Thursday, August 18, 2005

I Surrender All

I put my beloved Julia on an airplane yesterday morning. She is spending a week in Colorado preparing for a year on mission in Thailand. I did not cry. Me – who usually cries when I see little boys having breakfast with their dad’s on a Saturday morning, or at a beautiful sunset.

I am told most mothers cry when they send a child off to college or at their wedding, or when sending them to a distant place for an extended time. I have done all those things, and I have been amazingly un-tearful on those occasions. I felt no sadness at those times. I could only feel happiness. The joy of seeing their wings spreading, getting ready to soar – anticipating the new adventures. The extreme pride in what God had done to bring them to a point of readiness to face the challenges before them. The humility and thankfulness that God had allowed them to be a daily blessing on my life for a little while, and now other people will have the blessing of knowing them.

But I did cry … last night at choir rehearsal … almost lost it like a baby. I was merrily going through the rehearsal, not feeling emotional or teary at all. Then we got to the arranged hymn “I Surrender All” and it hit me. It occurred to me that not only has my daughter been obedient to God, but I have been obedient. I lifted her with an open hand to God. Not as dramatic as Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac, perhaps, but a willing heart is what He asks. How did I come to a place of being willing – even happy – to let her go? How did God do that?

I am amazed that God still calls people to Himself. Not because He is weak, but because the world is so attractive, so alluring, so distracting. I am amazed that people still hear His still, small voice. Not because He fails to communicate, but because so many other things shout, scream, demand to be heard.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm thinking of a number

Is there a number that reminds you of something else? A number that pops up often that takes you to another time and place?

I have such a number. I arrived at work at 8:19 this morning. 819. 819. Every time I hear 819 I think of my grandmother - bless her memory. She had a house at 819 West 24th Street. My great-grandparents moved to Arkansas from Illinois one winter of my childhood, and lived in the house at 819 West 24th Street. It was a happy time. Sunday afternoon visits. Ritz crackers with cream cheese and strawberry preserves for a snack. And hot tea. Handmade doll clothes made by my great-grandmother. The dainty flowered handkerchief fashioned into a doll cape. The pipe smoke and large-print Readers' Digest and rocking chair of my great-grandfather.

I always think of my grandmother - and my great-grandparents when I hear "819".