I received some old photos of my mom today from my uncle Mark. Thank you Uncle Mark for this gift to have as a memory of my mom. I cannot even begin to tell you the wave of emotions that came over me as I looked into this young version of my mom some 41 years ago. I was 9 months old in these photos and mom was pretty young herself. My first reaction was wow, I miss her so much. I miss her laugh, her smile, her unique sense of humor that had us rolling in laughter so often.
She is dearly missed and there are days I still cry, missing her so much since her death on Mother’s Day weekend of May, 2009. Wow, where have the years gone? Looking into the eyes of such a young woman, it hit me how short our time on earth is here. It really is a just a temporary home. We are here, we live a time and then we leave. I would bet that if I could talk to my mom today, she would say it feels like that picture was taken just yesterday and yet so long ago. Where does the time go?
This got me to thinking about when I am on my death bed, what will I reflect on? What will I look back on with regret and what will I look back on and feel proud for? What kind of legacy will I have left for my kids, family, and those God has entrusted me with to lead? These are all very heavy questions for sure, but good things to ponder on.
When I think about the woman in this photo, Laurie, my mom, God rest her soul, I am reminded that as young as she and my dad were in that photo, God had me in mind long before that. In fact, way before my mom and dad conceived me; I was conceived in the mind of my Father in Heaven. It truly is for His purpose that I am even breathing right now in this very moment. God wanted to create me. God wanted to create you. Not because of chance, or coincidence, but because He wanted you and I on this earth. Wow! Chew on that for while.Overwhelming to think about. We are not accidents! Ps. 139:16 "O Lord, You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe..." So, the question I am asking myself today is, "what will I do with that?" 1 John 2:17 "This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever." You see, my mom didn't know when she would leave this earth. Certainly she didn't think it would be at the young age of 53. I wonder what her dreams were for life? I wonder if she accomplished those things she set her heart toward?
What are my dreams? What is my purpose in life? Healthy questions to ask for sure. The thing of it is, I don't know when I will leave this earth either, but I hope that while my body is breaking away and falling apart, that I am following God's plan for me and those He puts in my path. Pastor Rick Warren wrote, "There are many ways to bring glory to God but they can be summarized in God's five purposes for our life.
1. We bring God glory by worshiping Him.
2. We bring God glory by loving other believers.
3. We bring God glory by becoming like Christ.
4. We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts.
5. We bring God glory by telling others about Him."
My goal for life should not be a pursuit of happiness for me and my family as we are taught in the world. There is so much to life than big paychecks, careers, or even my wildest ambitions. These are all great things to have in our life and there is nothing wrong with striving for excellence in all things so long as I realize that these things are only temporary. So long as I understand that in all I do, I must do for His glory and not my own. This home is temporary and I have been entrusted with many things to focus on while I am here. God has entrusted me with two great kids, a beautiful God fearing wife, Carol, 90 something Celebrate Recovery leaders to lead as a shepherd in the ministry of Celebrate Recovery and hundreds of hurting people walking thru our community.
So, here is the question to ponder as leaders in our homes, communities and workplaces. When your kids are looking thru your old photos of you as a young person and recalling memories from the past, what will be your story? What legacy will you leave behind? Who are the people that will walk up to share a story about how you served them?
Here is the beautiful thing in all of this. It doesn’t matter what you have done to this point. He promises in Joel 2:25 that He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten." Even though my mom made some mistakes in her life as a mom, that I am sure she regrets, I made plenty both as her son and as a dad to my own kids. God's scriptures remind us that "No matter how deep the stain of our sins...He will make them as clean as freshly fallen snow..." Is. 1:18. It is never too late to start!
I am blessed that on my mom's death bed, as I held her hand and she took her last breath, leaving this crazy world, we both had incredible peace in our hearts and minds for past indiscretions we both made toward one another. We had to make a choice to deal with the past though. By dealing with our past, our future was so much sweeter.If there is someone in your life you have done wrong to, make it right today and start anew today! Some of the sweetest conversations me and my mom had in her final years of life were of restoration, forgiveness and a rebuilding of a broken relationship. God is that big!
I know my mom left this earth a woman of God that loved her family. He makes beautiful things and I am grateful that while I miss her dearly, I will one day be reunited with her in heaven. That day will be a sweet reunion as we will have a lot to catch up on. I hope that I will be able to tell her of my faithfulness to do God’s work. I hope that I can share stories of how my own kids worshiped Christ, loved and served others, and lived a Christ-like life because they saw it in me first. More importantly, I hope I can look my Father in the eyes and hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Rodney, you have been a good steward of what was given to you.”
What will your legacy be my friend? This is your story. How will you live it starting today. Do you have something that needs to be dealt with you in your life and yet you have tried to do it on your own? Maybe it is time to begin your journey toward healing thru CR.
Who will you share your past mistakes with? Who will you invest time into to point to Christ today?
It will be well worth your time and effort for there are rewards in heaven for eternity.
Miss you dearly mom!
If you would like more information about Celebrate Recovery to help change the legacy in your life, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org