Saturday, February 20, 2016

This IS your life

This is your life title sequence.jpg

A friend who has been dealing with some difficult situations lately remarked to me the other day, "I can't wait to get my life back."  She shared that her life has been ruled lately by some major interruptions. But what if these disorderly things are not so random at all?

For almost a decade, starting in 1952, NBC produced an early reality show on television called This Is Your Life.  The show originated in the late 1940s as a radio show to encourage despondent soldiers by revealing to them that their lives matter in significant ways, shown by those who had been impacted by these ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

None of us can fully realize what odd little turns of events that God uses in our lives, nor how God profoundly redeems those big "interruptions" for His greater good. 

From the time my mom was a little girl, she poured all her energies into developing her musical abilities as a  violinist and performer.  With very limited means, her widowed mother did everything she could to encourage my mom.  When going to college seemed a virtual impossibility, my mom hosted an early morning radio show with live music, playing her fiddle.  She finished up work every morning about the time most students were just rolling out of bed.  After becoming a young war widow in the early 1940s, Mom headed to New York to seek her musical future, furthering her education and playing on early television.

Before I was born, my grandmother came to live with my mom and dad to run the household while Mom pursued her music, seeking out every opportunity in ensembles, music organizations, and even playing concerts at our elementary school. Far ahead of her time, she worked with the music director at our local church to develop an orchestra to play in worship services and produce annual performances of Handel's Messiah, tapping into the abilities of church members who dusted off instruments long unused and encouraging budding musicians, adults and children alike, to serve God with their musical abilities.

And then, what could have been viewed as a narrowing of her scope manifested itself into an enlarging of her influence.

Mom's attention in later years was directed to playing her violin at nursing homes, residential facilities for the elderly and veterans, women's clubs and other small venues.  It was not Carnegie Hall, but she brought warmth and joy to mostly forgotten people.  Nurses often remarked about unresponsive patients tapping their feet to the music.  More often than not, she compensated her piano accompanist more than she was paid, giving valuable work and hope to mostly unemployed musicians.

She took her work seriously as if she were playing for the Chicago Symphony, practicing every day and working deeply into the night arranging music to the needs of the specific audience, never once repeating the same program. It never dawned on her to do anything less.

She had not reached a dead end in her musical career, but simply a change of direction.

The little secret that Mom discovered was "This is your life," not in a defeatist way, but as an extraordinary discovery of what God is doing, not as an interruption of plans or dreams, but the seamless weaving of God's purposes in it.  If we realized what this meant, how differently would we live?  How differently would we view our own turns in the road?

When my mom passed away eleven years ago, I found a piece of paper on which she had jotted, "I always wanted to be famous, but I think better things happened because I'm not."

We miss a lot of life, waiting for the future, waiting for what might be.  And yet, God has given each of us a story for today, not an insignificant detail in it. Something profound is going on that we cannot comprehend.  There is always something God is doing that we cannot yet see.

So when real life seems to be interrupting your dreams, God may be giving you a new story, a different narrative, and using you for something much deeper than what appears on the surface, something more significant than you can imagine.  When we allow God to lay His day before us, there are no interruptions, only divinely appointed purposes.

This IS your life, beyond your wildest dreams.
Follow Him into it.

Your life matters to Him,
 His extraordinary designs manifest
 even in the very details
                     of an ordinary day.

Where are you, God?
Where are you in this, O LORD?

For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.

                        Habakkuk 1.5

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