Be the One to the One

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?
Luke 15:4 NABRE

Sometimes we feel as if we can’t make a difference. That the small things we do or say have no impact. Well let me tell you a story.

One of my officers responded to a suicide call whereby the grace of God, he arrived before the young man went through with it. He was able to get him out of the house safely and into a mental health facility. The young man had suffered for years with depression and other mental health problems. But the officer did not stop there. He befriended the man, called him, cared for him, encouraged him to give his life to God and to go back to church. That week, the man made amends with his family, began attending church and the universe fell into place for him. But the very next week while all was the best it had ever been, the young man died in a horrific car accident with his best friend,  both leaving behind wives and young children.

The officer was devastated. Through tears he said to me, “but we had plans to go to church together.” Then silence. Several weeks later, I received a call from the young man’s father to go over the return of his son’s property. It was then that he said this to me. “Melissa, I have to share with you what this officer did for my son. All his life he struggled. He was going downhill. This officer befriended my son, brought him back to God and saved my son’s life. That week in therapy,  my son asked me for my forgiveness, we hugged and I had the peace in my heart that I had prayed for for so long. He became a better person, asked forgiveness from everyone in the family and came back to church. So at the funeral in my despair, I thanked God. I did not lose my son to suicide because of this officer. My son was lost and was found and returned to God in peace as I had always prayed.  Yes it hurts to lose my son, but I have peace in my heart because of what your officer did.  I will never have to live with the image of my son taking his own life.”

The story moved me more than any other I had ever heard. It took me days, maybe even weeks to reflect on it. How the power of one effected so many and how we have that same power daily to effect that same change. Today, reflect and ask God to send you one. Or if you know the one, go after them. We are made to bring souls to God, and this is our purpose. Reflect on this officer’s story to remember the Holy Spirit, the power that the Lord has given you. Reach out to that one today and set the earth on fire for the love of God.

Pass it on…

Just Do It! An Adventure to be found in the Book of James

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing itthey will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25

As I sit here miserably sick in bed, I questioned God’s timing for round two of feeling like I was just hit by a mack truck. I just finished up a cold last weekend and spent last weekend in bed. Turns out that this weekend will hold the same fate for me…

During the times when I am sick, rather than embrace it, I tend to resist it. I exercise when I should be resting, go out when I should be staying in and exert energy when I should be mired in silence (sounds like the modern version of a St. Paul sermon). Yes friends, even in sickness we can choose to tune out what God is trying to do in our lives.

For me, sickness is a time when God is trying to get my attention about something. Sometimes that something is not readily apparent. Actually most of the time it is not…to me anyway. I live a hectic, busy life as an attorney working at a police department, a wife and as the mother of three children all practically the same age. I wake up an hour early each morning to spend time with God, and that is my hour of peace. But that peace slowly turns into controlled chaos, noise and the like.

So the hour is nice but is proving  not to be so sufficient for the things that I want to accomplish and the dreams that I have in my heart. Has anyone sat and thought, when God will be the time that I can do this thing? But…

Has waiting for God really been God waiting for you?

Before I became an attorney, my dream was to become a writer. I traveled to New York in high school to my dream school, Columbia and attended workshops there. I wanted to be a journalism major. And although this dream never came to fruition for a variety of reasons, I still look at those light blue letters that spell Columbia and writhe in grief, because deep down inside I wonder when God’s Plan “B” will deploy.

So back to sitting in bed sick…

This morning after a long and restless night, I woke up realizing that this wasn’t the sort of sickness that would simply go away. It was going to require a trip to the clinic, medication and yes REST. Since listening the first time is not my thing, I guess the second will be. My second act in life has always been the better anyway…

So I woke up and did my meditation and study as I do every morning. And since this time getting out of bed was not an option, I decided to listen. The Book of James seemed to be making its way into my head space, and God eased me into his message.

Just Do it

What? All that reading for a Nike slogan?

But you see, this is how God works. He takes a complicated, convoluted soul like myself and makes the message simple. It takes me an hour to get it, sometimes two, or maybe even months or years. But eventually, I get it.

So the Book of James was no different and made perfect sense. For the last several years I have been “thinking” about writing devotionals again but couldn’t seem to find a platform. I “thought” about starting a podcast about life as a Catholic (and Jewish) mom. I “thought” about finishing the book that I started about my conversion. I even thought about doing a comical talk show on Youtube about being a Catholic convert. All these things I have “thought” about and that’s where they have ended. Why? Because I wasn’t sure they would go anywhere and I didn’t want to take the time to see something fail.

Isn’t this our greatest downfall on dreaming, fear. 

And this morning in God’s perfect timing, I watched a video on A Greater Story with John Crist talking to Sam Collier about just this subject. About ideas that are contained and just doing them. About how it doesn’t matter whether the crowd will laugh or the reception you get, but rather to get that “thing” out of you. To stop talking about it and to just do it. 

To say, I am making this thing for me, not you! 

For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:26

And for us creatives, those of who live and move and have our being in words we write, things we say or pictures we paint, we become bodies without spirits when we suppress the things that have been divinely ordered. They are almost other worldly compulsions, feeling that we may die if we do not write or feel pain when we cannot sing.

I believe now that when we stifle God’s gifts our lives become stifled.

The thing must come out…

So don’t flush your old work like I did, feeling as if it wasn’t good enough. It, in fact, is the platform, the springboard if you will for God’s creative juices to flow through you and be let out for all the world to see. Who cares that you have one view or the thing doesn’t go viral. Like John Crist says, that thing is for you! It is inside of you to get out!

So if you find yourself in the mundane, stuck, uninspired…let that thing out. Don’t worry about the reception, worry about your soul. That pain you feel may be physical, but it may be coming from somewhere else. So lean into the season, the time, the rest or wherever you are and do those things you’ve been holding back on. Are you a failure if nobody cares for it or are you really failing God?

“So also faith of itself, if it does not have works is dead.”

James 2:17