Tag Archives: Parent

Deb Moore: A Friend


We lost a dear friend last week.  We joined the family and other friends on Friday to share our tears and to celebrate her life.  Debs was a private person, and I can’t claim to have known her well, but she always made you feel special, as if your joys and concerns were all that mattered.  Her faithfulness in prayer, and her courage in the terrible suffering she endured, were a gift and an encouragement to all.

The tributes paid by her family and friends echoed the love and the loss of all our hearts.  Her daughter said she loved coming home—how many teenagers would admit to that?  And not many students, except for the laundry benefits.  She loved coming home because her mother was so positive.  “She believed in me.  She made me feel that everything was possible.”

That’s not easy for a parent to convey.  There are so many pitfalls, so much for us to worry about.  How many of us manage to set our children free, to give them the gift of believing in them instead of restricting them with the impossibilities of our own fears?  Of course they are legitimate fears, we fear for their safety, for their future, but they restrict nonetheless. 

As Deb’s daughter spoke we could nod in appreciation.   This was indeed the Debs we knew and loved.

Debs pointed her family to Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope; be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”  It is a verse that sums up how we experienced Debs.  Joy was a constant companion, and hope her driving force.  Her patience in the terrible suffering she endured was heroic (not that she would ever have considered herself a hero).  I often thought that Debs wanted to be free of it all, not for her sake but so that her family and friends would not have to endure it all.  And Debs was a prayer warrior.  She was one of those who left you feeling a little more secure, a little more confident, because Debs was praying.  But her prayers were not intellectual exercises; they led her to action.  Debs was one of those who would pray as if God was our only hope, and act as if God had left it all up to her.

One of her friends said that she (the friend) had only been a Christian for ten years, a spiritual youngster in the prayer group she belonged to with Debs.  But she always knew that, when she grew up, she wanted to be like Debs.

I echo that, but such love and faithfulness, such joy and peace, do not come overnight.  Paul rightly calls these fruit of the Spirit.  Fruit grows and develops through a long process of watering and nurturing; it isn’t stuck on at the last minute.  The fruit of the Spirit grows within us as we offer ourselves to God every day; it develops little by little through random acts of kindness; it ripens as we make small decisions to be positive, to put aside our critical inclinations, and to offer encouragement and hope to a daughter, a friend, a stranger.

It starts, perhaps, through being faithful in prayer as we ask God every day for opportunities to live out our prayers, and courage to take the opportunities presented to reach out to others.

Thank you Debs for the gifts you gave us.  Thank you for encouraging us to live as Jesus in the world, and for demonstrating that it is indeed possible to do so.

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Free Love? Not likely!


Our local Chamber of Business sends out a daily news brief via email. It contains items of interest to local business, and financial indicators. (The latter is useful for keeping track of one’s millions stashed away in foreign currency, gold bars, and the like.) Included in the email is a daily inspirational quote. Last Thursday contained one by Brian G Jet, “The greatest possession we have costs nothing, it’s known as love.”

It sounded good and, in one sense, he’s quite right. Love is free. You cannot buy it or force it – ask any parent – it’s either freely given or not at all.

But at another level, it couldn’t be more wrong. Love is the costliest gift of all. True love, unconditional love, is beyond price. How can one put a price on a mother’s unrequited love for her child? What price the love of the prodigal son’s father? What price the Father’s love for us, pledging his all, committing himself fully to the frail and fickle creatures he made but set free? The cross was the price he paid but even God knows that he cannot buy love; he can only demonstrate it.

We too can only accept and acknowledge that love; we cannot pay for it. We can only receive it freely, revel in it, and learn to reflect it to those who need it, and perhaps even deserve it, more than we do.

All our training is focussed on paying our way. “It’s not fair,” is our cry when someone seems to get more than we do for less. You’re supposed to pay for what you get. But, with love, there is no such bargain, no such deal. We love because we have been loved. If our love is reflected back to us from those we love, beautiful friendships may blossom; if not, we love anyway because we have already been loved; we have already received far more than we could ever give.

Loving Creator, exuberant in the extravagance of your creation:
The beauty and colour; great landscapes and tiny flowers;
Multitudes of beasts, inhabiting land, sea and air,
Giants and miniatures alike.

Lord of all, whose name and nature is love,
You gave birth to all there is.
You revel in your creation but you love the particular.
You know each individual, uniquely created,
And you care what we make of our lives.

You’re the loving Parent
Sacrificing all for your children,
Delighting in our growth,
Mourning our pain,
Saddened by our loneliness.

You delight in our worship,
And rejoice when our lives reflect your glory.
Lord, whose name and nature is love,
Live your love through us.

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