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I've got a lot on my mind today. For starters, Thanksgiving is only two days away. TWO days. I think I value Thanksgiving so much because it's the only time a year that I get to see most of my family. I like having everyone get together and to see where I came from. Also, my sister had a baby last night. I still can't believe it. There's a whole new human in this world now and for the first time ever, I have a niece. So that's pretty exciting. However, none of these things are what I actually want to talk to you about today. I want to talk about towels. Yes, you read that correctly. I said towels. A few weeks ago I was folding laundry and I came across this super soft, cuddly towel. Immediately, I was taken back to December 2011 when I spent my last moments with my mom. During this time, I was living as a young, misunderstood [at least I thought I was misunderstood] missionary in Guatemala. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to be an adult. I didn't understand myself or what I needed. As I look back, I see how much this was a time of growth for me because it hurt. Oh boy, did it hurt! You know, stretching and learning are never fun. It's much easier and much more comfortable to retract back into our current mold of who we are and say, "Listen, I am totally content with who I am. So God, please let me be and let me stay this way forever." Anyway, this trip to the states was the first time I had been back in my own country in a whole year. I remember getting back and feeling comfortable. I loved that everything seemed so simple and so easy. There was central heating for crying out loud. Most of all, going back to my mom's house felt right and peaceful. For the first time in a year, I could curl up on the couch with a blanket and not have any other cares in the world.

Let's get to the part with the towels. For some reason, towels are expensive in Guatemala. I was living on a very limited missionary budget, so I only owned two towels. However, I made it work. One day, my mom got a big box in the mail. We brought it in and opened it. Can you guess what it was? A huge box FULL of brand new, fluffy, wonderful towels. She had just ordered them and was very excited that she got them so fast. I remember picking up those towels and saying, "Mom, these are so soft. I love them! In Guatemala, I only have two towels and they're not very soft." I was just making conversation, but my mom [being the best mother] said, "Well here...take these back with you. I can always get more." In that moment I wanted to break down and cry. I said, "No mom. I can't take these towels. You spent a decent amount of money on them and I don't want to take them away from you." This whole story came crashing back into my mind that day a few weeks ago when I picked up that really gentle, soft towel. And I cried. I was overwhelmed thinking about the kindness of my mother. They may have just been towels, but my mom wanted to give me her best. She wanted to give me everything she had. So for the last few weeks, I've been thinking to myself "Am I willing to give up my [fictional] towels?" 

My mom struggled a lot [a LOT] throughout her life here; however, if there's one thing that she was always consistent about it was her kindness towards others. Even though she was hurt more times than any of us can count, she still let love shine through. When I think about my mom, I can see her crooked, beautiful smile. I know that she wasn't perfect [as much as I say she was]. I'm not naive. I know what she battled day in and day out. However, what really matters here is how she is remembered. What really matters here is how her legacy continues on without her. When I think about my mom, it's not hard for me to forget the hard times. It's not hard for me to forget about the struggles or the poor decisions. When I think about my mom, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and a desire to be the kindest person I can be. I remember my mom for her gentle spirit, her contagious laugh, and her abounding love. What will I be remembered for? 

It's incredibly easy to get wrapped up in this fragile life we lead here. I know because I get wrapped up in it every single day. Just earlier today, my mind was consumed with my psychology class and having to read 50 pages for one quiz. In those moments, that felt like everything to me. We spend so much of our time thinking about our future and who we will become and what we desire our lives to look like. In the end, none of it matters. People aren't going to remember me for being extra studious and reading those 50 pages in my psychology book. People won't remember all the A's I received in my college classes. So what will people remember? They're going to remember how I treated them. They're going to remember how I treated others in front of them. They're going to remember the things that I don't think they're paying attention to. 

There's this song that I've recently been listening to and it really puts all of this into perspective for me. It's called The Cause of Christ by Kari Jobe. I was just telling Lionel last night that I want to be one of those people that puts everything on the line for Jesus. Because honestly guys, none of the trivial things we deal with or pass through on this earth are worth it. These things that we put so much focus and effort into are not going to last. If I want the memory of me to live on, I have to spend my life here fighting for eternal things. If I go my whole life and no one can tell that I love Jesus, then I wasted every single second I was given. Like the song says, "The only thing I want in life is to be known for loving Christ". 

I'm sure my mom didn't think it was big deal to offer up her brand new towels to me. I'm sure she never thought that I would remember that about her after she passed away. With this seemingly small gesture, my mom taught me all about selflessness and how to be kind. I have to be willing to give up everything [even if it hurts] for others. I'm not sure I'm there yet and honestly [being brutally transparent], I'm not sure I ever will be. I want to be and that's a start.

But I want to encourage you if you're reading this, be willing to give up your towels for someone else.
Be willing to give up your best. 


Give it a listen guys...

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