That's my word for 2011. It's been big and bold in my mind and heart. A sense that something is coming. Something big and powerful. I can't explain it, but deep within is the certainty that it's time to get ready. It's been confirmed over and over. When I lost my job in January. And again, a few weeks later, when I was in Colorado Springs to visit my friend Kimberley Woodhouse and her family.
I went to church with Kim on Sunday morning. It was one of those beautiful old churches. The look and smell of the building all reminded me of my childhood as a pastor's daughter and granddaughter. It had the feel of home.
We arrived to discover there was a guest speaker. A police officer--a criminal investigator, to be precise. His message was titled "Live Courageously, Believe Courageously, Die Courageously." Interesting, but I confess, I didn't expect a lot. Can't tell you why. I was just...uninspired.
Then the man started speaking.
He shared that his life had been hindered by two deep fears: the second coming (because he knew he hadn't lived the life God wanted him to live), and sharing his faith. Then, 7 weeks earlier, some traffic mishaps told him there was something wrong. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed, out of the blue, with an inoperable brain tumor. With radiation/chemo, he'd have a year. Without, 3-5 months. He and his wife and kids prayed, and they chose without.
I have to confess, that took my breath away as he shared their decision. I had to ask myself what I would do. Would I go for the treatments, though they promised only a little more time? Would I want to spend my last days dealing with the effects of the treatments, which could be as devastating as the disease? I just didn't know.
This man went on to say that very day, once the decision was made, he knew what he wanted to do with his final days. They contacted area churches, asking if he could come speak, to share his story. And that's what he and his family have done, every weekend since the diagnosis. His wife goes to the podium with him, steadying him, keeping him on track. And he shares, as he did with us, how this death sentence has saved his life, here and in the eternal.
You see, this man is no longer afraid. God has come upon him and he's living his life according to what God deems right, not what he or his fears dictate. He said that while he regrets leaving his wife and his kids, his trust that God will meet all their needs is soul deep. He spoke with such...joy. And conviction. And since the diagnosis, he's shared Jesus with others. In churches. At work. In the line at the grocery store. As a result, he's led countless people to the Lord since his diagnosis, including a close friend, another detective, who was completely shut off to God. And then he asked us a question. He said, "Are you ready? Are you prepared for what God has in store for you?"
There it was again: Get ready. Be prepared.
As I listened, I wept. And the certainty inside just grew and grew.
Something's coming. I don't know what. I don't' know when. But I know that it's coming. And like this amazing man, I need to prepare myself, my heart and spirit, my life and activities. I need to seek God's path and leading in deeper ways than ever before. I need to prepare. My mind and my heart. For what God has planned.