Sunday, April 15, 2012

Find Your Shine!

My family experienced an exciting adventure over spring break. Instead of traveling to some tropical location to spend a week in the son, my son, Gavyn, had his tonsils and adenoids removed. He has been having a lot of trouble with sore throats and strep infections over the past few years. He had two infections in a row just over the winter months. We didn’t want to wait and take a chance of it getting any worse, so we scheduled the surgery.

He was such a trooper through the whole procedure. We even came up with fun signals for him to use with me when he got home to make things easier which helped a lot. His favorite signals though were clapping loudly when I was in the other room and whimpering to get my attention. These were not pre-approved signals (smile). He is really good at pulling at mom’s heart strings for sympathy. It’s just a little tiring when mom has two at home to entertain… for a whole week. One was sick and the other was simply jealous. No fun!

Gavyn spent a lot of time resting over his spring break. Netflix, DVD’s, video games, and some books were very helpful in entertaining him. The only problem is that he wanted mommy by his side every minute of the day. It killed him that his brother could go outside, shoot hoops, ride his bike, and hang out with friends. He hates missing out on anything, but his only job for the week was to rest.

Mommy kept pretty busy as Gavyn’s nurse after surgery. He needed pain meds. every four hours, antibiotics twice a day, and he had to eat or drink often to prevent scabs from forming in the back of his mouth. This helped make sure it wouldn’t hurt as much later as it healed. I also had to check his throat throughout the day to see if it was swollen or bleeding.

The problem with the “throat check” was that my flashlight kept disappearing every time I was ready to check it. The only one I seemed to find was a small bluish tinted one, with a dim light, in need of new batteries. Why is it that when you really need a flashlight you can’t find one and when you do find one it always needs new batteries? Interesting…

We are currently on day 14 of the healing process and Gavyn is doing great. He’s not ready to sing any solos, but he can talk and the pain is almost gone. Yay! We survived! A scripture came to mind often as I shined a “light” in my son’s throat for a week.

Matthew 5:14-15 says…"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” (MSG)

I love the way the message version puts it… “…we are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world…shine!” God has called us to be light to this world. What does that mean? He wants us to become reflectors of Him for others to see. When others look at us, they should see Jesus.

Jesus followers should have “evidence” showing their connection with Him. Some of this evidence or proof can be found in…

Galatians 5:22-23…“But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (NCV)

Whatever you plant inside of your life will come out? When we cultivate our hearts and lives with the things of God, we will begin to produce the fruit of God. Reading our Bible, praying or talking with God, going to church, and surrounding ourselves with people who want the same things will help us to shine brighter for God.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says… “…our lives are gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (MSG)

One summer my family and I decided to tackle a garden. I DO NOT have a green thumb, but my boys wanted to try it. What could it hurt? If anything they would learn the process of growing things. We were renting a house from a farmer at the time. He just so happened to have a portion of land free behind our house that was empty and fully tilled. We approached him and he was gracious enough to allow us to practice our gardening skills there.

We chose the seeds carefully, read all of the directions, and chose the perfect time to plant. The boys were ecstatic! They couldn’t wait to see the fruit of their labor. Labor is the key word. They didn’t like to weed the garden or take the time to water it when it didn’t rain. It was too much WORK especially when there were so many other fun things to do. Mommy helped as I was able, but little by little the garden died. All we had left was one measly tomato plant surrounded by weeds. I kept encouraging the boys to go water and weed their plant, but they never got around to it.

One day while the boys were in school the farmer’s wife decided to mow around our house. She saw the small patch of grass in the field and assumed her regular mower must have missed it. She mowed over it. As she looked back over her shoulder to make sure she didn’t miss anything else, she saw the spray of splattered tomatoes. She felt horrible. She had destroyed our garden… or what was left of it.

Later that day we received a gift…canned peaches. It was a peace offering of sorts for demolishing our tomatoes or should I say the lonely tomato that survived. My boys learned a huge lesson that day. Put the work into weeding or you will lose the fruit of your labor. So true!

The same is true in our walk with God. Letting God’s fruit shine through us is difficult at times. It takes hard work to bite your tongue when you want to say something else. It takes hard work to be patient for everything to work out. It takes hard work to show love to that person especially after the way they treated you. It takes hard work to experience God’s peace when it feels everything is out of control. But with God’s help He will begin to cultivate His fruit in us.

Just like a farmer, God scatters seeds, waters, feeds, and grows His fruit inside of us. The more time we spend with Him, the more it grows. It can’t help but bubble out of us for everyone to see.

How can we shine brightly for God?

~Spend time with Him (Talk to Him & read His love letter to us…the Bible)
~Surround yourself with godly things (go to church and find godly friends)
~Live differently (Reflect God in your words, attitudes, and actions)
~Love differently (Let God’s love shine through for others to see)

As we begin to fill ourselves with more of God, His fruit will shine brightly through us in such a way that others will notice. They will begin to see qualities in us that are different than those around them. These evidences of God in our lives could be what draws our friends and family to God. Shine brightly! The world is watching. But no pressure my friend. Remember as we draw closer to God, it just bubbles out naturally. Get your shine on!

Living to leave a legacy,