This morning as I drove to work, I thought about people that God has put in my life to let me know His love. These don't have to be people who directly talked about God. Many people just made me mindful of the good that is in our world. I spent a lot of time thinking of Jo Ann.
Jo Ann is a friend I haven't seen in several years. Thanks to the internet, it doesn't seem that long. Jo Ann and I would seem to be unlikely friends, but somehow years ago a few things we may have said and a few things we did together cemented the deal. She and another unlikely friend, a co-worker of hers named Mark, have taken a few excursions together. I can't remember exactly where we went (I'll ask Jo Ann to update me) but I remember that we talked non-stop on the trips and with great fun.
Since I've known her Jo Ann has always loved the Lord with a real and unashamed enthusiasm. She was always available when I would call her with questions on my own seeking Bible Study. She didn't get into theological nitpicking. If it wasn't in the Bible, it was none of her business. I often called about weird questions and she did her best with concordances and topical indexes handy, to help me out. I can remember asking her a hypothetical question about a situation I saw in a movie about the Rapture. She said "Cathy, it's a movie." She made me realize that the movie was an author's reality, and my question was about God's reality.
She gave me solid simple advice. When I was obsessed over a man in my life, she told me to look beyond him to Jesus. And she told me to talk to Jesus the way I would talk to a man in my life ... tell Him about my day, tell him my joys and sorrows, give him gifts and look for His gifts. When I told her about my paralyzing stage fright, she told me that God could take care of that. I do believe that my present day lack of stage fright was a gift of the Holy Spirit.
She didn't see me or other non-Christian friends as potential notches in her Bible. On the contrary, she shared her joy in the Lord with us as naturally as if He were a real person. She was just keeping us abreast on her relationship with the One she loved best.
So after thinking about her for twenty minutes on the way to work, I found an e-mail from her this morning. (I hadn't heard from her in several months.)
Her e-mail said "Thought I would share this today. Someone must need to hear it. My calendar for today reads:
'Lord, I pray You would help me set my life in right order. I want to always put You first above all else in my life. Teach me how to love You with all my heart, mind, and soul.'
Isn’t it great to know that if we ask Him, He will teach us to do that which our own carnal selves may not always want to do."
There's a lot more I could write, and I hope to in the future.
How I invited her to come to church with me on the day I decided to go forward. I wanted her to walk up with me.
Or how she took me to her church where the folks "got happy", and one sweet lady. who was trying to be comforting, petted my hair and chased me out of the church.