Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today is Yours


Since returning from our journey into the middle of nowhere, these past days have sped by in a blur. A blur of work and life is passing time often quicker than I wish. My time with Wil and Yolanda has come to an end and now I am in San Jose with another missionary named Will. Later, I’ll write more on the transition and new experiences here.


The last week of work went exceptionally well. A team from Mississippi flew in on Saturday and we met them for dinner. I knew we would be instant friends when I heard them use the word “y’all.” I haven’t heard that word in over a month. That’s all it takes to connect people from the South. It is as if we slip it into conversation affirming the other and stating, “I’ve got Southern roots too.” If we try to stray from that word, finding a replacement throws us into frenzy. You guys? You all? Hey you people? Nothing seems to roll off the tongue. Even though I don’t remember it on School House Rock, “Y’all” is such a wonderful conjunction.

(This girl, Ashley, has stolen my heart.)

We worked hard all week in the hot Costa Rican sun. This week was even more grueling because as if we weren’t close enough to the sun already, we spent the majority of the hours on the roof. After hoisting about twenty-five, one hundred and seventy pound concrete boards to the second story by hand, we were able to drill down the floor. Support beams were welded into place and the entire upstairs was framed with aluminum structure beams. I learned how to weld and Wil and I worked on piecing together the roof structure. Exact measurements had to be taken followed by precise placement of beams. After we finished, the entire team carried the triangular roof structures to the house and lifted them up with only muscle and ropes. That was put into place and then multiple, thirty-meter steel beams were welded across them to add support. The tin that all the teams have been sanding and painting, and sanding and painting, was then drilled into the roof beams. I could see it actually coming together. A great deal of work has been done; not on the church, but by the church.

Here are pictures of progress:











My limited writing skills cause me not to know how to segway this, so forgive me for the abruptness in the next paragraphs. These past weeks have been eye opening in many ways, even past new experiences adjusting to in Costa Rica; news from home has shaken me. A fraternity brother and friend from Auburn went to be with the Lord over a week ago. At such a young age, the news is followed with devastation. Please pray for his closest friends that are struggling with the loss the hardest. 

Lord, write through me right now. Use my fingers on to type of your greatness and this situation to reveal your glory. My prayers are with his family and those closest to him to be comforted and drawn towards the heart of God.

Often, I find myself wading through this life, checking days off my calendar, and just surviving. I live, but occasionally I feel like I have never lived. I just pass through. I worry and stress of things that don’t matter. I overlook what truly matters. My eyes are consumed with the temporary. My thoughts reflect on the past and hope for the future, but rarely focus on the present. I remain in this zombie state until I am shaken. Something must stir me into action and birth passion out of this complacency. The end of this life is a reality we will all one day face. It always has the ability to break my heart, activate my prayers, and force me to examine my life in full.

I don’t think we realize that our days are numbered. This breath we just exhaled while reading was one less. Time we consider infinite passes like a flash of lightning. Minutes, days, years, decades go by and we just get by. We conform to the status quo and judge our lives based on the comparative success of others. I am so tired of just getting by and relating myself to this world. I don’t want to just survive. Do we realize the urgency of what we say we believe? If we don’t, then I beg we question what we say we believe. For if there is no rock to stand on than there is no purpose to our existence. If we are consuming just to please ourselves, who we don’t understand, inside this world, that we don’t understand, then I am afraid we have missed the meaning of life itself. If we truly believe what we say we believe, why do our lives often not reflect our beliefs? If we truly believe in the message of Christ, then what are we waiting on? Isn’t this message urgent to a world that is perishing pursuing itself?

Urgency has never been a word in my vocabulary. If I had a responsibility in the past, it could wait. When I was a child, my father would tell me to take out the trash or sweep out the garage. I thought, why do something today, when I can do it tomorrow? I have never realized how detrimental that can be. Truthfully the cleanliness of the garage does not matter, but the attitude of allowing tomorrow to come before a step is taken is deadly. (and I am not talking about chores). We are not promised tomorrow. Our life on this earth is like a vapor. It is here today, and gone tomorrow. It can change in an instant, a truth that is becoming progressively more clear since July 11th. We have no idea when that time will come. Many of us have even seen life flash before our eyes thinking it could be our last moment. Since that is the case why do I not apologize when I know I should? Not forgive when the sun is setting? Not speak when I feel God lead me to say something? Not live my life like it may be my last day? And something I have just seen, why don’t I live my life like it could be someone else’s last day?

Honestly, there are those close to me that I know are struggling. I know there are those around me that I can influence that I chose not to because it could conflict with my comfort, or theirs. I know there are people that don’t know Christ, or have had a bad taste of church, but really just want to know that someone out there cares. They don’t want a religion, they want a Savior. Jesus  offers a relationship and a community of others. As I say a silent prayer, I bank on that someone else will tell them that truth. This may be a strong statement... By praying, God often gives us opportunities to take a step. Sometimes the step looks like it is into rushing water with storms all around with nowhere to place our next stride, and he says step here, step out, trust me. Praying without stepping when a step is offered is worthless. We have to trust that God will keep us above the waters and hold us up when the world around us tells me the opposite. I know my life could impact the world if I truly let God use it. Every life can. Your life can impact the world. God, take my life and let it be a burning flame for all to see.

Do we realize that every interaction we have with another person either leads them closer or further away to God?

I trust in the Lord when He tells us of His unfailing love and forgiveness. I trust He knows my name. I trust he has paid for my debt and plentiful mistakes in the past. 

We all send a message with our life. It can be positive or negative, idle or driven, and many different combinations of messages, but everyone around us know what we truly stand for. What message do we send? Do we realize the magnitude in the message we send with our life? Do we realize present decisions affect eternal outcomes?

What if… my life, your life, our lives looked like this… everyday…

God,
Today is yours.
I lay it at your feet.
Forgive me of my failures.
I accept your grace that covers my past
And I will trust you with my future
But, today I will live in your freedom
Today, use me to change a life.
Give me courage to act
Boldness to speak
And strength to stand
For today, you are my God and I am your son.
Draw all of us close to you.
Influence the eternal with the impact of the present
For your glory
Your honor
Your praise
Today, I surrender my life at the foot of your cross.
I will go. Send me.

In Jesus name I pray, trust, and belief.
I surrender to you.
Amen.




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