Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Loving Me

Ephesians 3:19 (The Message)

14-19My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

I remember standing there in the hot sun that day. All fifteen of us were trying to get in the picture. We had our best clothes on, for me it was a three piece suit, black with pin stripes. I had a pair of borrowed shoes on and I had an attitude.

This was a special day at the Boys Home, picture day. The whole day taken up by some stupid picture taking. That was my thoughts then but now I look at this picture everyday in my office and thank God I have it. It’s really the only one I have of that time in my life.

I have all the names of the guys written out beside them. I think of where they all are now, so much time has past. This picture was taken more than twenty-seven years ago. I look at it and wonder what happen to the other fourteen guys. I know some have died, some have gone to prison and some are on drugs and will never be freed of that addiction apart from God. I know that a few have trusted Christ with their lives but can’t seem to get past the pain, not really letting go of the past. But that is not what this picture is about. It’s about the two people on each end, the sixteenth and seventeenth persons.

They were the young couple that sacrificed their lives and gave it all they had for all fifteen of us. Jim and Thora Maready had given so much of their lives for us. Could you imagine raising three kids of your own and fifteen teenage boys? That’s really what gets me about this picture. Jim and Thora were the best "house parents" there ever were. Believe me I know, I had seen my share come and go.

I guess you could sum them up by saying they cared. It wasn’t just a job to them, sure I have had others who have cared but Jim and Thora really loved us and it showed. It showed because the told us we were the best. Even when we knew deep inside that we were not, they had this unique gift of making us think that we would be something one day. This my friend is love that does surpass all understanding.

Jim and I were like father and son, he treated me like and son and Thora treated me the same. It felt that way most of the time. There were many life lessons taught at that cottage by the lake, many I still remember today and are part of who I am.

Last year I did get a chance to call Jim and thank him for all he had done for me, Thora I have seen once since I got married twenty-three years ago. It has taken a long time to get to the point of really understanding sacrifice. To both of them I owe my life to as I know it today. God had put them in my life then, He knew just the right people to put in my path that would make a difference. It was all part of His plan.

Thank you Lord, thank you Jim, thank you Thora for sacrificing your life for me. You made a difference!

George Beasley

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