Have you ever noticed that we deliver our greatest accolades when honoring the dearly departed? I’ve often struggled with this common ritual. Why do we tend to reserve our highest praise–which is the root meaning for the word eulogy–for the day when our loved one is no longer treading this earth, no longer able to hear and receive our words of acceptance and affirmation of them? Why do we put off speaking life and honor and gratitude into the lives of those who mean the most to us? We all know that we aren’t promised tomorrow, and yet most of us don’t conduct ourselves in a manner reflective of this understanding when it comes to our relationships.
I am being confronted and challenged with this reality in my life right now.
My maternal grandmother is approaching 91 and, in the words of my late grandfather, she is in “the boarding area” of this life. Knowing that she’s lived a long and full life somehow makes her impending departure into eternity a little more bearable, but have I said everything I
want need to say to her? Have I thanked her for every way in which she was the instrument of God’s love and peace and provision in my life? I believe so.
It’s when someone is taken from us suddenly that we grapple with the brevity of time that this life offers. I have been faced with this reality too. I recently had to attend the funeral of a 40-year old man who was in the prime of his life. His death was tragic and sudden and left me grieving in a deeper way than I was prepared for. I am still struggling with words left unspoken, arguments left unsettled, appreciation left undelivered.
May it never be that those whom I love are left wondering how I felt about them.
So allow me to fill a few inches of whitespace on my blog to publicly esteem someone who has invested so much into my life: my sister. Today is her birthday and there is no better occasion on which to honor this woman of God. She has so many amazing and redeeming qualities, so many ways in which she reflects the heart of God to those who come into contact with her, that it is my absolute privilege to use this space to brag on her a bit. 😉
If you met my sister in person, one of the first things you’d notice about her is her warmth and sincerity. She would be genuinely interested in meeting you and hearing your story. She is by nature a student, always desiring to learn something new or be educated about a topic she isn’t familiar with. She chooses to grow–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually–a trait that she is modeling well for her children.
My sister is extremely loving and tender-hearted. She is awakening to the gift of mercy within her soul and is a deep well of compassion with a burden for the hurting, the suffering, and the voiceless…especially children. God has blessed her with 2 NICU survivors and she knows firsthand the kind of comfort that a scared and sleep-deprived mama needs in those first few days, weeks, and months when home for her newborn baby is a plexiglass incubator.
My sister is also generous and extravagant in her giving…if she has it to give, it’s yours to have. When God speaks to her about donating time, talent, or treasure, the offering is humble and heartfelt.
She is hands down one of the greatest encouragers I know. As a matter of fact, this blog exists in large part because of her constant and consistent encouragement of me to publish the talks and teachings God has been downloading into my spirit as I journey through this life. She is one of my loudest cheerleaders, biggest promoters, and mightiest prayer warriors, and she has had my back on more occasions than I could even recount.
Other than my husband, my sister is my best friend. We not only share earthly parents, but also a Heavenly Father. My heart rejoices at the promise that we will spend ETERNITY together, and I greatly desire to see my sister in Christ walk in the fullness of all that God created her to be here on this earth.
It is with this in mind that I pray these words over my dear sister:
I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you wisdom to see clearly and really understand who Christ is and all that he has done for you. I pray that your heart will be flooded with light so that you can see something of the future he has called you to share. I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. (Eph 1:16-19 TLB) I also pray that Father God, out of His glorious, unlimited resources will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourself. (Eph 3:17-19 TLB)
Happy birthday, sister … I love you!