A few posts ago I said I wanted to explore the concept of beauty more, and that hasn’t changed! It just seems like life gets in the way of my best laid plans sometimes. I’m going to combine two of my favorite subjects into one blog post tonight: Beauty and My Best Friend.
As you probably already know from my previous post called, “A Day to Pray, A Lifetime of Hope,” I alerted you to the special girl in the bed in the picture above. Her name is Reagan. Well, Reagan seemed to be doing better, but the middle of last week she took a turn for the worse and had to be admitted to the hospital. Apnea (usually during sleep) is when someone stops breathing…here let me get the mayo clinic description:
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
Well, she’s got it and other complications, but options become extreme for her because of her other health issues. Her family is having to make some tough decisions and they’ve asked for all the doctors to gather together for a care consultation so that all can be on the same page. It’s just tough! In the meantime, Reagan is in the hospital being monitored and having her needed antibiotics administered.
In fact, today, I spent the morning and early afternoon with her because Mom and Dad both had prior commitments for the day that could not be shirked off on someone else. They have been the most amazing parents to not only Reagan, but also their other girls. They try so hard to balance life and keep it as normal as possible for them during these times of duress. Reagan needs her mom and dad. She needs to not be left alone in the hospital, but the other girls need their mom and dad, too. I and others are occasionally able to step in and help keep that balance viable for this family. It’s easy to do because our relationship is strong and we are committed to each other, like family. One or the other of them spend every night with Reagan in the hospital.
THEY ARE SO TIRED six days later. So very tired. Please pray for them. Here, this is what Sheila asked:
Day 6 of Reagan’s hospital stay:
Thank you, Rachael and Kelly, for staying with our sweet girl today. PICC line inserted, and we weren’t there with her. We are so tired and would love continued prayer for renewed energy. Our girls are all affected by the separation of our family, and it is difficult to be a sibling of a child with special needs – being asked how your sister is doing, what is happening… and simply not knowing how to respond. Our girls are struggling, too. Please pray for Reagan’s sisters tonight.
Our physical breath is such a precious gift.
Now, I said this post was going to be about beauty and best friends. Well, here’s the thing…
Beauty that comes from the inside, the really potent kind, is probably best described overall by the attribute of love. I’m not talking gushy-ooshie-gooshie romantic love. I’m talking, sacrificial love.
Maybe that term is too vague or doesn’t make sense for you, but let me show you a picture:
Yes, I am a bit taller and have to bend down so I don’t look like a giant next to my best friend, but it’s worth the back pain (I need to rub in my extraordinary height here….j/k! I’m not THAT tall!).
This woman is beautiful. She’s pretty on the outside…pleasant to see, really. The thing is, though, she’s even more beautiful on the inside. This woman has a heart overflowing with sacrificial love that doesn’t stop at her family. Sheila is a perfect example of the first kind of beauty I want to touch on: A heart full of love.
There’s this famous chapter in the New Testament, Corinthians 13, that talks about love. Paul says he will show us a “still more excellent way” and that is the way of Love. The first verse of 13 says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” He goes on to list having knowledge and power and even faith that can move mountains. But he reminds us that these things are nothing without love. He then says you can give away everything you have and sacrifice your very self but gain nothing by it if you do not love.
You might have even heard the next part in verses 4-8a:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Doing good and being wise are great, but when we only do good for the sake of doing good (i.e. for recognition) and not in love then we become childish in our actions, and likely, pride is the reigning character trait behind our motives. You know when you do something nice for someone else and then get cranky when you feel you haven’t been given the thanks you deserve? Well, that’s a small example of what I’m talking about here. Actions and words, given in love, do not require a thanks in return. As nice as our service is, it’s not nearly as beautiful as seeing a person act out of a heart of love.
This lady here is not perfect and doesn’t always love perfectly, but I would say that Jesus is the only one who has ever accomplished it. Sheila, though, looks to him for guidance and strength to love in the face of unkindness. She looks to him to lead by example how to love the unlovable. She is generous, patient, humble, rejoices in truth and bears much.
It’s beauty at it’s best to love. It’s beauty at the heart to do all that you do in love. Our motives may not be evident to everyone, but eventually, if there’s love in a heart, it will shine through, and true beauty will be what you see, regardless. Or, if no love is present behind the actions, that will become clear, too.
In honor of my best friend, her amazing husband, and precious daughters, I’d like to encourage you to act out in love this week. Find one thing you can do for someone and do it with a heart full of love. Come back and tell us about it so that we can rejoice with you!