~ DASH ~

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Jennifer K. Lewis

“I Am Alive With Christ.”  Ephesians 2:5

 A few years ago, I chose to mature my faith by joining a very active and growing ministry.  Our group focused heavily in the power(s) of the Holy Spirit which Jesus left us to enjoy.

That particular ministry became like a family in that as each member became a familiar person in the ‘fold’.  Our personal bonds deepened as we chose to focus on our common denominator, serving others and worshiping Christ.

We celebrated Christmas by going up and down streets stopping in welcoming homes to sing Christmas carols.  We were thrilled to provide scrumptious nut-breads, colorful candies and holiday cookies for local homeless shelters and our community Salvation Army.

As temperatures climbed and the Spring months matured, we embraced the warming rays of sunlight as the cold temps of Iowa gradually melted and liquefied longstanding snow(s.)

One of the ladies, Mary Beth, had pioneered the genesis of the group.  The ‘normal’ dynamics of our group quickly changed.  She experienced the sudden loss of her Father.

Mary Beth invited our ministry to be at the funeral.  She was greatly admired, and respected in our group.  We united as a sacred assembly desiring to give our Respects to her Air Force Dad.

It has been my experience(s) in the funerals I have attended, most of them are rather sad and ‘down’ in spirits.  Everybody is crying.  People embrace like there is no tomorrow. Strangers hug one-another, even though they don’t know their neighbor!

But, this funeral was different from the get-go.  (we’ll call him James Doe ~ John Doe’s brother).  There was a HUGE sign near the coffer at the front of the auditorium.  It read:  James Doe “it’s about the DASH.”  (Born June, 1926 –Heaven Bound March, 2014.)

James’ children and several grandchildren sang touching hymns, and shared happy stories and memories of their beloved Dad and Grandfather.  Apparently, James liked to entertain the kids by making whimsical animal balloons.  (one of his Grandchildren shared a poignant yet, funny, story of how her Grandpa had made numerous balloon animals for different occasions.)  (by the way, James’ casket was lined with artsy, animal shaped balloons.)Image result for balloon animals images

As the service progressed, I learned the meaning of the ‘DASH’.  It’s simple!  The year you were born ,- DASH -, then the date you passed-away.  The ‘DASH’ is representative of the years in between your birth and death.  DASH will define itself in the manner of life you chose.

Being a military funeral, he was in full dress uniform.  James was revered by a color-guard of valiant Air Force men who formed a noble arched walkway with their swords at the entry/exit of the building.

After the oddly, happy funeral, I noticed many family members still smiling!  (of course, there were tears, but folks remained jovial.)  A few minutes later, fellow Air Force members proudly escorted James’ wife and family to awaiting cars for the honorable procession.

It’s About the -DASH-.  What about yours?  What do YOU want it to say?

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One life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,” Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last ”                                   http://paulhockley.com/2016/05/24/quote-only-one-life-twill-soon-be-past-poem                -by-c-t-studd/

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 “I Am Raised-up With Christ and Seated in Heavenly Places.”  Colossians 2:12

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer K. Lewis

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May Our Savior Richly Bless Your Life!

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LEGACY

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

LEGACY

“He cuts-off every branch in me that bears no fruit, While he prunes every Branch That Does Bear Fruit So That Will Become even more Fruitful.”          John  15:2

What Legacy do you want to leave?  Once in a while in the course of our ‘normal’ busy lives, we need to STOP to consider what we stand for and what we are giving back to society.   Today, I am taking time to reflect on the meaning of my life and I am asking you to Please do the same.

Several years ago, I found myself surrounded by confused, apprehensive, yet smiling little faces.  I had chosen to pursue the ever-changing world of Foster parenting.    At first, I thought this venture would be like a sort of hand-up and a help to the many children I came to adore.  However, the blessings I first thought would be theirs to cherish became mine to hold and keep forever!

Jesus reminds us in John 12-13: “Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no One than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends.”

Usually, when a person reflects on these words, one might conjure-up some image of a warrior gallantly fighting in some horrific battle-zone, or hearing about some average, run-of-the-mill Joe rushing-in to save another person’s life just in the nick-of-time.  Those were the stereotypical thoughts that first came to my mind, until I had the pleasure of hosting my thirty-one Foster children.

As my aging father, has recently reminded me, “Jen, in the end, it’s what you give away that truly matters.”

Deep in reflective thought, I analyzed Daddy’s meaningful words.  I also allowed my memory antennae to wander back to those exhilarating, happy days we shared in Foster care.  In doing so, I quickly surmised that it is no wonder why the memories of those eventful years provided so much warmth and even tears of joy to this day!  It is also an important part of Jesus’s command to “love each other as I have loved you” ~ I had done just that in giving unconditional love and supportive nurturing to those precious, children.

If your ‘passion’ is working with our youth, you may be well-gratified working within your church.  Do you enjoy assisting another person?   You might think about a rewarding unpaid assistant position with your local hospital.   Maybe you would rather offer your specific skills to a growing business.

Again, it’s all about Giving!  (it’s kind of like a boom-a-rang ~ good things just seem to keep coming back your way when you forego self and think of another.)    When we find our niche ~ we find ourselves and live for others.

      “Let me be Satisfied with your Favor and filled with your Blessing.”                                                                                          Deuteronomy 33:23

       “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”                                                                                                                     Romans 12:10

What are your values?  What are you teaching your Children? How you live each day will determine what you really want remembered about your days on this earth. Is your Legacy worth dying for?

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer