Blog – 8-26-15
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
I have a wonderful friend in Nashville that I could listen to tell stories all day. It’s kind of funny, but I never even knew her first name for a very long time because everyone lovingly calls her Mama Bear. Mama Bear (aka Hazel) is the mother of Randy Dorman, a co-writer of mine in Nashville. Randy has played guitar for Kenny Rogers for 39 years, and I met Randy in a roundabout way through a gig I did in Correctionville, Iowa. I know, weird, right! Anyway, Randy and his wife Ann have become like family to me, and Mama Bear lives with them.
Mama Bear is 91 years old, and her brain and keen sense of wit remain sharp as a tack. We often joke that we are long lost cousins because her maiden name is Miller! As she tells me stories about her life with Papa Bear (aka Bruce) and tales of raising their children in Texas, I get a clear picture of a woman who worked hard to make the best life possible for her family. She has an uncanny way of drawing you into her stories with her giggles and smiles and sweet southern drawl. I have learned so much from listening to her and getting a glimpse of the way she has dealt with the ups and downs in her life.
I wish every single one of you reading this blog would have the opportunity to meet her and visit with her for an afternoon. I know you would fall in love with her instantly, just like I did. She is a woman who absolutely shines with the light of Christ. She has loved two things deeply in her life…her husband and Jesus. Her undying affection for both of them radiates from every pore of her being.
The best thing about her is the way she makes me feel. It seems like somehow I take a deep breath when I’m around her and I truly settle in because life doesn’t seem to be so hurried and complicated. The little blessings of life suddenly come to mind, no longer taken for granted. When she talks about her faith, her eyes literally light up and you can feel the depth of her beliefs. Most of all, I feel peaceful and incredibly loved when I’m with her.
It makes me wonder what people feel like when they are around me. Do they feel comfortable and relaxed, or do they feel like I’m distracted and rushed? Do they feel love and grace, or do they feel just a tinge of judgment? Do they feel like they are the most important person in the world at that moment, or do they feel like I want to be somewhere else?
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” This is instruction from Jesus himself during his Sermon on the Mount. He is calling each of us to live our lives in such a way that people can’t help but notice the love of Jesus and in turn glorify our Heavenly Father. His beatitudes before these verses challenge us to live our lives simply and humbly, to try to follow the example Jesus gave us in the way he lived his life…knowing that if we do attempt to live our lives this way, people will notice.
It’s interesting to read the verses before this which say, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house,” Matthew 5:14-15. As I reflect on those verses, I realize very clearly that that is why Mama Bear has touched me so deeply. She has chosen to put her lamp boldly on a stand, and its warmth lights up her home. She is a beacon of truth, and I have been touched by her gentle, loving spirit. You can’t fake that kind of faith, and it touches you deep within your soul when you have the opportunity to be in its gentle glow.
I’m grateful for the incredible gift she has been in my life, and if you ever get the chance to meet Mama Bear, be sure you sit a while and listen. I guarantee you will see the light of Jesus shining through her!
Father, thank you for special people like Mama Bear that you put in our lives to inspire and encourage us. Help us lean into their wisdom and learn all we can from them. Then help us pass that light on to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hugs and love,