Friday, August 24, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Treasure Hunting


LIFE LESSONS: Treasure Hunting
by Cindy Stiverson

Every summer for the past twelve years, my Boy and I have enjoyed an annual trek to Treasure Island, Florida. It always makes me think of one of my fave childhood books, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. That makes me laugh because it seems so out of character for me to have liked a not-so-girly book. I suppose it spoke to the adventurer in me. Hard to believe, I was also a bit of a tom-boy!
 
Like the book, our trips to Treasure Island are centered around treasure hunting. One pastime is scouring the area thrift stores and flea markets for bargains. We part ways, as what is a treasure to Mark is not-so-much-a-treasure to me, and vice-versa. He enjoys picking through the old garage sale-type "junk". I look for the new or gently used, "non-junk" (smile). Like an old peg-leg pirate, I often want to shoot myself (or him) in the leg when we get home, dragging all these things along with us!
 
But the real treasures are the not-so-gently-used people I encounter along the way. My heart is stirred as I picture them now. Faces bronzed and rugged from hours and years in the sun, hearts open and tender and seeking a friend. I have been caught by surprise many a time when they thank me, not for buying, but for looking into their eyes and engaging in meaningful conversation.
 
Italian-born Bella Lucia was this year's treasure. I have visited her dress shop in the past, but this year was different. We engaged in conversation...for more than an hour! As I listened, she shared her journey with cancer, seven years of finding the treatment that would work for her. Finally finding the treasure: one chemotherapy treatment with a pricetag of $70,000 brought her to cancer-free status. But not without loss! They downsized their home, their lifestyle, their activities. She shared how everything in their lives had changed, how much she suffered physically. I had never heard a cancer patient share so openly as she did with me, a complete stranger. It was heart-wrenching to imagine that level of suffering.
 
As I listened, I prayed God would open a door to her heart. We were both suddenly fascinated with the thought that she had lost every bit of hair on her body. Even her eyelashes and eyebrows. Gone! We were even more fascinated by the new growth. How does a bald head grow a full head of hair? How do we grow a new set of eyelashes and eyebrows? Oh, what a treasure it would be to know that formula! Men would be standing in line, $70,000 in hand!
 
That was my gateway to God. I shared that God loves us so much that He knows the number of hairs on our head! (Luke 12:7, Matt. 10:30) And, I told her that He promises to make everything new!
"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people!...He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:3-5NLT)
 
None of us will go through life without suffering, heartache, hardship, loss, disease. We can be comforted in knowing that the God who created us will never leave us or forsake us. Even when we can't hear Him or see Him working, He is there. He uses everything to draw us into a deeper love relationship with Him. The treasures yet to be discovered in this love-journey are beyond our ability to imagine!

How big is YOUR love? How big is your GOD? What treasures are you seeking?

Jesus gives us this advice:
"Do not store up treasures here on earth...store your treasures in heaven...Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." (Matt. 6:19-21, 33NLT)

 

 
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I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.
 


So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.
 


Loving God with all my heart, soul, strength; and loving and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life.



1 comment:

  1. God is truly the treasure that I sought my whole life, and now he is the only one I need! Thank you for the lovely story, Cindy. I love how you share your heart for God so eloquently.

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