Last evening I had the pleasure of sitting with an eighty-three year old gentleman at a church dinner in the fellowship hall of a lovely little Baptist church. He was so sweet and kind. A fellow that clearly had worked hard all his life. He told me about his grandchildren and attending the dedication of his first grandchild recently. Shared about losing his wife last February and how she had been sick for 10 years. How the last 5 years had been very difficult after her stroke. How he missed taking care of her.
Oh how blessed I was to hear this man’s story…told with gentleness, humor at times, an undercurrent of sorrow, and three (maybe four) helpings of dessert. 🙂
He shared how one lady at church asked how he was doing – taking care of his wife, the house, and the big yard. He said, “I keep it clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”
I love that!
And something I find even more wonderful…this man meant it. He didn’t just have a cute quip to share. He understood living a full, busy, difficult life. It encouraged me so much.
It was like a fresh breeze. I didn’t realize how much I needed to be encouraged until I sat listening to this man share. I didn’t realize how someone simply sharing their story could be such a blessing. I don’t believe he shared with the intention of anything more than getting to know me. He don’t think he even knows my circumstances.
It was delightful.
There haven’t been many people in my life who are willing to just take me as I am…who aren’t telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I’m weary of being advised. I’m weary of feeling like I pretty much mostly disappoint people.
And that leads me to my second encounter at church this evening. One of the most amazing women I’ve ever met approached me and apologized that she hadn’t reached out to me more. I hadn’t expected it.
This woman…she has lost so much more than I can imagine. Her young son went to be with the Lord last year. It takes my breath away to even consider the loss. And here she was apologizing to me! But then she said something that struck me…something I needed to hear…she said that those feelings of always disappointing others were probably the lies of Satan. I said, “Yes, I think you’re right.”
Do I? Do I think she’s right?
I absolutely do.
I think that every time those thoughts come into my head I need to take them captive. I need to recognize them for what they are…just like this dear lady did.
Those aren’t my only thoughts that need to be thrown way far away.
The thoughts like:
“No one will ever really and truly love me…just me.”
‘There is something wrong with me and I don’t know exactly what it is – no one will be faithful to me.”
“I’m an awful mother.”
“I haven’t made one good decision yet.”
“I’ll never get it all together…I’ll always be a mess.” (Well, that one might be true. J)
I spend a lot of time thinking about all the things I’m not good at, all the things I do wrong, all the people I disappoint, all the times I could have made different decisions….I could go on and on and on.
But, I don’t need to…it’s bad for me.
I think right now I just want to remind myself that there are thoughts that aren’t worth having.
And just sitting with a friend – old or new – and sharing life is a blessing beyond compare.
Isn’t God amazing? I would never have guessed that a simple lasagna dinner on Styrofoam plates at church could encourage me so much, but it did. Totally God.
He knew that today I would need encouraging…today I would need to remember to take thoughts captive and that perfection isn’t possible. That healthy and happy are great goals.
Lord, thank you for the reminder of your faithfulness, care, and love in these little things…these little moments of blessing.