Monday, August 5, 2013

Memorial Box Monday: This Girl

Being the first Monday in August, it is our "official" Memorial Box Monday.
I am tickled to share this story, which has been in the making
for the better part of 20 years.

For those new to our Place Called Simplicity, let me back up and
explain for just a second what Memorial Box Monday is.

In the Old Testament God told the Israelites to gather stones and build a Memorial
as a constant reminder of His deliberate and direct intervention in their lives.
The Israelites were to tell their children the story represented by the stones
over and over and over, so in turn their children would tell their children
over and over and over.


Because God knew how easy it is for us humans to forget what He has done in our lives.
We are a very forgetful bunch!  We can celebrate His faithfulness one minute
and in seemingly the next breath, we can fall into hopeless despair,
wringing our hands and wondering what are 'we' going to do -
completely forgetting all that He has already done.

Yet when we intentionally spend time celebrating the personal
stories of our lives, the memories are kept fresh, alive and faith is built.

In our home we have a giant box, prominently displayed.
It is filled with little trinkets:  each representing a story of
God's provision, God's healing, God's protection, God's intervention.
All representing God's faithfulness.

Often on family nights we will take a little trinket out and tell the story
represented by that symbol to our children, keeping the memory
alive and celebrating the faithfulness of Almighty God.

Today I share a story that is really probably almost 20 years in the making.
It is a tender story as it is very personal for me and comes from deep
within my soul.  I have prayed in earnest that I would communicate it well,
so as to honor the Lord in all that is said.

As many of you know, Dw was an attorney for 11 years with a
very successful law practice, which we closed so we could move
for him to attend seminary.  After seminary we had the privilege of
senior pastoring for 20 years, which we left as we relocated to Phoenix
so Ruby could be near a much-needed neurosurgeon.

Prior to senior pastoring, while Dw was in law school and then a lawyer,
we had been heavily involved in serving in our local church and strove to
only ever be a blessing to those who pastored us.
We were greatly blessed with awesome, Godly leadership back in those days.

During the 20 years of pastoring, every now and then I would remark to Dw,

"I am praying for the man who will one day be our pastor.  
You are the most Godly man I know.  
It will be hard for anyone to fill your shoes as my pastor.  
I have met many pastors.  
Few even come close to you Whitey.  
You are a man of integrity and character.  
I live with you and I know your weaknesses and faults - 
yet I can't imagine anyone as Godly as you. 
Some pastors I know know every line to the every movie
but could not quote a scripture verse to save their life. 
You are tender and gentle.  
You love the orphan. 
You are compassionate to all you meet.  
You stop and talk to people who are developmentally delayed 
or physically challenged.  I have spent time with many pastors, 
as you well know.  Many would not think of stopping and 
loving the least of these.  I don't know who will be able to pastor me, 
after having you pastor me.  
You will have left some mighty big shoes to fill."  

Please hear my heart in this dear friends.

I am not being critical at all.

Just making a very clear observation.
I have spent time with many pastors over the years.
Very few would I be willing to call "pastor" -
it is a role I take very, very, very seriously
{which we should, since God has some really clear guidelines as to who should pastor}.

This became a serious {but very private} heart cry for me.

And every now and then, over the 20 years of senior pastoring, I would pray,

"Lord, please, when we no longer are senior pastoring would you 
provide a Godly man, full of integrity, love and compassion  
who loves his wife and family, who is diligently loving 
those around him out of a sincere love,
who hears you whisper daily, 
who is passionate and uncompromisingly committed to sharing
the truth of God's Holy word in both word and deed?"  

And then, after 20 years, we left senior pastoring so Ruby could be in close
proximity of a major neurosurgical center....
and it was time to see what God was going to do...

I am overjoyed to share with you that God 
hears our heartfelt and secret prayers - 
prayers that could be deemed 'insignificant' by some, 
yet to our powerful, caring God - 
His gentle answer confirms that 
He cares about every single need we have.

I am delighted to give God all the honor and glory:

Our pastor is one of the few men who could 
possibly come close to filling my precious husband's shoes.
Pastor Luke first and foremost 
'rightly divides the word of truth'.  
He shares with deep conviction and without compromise 
the truths of God's Holy word.  
He is gentle.  
He is humble.  
He makes us laugh.  
He admits that he's not perfect.  
He loves like Jesus loves.  
He is a man of truth and integrity.  
And the icing on the cake?  
He loves our family and always has time to greet Ruby and our treasures.

Ruby can tell Pastor Luke loves her and let me tell ya', she adores him.

Yesterday Ruby threw her hands over her head and squealed in delight 
when she hear she was going to see Pastor Luke.

On any given Sunday, after worship, the second she hears his voice,
she starts to squeal and carry on {and we have to get up and exit as
she is causing a disturbance to all those around}.
No doubt, Ruby is clearly smitten with her pastor.

Pastor Luke has been known to see us 
walking past and pause a conversation 
to run over to see "his girl" Ruby.

I took this video yesterday.
How many mega-church pastors do this?

Our treasures know that Pastor Luke values them - 
they see him in the distance and 
run full speed ahead to shower him with hugs. 

I took this one a few weeks ago.

Ummm, yeah.  That's what I'm talking about.

I truly well with big ol' crocodile tears that God 
would hear my heart's cry and answer twenty 
years of prayers in such a beautiful and tender way. 

Faithful God. 

Pastor Luke being His hands and feet to our family.

How we praise the name of the Lord.

In our Memorial Box we will place a picture of Pastor Luke with our treasures
as a reminder to all of us just how much the Lord cares
for every single thing that is a concern to us.

10 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. That husband of yours also left a hard to fill spot in my life. I measure a good Pastor by thinking back to Dwight. Truly. He was there, absolutely there, for us during our very difficult season. He taught me a lot and I carry those lessons forever. So glad your prayer was answered, especially in a "mega church".

    1. Mrs Mann,
      I am thankful that Dw left a lasting impression on your heart. He is an amazing man....who he is in public, he is in private. Miss you!! xoxox

  2. Oh truly Linny! Such a beautiful story and wonderful blessing. We live in the bible belt and in our area there are so many churches. But you know what? We have went to so many of them and now home church. We have home churched for many years. We can not in our area, find a church that does not add to or take away from the Word of God. A pastor that is humble and does not care about numbers and a building program. sigh. Believe it or not the hardest part is I have very little to no fellowship most of the time. I get it mostly from online people I have met thru blogging. God is so good. I have not given up. We study all the time and are learning all the time. God is so good. I do believe some day we will be led to a church that is led by a man of God. Just waiting for it to happen. Praise God for His Word and that He is always approachable to teach us and help us. Beautiful post! Blessings!

    1. I never would want to come across as critical, but truly, I have met *all* kinds of pastors...we *know* that Pastor Luke is a rare exception . We feel abundantly grateful God is faithful to not only hear our prayers, but answer so beautifully.

  3. What a beautiful memorial box story! And to think, God was working behind the scenes, for 20 years to answer one of the prayers of your heart!

    Linny I have to share with you an answer to one of my prayers.

    In earl 2010 husband and I found a little one on China's waiting children's list, a little guy with albinism. We inquired about him, he stole my heart. We started the processing to bring him home. The Lord had placed the orphans of Ch*na on my heart 10 years prior. I was so excited my time had come. Sadly, we were disqualified due to a medication husband started taking when he returned from combat. I have the little guy's framed picture on my dresser, my Eli. My Eli disappeared off the list shortly after we found him, and I assumed he'd been matched. I stopped looking at Ch*ina's waiting children list since we did not qualify. I have not looked at it in over a year. But I prayed for my Eli, that is I could not be his mama, Jesus would find him the perfect mama.

    HIs picture is still on my dresser, often I wonder what has become of my Eli. Last week I looked at a waiting childrens' list...and guess who I saw?? MY ELI!! He is still so darn cute and precious...even better, next to his name in red letters MATCHED!!

    Thank you Jesus, my boy has a mama to love him!


    1. Awesome story. Yippee Jesus!! I am so thankful God answered your prayers - orphan no more!! Awesome God to show you.

  4. Makes me want to move to Phoenix just so I can know him better.... Amazing that I can see that from 30 second of video, but it is true.

    1. Come on over!! He and his wife are amazing people who LOVE, you would love them.

  5. Yes! Too many pastors and priests are not holy, and lead people AWAY from church instead of too church. I have known people who have left RELIGION because of pastors/priest, from sexual abuse (sadly too common in the Catholic church) to damning someone for their sexuality. I wonder why some men have become pastors or priests. I pray that all churches have the gift of being blessed by a good, decent man who loves Jesus & his fellow mankind above all else.

  6. This isn't a Memorial Box story. But I remember you posting about other adoptive families who have had trouble abroad and thought you might be able to get some traction for this family:


It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.