Skip to main content

Unspeakable Grace: A Wonderful Witness

With a diaper bag over one shoulder, a baby in my arms, and a toddler wrapped around both legs, I waited patiently in the line. It had been a long morning and an uphill battle every step between my bed and that line in front of the counter. I really didn't feel very good and the babies hadn't slept very well. My night-shift-working-man could hardly hold his head up. Just about the time I was starting to wonder why on earth I had even tried to drag us to church at all, I turned just enough for his face to catch my peripheral. I reacted quickly like any polite Baptist would and asked him how he was.

The glimmer in his eye, the joy that overtook his face, the confidence in his voice as he said those words rung loud in my ears. They still do, well over a decade later.

"I'm doing wonderful. How are you?"

I hardly knew the man and I struggle to recall his first name without deliberation now, but I will never forget the witness he was to me that morning. A husband and father of three young children, battling cancer with everything he had in him, I had watched him wither away from a few pews behind him in the balcony. It had been weeks since I had seen him and it would be mere weeks until the Father called him home, but that morning? That morning, he told me he was doing wonderful and he was thrilled to just be standing in the line at the nursery counter with his baby boy.

His courage and joy have spoken volumes to me over the years and he didn't even know my name.

When my curly haired rebel can't find her shoe for the umpteenth time, when the sniffles have given way to tears, when morning sickness got the best of me more than once, when my pillow was more inviting than my pastor, when grief and bitterness asked again why I should even bother, when complacency feels better than obedience... I am forced, over and over, to ponder anew the privilege to make it to church - or work or story time or the basketball game or the grocery store - at all and that long-gone-man's valor has spurred me on to seek blessings I would have undoubtedly missed otherwise. His faith has been made sight and it continues to ask me what mine is made of.



Friend, I don't know what awaits you this morning. It's Tuesday, so I know it's probably not the sort of blessing that awaits you inside the church doors. What I know - what that warrior from a few pews down taught me all those years ago - is that it is a privilege to get to go. It's an honor to be able to show up. It's a "wonderful" blessing to partake in the ordinary. No matter what demons may be trying their best to trip us up and keep us home - and to keep us far from the blessings that await us - may we find the courage to get up and to show up. 

That courage may very well keep talking long after we are able; and, it may speak to people who don't even remember our names after we are gone.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Home is Near

I stood at the end of the boardwalk, slipping my feet into the sandy shoes I had left there earlier in the day. Little ones waiting impatiently at the other end, I was in a hurry to get to the next thing, but the setting sun over the majestic ocean stopped me in my tracks. Immediately, I exhaled. Surrounded by His glory, I felt embraced by my Father in an instant. One glance and He was no longer distant, but enveloping me - and it felt like home.


Scripture tells us sheep know the voice of their shepherd. It is basic and instinctual. No one need educate them on the intonations of his voice nor of his rugged appearance. When he is near, they simply know.

I get that.

Before anyone accurately educated me on the character of Jesus, before I had the opportunity to understand doctrine, before I knew how divisive religion can be, I knew He was near. When life got hard and sin got heavy and dark, He was the light I ran to. Since those steps, I have not taken a single one alone. He's always…

A Story Worth Telling

I was one of the lucky ones. From the very beginning, I was told there was nothing I could not do. Every report card was met with praise. When I doubted myself, I knew at least two people in the world who believed I could rope the stars if only I tried. I was well into my twenties before it hit me that there were real limitations on what I could do, on who I could be.

By choice, I was the college girl who wore a veil before I wore a cap and gown.  By grace, I held the title of Mom before any other professional one - and still value it over any I'll hold. We had a mortgage before we had a clue. We had struggles nobody warned me about. We had babies born in packages we never imagined. Parts of my story were just too painful to tell. I never stopped believing in the happily ever after, but somewhere along the way, the rains came and washed away all my courage, all my confidence.

I didn't have to attend Sunday school every week or be part of a youth group to know from a young age …

Pack Wisely

Summer is slipping through our fingers. It seems like this sacred window of time opened only yesterday. We start with our game so strong, don't we? We hadn't been out of school a week when I was searching sales ads with a magnifying glass in search of all the necessary magical elements for summer fun. I learned the hard way that it's really not all that wise to get all your groceries, a fire pit, a grill, and new lawn chairs on the same day - no matter how great a bargain they may be. The ol' minivan was faithful as ever, but it was real tricky there for a minute when the girls in the red shirts and khaki pants were wondering with me how that back hatch was going to latch.

We've toasted marshmallows, blown bubbles, planted flowers, taken leisurely strolls, watched the stars, fireflies, and fireworks, too.  Life has slowed to a pace that allows us to look it, and the ones we love, in the face.  Where girls once were, I see women.  Where little ones used to sleep, I …