My sister and I have lived just over two hours apart for most of our lives now. Of course I feel that we are close, but for the last 20 or so years we have led busy lives. We both have been raising kids and she has helped run our family business. When we do get together, it is always fun but short. Not a whole lot of time to just sit and share. Our times together have mostly felt like we were “trying to drink from a firehose.”
Since our mother died a couple of weeks ago I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I have smiled many times just thinking about Mom’s life and all that she taught us about life. The last two years of her life have inadvertently caused my sister and I to spend more time talking on the phone and come together to plan for the greater good of our parents. With my dad’s stroke and my mother’s debilitating disease in the last 6 months, we have walked a road together that has been painful, stressful, but warming all at the same time.
The circumstances forced us to come together for a common purpose and gave us time to reconnect in a heart way that we haven’t had in years. Business, distance, and having different responsibilities and focus really limited our time to connect over the years. This storm and our aging parents have taught me a very important lesson……”to order my steps.” What I mean by that is the busyness of life and whatever has been in my face has caused me to lose sight of a very important relationship in my life….which was a relationship with my sister. We have always known that we loved each other and rarely have had a cross word, but life had gotten in the way and robbed me of a closeness with her. That closeness has grown once again in the midst of many difficult days these last two years.
When we were preparing for Mom’s funeral, desiring to paint a picture of all that we wanted to celebrate about her legacy and all that she instilled in us, we laughed and cried all at the same time. It felt like those days when we lived under the same roof with our parents. We spent time looking at all the pictures. We visited with all the people who poured into our lives, especially as kids, that we haven’t seen in years. Many of the people we grew up with in church drove their parents from all over to see our parents in the most difficult times of our lives. I was amazed at the “LOVE” that was demonstrated after all those years. Relationship bonds that were built years ago, many years have gone by…..but in the “devastating times” those people showed up…they came, they prayed, they cried, and they comforted!!
The greatest storm of my life so far, my mother’s death, has caused me to reevaluate the value I place on my relationships with family and friends. It has stopped me dead in my tracks and I am taking the time to “re-order my steps” more in the Back 9. In the book I have recently written,”The Front 9,” there is a whole chapter on the importance of relationships. Relationships hold the keys to life on this earth.
Jesus was the greatest example of valuing people and relationships. He valued them so much that He gave His life for me and for you. Many people miss the blessings and the great things God wants to do in their lives because they are not willing to establish meaningful relationships with the right people in the right way. Or, they are like me and finding the need to reevaluate how they are currently treasuring relationships.
Cultivating and feeding relationships are God’s intention for our lives on this earth. I know for sure the two greatest ways that God has blessed my life are through His Word and people! Seeking to bless others through my prayer, time, and attention….is something that currently has been demonstrated to me visually through the life of my parents. As usual, God has used a great storm in my life to bless me and cause me to want to change and grow….and treasure more the great gift of Himself and people.
John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Hebrews 10: 24-25, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
Two things money cannot buy….God’s Word and the investment you make in people’s lives. There is no amount of money or price tag you can place on those relationships when the storms of life hit!