Monday, February 20, 2012

Inspiration...

I have been thinking about the people who inspire me. Do you have someone who inspires you? Did you notice I didn't write inspired because that would be past tense? I am talking about someone in your life at this present moment who is an inspiration to you. My husband and I have been talking about the people in our lives who inspire us. Our recent conversations have brought me to the realization that it is important to have at least one person in your life who inspires you.

It's fairly easy to find someone from a history book, a person from the Bible, or a dead friend or relative to be inspired by. There is nothing wrong with this but it strikes me as the easy way out. These kind of people are no longer living and therefore there is no risk that they will let you down in the future. To be inspired by someone from the present is a gamble because they are still alive and have years left to make mistakes. Yet isn't the way a person lives their life and faces their set of difficulties and mistakes what often makes them so inspiring? Don't we learn the most from those around us who are currently living life? What kinds of people can we be inspired by?

I am not sure that there is a specific type of person that can be inspiring. There are people who are a regular inspiration to me and there are those who happened to have inspired me at a particular moment. What they have in common is that in one way or another they have been used by God to draw me closer to Him, challenge me to be a better person, or make me think about things differently than I normally would. Here are some examples...

I have a wonderful friend who is far more patient with her kids than I have ever been with mine. No matter how many times they interrupt her, ask her questions, or get into trouble, I have never once heard her raise her voice. God uses her to inspire me to be more patient, gentle, loving, and more easily interrupted with my own girls. Seeing her with her kids makes me want to be a better mom.

I have another friend who was recently given an extra day off from work. When I called her to see what she was doing, she said she had decided that she really needed to spend the day with God. She is the only person I have met who gets an extra day off and chooses to use it to spend time with God instead of going shopping or out to eat with friends. It made me ask myself, when was the last time I devoted a whole day to spending time with God? When was the last time I wanted to?

The elderly women at church inspire me. I sit behind them on Sundays. What I enjoy most about them and what inspires me is that they are not afraid to say it like it is. One of them turned around to talk to me before service this week. She wanted to know what I thought about a recent newspaper article. The article was about a person who is on trial for murder. She said that she was very concerned for this man and wondered if anyone ever goes to visit him in jail. She believes he needs encouragement if innocent, and someone to set him straight with God if guilty. Funny thing is I happened to know someone who is visiting him and offering him a listening ear and God's love and mercy. I was able to tell her that. She was very relieved. What inspired me was that she wasn't trying to figure out whether the man was guilty or innocent. She was genuinely concerned for this man's well being, for his soul. It challenged me to respond to these things the same way, to care about someone who may have done something horrible and to pray for them.

Finally, I was recently inspired by a former Jehovah's Witness. He spent hours pouring over recent articles on the Jehovah's Witnesses and pouring over his Bible. Why? He was going to talk to a man he had never met that was a Jehovah's Witness. He wanted to be prepared and to share how God had rescued him from that same belief. He knew what it meant to be a Jehovah's Witness. He knew the consequences of leaving that belief system and choosing to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He saw someone else in the same spot he was once in. It didn't matter that the man was a stranger. He was ready to help him escape. This made me think of the many Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to my door through the years and how many times I have not answered. Why not? I have nothing to lose by answering and they have everything to gain if they come to Christ.

Our lives are full of people who can inspire us. We just need to take the time to do life with them in order to be inspired. Inspiration comes through sharing life experiences with one another and learning from them. I happened to be very blessed. God has given me wonderfully transparent friends. Each one of them continue to inspire me to love and to listen well. Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are you surrounding yourself with people who can be an inspiration to you and challenge you in your relationship with God? Who are YOU an inspiration to? Does your life and your relationship with God inspire others? Will you join me in being inspired by those we are doing life with? Will you join me in being an inspiration to others in the way we live ours?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Love Letter to the King...

My King,

I love you. It never seems like enough. Those three words sometimes seem so limited compared to what I feel inside. There has never been anyone in my life who knows me as well as you do and loves me anyway. You see it all. Nothing is hidden from you. Even in my ugliest most shame filled moments you still love me and unashamedly call me your own. No matter how many times I have wronged you, questioned your wisdom, or dared to be angry with you, you never send me packing! You always seize these moments as an opportunity to teach me and make me more like you. All of my bad you work for good. All things ugly you make beautiful. In my most fear filled moments you calm me with the treasure of your Word. Even when my doubts have hurt you, you prove yourself faithful. Whenever I have been burdened you carry my load. During times in my life when I experienced great sadness you let me cry. You didn't try to fix things like others have. You simply let me be broken until I was ready for your embrace and then you made me whole. You have never made fun of me. In fact sometimes I think my silliness may even make you smile. Every need I have you have provided for. Even when it isn't a physical need you have provided. So many times when I have needed a lift you sent one of your servants to encourage me at just the right moment. You are so incredibly thoughtful.
All of these things are just glimpses of how wonderful you are. They are only a few of the reasons why I love you. There are so many more but words fail me. Too often when I spend time with you I neglect to say these things. I get caught up in the every day and lose sight of loving you back with my worship. I just couldn't let Valentines' Day go by this year without writing you this love letter. You truly are the lover of my soul.

Erica

( Valentines' Day is almost here. Have you written your letter to the King yet?)