Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mile Markers of Life

I met Deanna back in the year 2000 while I was living in Puerto Rico for a short period of time. While it was totally unexpected to me, it was definitely fate and a preconceived engagement in God's plan that we'd meet.  Also, unknown to me or her was the fact that we'd only be friends here on earth for just about two years.  What you gotta know is that I met Deanna about six months before she'd find out that she was terminally ill.  Scleroderma.... after months of testings, they had drawn their conclusion.
Most people I know have never heard of scleroderma.  So why was it that I knew exactly what it was?  Well, many years prior to meeting Deanna I had watched a very sad movie about a young woman who had it and died from it.  It was for me, one of those movies that I would not soon forget. And it would turn out to be a movie that God used to allow me the understanding for my friend during this most terminal time.   And so when she informed me of the illness, my spirit grew cold and my heart sank.  I knew she would die.  And she did.  Sooner than I thought.  Actually, within a period of about 9 months she went from being a vibrant 36 year old to what looked like the body of an elderly person barely able to move.  It still breaks my heart when I remember.
And still there is so much joy I claim  to be mine because of how endearing our short lived relationship was.  I believe God used me to be a "mile marker" for Deanna in her spiritual walk and when she needed it most.  You see, when we met, Deanna was a young Christian.  She had tons of questions and although we didn't see it at the time, God appointed me to provide her with not just answers, but a calming reassurance that she was on the right path.  She'd call me and ask to meet because she needed to know what God's perspective would be on mundane things like job opportunities and marital strife.  We'd laugh about questions like "is drinking champagne with your husband" a bad thing?  She was like a young child being overtly curious about the questions to life.

And God knew that.  He knew she'd need answers quick.  He knew what laid ahead for her.  And that she'd need direction.  That's what mile markers do.  They provide perspective on our journeys and road trips.  They are those numbers you see on the roads that read something like Mile 300.  They let us know how far we've come and how much we still need to travel.  They can bring discouragement when we realize we're not even close to where we need to be.  However, on our spiritual walk/run, mile markers can be very encouraging because they always point us to Him.  And we're encouraged by,  "Look how far you've come!" or "You're on the right path!" and "Keep moving, you're almost there!"

Ever notice that either you are drawn to some people or they are drawn to you for spiritual guidance?  I hope so. I know I witness it a lot. I have found others who look to me to know that they're going the right way.  And I know I've looked to others for that assurance that I'm doing the right thing.  Yes, as believers we are all on this same path, and it looks like some of us are at mile marker 300 while others are at mile marker 100.  Nevertheless, we look to each other for some sort of perspective.  Don't dismiss it!  It's not that we are to be comparing ourselves with someone else's spiritual maturity or status (per say).  It is instead, that we should count on one another to affirm that we are on the right path and that we can hold each other accountable to stay the course.  Better yet, to encourage one another that although we're not there yet, "Look how far you've come! and Keep moving, you're almost there!"

Deanna beat me there.  I started this path long before her, and though she looked to me for perspective, she beat me to the finish line.  And I'm still traveling.  Still walking.  Sometimes running.  But always moving.  And if I stop for a moment, let it be to serve as a mile marker.
You see, while on this path, we are not finished until we cross the finish line into our Father's presence and embrace.  There is always more road to travel, more room to grow, more faith to gain, more love to learn, and more grace to impart.

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