Sunday, May 6, 2018

When Faded and Torn is a Good Thing~

Warmer nights found me
digging my way around
in my pajama drawer
in search of a perfect lightweight
sleeping option.

As soon as I spotted my old T-shirt
peeking out from underneath
some pajama tops, -
in my mind's eye,
I saw her words again.
Words so etched in my heart
it was as if I was
reading them again for the second time.

We must LIVE Before we die Stacy!
If we are STILL in the earth,
GOD has a PURPOSE!
When the assignment is FINISHED
GOD calls us home~~
'well done, SERVANT'~~COME HOME~:0)

As this dear friend
had shared with me
the news of the loss
of her precious 30 year old son -
     and after beautiful words
     of praise and thanksgiving to God
     for rescuing her son from the pain
     he had endured fighting a terrible disease,
this amazing woman of faith
had ended our time of Facebook messaging together,
just the night before,
with those life-giving words.

This was my reply:

"We must live before we die."
Those are straight from the Father's heart
to mine, tonight.
Still struggling to find my place
and get back into life.
God always uses you to
pick me back up,
dust me off,
and get me MOVING -
or in this case - LIVING - again.
Thank you, faithful sister!
So blessed to be running this race
beside you.

Now, as I held my T-shirt in my hand,
and pondered these words again in my heart, -
with my finger,
I traced the dark blue,
barely faded lettering on the front of my shirt:
RUSSELL ATHLETICS.

And, I thought about my husband's matching T-shirt -
identical to mine (only a couple of sizes larger)
and how
in those first months after losing him,
it was his shirt I slept in
night after night after night
instead of mine.

One day, early on in our marriage -
while strolling hand in hand through a mall,
we had come across a "sidewalk sale"
complete with a huge bin full of T-shirts.
He had spotted his about the same time
I had spotted mine,
and the rest  -
as they say -
was history.

Only,
unlike me,
over the course of about 10 years,
my man had worn his shirt.
Every. Chance. He. Got.

His lettering on the front
was so faded
it was barely legible.
And, his shirt was so thread bare,
that one night
while rolling over,
I accidentally tore a hole in the armhole.

It was then I had decided to tuck his away
for sake keeping.

As I stood here now-
holding mine -
almost in pristine condition,
it was easy to see
what God was trying to tell me.

My man had lived his life.
Boy, had he lived.
He had tasted and listened and smelled and seen.
And, he had felt -
with a passion and zeal
and an energy that couldn't be measured,
he had felt.

From the moment he woke up,
he ripped into the new day
like a child ripping into a present
on Christmas morning.

He spent his days
enjoying,
delighting,
laughing,
encouraging,
appreciating,
and LIVING.

If his T-shirt
was any indication to the amount of living
my man had done,
the only conclusion
one could come to
was that
he had gotten his money's worth out of both -
his T-shirt and his life.

He had lived his life to the full,
completely spent,
with nothing left to wring out.

And, I smiled -
until 
I thought about my shirt.

Because you see -
if my T-shirt
was any indication to the amount
of living
I had done,
the only conclusion one could come to
was that
I had spent most of my life
tucked away,
safely hidden
under other lightweight pajama tops.

(Not really -
but you get the picture-
and it's not one
I wish had any connection to me.)

And those words,
those life breathing words,
kept rolling around and around
in my mind.

We must LIVE Before we die Stacy!

Besides, the 50 years I lived
before losing my husband,
I have now lived 2 years,
and 3 months more.

And I see you there, reading this -
a look of confusion in your eyes -
as you, like me, realize -
to use the word "lived" -
here -
in relation to the passing of time
in my life -
truly doesn't do this word justice.

But,
here's the thing:
I want it to.

More than I ever have,
I want it to.

I want to taste and listen and smell and see.
And, I want to feel.
Just like my man,
I want to fly out of bed each morning,
so excited to rip into another brand new day,
that my heart feels as though it will explode.

I want to
enjoy,
delight,
laugh,
encourage,
appreciate,
and LIVE
Before. It's. Too. Late.

Before the time for living on earth
is over.

And, again I see you there, reading this -
a look of longing in your eyes,
as you, like me,
realize there is so much living
we have left undone.

And,
in my mind's eye,
I saw His words again.
Words that my man quoted time and time again,
words so etched in my memory
it was as if I was
reading them again for the umpteenth time.

I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.
~John 10:10

Our T-shirts were cheap enough.
The fact that we pulled them out of a clearance bin
can attest to that.

But, when it came to paying the ultimate price
for my husband and me -
God sent His own son -
our precious Jesus.

The cost for our salvation
and our freedom
to have life and have it more abundantly,
His son's very life.

Worse than not getting my money's worth
out of a silly ole T-shirt,
I don't want to come to the end of my life
and discover,
(I almost can't write this)
I failed to
truly spend,
to completely use up,
to live and live more abundantly
every bit of the life
that Jesus died for me to live.

With T-shirt in hand,
I closed the drawer shut.

The search was over.

It was time to start wearing
the tail end off of this shirt.
(as my momma would say!)

And, it was time to
ENJOY, Baby! ENJOY!
(as my man would say!)

And, most importantly,
it was time to start
LIVING the abundant life.
(as my God would say!)







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