Why I Wept at Church Yesterday

How it started

Yesterday morning at church, as usual for the first Sunday of every month, we took communion (the Lord’s Supper) at the end of the worship hour.  Sitting beside my husband and me were Cape and Barbara Caperton… 89 and 84 years old respectively.  I have written about Cape before and you can read that post HERE.

The sermon was particularly profound and was all about hope and the glory of God… a subject I love because it fills my heart and resonates deeply within my spirit, so I was primed for the moment about to occur right beside me.

Time to Take Communion

As the communion plate was passed, Cape first served his wife by holding the plate of small bits of bread and tiny juice cups that represent the body and blood of Christ.  Then I held the plate for Cape so he could take his own bread and cup.  He easily took the bread, but when his fingers tried to get a cup, they pinched and pinched at empty cup spaces where others had already taken a cup.. he simply could not see the edges of the remaining cups to grasp one.  You see, Cape has macular degeneration, a progressive, age-related vision deficiency which severely affects his ability to see up close, especially when the lights are dimmed as they were in that service.  He carries a magnifying glass and a flashlight as assistive devices for this type of thing, but he needed both his hands to partake.

Afterward, Jamie and I took our share and passed the plate back to the middle aisle to the deacon serving our row.  And then I started crying.  My eyes are filling with tears even as I am typing this part.  I cannot explain the emotional experience with adequate words… what was it that made me cry?  As I sat there, I just saw an 89 year old man doing his level best to serve his wife the “elements” and then struggled to serve himself.  The moment lasted only a couple of seconds as he was ultimately able to feel and grab a cup.

What else?

Adding to the emotion of the moment was that Barbara was taken off her chemotherapy treatment for cancer just last Tuesday and was told she had 3-5 months left.  The doctors and nurses at UVA who have been treating her for 12 years hugged and cried and told her good bye.  But you wouldn’t know that if you met her because she wouldn’t tell you.. she would ask about YOU and what’s going on in YOUR life.  No whining.  No complaining.  No pity parties.

Cape and Barb Caperton, Hanging of the Green Ceremony, December 2, 2018

 

How serious are we about the Lord’s Supper?

And how many of us take for granted the Lord’s Supper?  We partake or don’t partake with sometimes a very casual, passe’ attitude.  Rarely do we “examine ourselves” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) as we should.  How many among our church membership recognize this should be a priority for them on the first Sunday of every month and that their attendance is vital?  Here’s a helpful article on the gravity of The Lord’s Supper.  Would you have worked so hard to be present to participate as these two Christians did?

What are they leaving behind?

Once again, I was struck by the faithfulness of this precious, God-fearing couple.  That old Steve Green song, “May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful is looping in my brain.  The lyrics are outstanding.  By the grace of God, I am being given a front-row seat to precious servants of God that deeply love God and His Church.  They are showing me the way to live.  I am following behind and finding them faithful, they inspire me to obey.

What are WE leaving behind?

Jamie (my husband) told me when we got home that he completely understood the gravity and emotion of that moment in church.  Adding to the story, he said, “In just flash, that will be us.”

We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

CHORUS:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Why Christian Life Coaches Are Like Detectives

Coaches are much more like detectives than mentors, disciplers, consultants, or counselors. Think about it. Detectives don’t show up with answers; they don’t teach, model, advice, or guide.

Detectives question. Detectives probe and dig, they search for clues, they form hypotheses, and they work hunches. And through this process of intentional inquiry and clarification, they draw out answers. Through questioning they determine whodunit and why and how.

The analogy of a detective forms the core of our definition of coaching, and it’s the reason that our foundational scripture is Proverbs 20:5 – “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”

Life coaches cannot possibly be experts on their clients’ unique life paths, or giftings, or life callings. They don’t have the knowledge their clients are seeking, so they cannot impart it to them through teaching, modeling, advising, or guiding. They must draw it out from the clients themselves.

(taken from ChristianLifeCoaching.com)

Y’all! I’m certified!

After finishing my classwork and practicing my coaching skills on a bunch of willing guinea pigs, I AM NOW OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED TO BE A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH!  Imagine me striding (no, running I think) up to the stage with my prepared speech in hand.  I’m giddy and maybe squeaking a little with the dumbest smile… it’s that smile that ruins a lot of pictures because I look like I’ve just won the lottery.  Countless re-takes.  It’s the overkill smile.

THAT is my current disposition.

I would like to thank Christian Coach Institute and it’s founder and president, Janice Lavore-Fletcher.  Janice is an amazing woman with a deep and abiding faith in God.  Her spirit of humility and compassion are very unique, it’s no wonder she has been so successful as a Christian life coach and instructor.  A word of caution to any future students… beware when Janice says, “May I stretch you a little?”  I also want to thank my classmates from all over the world who encouraged and helped me in this journey.  A few in particular:  Liz Hill (of Warrenton, VA), Renee White (Nevada), Rachel Mighall (UK), Pastor John Gay (Minnesota), Amanda Bailey (Florida), Gina Freels (Oklahoma), Marian Rutkowski (Florida)… there are more.

I also want to thank Monique Lovelace, who let me practice on a her a LOT.  Errbody ought to know Monique… she is one cool chick who loves God and inspires me to be a better person.  Thanks, Mo, from the bottom of my heart.  I love you, dear friend.  (She also comes to the Bible studies I teach and makes me feel smart.)

It would be a terrible oversight not to include my sweet benefactor and husband, Jamie Usrey, without whom I would have failed.  He let me chase a goal and pushed me to finish.  I love you!  And I promise to try to make some money soon.

As my school and classmates know, there are probably hundreds of life coaching niches.  I am still in the process of trying to find mine.

Now the shepherds hook is pulling me off the stage while I cling to the podium.

Ten Characteristics of a Crucified Life

Years ago, Beth Moore wrote a study called, “Living Beyond Yourself” in which she laid out the ten characteristics of a crucified life.  Here they are.

  1.  Few will understand.
  2. You must abandon your own will and your own agenda.
  3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few.
  4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required.
  5. You will be constantly on the witness stand.
  6. You must go “outside the camp”.
  7. There will be times when your dignity is forfeited.
  8. You must forego your rights.
  9. You must accept that death is painful.
  10. Because He was forsaken, you never will be.

More mature Christians will understand what is meant by living a crucified life, while younger, less mature Christians will likely balk at the phrase.  But we are, as Christians, most definitely called by God to live a life crucified to Christ.  The  Apostle Paul said,

I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me.  Galations 2:20

Thank you, Lord, for my friends

This is just a short note to publicly acknowledge my gratitude to God for giving me such good friends over the years.  And He must have blessed me with the ability to choose good friends because Jamie always likes my friends, too.  Oftentimes, we like them so much we’ll take big vacations with them to far away places.  That’s saying something because no one jumps on a plane with people they just “sort of” like.

“Every good and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17

Once I was told by one of my dear friends that Beth Moore had taught a hard truth… when you seriously walk with the Lord, your intimate spiritual companions will be few.  That has been an enduring truth in my life – my spiritual companions have indeed been few, but those companions are forever knitted to my soul.  I mean it – forever.  I will spend eternity with them in the presence of the living God!

So tonight, I smiled a knowing, restful smile… a smile of gratitude to God for my spiritual companions who have joined me on this pilgrim’s progress.  I love you.  If you ever read this, you’ll know who you are.