Sometimes I think about my funeral. I wonder how many people will be there and what my favorite people will say about me. Will there be pictures of key moments in my life, surrounded by the ones I loved most, in the places I most enjoyed visiting? What kind of flowers will be displayed? Will my family lay out my favorite snacks for those who choose to come to my final party? It really isn’t a morbid thought. In fact, it is a great reminder that I get just one life to live, and I need to live it well and make a difference.
Do I make a difference? Have I used my gifts? Are people going to say what I hope they say about me?
Sometimes I worry that the character traits that I have worked the hardest on will go unnoticed, that in the end I was just a blip on the earth, and that I blew my opportunities to make a difference.
This week I have been challenged to read the book of Ephesians over and over again. I have been successful 4 times. I started with the King James Version, and moved to the New International Version Study Bible. It isn’t a long book. It generally takes about 20 minutes…unless you get caught up in the study notes on the bottom. Today I didn’t make it very far. Chapter’s 4 & 5 are so full of practical information that I can’t help but do some serious reflecting, hence the funeral planning.
Have I lived a life that is worthy of being the daughter of the Almighty? Have I always been humble, gentle, patient, understanding, and peaceful? Have I appreciated other people’s differing gifts and enjoyed the way each person complements one another? Have I appreciated others in spite of their faults? Have I done my part to keep peace and promote unity? Have I used my special gifts to encourage friends and family?
It is my prayer that my friends and family see Christ in me. I pray that in the end, people say that they could see clearly where my strength and hope came from, where I found my answers, and received correction. I hope that the legacy I leave is through the relationships that I have had and the example that I was. More than anything, I hope that when they remember where I stumbled, they also saw the consequences that followed. Everything comes with a consequence, whether good or bad.
No regrets. I want to live a life of no regrets, because huge lessons are learned through both excellent and very poor choices. Everything that I have experienced has made me the person I am today. My goal is to live with integrity: to tell the truth, to handle my anger and frustration appropriately, to monitor my words carefully, to keep a good attitude, to be forgiving, and to act in love toward others.
A number of years ago, the present Paster did a study on gifts. By the end of the session, I was determined that I didn’t have one. The Paster said to keep praying and to keep searching, and that I would figure it out. I wish I had a quarter for every time I thought about the fact that I was gift-less. I have felt left out. How could someone who so desperately wants to be a faithful follower and example of the Almighty, get left out of the gift giving? Maybe it was because I didn’t fit neatly into any of the choices. Just because I am a certified teacher, doesn’t mean that I have the gift of teaching in the church. Hospitality? No. Despite many attempts to open up my home for various holidays and parties, nobody beyond my core family ever comes to my parties. It isn’t my gift. However, I think I have finally found my calling. I think I have the gift of “been there, done that, and I have lived to tell about it”, otherwise known as the gift of encouragement.
I love to write. I write for a variety of reasons, and selfishly, it is mostly for me. However, because I am a teacher, I like to inform, but my desire is to encourage. I want people to know that even if our walk isn’t exactly the same, it is similar. I couldn’t know what my gift was until I had lived a little bit more- until I hurt, struggled, and pushed my way through some really tough experiences. I had to age like cheese, and I had to go through some really hot fires. Our fire is still hot, we still have many challenges. Things aren’t easy and my stomach remains in knots a big part of the time. I still pray that God wave his hand to remove them, and instead, he just holds my hand, speaks softly in my ear, and talks to me through his word. “It will be alright, I am right here, and I won’t leave,” and that gives me the courage to keep tapping the keys, while putting one unsteady foot in front of the other.
In the end, I want my friends and family to remember, that no matter what, I loved the Lord, and I wanted to share my lessons in order to encourage anyone who wanted to listen. I have but one life here on earth and I want to live it well.