25 June 2010

The Desires of Our Hearts

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalms 37:4

So, how long have I been proclaiming that I am “God’s Favorite Child”? Probably longer than any reader of this blog wants to admit, but there is some truth to the statement (in my opinion) and this week, two things happened that validate that claim (again, in my opinion).

The first incident happened on Wednesday when, after a brief summer sunshiney shower, a rainbow (actually, twin rainbows – but one was very faded) appeared briefly in the Atlanta skies. I am a big fan of rainbows and even as a child, I would stand amazed whenever I saw one – even the ones I would make for myself on a sunny day with a garden hose in the backyard. I know that for my gay, lesbian, and transgender friends, the rainbow is a symbol of pride for them, but for me, the rainbow is God’s Biblical promise that He will never again destroy the earth by flood. (Genesis 9:13). What a wonderful promise to Noah and his small family. Imagine their fear after spending all that time in the ark with all those smelly animals – to step out to a brand new world, wondering if they would ever go through an experience like that again, and then, to look up and see this marvelous arc of seven bands of color in the sky. And then to be told, by God, that He did this just to alleviate those fears. How kind and compassionate He is. For me personally, there have been times when I needed to feel His presence and I have looked up and seen the rainbow in the sky. I take it, each time, as His personal message to me that I am not alone and that He cares.

The second incident happened today. But first, a little history and the backstory. In 1998, our church held a worldwide evangelistic campaign called “Net ‘98” and the speaker for this campaign was Pastor Dwight Nelson who, at that time, was the pastor of the Andrews University Church in Berrien Springs, MI. I’d never heard of this pastor before and probably was dragged, kicking and whimpering, to the first meeting. However, after his very first sermon, I was hooked. I attended EVERY meeting of the crusade and when it was over, I had a new understanding of what my Christian walk should be about: namely, my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am a 4th generation Seventh-day Adventist Christian and I never understood, in the way that he explained it, that it wasn’t necessarily about the doctrines of the church (although they are important), but more about my relationship with Christ that was going to matter in the end – AND THAT, no matter how much I wanted a relationship with Christ, He wanted one with me even more. Hearing this, understanding this, and accepting this as truth literally CHANGED my Christian life and how I relate to Christ. I told my mother then (and several times since) that one of the people I most wanted to see and meet in heaven was Pastor Nelson so I could tell him the impact he made on my life. I don’t know why I didn’t just write him a letter and tell him, but I felt like this was something that needed to be said face-to-face. And today, I got my chance!

Our world church is convening in Atlanta, GA for the 59th Session of the General Conference (it only happens once every 5 years and jumps around the globe each time, so it is a big deal that over 100,000 Adventists are expected to invade the city of Atlanta over the next 10 days). Imagine my heart-stopping surprise when, while walking around to take some pictures, I run right into Pastor Dwight Nelson and his lovely wife, Karen. I know he thought I was a crazy woman because I immediately launched into “stalker fan” mode and started talking at 100 miles a minute. Poor man, he kept saying, “oh, that’s nice” and “Praise God” and “I’m just trying to get down on the floor for the general session” – but in spite of my craziness, he graciously posed for a picture with me, taken by his wife.

All that to say: God knew that the desire of my heart was to be able to tell my story to Pastor Nelson and He decided I didn’t have to wait until heaven for that to happen. He put me in the right place at the right time and made this dream of mine come true. It is through instances like the rainbow and the “random” encounter with Pastor Nelson that I have come to learn that nothing is too small for Him to notice – and in reverse, no situation/crisis/issue is too big for Him to handle.

Be blessed.

© 2010 Kristina E. Smith
Friday, June 25, 2010

04 June 2010

The Circle of Life

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…” Ecclesiastes 3:1,2

This is a very familiar Bible text, but never did it home more to me than last week when on Thursday, I attended a funeral service for a dear friend’s husband – and then less than 48 hours later, went to the hospital to welcome to the world a brand new “niece”. As I said goodbye to a man I only knew through the stories of his wife and daughter – and then said Hello to a beautiful chocolate drop of sweetness, I was reminded of the fragility of life and how we need to embrace every moment of it with both hands.

That’s why I take pictures of EVERYTHING. There is an importance in recording the events of life. There is value in recording the memories in a tangible way. I was talking to an ex-boyfriend today and we were discussing some of the many experiences we have shared in the decade that we have known each other. Recalling and reminiscing made us both laugh and smile. As we get older, it is important to be able to recall good times – they sustain us during the dark times. (And we all have dark times). Another friend reached out to me tonight to remind me of the last time she visited my home and what a wonderful evening we had looking at old home movies, laughing, talking and eating. We didn’t know when we gathered at that time that within six months, her sister would be dead and that would be the last time all of us would be together – well, the last time together on this side of heaven. A great memory – and yes, I have pictures, but looking back, not nearly enough.

Life, by its very nature, is a cycle of good times, bad times, happy times, sad times – repeat, rewind, and do it again. If right now, you are going through a bad/sad time, remember joy comes in the morning. Hold on – good times are coming. And if you are going through a good/happy time, enjoy it – take the pictures – record the memories. They will sustain you through the trial that is coming. Because, unfortunately, trials always come – it is a part of the sinful world in which we live. But, even bad times are only temporary. And praise God for that.

Be blessed.

© 2010 Kristina E. Smith
Friday, June 04, 2010