Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Let it Shine 'til Jesus Comes

At a recent gathering my husband was accused of forming his opinion based upon a certain news station.  I nonchalantly replied for him – “Oh we haven’t turned our TV on in three years, we only watch DVDs.  The conversation then took a different direction.

It was three years ago that the monstrous details of the Sandy Hook shooting left a first grade classroom in Connecticut and poured into our homes.  The age of the victims, the fact that I had just given birth and buried a close friend just put me over the edge.  I remember crying as I drove to church that Sunday; unable to pull myself together.  It was then that I decided that I needed to put limits on my knowledge of current events, so the TV stayed off after that.

“Do not fret because of those who are evil…
Do not fret – it only causes harm.”   
Psalm 37:1,8
“And do not fear those who kill the body,
but cannot kill the soul…” 
Matthew 28:10

But how do we process what is going on in the world without burdening ourselves with stress?  Psalm 37 goes on to say that we should trust and delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart.  It is my desire to have peace of mind despite the evil that has been ignited in recent years and especially these past few months.  It is possible to have peace but we must set boundaries for our concerns.  We must follow the Lord’s leading when we pray, serve and let our light shine; keeping in mind that Christ didn’t heal everyone during his earthly ministry.  He could have circled the globe, but he concentrated his efforts to a specific location and He would often withdraw to lonely places to pray.  (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15)

"The most loving human to ever walk the

planet didn't say yes to everyone

and at times had to leave the crowds behind. 

And do you think that Jesus didn't have a lot to do? 

You try being the Savior of the world.  Oh, wait! 

That's part of the problem, isn't it? 

Some of us are trying to be a savior,

and that is why we are so busy. 

We are trying to be someone we are not." 

-Doug Fields

Putting a ribbon on the tree for #sandyhook . So every year we
remember to pray for the families & community of #newtown .
My friend Mindy felt led to make a reminder to keep the Sandy Hook tragedy in prayer each year by making a special ornament for her Christmas tree.  She inspirers me with her servant’s heart.

We move on after these tragedies, but prayers are still needed years later.  Do you pray for the families forever impacted beyond the day you hear about them?

The scene of the Amish Schoolhouse shooting is just down the road from where I live.  My errands and journeys take me through Nickel Mines at least once a week.  While the world may forget what happened there, the people of my community will always remember.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Marie Monville speak at a Ladies Christmas Brunch.  The name is likely not familiar to you; but she is the widow of the man responsible for the evil of that October day.  The date of the brunch fell on my birthday and I hesitated to go for fear of reliving the details of nine years ago.  But I felt the Lord wanted me there, so I signed up to attend. 

I couldn't put into words why it was good to stand in the light of this forgotten woman, until I was driving home and saw this church sign. 

Food to feed our doubts is easily accessible. However, the nourishment that our faith is starving for mush be eagerly sought after if we are to thrive in this sin cursed world. 

Many have a soapbox and an agenda after a mass shooting.  Fingers are pointed, laws are proposed and hatred seems to multiply.  Everyone has an opinion but few can see the whole picture and see the hand of God in it all. 

Five years after her world was turned upside down, Marie realized the importance of sharing her story with the world.  She is letting her light shine after Satan seemed to do everything to blow it out.   

"No matter how tragic your circumstances,

your life is not a tragedy. 
It is a love story. 
And in your love story,
when you think all the lights have gone out,
one light still shines."

-Marie Monville 

Despite all that has happened to Marie she never blames
the weapon found in the hand but the evil found in the heart. 
The promise of redemption is the theme of her life.
Not only does she speak publically but has written a book entitled “One Light Still Shines”.  I picked up a copy for myself and already have several sentences of encouragement underlined.  This woman has many reasons to be forever broken and defeated yet her God is there to freely give redemption and restoration that only He can provide. 

Marie shares how she has found “grace in the wilderness” (Jeremiah 31:2).  Her circumstances have given her the eyes to see losses in the lives of others and the capacity to speak life and joy.  The promise of redemption is now her theme as she moves forward with the plans the Lord has for her (Jeremiah 29:11) .

I am challenged to continue my walk with the Lord and the plans he has for me after learning more about the last chapters of this story that  first unfolded nine years ago.  May my path be lit by the lamp of God's Word and not by the glow of the of a TV screen with news from around the world.   

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