on being a "Luke"…

on being a "Luke"…

{for Nancy, my “Luke” today}

“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this word, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. … Only Luke is with me.” (2 Timothy 4:9-11).
The words from his pen haunt me now, even though nearly two thousand years have passed since they were first inked onto parchment.
Only Luke.
Two words that paint a vivid portrait of comfort and pain all in the same brushstroke. To have a Luke is a special gift. To have only one, especially in times of intense suffering, is a difficult abiding. Why? Because sometimes our pain needs more than one Luke. Sometimes our prisons and our shackles, our tumors and our tumult better benefit from corporate comfort rather than the solitary efforts of the one. Sometimes we need the beauty of a bouquet rather than the bloom of a single rose. Sometimes… our woundings cry out with more need, more desire, more desperation than can be aptly handled by a single saint.
Sometimes, my good friends, we need the church.
You have been the church for me over the past six weeks. To chronicle the fullness of what that has meant would take too long and would, more than likely, leave out a few important mentions. I don’t want to risk it. You mean too much to me. Safe to say, I’ve felt the corporate touch of heaven’s hands in manifold measure. As God has prompted you, you’ve been obedient to yield to those promptings. Calls, cards, gifts, food, face-to-face visits, prayers… the list is endless. Your love has come in waves, ebbs and flows and currents that allow me to pause in between the pulse to reflect, contemplate, and be thankful.
I wish I could open up my heart so that you could peer inward for a closer look at the work of the cross. If I could, I have no doubt that any reservations you might have had regarding the faithfulness of God would be put to rest once and for all. You’d see him there, spilling over every crevice and gully of my being and filling me up to over flow. You might even get wet in the process.
But I can’t… physically cut open my heart and let you see. Instead, I give you my word… my many words in hopes that you’ll believe me when I say…
I am better for having you in my life than if our paths should have never crossed.
You’ve expanded my understanding about grace and God and about what it means to be a fervent pilgrim on the road home to Jesus. You’ve watered my feet and my soul with your servant’s posture, and you’ve walked a mile or two or ten in my shoes just because you could. Not because you had to, but because Jesus lives in you, and it is your pleasure to do so. I don’t fully understand you willingness, but I receive it as yet another undeserving grace from a God who keeps on giving, despite my readiness to sometimes hoard the blessings therein.
So thank you… for being the church. And thank you for being a Luke when God called upon to be one. For walking alongside my cancer and for sitting ringside to my pain. For offering your gifts and for bringing your “little” to the table so that at the end of the day, any king would be proud to pull up and chair and partake of the gracious plenty. I don’t know why you love me so much, but I am your willing recipient for this season. I only pray that when your turn comes—when prison bars and pain find their way to your heart—I’ll be as gracious in my giving to you.
To being your Luke. Or your Nancy (above picture)—a faraway friend who willingly receives your spur of the moment visit in order to gift you a haircut. And some gel to make that free haircut cuter. And some barbeque from the freezer to feed your family for the week. And some hugs and tears and prayers just because we’re friends.
Me your Luke. You my Paul.
Me your Paul. You my Luke.
I imagine that each one of us can claim one position or the other—the posture of a prisoner or the posture of a servant. I don’t know where you’re at today, but I do know that our pain belongs to one another. It is a gift we give to each other—the sharing of our pain—for God never intended for us to go it alone in this world. He means for us to live as one beneath the watchful gaze of heaven. When we get that… when we really take hold of what it means to bend and to bow, to wash and to serve all because of the One who first gave us the blueprint on loving, then hell’s determined purpose is vanquished and victory belongs to the King.
Tomorrow is another day to live your kingdom conferment. Someone will cross your path that needs the love and commitment of a Luke. Be that Luke, friends. Continue being and doing what you’ve been and done for me over these past weeks. And should you be the one in need, never fear to ask for more. To pen your words of request to our Father and then to make sure that letter gets into the hands of the saints. If there’s one thing I’ve been privileged to witness in the course of my cancer it is the unmerited, lavish love of God through his people.
I never knew it to be so strong. I never knew it to be so long and wide, high and deep. It stretches across my soul this night, even throughout the world. Even to a remote church in Estonia, but that’s another post for next time. Until we arrive there, may the love and peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and may the outward expression of that seeding intersect with a heart in need of receiving its nourishment. As always…
Peace for the journey,

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39 Responses to on being a "Luke"…

  1. Cancer afflicts. Being in that affliction, I, like you, have been blessed over and over with love flowing from others.

    You wrote it beautifully.

  2. First of all, I am LOVIN' that sassy haircut! You look beautiful!

    Bill and I have been blessed by "the unmerited, lavish love of God through his people" in recent years. It was a truly humbling experience for us, and blessed us more than words can say.

    Thanks for being a Luke and Paul in my life!

    Love you…

  3. Sometimes we see the love of God strongest in our moments of greatest weakness and tumult. Praising God for the steadfast Lukes surrounding you. Count me as one!

    Love your new 'do. It suits you.

    Love and hugs my friend,
    Kelli

  4. Thanks, Elaine. You have blessed my heart tonight. Beings I've not been a part of and active church (because of my weekend work position) for 5 years before my 1 1/2 years with dad – It feels good to have someone recognize me as His 'church'.

    You sound as if you're in a much better place. I just love walking the journey with you. You're so easy to love :0)

    Hugs to you my 'church' lady friend

    I prayed for you today!
    Patrina <")>><

  5. Elaine, thank you for sharing your heart here… perhaps not literally, but at least figuratively. Glad to be a part of the church that loves you! And praying for you!

  6. What a beautiful post…You have such a profound way of sharing your heart and sharing the love of God.

  7. You have blessed me again this morning with your gift of sharing your heart and His love through words. Thank you for the reminder of how much our being a Luke can affect a life in times of change, illness, heartbreak, or struggle.

  8. A Luke is a precious thing to be…and to have. I have been both, and had both. Love the analogy – and you.

  9. I'm with Beth … that "sassy" haircut makes you kin on a whole new level!

    I love the sweet sentiments you post here, Elaine. They summon the familiar lump to my throat, not to mention a new volley of gratitude as I thank God for YOUR faithfulness.

    What a great privilege it is to walk out the journey with you.

    Love,
    Kathleen

  10. Sweet friend, what a beautiful post. I'm thrilled to read of the faithful outpourings of your Lukes in recent weeks. I dare say many of us feel overwhelmingly the same…it's an honor to be a Luke to someone who has so faithfully been that to us.

    Speaking personally, you've been Luke to me on scores of occassions, the most humbling of which has been while walking your own path of pain. I'm so much the better for having you in my life…and ever thankful for the privilege.

    I love you dearly.
    Tracy

    P.S. I'm loving that new haircut! Nancy rocks! 😉

  11. Elaine:

    What's NOT to love about you!! The way you share your heart so honestly just moves every one of us. God's gifts are like that… they bless everyone!

    And the spikey hairdo?? LOVE IT! I always have wished I had the nerve to try spikes and gel. You look adorable!!

    Love you and praying daily.
    Sonja

  12. Elaine,

    I'm lovin' that cut! The look is you dear friend!

    Luke, Paul and whatever else you need — I'm on it if/when you need me. My hugs can't stretch to where you are but my prayers are wrapped around you tight with others who also love you.

    You are precious and God's plans are awesome for your life and you already know that.

    Love you much!

  13. Elaine, you look beautiful with your new do!

    How is it, that here you are going through who can even imagine, and yet you continue to find the strength to shoot your love arrows in every direction? You are an amazing woman…

  14. You, dear girl, are one we just want to love on! Nancy did a great job with the stylish do! You wear it well as you do the suffering you are going through right now. I love your attitude in all of this. What jumps out at me is when you write about receiving the love, grace, etc. You go, girl! Keep receiving.

    Hugs,
    Mary

  15. you totally rock that precious hairdo my friend.

    your words just soothe my soul and cause me to dig deeper and seek higher.

  16. Love your new haircut Elaine. You are so beautiful. Praying for you and your family for this coming Friday and the days ahead with your treatments. God has you in the palm of your hand and is with you every step of the way. He is indeed your peace for the journey.

  17. Elaine:

    You look soooo cool with the spiked hair!!! Wow!!! I love it! It's like your wild side coming out for the wild and crazy adventure that God has you on right now! It's like any roller coaster ride – scarey and thrilling all at the same time. Take another deep breath and TRUST THE LORD with all you've got!

    And — yes —- you are NOT alone in this even though at times it may feel that way!

    You are my Paul and I am your Luke… and there are many of us called alongside each other to pray and encourage!

    I love you so much dear sister! I wish we lived closer.

    Just know that my prayers for you are close to God's heart because of the precious woman of God He had crafted you to be!

    His work in you gets even better with posts like this one! And I could not have phathomed a better you!

    But there you are! Precious in the sight of God! … and still hangin' with the likes of us!

    Love you sweet one!
    [[HUGS]]
    Stephanie

  18. Because I needed it tonight, and I want to bless you too, Galatians 6:9
    "Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." If you grow weary, mount up on those eagles wings He provides. Hide underneath the shadow of His comforting wings.

    Love in HIM,

    katiegfromtennessee

  19. Elaine,
    I'm feeling like I only have a Luke this season and I'm busy reaching out to the rest of the church to find a few more.

    I'm so glad that your blogging buddies have been a strong source of strength. You are very often in my heart and then on my lips with a prayer.

    I will personally pray for peace regarding hair issues. Your hair cut is very fun and full of personality…much like what you show us here on your blog! I hope you are pleased with it. As to hair issues: I have my own, alopecia (thinning hair on the scalp) God shows me that beauty is not on the outside. I claim the Proverbs 31 verse, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Your beauty is indeed from your growth in Him.

    I'm glad writing nourishes your soul so that we can read along in your journey. When I'm in pain, my fibro fog brain can't string thoughts together well enough for others to follow.

    Amy

  20. Your post reminds me how powerful the church is when it connects with purpose. So glad you are experiencing lots of Lukes. Praying for your recovery and freedom from cancer. hugs, b

  21. I wanted to come back and say thankyou for the encouragement, Elaine:) God really does use you to bless others and me.

    Much Love in Him,

    katiegfromtennessee

  22. wifeforthejourney:

    The Lord has used so many in the days since your cancer diagnosis to strengthen and encourage. Friends and family have been such a blessing to us, but the Body of Christ has really shined through in our new home. Without the benefit of years of history and relationships, our local church, the place we have called home for a scant three months has been so good to us.

    elaine, what a blessing it is to see how obedient you have been to encourage others in this season of your life. No one would stand in your way if you wanted to withdraw from the world, instead you are making a choice to be a source of encouragement to others – even strangers. This new chapter in your life is a powerful illustration of the "connectedness" of Christ's Body, the Church.

    The Lord is so present among us!

    Love you,
    Billy

  23. Greetings Elaine, I found you thru mutual blog friends and so thankful. You heart is revealed through your words. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

  24. Girl, I'm lovin' the new do!!! New do, new season, new Luke's, new you!

    The depths of the season you're in right now will minister strength and encouragement to the depths of women's hearts for many seasons to come!! You, Elaine, are a Luke to so many!!

    HE IS FAITHFUL!

    Love…
    Jackie : ))

  25. I sometimes can hardly take it all in….the way you have with words! I wish I could write like you do! I wish I could express my thoughts in such beautiful language! Thank you Elaine for continuing to share your hear with us even through all the things you're going through right now!

    God bless you my Friend!

    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  26. Dear Elanie,

    Your words touched me deeply. In the midst of all you are going through you make time to bless, challenge and encourage all of us.

    My life has been so enriched because of YOU.

    You continually point us to Jesus, and bring glory and honor to HIM…

    I pray you continue to feel all the love and prayers that surround you daily.

    Sit back and take it all in. You've sown so much into our lives, and now it's your season to reap those blessings.

    Love you and praying for you each day.

    PS You look beautiful with your new hair cut!!

  27. You are wonderful and I am thankful to be one tiny part of your journey.
    How I wish I had some Lukes in my life just now.
    I feel so desperately alone.
    Tomorrow begin week four of hubby's hospitalization with no end in sight.
    Tonight I am so exhausted and alone.
    Tonight I wish I had received just one card.
    Tonight I wish I had someone to just hold me, hold my hand, hold me up. I must be doing something wrong.
    You are a blessed woman to have so many people loving on you.

  28. Elaine,
    Every time I stop by to read your blog I feel like I have just had a visit with someone who is so close to God it is palpable. I long to yearn for Him like you do. You are such an inspiration, always have been, but even more now. Praying for you and yours.
    Debbie

  29. Dear Elaine,
    I've been reading your posts off and on for nearly two years now, so I have a fairly good idea of your journey. But this season as I read your posts there is a different quality to your words. A gentleness, a vulnerability… and definitely a growing inner strength. Like a tree whose branches bend with the stormy winds, while the trunk remains upright… that is how I see you.

    I wept when I read Jadon's story coming to your defense. Every word you wrote was so beautiful.

    And the poem Layers written by your uncle. So much beauty rising to the surface in this time of pain.

    Beauty has to win, ultimately…
    because that's what eternity is all about – beauty.

    And yes, you do look beautiful in your hairdo, it brings out the loveliness and depth of your blue (or are they green?) eyes!

    Love
    Lidj

  30. Your words remind me 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

    Your words are a comfort to others…

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