The Iris of My Eye

Do you have an Iris?

Probably.

No two are alike, you know.

Here is mine:

My_Iris10

The (in)courage webcast, this weekend, included much talk of Mentors; both being one, and having one.

My mentor is my friend.  And her name is Iris.  She is creating a legacy that is born of a desire to live for God.  I want to honor her today, by sharing her, a bit, with you.

My Iris is infused with joy. She has a twinkle in her eye and a laugh like a giddy little schoolgirl.  Her hair is a different color almost every time I see her, and the woman wears accessories with the panache` of a runway model.  She knows her limitations, and has learned well how and when to use the word “no”.  She wears wisdom well.  Grace and humility adorn her.  Her heart is strong in the Lord. And her arms are always open to me.

And that?  That is just scratching the surface of this funny, compassionate, and adorably short woman,  I assure you.

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“Isn’t it such a privilege to serve the Lord? It’s such an honor, isn’t it? We get blessed in just so many ways when we do, don’t we?” These are all standard refrains from my Iris.

The more time I spend with this woman, hearing her stories and seeing her delight in life, the more my own appetite is whetted to pursue God in every area of my own life. She has logged countless hours at the feet of Jesus. And the Godly wisdom and counsel she has readily available, because of that time, is precious to all who are blessed by it.

“God gives us children and they are our mission field.   We are blessed to be able to spend time with our children. It’s a crucial time for them – this time that you have at home with them.”, she often reminds me.  When I’m weary of the daily, I can count on her to swoop in with her encouragement to just keep relying on God’s strength, not my own.

She never follows these positive reminders with “Don’t ever forget that!”. And, she doesn’t begin them with “You really should…!”.  No, no. She never chides.

My Iris only encourages.  And mightily.

“I think what you’re doing now – putting your children first, is the right thing.” Each time I consider embarking on a new adventure, this woman, who has been down many of these same roads before, challenges me to consider what I will be giving up for it.  And, more importantly, she asks me what God might be whispering in my ear about it? “Have you prayed? I will pray for you about this.”, she will say.

I’ve been mistaken for one of her daughters more times than I can count. It makes me smile each and every time.

I say she’s my sister.  And, indeed, she is.

What’s more, the legacy she will eventually leave, is one of a woman who loves well and often.  Who laughs at all the days to come.  Who joys in the very moment she’s been given.  Who lives life with zest and enthusiasm for each new challenge. A woman for whom the word adventure is an intimate friend and who is well acquainted with The One who has given her every breath.

I am deeply honored to be mentored by my sweet Iris.  Any legacy I am creating is shaped, in large part, by her influence in my life.

“We’ll keep you in our prayers.”, she ends every conversation with.

And I’ll be keeping you in mine, sweet Iris.

Yes indeedy.

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The Best Friend Ever

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

Henri Nouwen

I was reminded, recently, that when we spend time with Jesus, he reminds us who we really are.  (Thank you, Dolly!)

 

And I thought to myself, “It’s true! He’s, like, the best friend ever!”.

 

Sadly, it’s true.  I did, indeed, use the word “like” in my head as I had this thought.  For this, I am sorry.  I grew up in sunny south Florida on the beach.  Some stereotypes you can’t shake with a stick.

 

As I thought about this more, I realized that like all best friends, they long for us to just “hang” with them.  And, that the more we do hang with them, the more we get to know about them.  And, the more we get to know about them, the more we usually find that we like about them.  And, ultimately, the more time we spend together, the more alike we become.  (This is starting to sound suspiciously like a children’s book about a house that some child, named Jack, built.)

 

What attracts me to Jesus Christ is who He is.  I like who He was, who He is, and who He always will be.

 

I like that He showed kindness to those that didn’t deserve it, to those that never received it, and to those for whom society simply wouldn’t take the time to show it.

 

There are friends in my circle who tell me that, surely, I’m some sort of saint for showing “so-and-so” much more kindness than ‘they ever could’.

 

But, I can’t take all of the credit for that.  In fact, I can’t take any of the credit.

 

I’m copying my Best Friend.

 

I like that He didn’t lie.  He spoke the truth about The Truth, didn’t let half-truths stand, and got angry when others weren’t telling it in His presence.

 

Despite the fact that I have absolutely no connection to Dr. Phil, I often, do indeed, “tell it like it is”.

 

But I can’t take credit for that, either.

 

I’m copying my Best Friend.

 

It is my genuine hope that I continue to copy Him.  In fact, lately, I’m praying a whole heckuva lot more of Him and a whole heckuva lot less of me, please.

 

Besides which, in the words of Sally Field, “He likes me. He really really likes me!”

 

And that?  That makes him The Best Friend Ever.

 

Totally.