Friday, June 14, 2013

My Bucket List and An Invitation

"Lord, You established peace for us;
all we have accomplished You have done for us...
Your name alone do we honor."
Isaiah 26:12-13

Her words took my breath the best of ways. My heart humbled and sweetly hushed, I read her note to me over and over.

"Thank you so much for inviting me to lunch.
That was the first time I ever went to lunch
with a girlfriend."

Wow. I am stilled by her words. You see, I invited my girlfriend to lunch because she is such a blessing to me. She is one of the kindest people I know, and it was on my heart for many months to invite her to lunch. I just wanted to carve out some time together, to pause our lives for a just a bit and enjoy a meal and fellowship together. 

When I invited her and we set a date, she was gracious enough to meet me during my lunch break from work at a great girlfriend eatery convenient to both of us. Honestly, I felt a little selfish because her joining me for lunch was such a blessing to me. After we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and were getting ready to go back to our usual Monday routines, I said to her:

"I don't have many things on my bucket list, 
but having lunch with you was one of them."

She said, "Really?" Yes, really.

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul..."
Proverbs 27:9

Little did I know...this was her first girlfriend lunch...ever. After reading her thank you note I received a few days later, I imagined how she must have felt that day. Was she nervous? Excited? Hesitant? Eager? I thanked the Lord for her willingness and courage to say yes to my invitation for lunch. 

Her first girlfriend lunch ever.

I thanked Him for the privilege and honor of being the one with whom she had her first girlfriend lunch. 

A simple invitation. A bucket list item now etched into my heart.

It's true. I don't have many things on my bucket list. And the items that are on my list mostly involve nourishing relationships in one way or another. I am not much of an adventurer, but I would like to think of myself as an investor. An investor in God's Word and in the relationships with which He has blessed and entrusted to me. 

For my girlfriend and me, both of us being blessed began with an invitation. And through my girlfriend's sweet thank you note, I am reminded again of the importance and significance of reaching out to others through lunch, to dinner, for coffee, to take a walk, to pray, to a Bible study, to shop, to chat, to serve together in ministry, to vacation together.

Many of our family's most meaningful and memorable vacations have been with family or friends who have invited us to join them on theirs, or when we have invited others to join us on ours. We have such fabulous memories of laughter and fun and growing together on vacation with those whom we love.

Since I was a young girl, I have wanted to visit a rain forest. Studying the rain forest in elementary school was fascinating to me. We didn't have "bucket lists" when I was growing up, but hiking through a rain forest and seeing all of the unique and colorful creations of God is something I have always wanted to do. (There's my shy little adventurous side coming out!)

For the last few summers, our very good friends extended an invitation to vacation with them in their summer home in Puerto Rico. This summer, we are delighted to be able to say "yes" to that invitation! So, through our friends' lovely invitation, my family will be nourishing these friendships, travelling to beautiful Puerto Rico, learning about and enjoying our friends' culture, and...hiking through El Yunque Rain Forest!! OUR FIRST TIME EVER!! We are very thankful and very excited!

Bucket lists and invitations. They go hand-in-hand.

I want my heart to always have the love, boldness and humility to extend and receive precious invitations. Who knows...maybe by doing so we are fulfilling a bucket list item for someone whom we hold dear. Maybe it even will be someone's "first time ever" to do something they have always wanted to do.

Reach out. Invite.

"My times are in Your hands..."
Psalm 31:15

(story of girlfriend's thank you note shared with her permission)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Without A Word

" quietness and trust 
is your strength..."
Isaiah 30:15

As His children, sometimes God calls us to speak up and speak out in faith.  Sometimes He commands us to be quiet in trust.  Both can be challenging, out-of-comfort-zone experiences. Yet obedience to God, in the speaking out or in the hushing up, brings the harvest of His joy and blessings.

I find that often our worthiest words are those quietly spoken only to Jesus in prayer. Unspoken to others, our most valuable words are whispered only to the Lord in obedience, trust, humility and self-control. 

The other morning morning as I was spending time in God's Word, He serendipitously strung the following verses together for me.  I love Him for confirming these truths to me!  Reading in Genesis, I read this passage in chapter 24. Then He sweetly reminded me of these other verses:

Without saying a word,
the man watched her closely
to learn whether or not
the LORD had made his journey successful.
Genesis 24:21

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth
Isaiah 53:7

Often times, God's will and purposes in our lives are ushered in as we open our hearts, minds and ears, and open not our mouths. 

Successful journeys.

Husbands won over to Christ.

Salvation and redemption.

All of this while our mouths are hushed in obedience.

Our quietness demonstrates our trust and faith in HIM.  He is our Defender, our Redeemer, our Salvation, our Way and our Provider.  What glory He receives when He works His purposes through our quietness and trust.

"…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God’s sight."  1 Peter 3:4

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful Word!!!

I am honored today to have one of my published devotions "Worthy Words" featured at A Woman Inspired Ministry. Please click over and visit...there just may be a surprise waiting there for you! Like an opportunity to win His worthy Word:

"Your word has given me life..."

Psalm 119:50