Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Final Chapter







Are you like me when you join a new group of people? Do you navigate the crowd wondering where you fit in the best?  I felt insecure when I joined Word Weavers, a Christian writing group in our town.  Liz and Tony welcomed me with their accepting smiles.  It meant a lot.



I sat with Liz in a small critique group one week.  I leaned in close so we could share a writer’s paper together.  She mentioned she would passively kick back and listen because she felt sick that day.  Tony kept his eye on her walking over with a plate of cookies and a hug for his wife.  But Liz did not eat.



Last week, Liz passed away.  I attended the memorial service where I learned that Liz was a dreamer and fought for her dreams up to the very end!  Liz’s dream, her third book Jamie, came true.  The publisher approved her manuscript and moved heaven and earth to get the story printed in book form and delivered to Liz.  Encouraging family and friends surrounded the bedside and watched Liz clutch her book to her breast as she whispered: “I hope this book brings healing and forgiveness to all who read it.”



My Words are like Silver Boxes with a Bow on Top.

Years ago I listened to an inspiring message by Florence Littauer called Silver Boxes.   The heart of the message, from Ephesians 4:29, teaches that our words have power and meaning.  We choose!  Will we encourage others with our uplifting words or put them down with our negative ones? Florence suggested we view our encouraging words as a gift placed in a silver box wrapped with a bow.  

My favorite part of Florence’s message teaches me that dreams come true, but not easily.  When others invest in our dream by encouraging us not to give up but keep believing, we all celebrate the prize.  That’s what happened for Liz.



Today I weigh my words.  May they be full of encouragement to those around me.  May my words be like a silver box with a bow on top given as a present so that those lives I touch may never die with their dream still inside of them.

What do you dream about?

50 comments:

  1. Hi Mary! What a sadness to lose your friend in the writing group. But I know you gave the family comfort by supporting them in their time of grief. We just never know, do we?

    I dream about a lot of things. Arranging for a family vacation, including the grandkids; redoing my kitchen, being 20 pounds thinner...but like you, I also hope that my writing is helpful or encouraging to someone, somewhere. God gives us opportunities, and I hope I am using mine the way he wants.

    Happy Mother's Day to you my friend!
    Ceil

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    1. Hi, Ceil:
      I've heard you mention that family vacation before and I'll pray that your dream comes true! Thank you for sharing that!

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  2. Mary, it is so difficult to lose a friend and I am so sorry for your loss. Happy Mother's Day to you. Much love and hugs.

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    1. Wishing you a God-filled, joyful week, Linda!

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  3. Oh so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, but I'm glad her book was able to become published! I hope you had a nice Mother's Day!

    betty

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    1. Hi, Betty!
      Lots of answered prayer encouragement filled Liz's last days!

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  4. Hello, Mary. I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. How beautiful that her dream came true...

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    1. I know, brother! Dreams comes true for sure and how nice to be a part of her life. Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. very sorry for your loss dear

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    1. Hi, Neecie!
      We are here for a short time; let's make the most of it today!

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  6. I'm so glad that Liz's dream came true. What a special lady! I'm sorry for your loss.

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    1. Hi, Melanie!
      We reap what we sow and Liz sowed encouragement to others and they were there for her as well. Let's be big dreamers Melanie.

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  7. So sorry for the loss of Liz. She sounds like a truly wonderful person, giving and kind-hearted. But, I'm glad that her earthly writing dream was fulfilled. And, of course, her biggest dream of all, being with our Savior, is now fulfilled forever! Truly a happily-ever-after ending!

    My dreams? Mostly they center around family. I do have a family road trip in mind someday. Me, hubby, kids and families, and Marty - all in a motor home, trekking somewhere fun!! Oh boy...

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. SO glad that her book was published and she was able to see it and pray over it. I pray that book will bless many lives, as hers did. Yes, our words of encouragement are so valuable, like 'streams in the desert".

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    2. It touched me deeply to hear how the book reached her just days before she died. Encouraging words, Sonja!

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  8. Oh, yeah. I observe the crowd first and see which person is best to talk to. :P

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    1. The blessing is huge when they have a welcoming smile, isn't it?

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  9. Oh, dear friend! I am SO sorry about the loss of your friend. Bless your dear heart. I trust God will bless you and comfort you as you miss her. So thankful her dream came true. Sending you much love and many hugs.

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    1. Dreams come true, Cheryl, let's keep believing! Luv you.

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  10. Even while she was so sick, Liz was an encouragement to you as you learned to love her. What a special delight was her book published and a copy rushed to her to hold and pray that her words would continue to heal and bless others. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

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    1. You as a writer must have appreciated what the publisher did for her! Thank you for your uplifting comment.

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  11. That's neat how you guys met. It was obvious to me that Liz didn't eat a cookie because her spirit was filled by knowing His Word. How awesome her book got published! How true that it's never too late to do anything no matter what age, what circumstances one is in...so fulfilling when the Lord is a part of that dream!

    Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day. Continuing to pray but thanks be to God for His provisions. I just know that everything happens in His perfect time. It's not easy most of the time, but I choose to encourage especially the ones down. Most of the time, I'm the one encouraged more when I see how even a little bit of hope brings life prayerfully, hope tbat leads toward that path of knowing things of God. Thank you for always encouraging me. And for your prayers. Take care and always remain strong in the Lord's mighty power! Love and prayers :)

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    1. My comment replies duplicate too! It's this imperfect world we live in, ha-ha. Liz did know His Word well and I was so blessed to sit next to a girlfriend at the memorial who told me intimate uplifting stories about her and their relationship. Thank you for praying for Tom and I. Love you, dear sis.

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    1. I'm not sure why my comment showed up three times.sorry sister...

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  14. OH Mary I heard Florence's message titled Silver Boxes too. I actually went to a writers and speakers conference hosted by the Littauers many years ago. Speaking of dreams ...my dream was to become a writer and speaker. But it seems lately that I haven't done much of that as life gets busy. Thanks for your encouraging words.

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    1. Silver Boxes is a classic and so worth hearing again and again! No wonder you are such an encourager, Debbie. You know how to inspire the dream inside others with your words and love!

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  15. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. She sounds like a wonderful person and friend who lived her life fully.

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    1. Indeed, she lived to the fullest getting her degree in Creative Writing at 70 as well as painting inspirational canvasses. She dreamed big.

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  16. What a lovely metaphor -- and what a gift your words today have been!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and the encouragement, Michele.

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  17. Mary, I actually have a silver box with a bow on top in my kitchen ... I put it there as a reminder after I read Florence's book. I love the idea of gifting people with our words of encouragement. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and hope that her book does exactly as she hoped--bring healing and forgiveness to those who read it. Glad to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory today.

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    1. What a great way to remember the message, Lois. I can see you are an encourager by your comment. Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. So sorry for your loss, Mary. It's hard to lose a friend. How wonderful that she realized a dream before her passing. Without a doubt, our words are powerful. The Bible says "life and death" are in the power of the tongue. I pray I always use my words to uplift and not discourage.

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    1. Sometimes when we're too weak to believe anymore, it's neat to hear those encouraging words from a friend! God Bless!

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  19. Oh my goodness...how sad. So sorry to hear this. Praise the Lord for her dream coming true. Love your words today my friend. You always inspire me! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. And you inspire me to greater things, Cindy. God bless you!

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  20. Sorry to hear about your loss, but how precious and special that she was able to hold her book in her hands before her passing. Thank you for the encouragement to keep choosing life.

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    1. I also think about that precious moment she held her dream in her hands before closing her eyes for the final time. It must have been glorious knowing you leave this world using every ounce of a gift God gives you.

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  21. I'm so sorry to hear about Liz. I'm also happy that you got to spend time with her and share in her victory and ministry.

    I also appreciate your wisdom in being part of other's lives and dreams, being a part of them... and always being there to spend your gift of encouragement on them... myself included.

    Blessings to you and yours, Mary. Thanks for always giving from the bottom of your heart.

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    1. What an awesome comment from my awesome brother!

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  22. I felt something was amiss, but couldn't put my finger on it ... then, scrolling back 'discovered' this poignant telling.
    I, too, am so sorry for the earthly loss of your friend. Tonight I'm thanking God for her publisher's insight and empathy.

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    1. Well said, Myra. I thank God for that publisher too!

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  23. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Liz. :( But good for her in continuing to live positively until the very end. Thanks for sharing this, Mary.

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    1. Positive people are uplifting to the very end! Well put.

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  24. Touching. And a wise lesson. Thank you so much!

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  25. Hi Mary, wow, what a powerful story. I think too it makes me think that my words should be measured and I need to remember the power of the tongue for life or death.
    Lovely post and thank you for linking up
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. I like your comment, Tracy, about the power of the tongue. So small, yet powerful.

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