Tag Archives: Foundation

Stories

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 The Message (MSG)

I heard a woman speak the other day.  She and her family have started an organization designed to keep kids of drugs.  She talked about the organization and gave facts and figures but I could tell she was leading up to the real story.  The story of how she lost her son to drugs.  I knew that she was going to tell her story and I got scared.  Scared for her to tell it and scared for me to hear it.  Drugs frighten me and losing a child is the thing I fear most of all.  I sat in fearful anticipation waiting for the story to be told – waiting for the air to be filled with the heartbreaking story of another son lost and another mother broken.

She told her story and she was brave.  She was succinct and purposeful and included details about the how’s and the why’s.  She told the tale as a cautionary tale – she was warning us and our kids.  She was strong.  Her voice only cracked a couple times.  Her tears only bubbled up two or three times.

I pictured her practicing this speech in the mirror.  I pictured her practicing on loved ones. I imagined her writing and rewriting and changing words and hoping and praying she would get it right, hoping and praying that her words would honor her son’s struggle and his life, and that she could convey her love, her grief, her sorrow, her brokenness.  I imagine the rewrites and the agony spent at the keyboard reliving the story.  I imagined the first few times she may have cried the whole way through.  How could you not?

She had to tell the who’s, what’s, why’s and the what to do’s but really her story is about the boy she loved.  Her story is about the baby and the toddler and the grade schooler.  Her story is about the hugs and the laughs and the vacations and the friends.  Her story is about moments together – about tucking him in and kissing him good night. Her story is about holidays and cozy nights by the fire, about board games and puzzles and Legos and sports.  Her story is about family and dreams and safety and all the things she worked to give her son.  Her story is about love.  Her story is my story and that is what scares me so much.  How can her story start out just like my story but end in my worst nightmare?

But now I realize her story did not end there.  In her strength and her wisdom, she has walked through hell and found grace.  It’s amazing to see.  Can our lowest, scariest, most unthinkable moments be the windows for grace in our lives?

I remember reading the book Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and being entranced by it.  I read the follow up book, Tweak, by his son, Nic Sheff and watched the father and son on Oprah with my book club.  I was invested in the story and hoping and praying for Nic’s recovery to be real and lasting.

Her speech reminded me of this book when she mentioned her son had been in rehab 13 times before he died.  That took my breath away.  I imagined the phone calls and the drop off’s and the hope and the waiting and the counseling and the disappointment and the fear and the hope again and the disappointment again.  It was almost too much to bear.

I am honored that she shared her story with us.  I believe she knows something very important.  She knows we need her story.  She knows we need her.

I was at funeral of a friend of mine the other day.  It was so sad to have to say good bye to such a good man.  I sat there thinking, “Why would God take such a young man, such a good father, such a loving husband?”  It doesn’t make sense.  He was amazing and he will be greatly missed.  The priest at the funeral told us that we all have a “holy task” before us.  He said our task is to tell our stories about our friend that passed away- share the stories of him living and loving and laughing and being kind.  This is how he will live on.  This is how we will honor him.  The priest didn’t just say it’s our “task” he said it is our “HOLY task”.

I believe it is our holy task to share our stories…to witness to each other…to share our moments of pain and our moments of grace.  All of our stories are holy…every single one of them.  Especially the ones we are scared to tell and the ones we are scared to hear.

What’s your holy story?

To learn more about one mother’s mission to honor her son’s memory and to help keep kids off of drugs, visit www.saveastar.org
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

The Gift

My mom has always told me, “Faith is a gift”.

I remember her saying this when I was young and then thinking, “Why do some people get the gift and other people don’t?” It didn’t seem fair.

As I’ve gotten older I have begun to see what she means.  Faith is a gift.

St. Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works so one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God’s grace is a gift.  Everyone gets the gift… but not everyone accepts it.

Accept the gift.

It’s not for some of us.  It’s for all of us.  God doesn’t give His gift to certain groups only.  He doesn’t favor the wealthy or the learned. He doesn’t give His gift only to the Baptists or the Catholics.  He doesn’t give grace only to white people or people who live in the United States.  He doesn’t discriminate.  We do but He doesn’t.

This is good news.  God’s grace does not depend on what I look like or how much money I have or if I sit in the front pew of church.  I don’t have to light candles or say the Rosary or give thousands of dollars to the church.   It doesn’t depend on me.  Thank God.  (Literally.)  Because I would really mess it up.  He doesn’t keep a tally sheet and then hand over grace to the “good” people.

Can you imagine if you actually had to earn your way into heaven?  Please.  There is no way to earn it and we don’t have to.  We just have to believe.

I think we tend to make things more difficult than they are.  Of course, there is more to living a life in Christ than just believing in Him.  But that is the first step.  I think we look for transformation first and then we say we’ll believe in God’s promises as in, “I’ll believe it when I see it”.  We stand back and say “prove it”, “show me”, “give me a sign” but we aren’t ready.  We have to say “yes” first and then the transformation starts happening.  If you want it, it’s there for the taking.  You just have to accept the gift.

If you haven’t yet accepted God’s gift of grace, take another look.

Imagine this… it’s Easter morning and you are really looking forward to the Peeps and the Reese’s Easter eggs and piles of jelly means and peanut m&m’s.  You see the basket and you realize that in addition to all the yummy stuff you can’t wait to eat, there is another gift.  It’s the gift of God’s grace.

The basket is filled with all of the things God’s grace brings to us including love, peace, joy, hope, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, new life.  Our baskets are overflowing!

You stop, you hesitate, you think, “Wait a minute, nothing is free, what do I have to do to get all of this?”

You question, you worry, you think…”Why me?” You wonder, “What’s the catch?”

There is no catch.  God loves you and wants to free you from your fears and worries.  He wants to give you a solid foundation to build your life.  He wants you.  You as you are now…not the “you” that is twenty pounds lighter or a million dollars richer, not the “you” that learns to cook or keeps a perfectly clean house or volunteers more often.  He’s not looking for the “you” that you show the world.  He’s looking for the real you.  He wants all your flaws, all your fears, all your sins, all your doubts.  He is that strong and that loving.

He is offering you a gift.  All you have to do is accept it.

 

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photo from: http://www.livingdevotionally.com.