Building Faith….

Building Faith in Our Lives

I hope you will love today’s story as much as I do! Building faith in our lives does not always come easily or according to the time frame we determine. I am convinced that building faith is much like navigating a maze blindfolded. We know there is a path and we know there is a way to successfully get to the goal but we cannot see the end until we actually arrive there.

With a maze and with life – the point is to navigate the path using the best efforts we are capable of. And…with the assistance made available to us, we can make corrections and keep trying until we get it right! Building faith is not an easy task but the reward is well worth the effort!

Tell Them (Author Unknown)

Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith.

That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange – very strange.

Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge. He constantly objected to or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?” “No,” I said emphatically. “Oh,” he responded. “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

I let him get five steps from the door and then called out. “I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am certain He will find you.” Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm.

“Tommy! I’ve thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick,” I blurted out.

“Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It’s a matter of weeks.”

“Can you talk about it?”

“Sure. What would you like to know?”

“What’s it like to be only 24 and know that you’re dying?”

“It could be worse,” he told me, “like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”

Then he told me why he had come.

“It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God, and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit. I decided I didn’t really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.’ So I began with the hardest one: my dad.”

Tommy’s father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.

“Dad, I would like to talk with you.”

“Well, talk.”

“I mean, it’s really important.”

The newspaper came down three slow inches.

“What is it?”

“Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”

Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. “The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I couldn’t remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning.

“It was easier with my mother and little brother,” Tommy continued. “They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the things we had been keeping secret for so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, and I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

“Then one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. Apparently He does things in His own way and at His own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

“Tommy,” I added, “could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you told me?”

Though we scheduled a date, he never made it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen or the mind ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. “I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said. “I know, Tommy.”

“Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?”

“I will, Tommy. I’ll tell them.”

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Creating a Meaningful Life…

the-meaning-of-life-revisedadobestock_71988761The best days of our lives are the ones in which we get to be the givers! Life is such a profound gift in and of itself. I like to believe that when I give of myself in some way to help another that I am a partner with God in His work here upon the earth. I seem to be in a place right now where I am continually learning about my personal influence and how rarely I know what that influence really is. Life is so often made of those commonplace moments that I think it is often hard to know when something we have done had profoundly affected another. It has made me take a step back in my moments of reflection and to try to become more in tune with the mindset that everything I do has an influence in the world around me. That is how our energy works. We choose the type of influence we will be but our gift becomes the most powerful when we give something of our self to others.

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Faith is Trust…

fiduciaI believe that faith is often a very misunderstood concept. I have learned that faith is fragile and an ever evolving part of life. Just when I think that I have a pretty good grasp on faith – I often find that my faith was really only amazing for that one moment or that one life event. Faith is both a gift and a reward. I have never been disappointed when I have exercised faith in God. Yet, each new challenge is just that – a challenge! In heaven, I saw what an important component of our lives that faith is meant to be. I saw that we have come to this life to learn faith. Undoubtedly that is why faith is such an ever-present learning experience. I hope that as you learn to exercise faith in your life, that you will reach out to God and ask for his help. I know that as we reach out to Him and depend on Him, He will be there for us 🙂

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I Am There with You…

You are never alone-791420

I remember so many moments in my life when I felt so alone – many of those moments I was surrounded by large numbers of people. Other than losing a loved one, I’m not sure there is a more difficult experience than feeling lost and alone in a crowd. Those years that I suffered from severe depression had more of those moments than I care to think about. I have always been a person with spiritual inclinations and depression stripped me of my normal ability to feel connected to God. For all of you who are wading through depression or other life altering experiences, please know that God loves you and is aware of you. If you can’t yet feel Him talk to you in your heart – climb a mountain, smell the sweet scent of a flower, hold a newborn baby or do whatever it takes to sense the miraculous. Miracles abound in this world if we will open our hearts to their presence. God’s majesty is ever ready to be found. He is present in your heart – hang on and hang in there until you can feel Him. Ask Him to hold your hand each day until you can feel certain that He is holding your heart as well. As a witness of His divine presence and perfection, I cannot promise that each day from this day forward will be easier for you but I can promise that you are loved by God unlike anything you can relate to in mortality. I also promise that as you open yourself to His presence in your life you will see miracles and you will eventually know in your heart that you are not alone and that you never will be.

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When the Light Goes Out Before the First Breath

LIght of LifeToday’s post is not necessarily part of what I learned in heaven – though part of it is. Today’s post is a little bitter sweet. Quite often, our days have both a combination of bitter and of sweet. What I share today comes on the heels of the news received last week that the fourth baby we were expecting to add to our family this year will not be arriving. That news was received just ahead of the birth of this year’s baby #1. I know if I talked to a scientist he/she would give me some detailed explanation of exactly how and of what a heart is constructed of. Though my spiritual heart resides right next to my physical heart – they are definitely two interrelated yet separate operations. Somehow, my physical heart just keeps on beating while my spiritual heart wants to both shout with joy and crumble with grief. Our tally now comes to 15 sweet mortal angels (called grandchildren) and 5 heavenly angels that came and whispered their arrivals but who left before they took their first mortal breath. Those five heavenly angels have not disappeared – they are very real; they just did not need the same mortal experience that we did. For them, the perspective is much different. They love us and care for us and from their time perspective (which is different than ours), they know in no time at all we will be joining them. In the meantime, we mourn those angels we will have to wait to hold and we celebrate those angels who remain in our presence. It is at times like these that I hold on tightly to those amazing things that I learned in heaven. I hold onto the knowledge that my Father in Heaven is perfect and only wants what is best for me and those I love – even when we don’t understand why some things need to be the way they are. I will hold dear my knowledge of just how much we are loved by the Father of our souls. I will trust in that plan for my life that was prepared well before my first breath and I will know that I don’t have to understand everything – I just have to have faith and rely on that perfect, loving Being that I call my Father in Heaven.

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