Thursday, June 15, 2017

The One Who Defines Us by Claudia Loopstra

I looked at the long line up of people. The room held the fragrance of an assortment of freshly cut flowers. Most of them were arranged in vases; not in the usual way with floral baskets reminiscent of an impending funeral.

As a familiar looking man dressed in a business suit approached, he extended his hand to me and offered his condolences. We then began a conversation about my brother-in-law, who had passed away at the age of sixty-six from multiple myeloma. Diagnosed a mere six weeks before he died, our family was left reeling from his sudden death.

"Larry was dedicated to his profession and to his patients," I said, as I began to relate the story of how Larry  had informed his staff that he had to close his medical practice immediately. "His wife told me he'd cried."

It took me off guard when the man said, "Well...it was his profession that defined him."

You know nothing about Larry, I thought. He was not defined by his profession or by his financial status, academic standing, his parenting or his marriage. I knew the man meant well, but I also knew he was wrong.

The person soon moved on down the line, but I remained troubled by his comment. I was aware that Larry's profession had meant a great deal to him--that he was well-respected in his field. But that was not what defined him.

At one point during the evening visitation, a young doctor approached me. It seemed she had mistaken me for Larry's widow. As she took my hand in hers she said, "Larry's influence made me a better person". Tears trickled down her cheeks. At that moment, I didn't have the heart to tell her that I wasn't Dr. Loopstra's wife.

The message at Larry's funeral, the following day, was taken from Galations 5:22, 23. God's word, in part, defined who Larry was as he had lived by the Spirit. His life reflected love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control ...not perfectly as it is known by believers that our sinful nature prevents it. But, when we are in Christ, through his blood we are cleansed; therefore we, as believers, are not defined as the world would define us. It's by God's grace we are who we are.

Our worth is never found in what we do but rather in who we belong to. No matter what our failures or successes may be, we can rest in that knowledge.

See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1John 3:1


Claudia Loopstra is a speaker, writer and author. As well as having several short stories and articles published she, along with four others, co-authored and published As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers and Speakers. Her memoir Redemptive Love: Living with an Alcoholic Father was published in 2015.
www.claudialoopstra.com


4 comments:

Peter Black said...

Claudia, your heartfelt and insightful tribute to your brother-in-law warms my heart. It's a precious thing to realise what really defined him - God's love and grace, manifested through the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life. Thank you. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Likely the well-meaning gentleman was expounding on what a good doctor Larry was, even though it came off sounding hollow and perhaps a bit off-putting. But the good news is you knew the truth. And that was affirmed by the young doctor. Thank you for sharing this in your sorrow, Claudia. My sympathies for your loss and I love these words you shared: Our worth is never found in what we do but rather in who we belong to. So true.

fudge4ever said...

How reassuring to know that our worth is grounded firmly and deeply in "whose" we are, rather than "who" we are. Well said, Claudia, and my sympathies to you and your family.
Pamela Mytroen

fudge4ever said...

How reassuring to know that our worth is grounded firmly and deeply in "whose" we are, rather than "who" we are. Well said, Claudia, and my sympathies to you and your family.
Pamela Mytroen

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