liluga - love isn't love until given away

"Loving God means doing what he tells us to do, and really, that isn't hard at all." 1 John 5:3 NLT

Monday, March 7, 2011


I am reading a book called “God’s Guest List” by Debbie Macomber.  She talks about all the people that God has put into our lives.  Some are always there; others are only there for a season.  Mothers, fathers, teachers, strangers, etc. - they all make an impact on our lives.  It got me thinking about all the different people God has put in my life.  Some have made a huge impact, others less so.
She also talks about how we can be an influence in other people’s lives.  When I am thinking of who to give my liluga’s away to, I limit my thinking to how I can make a difference in someone’s life that is going through a rough time.  But what about the people who influenced me?  Through this book, I am challenged to think of people who God put in my life for a reason and who made a difference.  People I want to say “thank you” to. 
It reminds me of the song by Ray Boltz,
Thank you for giving to the Lord
 I have a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave
I am not very good at saying thank you to people who have reached out to me.  Sometimes I’ll read a book that really speaks to me, and I think that I should write the author and let them know.  Or I’ll hear a speaker on the radio who does the same thing.   Of course, I never follow through.  Writing a note to a close friend who does a kind act for you is easy.  Writing to strangers it more awkward for me. 
This week, my challenge for myself is to write a letter of thanks to a Christian artist whose music and message really spoke to me, encouraged me and got me out of a spiritual slump. 
It was the fall of 2006; I had been on my own with my three kids for two years and divorced for a little over a year.  We had been living in the bottom floor of a small, run-down (but charming) 100 year old house in town.  Although it was in a nice neighborhood, it was always a rental and completely neglected.  I only moved there because the rent was cheap, and it was close to my kid’s school.  The three kids were all together in the living room/bedroom.  I was in the small bedroom.  My only counter space in the kitchen was 12” x 24”.  After almost two years of being cramped in together, and many household mishaps (rain in my pantry from a leak in the upstairs shower, the plaster ceiling above our tub crashing down due to a leak from upstairs (never repaired), the ancient water pipes in the basement bursting and the land lord insisting on only patching them, etc.), I wanted to move. 
Everything else in town was so expensive.  But the house was falling apart and the land lord (who was an alcoholic) was not interested in repairing things properly.  I found someone who was moving and willing to rent her house to us, but it was several hundred dollars more per month.  My desire to be out of our home and the space and beauty of this other house made me disregard the huge jump in rent and move in to the new house.  Once there, I was sick to my stomach.  I couldn’t believe I took on such a big expense.  I moved in early August, and was really struggling through the first few months.
One day that October, while working from home, I was listening to Moody Bible Radio in Chicago.  They were giving away tickets to a live “Midday Connection” talk show featuring Sara Groves.  I called in and actually won a pair of tickets.  It brightened my day!
The week of the talk show, I was sick with a bad cold and cough.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from going.  I brought a friend with me and we drove the hour drive to Chicago and went to Moody Bible Institute for the show.
I wish I could tell you exactly what Sara Groves talked about that day, but I really don’t remember.  What I liked was that she was a simple person with a passionate heart.  What did affect me were the lyrics to her songs.  Each person attending that day received a goody bag with books and Sara’s current CD, “.  It was later as I listened to her songs and the words to her songs that I was changed and uplifted.
The song that got me most was “Just Showed Up For My Own Life”.   I really felt like I had been sleeping, going through a separation, divorce and life on my own with three young kids. I couldn’t see clearly and I was letting it all get to me and bring me down.  It was like a wake-up call to hear God’s voice and know that there was more to this life than what I was going through.
The other song that spoke to me was “It’s Going to be All Right”.  Yes, no matter what we are going through in this life, as long as you believe, it is going to be all right.  Cast your cares on Jesus. 
This small but impacting event encouraged me greatly.  Although it happened 5-1/2 years ago,  I believe it’s never too late to say “Thank You” to someone.