Dream Dog
When I was in my early to mid-teens, I wanted a dog. I knew exactly what kind I wanted. I flipped through a dog breed book until I found it: an alert, bright-eyed dog with almost cat-like grace and a mane of soft black fur. It was called the Groenendael, more commonly known as the Belgian Sheepdog.
“When we ask God for something, we know that He can do it. Nothing is beyond His control or ability. Yet even if we know that He will do it, we want it done right now. We hate waiting. Our struggle is not so much lack of faith, but lack of patience.”
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.