When Jesus came to Earth, He brought heaven.
Everything and everyone He touched became heaven.
Because He was here.
He taught heaven.
People who loved Him learned it.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:31-34)
So what’s the difference?
What’s heaven like?
Who are the sheep?
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:35-40)
Done it unto me.
How we treat other people.
When I was growing up, I had mixed feelings about parent teacher conferences.
I was a good student, and I tried hard in school, but somehow the meetings still made me nervous.
I remember one specific parent teacher conference my dad came with me.
My sister had one on the same night, so my mom went with her.
It was a divide and conquer type of night.
My dad sat next to me in the tiny chairs in my elementary school classroom, and we talked with my third or fourth grade teacher.
I was excited for him to see my latest art project, hear about how good I was on my green recorder, see the great score I got on my last math test, and to hear about all the books I had read so far.
My teacher went through all of those things with him.
He oohed and aahed at all the right times.
At the end of the conference however, he surprised me.
My teacher asked if he had any questions.
I started to stand, thinking it was time to go.
“Yes, actually” he said.
I sat down and looked up at him.
“It sounds like Maddie is doing great in school,” he said,
“but I would like to know, Is she kind?”
Is she kind.
My teacher was surprised.
So was I.
Was she kind?
In that moment, my teacher was able to share that I had been kind to my classmates.
My dad beamed at that.
As we walked back to the car, I had a little skip in my step.
I also had a firm realization of what was really important to my dad.
As cool as the test scores and art projects were, he wanted me to be kind.
I don’t know exactly what judgement day will be like.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a lot like that parent teacher conference.
I’m sure we’ll be excited to show Him things-
maybe talents, accomplishments, education, a marriage, a great career, a beautiful home or family.
Our Heavenly Father will ooh and aah at all the right times.
But at the end I think He’ll ask,
“But were you kind?”
I hope with all of my heart that in that moment my answer will be,
And I think He’ll be happy.
Maybe He’ll beam.
And I’ll have a skip in my step.
Because it’s not about me, but how I make others feel.
That’s what makes Him happy.
I squeezed a little toothpaste on my toothbrush last night taking care to wipe any excess off the tube and carefully twisted the lid back on before replacing it in the bathroom drawer.
That’s how I know I love Jake Topham.
He makes me different.
Not just in the tiny toothpaste ways but in ways that matter.
He makes me brave.
I love being Sister Topham.
I love being Hank’s mom.
But nothing is so sweet or so sacred as being Jake’s sweetheart.
He’s my best friend.
My soft place to land.
My sounding board.
My tech support.
My financial advisor.
My favorite story.
My laundry specialist.
My first kiss.
My comic relief.
My personal chef.
My vacuum extraordinaire.
My favorite smile.
My interior designer.
My true love.
My hand to hold.
All the best parts of me.
He’s proof that miracles happen.
They follow him around
Everywhere he goes.
And I get to watch
Right there with him.
And nothing could possibly make me happier than he already has.
So I’ll try to keep the toothpaste tube clean, but I know he’ll love me, even when I forget.
Happy 26th Jakey T. I’ll never get tired of writing about you.
Sometimes I wonder what the Lord is preparing me for.
Things stand out to me in the scriptures and in my life and I wonder when I'll need them.
Sometimes I see the whole picture in a few minutes of studying.
Other times the lessons learned and the knowledge gained stay with me a little longer, ready for when I do need them.
Whether I need the stories, the attributes, the truths in the next 30 minutes or 30 years, I'm glad I have them.
I'm glad they came.
When Jake and I were first married we lived on Cedar City Main Street.
It was the perfect place for us.
I still remember what Jake's car sounded like pulling in the driveway and what the front door sounded like when he opened it.
We watched for cars and ran across the street hand-in-hand for treats at the gas station hundreds of times.
We loved it there.
Even apart from Jake's sweet company, the house was special.
It was my Great Grandma Murray's home.
She and her brother Raymond had moved to a care center and she agreed to let Jake and I stay there.
If walls could talk.
I know a little of what these would say.
My mom visited them weekly to do their hair.
She bought special hairspray just for Grandma Murray.
I smell it sometimes and it reminds me of her.
Whenever I think of Grandma Murray and Uncle Raymond, I think- "long-suffering".
A Christlike attribute the two lived beautifully.
Raymond experienced an injury causing brain damage at birth.
In addition to being his friend and protector in his younger years, she cared for him in their adulthood as well.
Her father left when they were young and she lost both her mother and her husband much too soon.
Loie Murray never complained though.
She lived an inconvenient life but whenever I came to see her, she seemed to love it anyway.
She took care of Raymond for at least 42 years.
The pure love, patience, and long-suffering I saw in that little house with those little old siblings changed me.
I remember them and I think of Him.
In each standard work the Savior's long-suffering" is made mention.
He was patient despite troubles, especially those caused by others.
Maybe long-suffering is putting the same toys away, picking up food off the floor, and matching tiny socks.
Maybe it's trying again despite inadequacies.
Maybe it's sending a text even if there's no reply.
Maybe it's going.
Maybe it's staying.
Maybe it's inconvenience.
But maybe it's salvation.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation. (2 Peter 3:15)
Isn't that sweet?
Salvation in the Suffering.
Salvation is the Suffering.
And Jesus is there too.
That makes me happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!