Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Cause me to be a Blessing To Someone Today"

That simple prayer was the last I ever heard my mother-in-law utter.

Last year she spent 99 of her last 105 days in the hospital. 10 days before her final breath on this earth ushered her into eternity with our Lord, a dear family friend visited her room. I happened to be there and was so blessed when we had an impromtu prayer meeting. During that time, Mom was having trouble breathing but prayed a simple yet profound prayer that rings in my ears to this day: "Lord, I love You. Cause me to be a blessing to someone today."

This 80-year-old woman had lived a hard life. Orphaned at age 4, she was passed around from family member to family member. She never felt at home anywhere, but she kept talking to this "Jesus" that her mom had told her about. She didn't think he could hear her because she was so little, so she would climb to the highest hill and shout out her prayers to be sure she was heard. She grew up, married and divorced, and raised 3 sons largely by herself. Each disappointment and struggle drew her closer to God.

Like no one else, she taught me that every day is a chance for ministry. I saw her find the will to live because she still had grandchildren to pray into the kingdom. I listened to her describe praying for the televangelists that all I ever did was complain about. I watched her lovingly prepare her sons for her homegoing. She ministered until her dying breath, literally - her deathbed worship was a testimony to her ICU nurse.

I can explain theologically that we are "blessed to be a blessing". I can parse the texts and lay out the biblical foundation for missions. But only God can create in me a heart that cries out to truly be a blessing. Only God can transform this selfish woman into someone who thinks of others first. Only God can cause me not to just know about blessing, but to actually be one.

So Lord, cause me to be a blessing to someone today, and all my days.

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