Sunday, April 11, 2010

Everything Rides on Hope Now

After the recent and sudden passing of a sweet friend, I have been inspired by the legacy she left. Her name is Heather Hopson Graff, and she was one of the most beautiful Christians I have ever had the honor of knowing. Heather had always had a huge effect on me, even from a distance. Her smile and laugh were contagious. She shone with a Christ Light that was unavoidable, and her sweet spirit was an inspiration in and of itself. I always liked who I was when I was around her, and she taught me a lot about what it truly meant to love God with all of your heart, mind, body, and strength. It has been seen that even in death, she is doing His good work. Over 750 people attended her viewing, and I know there were at least that many at her funeral. She touched so many lives! I attended those celebrations of her life with some initial reservations, as I was not as close to her as so many who were attendnig with me. I felt a tugging at my heart that could not be ignored, though. As I sat contemplatively at these events, I soon discovered I was exactly where I should be..

With every song that was played and every word spoken, I felt His spirit enter that place with ever-increasing glory. I had been recently struggling through a dry spell, a period of complacency and "business." I had been distracted so much from the Lord that even in prayer my mind would wander. I had been seeking from everywhere a way to break through. It seemed that the news of Heather's passing brought a truth crashing down on my spirit that not only broke through the placid stillness of my lake, but stirred its current to rush forth again! I saw first hand a truth I recognized and only foolishly believed I understood - our lives are not our own. I look at the life Heather led, the events leading up to her sudden passing, the way things fell into place, words that she had recently spoken, things God had revealed to her, and especially the people she had touched, and it was obvious: she was meant to live her 26 years, no more, no less. And, my had she led them to completion with fullness! I realized at that moment the true scope of His purpose for our lives. I saw the reality that we only have as much time as He has alotted for us to have, and that it is up to us to fulfill our destiny at "just such a time as this." It seemed that so many different puzzle pieces of so many studies all fell into a sense-making image of truth. I thought immediately, "What have you been doing, girl?!" No - moreso, "What have you THOUGHT you've been doing?" I began to see that my current state of stillness could not continue. I was treading water, neither faithfully stepping onto it, nor fearfully avoiding it- just standing inside the boat staring out out the water, watching my savior pass by me. How God-like that the preacher's next words were on that very portion of Jesus' story. He reminded us that in the storm of our grief, Jesus was 2 places: interceding for us on the mountain, and walking out to us right there in the midst of it. But, where was I?

I listened as he read her own words, as she let all the honesty of her walk, her truth, her beauty, all of her nitty-gritty, soul seething prayers written on the screen of a computer. I was awed. I was inspired. I was awoken once again. I felt my shins start to bleed right then and there, as I foresaw the hours I knew I'd be putting in on them before my God soon after this. I heard the words of some of my absolute favorite praise songs seemingly for the first time: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come." "If everything comes down to love, then just what am I afraid of?" "Always: Our Savior never fails." Heather lived out every word of those songs. We all saw her destiny fulfilled. Now, what was I doing?

The preacher read a portion of one of Heather's blogs in which she herself was re-awakened to her fire for missions and her hunger to serve Him. He challenged us to daily step out into our own mission, to recognize our roles in serving our King, and to honor both Him and the memory of our beloved friend by living to love the Jesus that Heather knew and loved. I immediately vowed to do so, searching my oul for what mission He would set my feet running back toward. I was immediately jostled by the Holy Spirit to remember a word He had revealed to me a few months ago: "Linsey, dear one, we both need to see that you can finish something, bring something to fruition before I can reveal to you what big things I have for you to do, not that I may see in you what I already know to be there but so that you will trust and believe in yourself as I do. " Immediately, every little unfinished peice of Godly business I had came flooding into my mind, and I saw that at every crack in the road of incompletion...there was fear...fear in the form of doubt. I have set standards I fear are unattainable for myself to achieve. I doubt my leadership, my capability, my obedience, my capacty for self control. I wasn't letting him lead me, and I definitely wasn't finishing what we started. Then, those songs reverberated through my ears once again: If everything comes down to love, then just what am I afraid of?" "Always: Our Savior NEVER FAILS." I have nothing to be afraid of. I have everything I need, because I was born equipped to do what He has set out in advance for me to do. I am more than a conquerer!

So, Ms. Heather, I am taking up that challenge! I am choosing to set myself aside and just do what I was sent here to do. I don't know how long I have, how much I'll have to do, or how much I'll have to give, but with every opportunity that is given to me, I will give, I will praise, I will be, I will do. I'm riding now on all the hope and faith that is given to me by His Grace and Mercy. All of this, because I had the privilege of knowing you and the Jesus that you love so much. Heaven is more than blessed to have you home, beloved! Rest in all His Love and Peace!!

I end this first blog with some lyrics that I know Heather found such great inspiration in. I make them my anthem:

"Bring me joy. Bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, BRING THE RAIN!

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