I get a boost every time I catch her singing silly songs to herself, getting excited about a fountain soda, or working overtime to make Craig laugh. Life is for living, with enthusiasm and gusto; Naomi never wastes a moment.
My brother Geoff and I both have birthdays later in March, so the family got together for a shared celebration at my niece's home in Bradenton. It was a beautiful Florida day and we all hung out on the wide front porch, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and sharing our lives.
Over the years we've grown into the habit of sharing, in turn around the circle, what we're thankful for, and concerns for prayer and support. There's always a lot to talk about and this time was no exception.
There is a lot of joy, news to celebrate, plans to catch up on, blessing and peace. But there is also heartache, challenge, and uncertainty.
My brother, Geoff, is dealing with a new cancer diagnosis (that's him to the left), and the overwhelming weight of it was on everyone's hearts and minds.
The scripture I'm reading today for Lent brings the difficulty and the faith of it all into clear focus:
Jesus is speaking to his friends around the dinner table: "I came from the Father and have come into the world," he said: "again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”
His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?"
Christ's friends are eager to sound as if they're on board with his teaching: "Yes, we get it; now you're speaking plainly...." But the Lord can read their hesitancy: "Do you now believe?"
In our family time on the porch (that's my dad, above, and my mum, at left) we did a little better than the disciples. We weren't trying to pretend that everything is Okay, or that we're tight with God's Big Picture plans. No, we're a little scared and confused and that's alright.
It's alright because our faith is bigger than our questions and doubts. They can occupy the same space. And we are 100% sure that God is with us, regardless.
Have a grace-filled day. It's always an option - DEREK
Below: Hannah, Rebekah, Naomi, Grace