Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Sweetest Thing...and He Does All Things Well

I'm about to have an extended weekend and it's all I can think about it.



So...on to my point...

My man has the sweetest momma and she did the sweetest thing for me this weekend.  Mrs. Ann is thoughtful in a way that I am just for every occasion and really meaningful gifts that let you know she listens to what you say and she knows what is important to you.  That sort of thing.  It's a such a gift (that I don't have) and she definitely has it, and I am so thankful to have her.  I am often on the receiving end of her kindness and I don't take that for granted.

I am now going to attempt to upload a picture of the aforementioned sweetest thing...pray for me.

Look at that.  It worked.  PTL.

Now, I recognize you likely have no idea what this is because, lets face it, my iphone photog skillz are seriously lacking, so let me explain.

Last month I was so thrilled to be asked to write an article for the Local Church Connection...a free magazine that services a few counties in mid-Georgia.  This is where my beau grew up, and his folks live down there.  Anyway, long story short I wrote the article and it came out last week.

I got published. 

I'm not going to was a little thrilling.  Even though they spelled my name wrong.  I'm working on getting over that.  I will let it go. Soon.

Or tomorrow or the next day.  ;)

So...the "sweetest thing" is that Mrs. Ann had the article matted and framed for me.

KIND.  I mean, I will treasure that always and forever.

Thank you, Mrs. Ann. 

Now that the article is actually in print, I thought I would go ahead and post it here.  And in late breaking news, they've asked me to write regularly for the magazine.  So excited.

Because I loves to write.  Loves it.

But, lets face it...Marti needs a deadline.

Excuse me...I mean Marty needs a deadline.

Maybe Marty could be my Pen Name.

I digress...again.

 So, here it is...

He Does All Things Well

Several months ago, I took a Friday off and drove to my hometown of Albemarle, NC for the day. I live about an hour from there in Charlotte, so it’s an easy trip…and I needed a dose of home to clear my mind and heart. I spent some time at a local park my family frequented on Sundays as I was growing up, moved on to my childhood home, visited my older brother’s place on Lake Tillery to sit on the dock for a while, and then ended my day at his final resting place, on a hill in the east part of town.

As I moved through town that day, I almost moved through the last 20 years of my life…remembering moments and people, firsts and lasts, dreams and heartaches, long abandoned, long forgotten. There at Chad’s grave, in the early afternoon, I kept saying through my tears, over and over, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It was never supposed to be this way.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

I saw a quote last week from William Shakespeare that caught my attention. It read, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” Actually, it didn’t just catch my attention…it stopped me dead in my tracks. That day at the cemetery, I was full of heartache. Never in any of my expectations growing up was my older brother dead at thirty-two. Never in any of my expectations growing up would my family suffer through terminal illness and funerals, while our peers celebrated weddings and babies. Never in any of my expectations growing up had I failed in so many ways. Never in any of my expectations growing up did life look like it currently does. In fact, never in any of my expectations growing up was life this…hard.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache…”

I learned a great many lessons during my brother’s illness, death, and the grief that has followed. But there is one golden truth in the hearts of those that have suffered profoundly and yet still managed to keep their eyes and hearts towards Jesus, and that truth is that inside the darkness of pain there is an abundance and wisdom and richness that can never be found elsewhere. Only Jesus can take the darkest moment of your life and shine His light so bright that the best of your life is birthed right out of the pain. Only Jesus performs those miracles. I doubt five years ago I could have verbalized that…today, I live in the midst of it. Today, I enjoy blessings that came to me on a path that began with my brother’s death. I write that with tears. It’s a hard thing to say, to admit…but it is the truth. I don’t have to understand it for it to be the truth. So, I’ve stopped trying to wrap my brain around it all, and have chosen to accept it and be thankful for it. It is a truth so treasured because it is so rare…many miss it in the midst of their suffering. Why?

“Expectation is the root of all heartache…”

That day at the cemetery, I was mourning the death of my expectations. Life is in no way what I thought it would look like at this point. Given that, I suppose I could choose bitterness and regret…choose to live my life in the past, struggling with the “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” that can plague a mind and heart. But, as I look back…this is a story that only He could write. It is a journey rich in meaning and people and lessons and stories…moments and relationships I wouldn’t trade for the world. My pastor closed his message this past Sunday by challenging all of us to look back over our lives…all of it, the good right along with the bad. Yes, there are probably some things we would want to change, some things we regret, some things we may have done differently or wished had turned out differently…or at least we wonder what would have happened if we had done it all a little differently. But, the past is in the past and, in the end, I must admit…eventually…

He has done all things well.

I serve a God who is sovereign. I serve a God who is strong. I serve a God who is good. I serve a God who is faithful. I serve a God who is always for me. I serve a God who makes no mistakes. I serve a God who knows better than me. So, every day I make a choice to deliberately set aside expectations and assumptions about my future, to live only in the present day, and to be at peace with my past. Every day, I have to make a choice to give God His own way in my life. Some days, some seasons, I am better at it than others. But I have learned enough to know that He will write a far better story of my life than I ever could. I have learned that He knows my dreams, my desires, and my passions far better than I do. Why? Simply put, because He is my Maker. Who knows a masterpiece better than its own Maker?

I think Bubba Watson said it best in a post-Masters interview, when asked to put his emotions on his big win into words…

“I never got this far in my dreams.”

Well said, Bubba. I never got this far in my dreams either…

He has done all things well.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made all things beautiful…in their time.” –Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

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