With All My Heart

My Texas sisters, Carmen, Lynn, and Becky, really know how to throw a party. It was my birthday and what a surprise!

The house was decorated luau style. There was even a Tiki Bar for the kids in the backyard. The grill was fired up and the table overflowed with shish kabobs and salads. The display was a huge cocktail glass shaped cake that Becky had baked. Guests wore leis. They handed me a grass skirt and coconut bra to wear over my regular clothes. The kids wore party hats and coconut bras, too.

The party was in full swing. The little ones danced throughout the living room as the adults laughed and visited. The chicken and beef shish kabobs smelled wonderful. I helped myself to one and took a bite. It stuck in my throat.

My daughter noticed me first and asked if I was choking. I nodded.

If a person had to have emergency care, this was a right place and time. There were three nurses and one trained paramedic present. The party kicked into an even higher gear. Someone called 911 while the three nurses took turns doing the Heimlich Maneuver on me, but the piece of meat remained lodged. Brett Monroe, the trained paramedic, took his turn. I think my feet cleared the ground three times, but finally the chunk dislodged.

Everyone was stunned. The house fell quiet except for the baby crying in the bedroom. As I sat on the back patio trying to regain my composure, the ambulance arrived. The paramedics checked me over and asked if I needed further assistance. I declined.

While signing the release, all my senses rushed back in and I became aware of the surroundings. My twelve-year-old grandson was tending the Tiki Bar! I suddenly felt an overwhelming need to explain that although we were partying, there wasn’t any liquor behind that bar. I blubbered out that it was my birthday surprise, we were all family, and we weren’t bothering the neighbors.

“Silly me for choking. Did I mention there’s no liquor at that bar? That’s my grandson. He’s not – I didn’t – Do you want to smell my breath?” I was a blundering mess. (Not remembering if I still had on the coconut bra haunts me to this day.)

They just smiled and shook their heads.

“We love a great party,” I told them.

That’s how it is when you celebrate with those gals. They’re all in. You’re all in. And if there’s a crisis, your whole heart is in then, too.

That’s what God wants for Kingdom work. He wants all his family in; their hearts fully invested. During the good and bad.

“As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Ephesians 6: 6b-7