Thursday, August 11, 2011

{ When This Life Is Over }

Today was…hard. From the grueling 2-hour commute to the funeral to the exhausted drive back home a mere two-and-a-half hours later…I was ready for bed at 4PM. The young wife of a long time family friend passed away last week, and we made our pilgrimage to show our love and support to the bereaved husband…and the 11 month old daughter left behind.

Like most, I don’t look forward to funerals, and *shamefully* try to avoid them whenever possible. But attending this one gave me cause for reflection. Even though I spent the bulk of the service bouncing Annie on my hip outside of the church sanctuary, I could still hear the things said. The songs played. The stifled sniffles of friends and loved ones. In one hour, the story of a life cut short was shared. Pictures shown, anecdotes relayed. One last chance to say goodbye, then everyone filed out to have lunch in the gymnasium. It got me thinking…what will be said in my hour? When it’s my body lying in the box at the front of the church?

My husband and I talked about this very question on the way home (when it’s a 2 hour drive, you have time for deep, reflective conversation). I shared that my desire would be that testimony could be given of lives I’ve touched. Whether it was a simple gesture like bringing dinner to a family with a new baby, or babysitting for an exhausted mom while she got some R&R, or going to coffee with someone who just needed a listening ear…will those people be there? Will someone stand up and say “Ashley served the Lord by serving her family, her church, and her community. Without need or desire for praise, she worked as for the Lord and not for men.” Will another come forward, smiling through tears, and pray a prayer of thanks to God, thanking Him for using my life and my words to draw that person into a relationship with Himself? Will glory be given to the Heavenly Father for the life of servant gone home?

In truth, I won’t need accolades upon my demise – but I do want my God to be pleased with the life I lived. So what to do?

"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 (NIV)

A standard of living summed up with a few seemingly impossible sentences. But "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). I am completely dependent on my Savior for the grace I need to live a life that pleases Him - and dependence on the lover of my own soul is a good the only place to be.

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