Monday, August 31, 2015

Beautiful Hope, in a Broken World

Open my eyes LORD to see you clearly. 

This has been my prayer chant for quite some time now. Every morning these words lay pressed against my heart and make their way off my tongue. They are a constant reminder that I am in need, that this world is broken and that I still have hope.

I've witnessed a lot of pain in this life, heart pains, emotional pains, spiritual pains and physical pains. Each one hard  with its own set of hurts. Somedays I think I've seen a lot. Enough. Then I spend an evening filled with those who have gone before me, and it puts everything back into prospective. 

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I set out to catch up with our beautiful grandmothers, one in her 80's and the other in her 90's. 

Yes, we are richly blessed. 

As we sat there some in chairs, others in walkers, we were all fully there. Those hours I spent were some of the most truly beautiful hours I've had since then. To engage in conversation with women who have lived a full life. Who have seen and experienced so much more than me, is a wildly beautiful thing. They will never know how much their lives have impacted me. As a child would I have never expected to enjoy each of them this long or this immensely.  

When we walked into my first grandmother's apartment, she greeted us with a smile as she turned off her cassette tape player (yes it is as old as you would think, but evidently still works like a champ) and mentioned that she was just catching up on the latest sermon from her home church. Her days are full. Not the kind of full I am used to, but the kind that is life-giving and slow. She told us stories about many of the friends she has made, and how she convinced a new friend to "quiz" her as she recites her scripture memory. Oh and did I mention that this new friend wants nothing to do with Jesus. God works in mysterious ways, even in the library lounge of an assisted living home. After a beautiful visit, we said our good-byes as she watched us walk down the hallway, making sure we knew the way.

 My sister and I giggled about her quirks and awed at her beauty as we made our way for visit number two. 

As we arrived to the nursing home and rounded the corner to our grandma's room, we gave a little knock on the door and opened slowly. There she was gathering her things for a her shower before bed. She sat down and with a big smile waved us in to sit down. "I can shower any day" she said, "Come on in, that can wait, you girls are important!" That's all she had to say, and I knew it was going to be another lovely visit. We caught up on many things, and she knows Chase and I love Michigan football, so she was sure to ask how the team is looking for this year and if we plan to make it to many games. I love that lady! She smiled the whole evening, something I haven't seen her do in recent months, as her age has become more visible, and health weaker. My sister made note of it and told her how much we liked her smile. She just lit up again and confessed that she can't stop time or make herself younger, so she might as while smile while she is here. Beautiful. 

What you may not know about these two beauties, is that they have experienced more pain, in every arena, than I care to ever behold. Between the two, they have buried husbands, gone with little, confronted unfaithfulness, lost siblings, survived cancer, suffered heart failure, watched children go through lots of hard, and on and on. Yet here they are, praising the name of Jesus, through the hurts of the past and smiling through the hard of today. 

Even as I reflect on our time, I am emotional and undone as I bask in their living testimonies. Whatever you and I are facing today, whatever pain or hurt that has caused your heart to say " Isn't this enough yet Lord?" Let's remember that he doesn't promise to save us from the fire, but he does promise to walk through every step with us. We are living for so much  more than this world has to offer and that is our hope. That is why we can smile as our bodies fail us and sing to him when the waves tempt to overtake us. He hears you, He knows you, and He is with you

And so I say again, "Open my eyes LORD to see you clearly".

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