Saturday, February 9, 2019

why birthdays show us Heaven and I’m feeling more hope

My latest and greatest plan, to treat people like it’s their birthday the other 364 days, too. Because God does. My latest and greatest plan is God’s oldest and goldest. Wow. What a rhyme. 

The guy to my right on the plane had the window seat. It was a short flight, a small plane, and I was thinking about Heaven and Hell. I was wondering why I didn’t talk about eternity more often.  

We all get a start day and we all get an end day. The in-between is up to us. 

I wondered about the guy next to me. Jesus was whispering to me that He loved him and wanted to spend forever with him. “Are you going to Heaven or Hell?” seemed harsh. And like, if I were the guy, and the odd blonde in seat 17D asked me that question, I’d turn and stare out my oval window for the rest of the flight.

So, I turned to him and chose these three words instead: “Jesus loves you.” He smiled and replied, “I feel like He may not always.” For the next 15 minutes, Ben and I talked about Jesus, shame, knowing you’re not doing a good job, and Ben kept repeating, “It’s my fault.” 

Today’s my birthday. Every year, this day is my reminder that I began. And that I will end. All the in-between, I want to let Heaven grow in me and spread around me.

I think Heaven looks kinda like a birthday party. Full of friendship thick and sweet, family excited about each other, hearts amazed by Jesus; I want every day I live to be packed with the same stuff. And not other stuff. 

Then, do you know what happened? Without any Heaven or Hell questions, Ben said, “If you asked me if I would go to Heaven today, I’d have to say I don’t know.”

When we venture out to love, pushing through the awkward and offering a “Jesus loves you” or a “Can I pray for you?” or “Here’s a present I thought you’d like,” He knows how to use it and let people feel His love. And how to make them aware of eternity. It’s already written on their hearts.*

I assured Ben that Jesus loves Him, died to take every bit of his fault, and is making a place for him in Heaven.  

The more I let God love me with His “Girl-you’re-amazing-and-I-love-the-way-I-designed-you” celebration, the more I want to spread all that celebration (Heaven) with everybody everywhere. 

Go with love. Jesus isn’t wanting to scare or guilt people into Heaven; He’s wanting to love them right into His friendly arms. 

I didn’t blow any balloons up for Ben, but I have started carrying a pack of balloons in my purse so now I’m ready for next time. Treating people like it’s their birthday shows them God’s way. 

Kara had a card waiting for me by the bananas this morning. Jessica brought over early-morning balloons and repeated hugs.  Meagan drove hours to be here. Dad took me to coffee. Celebration of life. It’s God’s way, His idea. 

“Hey! I gave your life a start and I’m so glad I did!” He sings to us. We get to help each other hear His song and feel His celebration. 

“Mom, she was excited. She’s always liked babies. You were her last one,” Dad said across the coffee table this morning as we discussed my birth.  

Some people don’t have an excited-about-who-they-are mom, or a kind-hearted Dad to tell them stories about their birth, but every human being has an excited-they’re-alive Maker. Let’s let each other know! All 365 days! 

Before we got off the plane, Ben encouraged me to keep “Spreading the love.”

Let’s bring each other balloons and take each other to coffee and tell each other how much Jesus loves us.

God, let Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven (how fun!).
Amen. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭

*we get to hear God’s voice! John 10:27
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