I had the pleasure and honor of bridesmaiding at my dear friend's wedding on Saturday. She asked me to give a speech at the reception and I gladly agreed. Public speaking is a crap shoot for me. As much as I try to prepare... I never feel ready for it. My pitts get sweaty, my hands start to shake and when it comes to this kind of sharing from the heart... I undoubtedly start crying. I don't think I made it past the first line without bursting into tears... but what I ended up speaking was pretty much a very brief summation of my heart for my dear sister.
Here's a little excerpt of my speech:
One of the things I appreciate most about Leslie is our marked differences. Leslie and I are like day and night, and I see in her character many things that I'd always wanted for my own. Our respective strengths are each other’s weaknesses. Instead of our differences driving us apart, we have overcome the temptation for jealousy and discontentment and have grown to learn from each other and sharpen each other so that together, we grow stronger and blossom brighter than we ever could if we were apart. Leslie has been a role model for me throughout my lifetime and from the bottom of my heart, I thank God for bringing her into my life to teach me and show me how to be the woman I know God wants me to be.
I know it didn't go quite so nicely on the day of... between sobs and sniffles and "grossness" and my voice that somehow disappeared the morning of the wedding... I hope the point got across. Well, if it didn't then, then it will now.
I heard a sermon a few weeks ago which challenged me to look for Christ-like characteristics in others and emulate them in my own life. If you wanna grow or if you wanna learn... learn from the best.
In taking a look at my friendships... I see so many wonderful things to emulate. The richness and vibrancy that my friends add to my life is nothing short of amazing.
And then I started to think about... what would I want people to emulate FROM me? It's one thing to learn from someone else and quite another to have others learn from you. But I think... both are good things.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Cor. 11:1
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Phil 3:14
Opening myself up to following after others... and also to having others follow after me... good things. I am not perfect, but I press on. And if other people are encouraged to press on alongside me, then that would be nice. And if my weaknesses are emulated and amplified in those who follow after me... then I'm glad that I will be able to see it more clearly and humbly work towards sanctification in that area.
On the topic of comparing... there's such great temptation to compare myself to others. I know I did it quite frequently in Houston... when I wished that I had someone else's life... any other life but mine. I wished that Anderson didn't have to have brain cancer. I wished that we could just be two "normal" people, living a "normal" life back home... who didn't have to deal with all of this right now... but I dunno. All that wishing didn't change a thing. All that wishing for something other than what we were given... it was honest. Somewhere along the way... maybe alongside the wishing... was growing a deep faith that God was in control. He knew exactly what we needed and put us in the precise circumstances which would allow us to grow the most. We could fight the things we couldn't change, but we could also accept them and appreciate the good things that came out of it. Lots of good came out of it.
Excerpt from Streams, April 26:
Light is always costly and comes at the expense of that which produces it. An unlit candle does not shine, for burning must come before the light. And we can be of little use to others without a cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering, and we try to avoid pain.
We tend to feel we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong and fit for active duty and when our hearts and hands are busy with kind acts of service. Therefore when we are set aside to suffer, when we are sick, when we are consumed with pain, and when all our activities have been stopped, we feel we are no longer of any use and are accomplishing nothing.
Yet if we will be patient and submissive, it is almost certain we will be a greater blessing to the world around us during our time of suffering and pain than we were when we thought we were doing our greatest work. Then we are burning and shining brightly as a result of the fire.
Someone once asked me when she would learn to love correction. I've thought about that question a lot. I'm not really sure. Maybe when you learn to turn your eyes away from the initial sting and set your gaze on what you know is coming ahead. Maybe it's when the joy of transformation towards holiness overcomes you so powerfully that you look forward to the next round as a new chance to rid your life of sin that slows you down and entangles you. Maybe when you begin to realize that God only disciplines those whom He loves... and the greater the discipline, the greater the love. The quicker you submit to the discipline, the faster it will end, the faster you will move on to the next great lesson He wants you to learn.
K, I think I've been trying to finish this post for a very long time. I'm just going to end it now.
Feeling better, physically. My voice is pretty much back. Glad to have a few more days of rest before work.