Celebrate life

Celebrate lifeSo, I found a new show to watch on Netflix and it has rocked my world. No, it’s not Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy; nothing that gritty, nothing that would get tweeted about or invent new words. This show is about something more precious and less celebrated… life.

Call the Midwife is a BBC production based in London’s poor East End in the 1950s. It chronicles the lives of young nurse midwives and the women and families they tirelessly served. Never have I seen a show more full of love and committed to life. These young women were so passionate about helping babies into the world, and they had such high regard for life. Sad to say, I don’t imagine a show like that taking off in this country where we are obsessed with making things as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

But these midwives cared deeply. They cared about the new babies and the frightened mamas and the freaked-out husbands and the overbearing mothers-in-law. They held the hands and wiped the brow of all involved. And they did it in love and in expectant honor of the life that was coming into the world, no matter the circumstances.

I imagine that’s how God looks at us… each one precious, each one worth saving, each one loved, no matter what. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Oh, to demonstrate just a fraction of that love. He died for us and we didn’t deserve it. He honors us with His love, even when we are jerks. He lifts us out of our troubles, even when the mess is entirely of our own making. God loves each and every one of us… for no other reason than we are His children, created by Him, and worth loving.

Tough love

Love is the principal thingNo one wants to read the love chapter. It’s not fun. It’s not warm and fuzzy. It’s really hard. And if you read it closely, line by line, it’s even harder. So here’s your opportunity to read it… with me… and let’s feel how difficult this is, together.

Love is patient and kind.

Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

It does not demand its own way.

It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

That’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT). And it’s not even the whole chapter… just six lines. Talk about tough love… geez.

Love, forgive, move on. I’m working on it.

Kleenex and Nobel Prizes

photo(41)I have a running list of people I want to thank for their extraordinary kindness to me personally during the days surrounding Jackie’s funeral. People all over the world sent condolences to the family and to Terry. People sent flowers and food. People are so amazing and wonderful, but the ones who keyed into me specifically touched my heart in a way I honestly can’t describe. Words are inadequate.

I was sitting on Terry and Jackie’s dining room floor and we were talking about the order of service for Jackie. My brain was very close to critical overload and I felt tears welling up. Valaree was watching me and she touched my arm and asked me if I needed some water. She laughed at me later when I told her how much it meant to me. But that kindness and sensitivity was so what I needed at the exact moment I needed it. I was able to take a breath, regroup, and focus on getting our job done.

Liz Williams touched my arm and brought me water at the visitation.

I guess I looked really thirsty this last week.

Johnathan stayed by my side faithfully in case I melted down or fell over.

Lynn went down to Utica Square to pick up shoes for me because they didn’t have my size at the mall.

Jennifer applied apocalypse-level waterproof makeup on me… twice.

Jaxon’s teachers and coaches were beyond kind and understanding.

Text messages beeped in all day and night with love and prayer and support.

God used His people to minister to me when I was hurting. And God used His people to lift me up so I could help lift up the Mize family.

God uses people. I’ve talked about this before; God uses people because we’re all He’s got. (You’re the best God’s got) We are His ambassadors, we are His Christians, His Christ-like ones.

The person who brought me a bottle of water and a handful of Kleenex may not deserve the Nobel Prize, but a group of people from all over the world who supported a family in need, that group, they deserve jewels in their crowns.

I’m very grateful for the outpouring of love I have received through these days. And I have a renewed sense of responsibility to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to help people when they are hurting. Jackie would be very proud of that.