Church Body, Family

Forget-Me-Nots

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Baby blue, soft pink, or delicate white, these small, flat, five-petal flowers surrounded by a yellow center are called myosotis which means “mouse ears.” Forget-me-nots fade in the presence of showy Valentine roses. They possess no intoxicating fragrance like the star-gazer lily. And they prefer riverbanks and streams to the glory of gardens or bouquets.

What forget-me-nots lack in bravado they flourish in meaning. German legend holds that while God named the flowers, this unassuming plant cried out, “Forget-me-not, O Lord.” God replied, “Then that shall be your name.” Religious tradition says that the Lord Jesus created them to remind the world of His mother’s blue eyes. Medieval folklore conjures up a knight in shining armor who offered the posy to his lady. As a declaration of her love and faithfulness, she wore them in remembrance of him.

Do you know any forget-me-nots?

  • Perhaps it is your painfully shy relative.
  • Maybe it is a missionary friend, far beyond the comforts of home.
  • It could be your neighbor who slips in and out without being noticed.
  • What about the widow in the women’s ministry?

I’d like to extol the virtues of one such flower in my life. Forgive me, humble forget-me-not, for gathering you into the limelight for just a moment. It’s time that you received your due. I’d like to remind others of your gentle grace and unfailing faith.

His name is Mark Macallister. He recently left earth to enter into the presence of his Heavenly Father. Mark arrived in my life as my husband’s best friend. Every pastor’s wife prays for a Jonathan to watch his back. When we moved to Albuquerque nearly thirty years ago, Mark appeared with a servant’s heart, a carpenter’s hammer, and a quick wit. He volunteered for the lowliest occupations when no one else stepped up to the need. Without fanfare, he served as child care director, acted as Skip’s secretary and assistant, helped build classroom walls and office cubicles, reached out to the homeless, developed our missions department, and inaugurated Calvary’s first School of Ministry.

However, Mark’s heart far outshone his handiwork. Like the flower, he was humble in the truest sense of the word. Rather than the latest fashion trends, blue jeans and tennis shoes suited him. His nature called for the faraway places and forgotten people. Mark received an undeniable call to countries closed to the gospel. He gathered teams to smuggle Bibles. He raised up short-term missionaries to encourage the underground church. He developed a network of native believers whose lives would be threatened by the government if exposed. Mark loved these people with such fervency that he traveled to the mall the while bearing physical pain and personal peril. Mark knew people in hidden places that no one else knew, except our heavenly Father.

Mark taught me the value of intercession. Mark reminded me to value people rather than possessions. Mark demonstrated to me that man must not touch God’s glory. Mark showed me what a soldier for God looks like. Mark’s strength in weakness caused me to lean heavily upon the Lord in my trials. He’ll always be one of my heroes in the faith. These qualities live on in my heart.

Happily, Mark knew that he was not forgotten. I joined his private prayer chain to intercede for wisdom and wellness. We spent time on the phone encouraging one another. Others became aware of his plight as I shared his story. His unshakable wife Jody and I spoke often of Mark. I will carry a pocket full of posies at the funeral of this knight now in shining armor.

What about you? Is there a forget-me-not in your life? Have you neglected them? Don’t wait until its too late to encourage and engulf them in your love. Perhaps they long for a watering season. “Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty” (Prov. 25:25, NLT).

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Family

There’s No Place Like Home

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My mother lives in her mother’s home, a Victorian farmhouse surrounded by a cobbled brick wall where I once tottered impersonating a tight-rope artist. The rose garden, on the front porch, served as Wonderland as I disappeared beneath its foliage during hide-and-seek. I sang the rhymes of my youth perched upon one of the two gnarled apple trees in the middle of the rolling lawn. “When Johnny comes marching home again hurrah, hurrah.”

Skip and I returned to 802 W. Court Street during the holidays to celebrate my first Christmas at home in over 20 years. Before leaving, he asked me to recall some of the favorite places or things so that he could photograph them. I described our stockings hung upon the grand marble fireplace in the library while my sister and I twirled in matching pajamas by its flames. Suspended along the stairway, in the main entrance, hung a wondrous chandelier where my father uttered, “Pretty” while lightly brushing the dangling crystals.

But the room that conjured the best memories was the kitchen with its huge copper hood and table nestled in the bay window. There my grandmother, and now my mother, served meals that rival any Dickensian feast. I’ll take my mother’s spritz cookies over Timmy’s figgy pudding any day. And then, I realized that things don’t make great memories, people do. What makes a house a home? It’s not the furnishings, but the family within its four walls. I’d be nuts to travel 1,200 miles from New Mexico to Michigan to scale a brick wall or gaze upon a chandelier… unless my family waited inside.

The truth of our earthly dwellings dovetails perfectly to our heavenly home. What’s so great about heaven? The streets of gold, the pearly gates, or the mansions in glory? Paradise can become a prison if you’re the only one there. Really the question isn’t what, but Who. The greatest thing about heaven isn’t a thing at all. It’s those who reside there, especially God! Dorothy would never have traveled through enchanted orchards, haunted forests, and poisoned poppies to reach Oz if the Wizard who granted wishes didn’t live there. Likewise, as Christians we may traverse narrow paths, daunting mountain peaks, or death valley. But we know that the pilgrimage leads to our heavenly Father. And there’s no place like His home!

Church Body, Family

Super Glue

Super-Glue

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:5-6

Super Glue works. Once two items are glued together, separation becomes a painful, sticky mess. Paper tearsor fabric frays if you attempt to divide the two portions melded into one. Once separated, the original items aren’t ever the same each inevitably retains fragments of the other. Think of two pieces of paper glued together, they’re never the same after they’ve been torn apart. Inevitably, each piece is ragged and weaker because of the separation. That’s why Super Glue comes with a label advising extreme caution when using it.

Marriage can be seen as God’s Super Glue because two lives are intricately woven into one. Jesus said that the husband and wife are no longer two, but one. After this blessed blending, attempts at separation cause irreparable damage. Hearts break, commitments crumble, and families split. Inevitably God’s intertwining of husband and wife extends to children, friends and family connected to the union. So God’s Word provides a strong warning: What God has joined together, let not man separate.

In Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives, James Dobson shared a letter his father wrote to his mother before their marriage: “I want you to understand and be fully aware of my feelings concerning the marriage covenant I have been taught at my mother’s knee and in harmony with the Word of God that the marriage vows are inviolable, and by entering them I am binding myself absolutely and for life. The idea of estrangement from you through divorce for any reason at all (although God allows one: infidelity) will never at any time be permitted to enter my thinking.”

Imagine the security Mrs. Dobson must have felt when she received that letter from her husband-to-be. She discovered firsthand that marriage, like Super Glue, should stick forever. Mr. Dobson lovingly attached his life to hers regardless of what tried to tug or pull them apart. Are you married or contemplating marriage? Remember, don’t let what God has joined together come unglued!