I’ve been finding myself thinking a lot about my wife and the countless memories that are near and dear to my heart from the 48 years of our time together. (Big surprise right…) I’m not sure what it was, but it seemed liked we just loved to talk to each other since day one in High School! I am surprised that we didn’t get in trouble (too much) for talking in the few classes we had together! Even when she lost her ability to talk, I still couldn’t stop myself from talking to her… just like nothing had changed!
As I have stated over and over again, she was always such a positive person. She was comfortable in her own skin, sort of speak, and was confident in the faithfulness of God and His Word. She was also a fairly adventurous individual. There weren’t too many times when she wasn’t open to new ideas, unusual plans, changes and my sometimes seemingly crazy dreams and ambitions!
I remember her telling me of a vacation that her family had taken along with the family of one of her father’s friends from the SRJC. If I am not mistaken, they went to the Ponderosa Ranch theme park located on Lake Tahoe near the town of Incline, California. The park which finally closed its doors in 2004, was a duplication of TV’s second longest running western show Bonanza, which ran from 1959 – 1973. From what I understand, it was a staple Sunday night show that Piper’s family would watch as they gathered around the fireplace hearth and the little black and white TV they owned well into the 1970’s.
Her Dad always like to have T-Shirts or Sweatshirts custom printed to commemorate various family functions and this time around he had white sweatshirts silkscreened with the phrase “Can-Do” on the front in black ink. The phrase was a combination of parts of both family's last names. Well, I am not sure if he really knew what he was doing or not, but that phrase of “Can-Do” seemed to become the rallying call for his oldest daughter throughout her lifetime! Like I’ve said, she didn’t shrink back from just about any challenges. I’m not talking about potentially life-threatening activities or things that were not safe, but more in line with challenging the status quo of thought or natural reasoning… especially if it contradicted something clearly stated in the Bible.
There were times when I loved to sit back and watch her quickly figure out something that was new to her. She had an uncanny sense of thinking fast on her feet. For some reason I also enjoyed observing the way she used her hands. I was telling my cousin the other day that Piper’s hands were so small but yet she could do things with them that seemed almost impossible to me… like stretching them across the ivories on the piano in order to play incredibly complicated pieces of classical music!
Watching her camping with our three-month-old son for the first time was a kick! She would just make up things as we went. Grabbing the plastic wash tub for the dishes to give Josh a bath in, lining a section of the ground in our campsite with plastic sheeting so he wouldn’t get dirty… and then quickly realizing that it worked best to just let him get dirty on the first day as he stayed somewhat cleaner after that!
Then there were all the fairly big productions we did with our youth and children’s groups at various churches with various budgets over the years, like the pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, Family Fun Nights, community outreaches, camping trips with the youth… and the list goes on. She just had that “Can-Do” attitude about her… it seemed that scriptures like Philippians 4:13 where the Apostle Paul stated: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (KJV) were an integral part of her DNA!
I was studying this morning from the book of 2 Timothy and couldn’t help but center in on chapter one verse seven where Paul replied to Timothy with a similar statement that he wrote to the church in Philippi stating: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV) And I couldn’t help but chuckle as I thought that God must be reading my mind in my thoughts about Piper! For that verse seems to perfectly encapsulate the “Can-Do” attitude she lived by!
It also dawned on me that as a born-again Christian, that scripture tells me that I have absolutely NO sense of natural fear in my spirit-man… the real me on the inside! Do I get tempted with fear? You bet… especially over the last four months since Piper passed! But do I give in to it? NO! I may have to wrestle with the temptation for awhile but my faith in God and His Word always wins out! (Hint: memorize I Corinthians 10:13)
Let’s face it. We had people trying their best to put fear on us throughout the last eight to ten years of Piper’s life when it came to her diagnosis… but we learned (we HAD to learn) to reject their fear and put our trust in what God’s Word said. Otherwise, as you know by now… we would never have made it! 2 Timothy 1:7 lists a lot more things that God has given us instead of fear… mainly His power or ability, His love nature (which casts out all fear-See: I John 4:18) and a sound mind (ie; a mind that thinks on the truth of God and His Word)!
So, what’s my point? Well, while it may be true that Piper just sort of had the natural disposition about her to easily think out of the box, you and I can have that same “Can-Do” attitude she possessed by our study of and trust in the faithfulness of God to His Word. Is it easy to attain and maintain? Well… let’s be real here, you’ll definitely have to stay on top of and keep feeding your faith! To be honest, Piper’s ability to think out of the box with a “Can-Do” attitude wasn’t always excepted by those who couldn’t or wouldn’t want to see like she did. She didn’t always see eye to eye with a few of her bosses, or even with members of her own family… but it never stopped her from pursuing the things in life that she felt God was calling her to do! And we were always a team… side by side, supporting and uplifting each other! Ah… for those good times again!
So, the question is… What will your response be when God suggests something seemingly impossible to you? Will you answer How? Or Why Not!
Have a good rest of the week, and as you do, say along with me… I am expecting to do all things through Christ Who is strengthening me for today’s tasks and responsibilities!