For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Can you really make a difference?

Tomorrow I will re-learn her name. The woman who made the biggest difference in my life, one that will matter for all eternity, not just to me, but to my family. I knew her only briefly, just a matter of weeks, once a week. But she was so different from anyone I had ever known that she has lived in my mind for years, though her name has long since gone...of course, if you know me, the name thing shouldn't surprise you. ;)

Yesterday, after I hung up from a conversation with the leader of the PSP we are joining, I realized that this woman would know her. I remember only three "facts" about her. She homeschooled through this PSP. She had long hair (I think it was blond). She moved to HI. That last thing is significant enough to make her memorable to the group, I'm sure. 

Honestly, it had been a long time since I'd thought of her, and definitely never with her significance really registering.

Last night, I listened to a rather old sermon by the pastor of our new church in which he pointed out that Christians underestimate the difference they can make in the lives of others. I thought of her. She was different. She was, absolutely, different. And that stuck with me.

I knew why she was different. She was a Christian, but more than that. Lots of people these days say they are Christians, but what difference does it make in their lives? Have they changed? Can people tell without knowing that they attend church that they are Christians? Most Christians I've known have mostly been just "nice" people who attend church and probably won't kill you or steal from you. She was different. She lived it. She meant it. Her faith rolled off her in waves. I was ashamed to call myself a Christian in her presence. I knew I didn't have faith like hers. It was in every pore of her being.

When she moved I asked God why. I had known her just a few weeks, but I knew she was someone I wanted to be around. Someone I wanted to learn from. Someone who could change my life. But it wasn't God's time. Now it is. And now I hope that I can thank her properly for being so different that I couldn't help but be forced to think about what my faith really was. Especially what it was lacking. 

The time is now, and I cannot, will not, go back.

And it's all because one woman lived her faith so fully.

Toward the end of the sermon the pastor asked how far we were willing to go to make sure people we loved were ready to go to heaven. I wonder, how far are we willing? Are we willing to change our lives so radically that people must sit up and take notice? Are we willing to offend our "friends" who are comfortable in this world?

We can make a difference, but we must be willing to be different, be cast out, be looked down on, be gossiped about, be insulted. (Had to throw the hard part in there, just in case I started thinking this was going to be easy.)

But what is all that in light of eternity? Our eternity. The eternity of those around us.

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