Thursday, September 15, 2011

Honoring Loved Ones

My dad hosts a family dinner about every six weeks. All his children and grandchildren meet for dinner at a pizza place near his house. My dad is like a mother hen, so happy having all his chicks in the nest together. Even though it is chaotic, with so many people, he loves it. And while you can only talk to the those seated around you, and miss lots of the conversation, my dad takes it all in.

One of the extended family members doesn't like the restaurant. "Why do we always have to go there, the food is terrible. And we can't even all visit with each other," she complains. The funny thing is I don't particularly care for the food there either. But what I do love is my dad.

The restaurant is close and convenient to his home, and reasonably priced. I don't go for the food, I go for my father. My dad is 75 years old. So I savor these dinners of chaos and craziness, because I know one day, we won't be having them.

And when that day comes, I won't remember the rubbery pizza. I'll remember the contented look on my dad's face when everyone finally got there...right on time, but because he was 10 minutes early (as usual) he was worried someone would forget. I'll remember how he lined the grandchildren up, youngest to oldest, and gave them each a $20 bill. And I'll remember the time he surprised them and gave them all $100 bills. And I might even want to go eat at the pizza place again, just to remember.

And one things for sure, I know I won't ever say "I wish I had eaten at a better restaurant." I will say, "I wish I could eat that rubbery pizza, with my dad, just one more time."

Who can you honor today by putting aside your own desires, and meeting them where they are?

"Honor your father...." Exodus 20:12

Chatty Kelly

Monday, September 12, 2011


Recently I had to park in a parking deck. I was surprised at how much parking costs, but since there was no street parking, I didn't really have a choice. I parked and went inside the building.

But there at the front desk I received a surprise. "We validate parking," the sign said. I simply presented my card, the woman gave it an official "validated" stamp, and when I left the lot, I simply showed my stamp and I could leave, with my debt paid.

In real life, I have spent so much of time at "front desks" seeking people to stamp me with their "validated" stamp. According to, validated means to give approval to. I volunteer for positions, and work hard and do a good job, yes in part because I am a hard worker, but also because I was seeking the validation stamp, that "good job," that approval that I am a good person.

But something has changed over's me! God has been working through me. Recently the Bible study class I attended ended as the leader decided to take a break. Ordinarily I would have immediately volunteered to take over. Then everyone could see what I great job I would do. Everyone would see what a hard worker I am. Everyone would validate me. And while that first impulse did rise up in me, I was able to hold it in check, evaluate if this position was truly something I should take, realize my schedule is too full, and walk away from it, without guilt!

I was also recently asked if I would serve on the women's ministry at church. "I've arrived!" That has been my goal since I began attending this church several years ago. Because at the time we joined, that would have validated me. But since I've grown, I didn't feel the need to immediately say yes. Again, I am taking the time to see if this ministry is something that fits into my schedule and that I can bless.

I wish I had a formula to share with you how my validation happened. I don't! I have known all along that Jesus validated me, signed in blood, since I accepted him as my Savior. But this change in me has taken years of study, prayer and growth.

It's nothing I did, but Christ working in me. If you are feeling the need for validation, the need for approval from others, I urge you to continue to draw close to God. There is no secret formula...but God promises that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. Then one day, when you least expect it, you will realize the growth and change that he has made in you. To God be the glory!

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Chatty Kelly