Today as I rested in my bed I had the privilege of watching the home going of Whitney Houston. I said I wasn’t going to address it in my blog but some things are on my heart.
Today the world went to church! I was completely impressed and very thankful. There was a place today in New Jersey that got it: We are not our sins. We are not our failures, our shortcomings, the list of wrongs and the things people say about us. We are a child of the most high GOD! Each of us from the moment we are conceived. We are daughters and sons of God. That is the message that I heard. As one after another spoke, they spoke of a real person that hurt and loved and laughed and cried just like every other person. A woman, a daughter, a mother and a friend just like each and every one of us. A person who lived her life out loud and public and didn’t have the luxury of hiding much behind closed doors, a luxury a lot of critics find as they pick up rocks to speculate or cast judgement.
From someone who struggles with sin and forgiving myself for my past failures I was so thankful to see a family who painted the picture of their loved one as she truly was. A woman that they loved, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend. A human being with real dreams, real heart and an amazing gift. It is easy to say she was an addict and she did this or did that but, wow, really???? There is not a person that was watching that show or is reading this blog that is not an addict. We are all addicted to something or have been at one point in time. We hide behind things, we stay busy, we drink, we eat, we avoid, we fix, we work, we shop, …….. And we all need recovery.
Tyler Perry quoted this verse today:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV
Regardless of what we do, when we surrender our lives to this Living Loving GOD that gave us life, nothing can ever separate us from HIM! NOTHING! Even when we walk away and do it our own way at times, nothing can separate us because HE never leaves us.
He shared too about the grace in her life. The grace of a living GOD that had His hand on her as a little girl and all throughout stages of her life. The same grace that carried her home.
I have had so many times in my life where the grace of God intervened. Times I should have probably died. Times that only the grace of God could have seen me through. Times of addiction and a place where I was very lost. Gods grace was still in my life. I can see it even clearer now. Times when I was seen for my sin He still saw me as a precious daughter He loved and longed for.
Where the circumstances of her passing are not clear, what matters is that lessons are learned.
People hurt! Money doesn’t mean happiness. Reaching out and helping someone because it is the right thing to do makes a difference. If our lives were lived out on the screen of our television sets for the world to see would they really be much different? Really, if we are honest?
And those left behind- really pay attention. Be alive and be real. Be in the moment. Be serious about the people in your live and their recovery. Say something! Be supportive. Encourage them as they change their people, places and things. Take a stand. Set your priorities. Make a difference.
And remember- who are we to judge? I struggle so much with wondering how God can’t look at me and not see my sins anymore. HE DOES NOT DEFINE ME BY MY PAST MY STRUGGLES MY SINS! So neither should I, not myself, not another.
And for the ones that say well if she really loved God she wouldn’t have addiction: it is no respecter of persons. Church leadership, government officials, the man who sleeps on the park bench, the mother in her minivan dropping her kid at soccer practice, the dad that coaches baseball, the doctor, the high school kid in study block, the guy at the gym, the lady walking her dog, the neighbor, the man on tv, the voice on the radio, you,me. It matters not who you are. That is how the enemy works. He goes after everyone. He makes us think that these things can fill a void a GOD Shaped hole that really only GOD can fill.
The enemy is not original. He repeats himself trying to convince himself and anyone that will listen that he might be right. (isn’t that what liars do? keep saying the lie until they finally believe it?)
Today I watched as family was able to paint a picture of their loved one apart from her shortcoming. PRAISE GOD- because that is not what defined her. It is not who she is.
I pray that today someone’s life was touched by the broadcast of this church service. I was moved to tears as I listened and watched and prayed. God wastes nothing, and as this mother made the choice to allow the world to come to church with her to worship Him and give her daughter back to the Lord we can all learn some things from the message today.
It is time to get our priorities in order. We are not promised a tomorrow. We are given this moment to make a difference, to live for Him, to use our time and money and talents to live the life that we were created to live.