A Surprise Blessing

Last weekend I went to Dallas for our daughter Jess’ wedding shower.

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The shower was a perfect time to speak blessings and reminisce on all that God has done over the decades from when our church community began.

Linda, mother of the groom, shared when their family came to the church where Jess and Chris eventually met. “I’ll never forget our first day.” She explained that their sons came to church before the rest of the family. “They were spending a lot of time at the church. We were excited that the boys were eager to be at church, but we hadn’t been to that church ourselves. We decided to go as a family and check it out.”

“The place was packed when we arrived. It was difficult finding a place to seat all six of us. We crammed into a section at the back. After the worship Pastor Steve got up to give the message. He paused, looking over the mass of people. Suddenly, he pointed… towards us ‘You there.’”

“We were far at the back and new. Surely he didn’t mean us. Then he said, ‘You –young man in the orange shirt, pointing in our direction.’”

Linda looked around the room full of women, then at Jess. “My son, Chris was the one wearing a bright orange shirt. Everyone else sat down, but Pastor asked Chris to stay standing. You can imagine my thoughts right? ‘Oh no, what has he done?!’”

Pastor Steve addressed Chris declaring that he believed the Lord was going to use him in a powerful and unique way. ‘There’s a high call on your life, son -to serve the nations.’  He encouraged Chris to prepare himself to minister among dignitaries around the world.”

The ladies responded, “Linda! That’s awesome!”

I waited till their happy responses finished, then eagerly thrust my hand in the air, “Wait! There’s more to the story!” I had to tell the other part of the story.

“Ya all, last fall Linda and I met for coffee when I was in town. She shared that story with me not realizing I had been there too, only with an entirely different view of what happened.”

“When she told me of their initial visit I cringed inside. I had forgotten that day up to that point. When she shared, my own recollection flooded my mind as if it just happened.”

“That day, I was up in my special “staff” spot where I took a count of attendees for service planning. The place was packed. We were short on seats and time. It was critical to keep to the timeline so we could move people out, so others could come in for the following service. I was stressed –even ticked, thinking, Why is Pastor Steve going off script for a kid who isn’t even part of the church?!”

“Pathetic, right? Oh, it got worse.”

I shared my unholy thoughts, “Wow God, we come week after week, year after year. We changed countless diapers in the nursery, stayed up endless nights during weekend retreats, camps and all those wacky junior high events. We loved and drudged thru the high school drama and never a special word for our kids who grew up in the church.”

“Then my thoughts went back to the service. What is Pastor Steve thinking?! There was no time in the script for this. It was completely out of his norm. I considered holding up a sign “Timeline!”

The ladies chuckled knowing it would have done no good anyway. I went on, “Later that week Pastor revisited the event saying, ‘I know it was off track, but the impression was just so strong, you know…. like I could feel the Holy Spirit prodding me to speak it. I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do thru that kid.’”

I confessed to our friends, “I secretly coveted that blessing, despite the nagging conviction to ‘rejoice’ for others!”

The ladies laughed, “Wow… See how good God is. He knew your heart.”

“Yeh, he knew my weak and selfish heart… and He still brought Jess and Chris together.”

God is good. At all times: even when we don’t deserve it.

His blessings are constant, whether someone declares it publicly or we have the incredible honor to hear Christ’s rich whispers in quiet places.

I think this verse sums how God’s grace and blessings outreach our wayward ways.

“…the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7a

As for the bride and groom… surely the good Lord will bless them beyond what we pray or seek. God is good.

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Top Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

 

Dads & Daughters

Dad & ShellyThe other day I called my Dad to wish him a Happy Birthday.  It was the perfect opportunity to tell him what had been burning in my chest for a while.

I shared with my Dad about the time long ago when he and mom had were working out the details of their divorce.  I was 8, the oldest of the 3 kids.  Mom would take custody of my little brother and sister, but I was given the option of picking which parent I would live with.

I had been torn about the decision.  I loved both parents, but wanted to live with my dad.   I knew mom would need my help caring for my brother and sister.  It was hard enough that our parents were splitting.  It would have been too much to break up the siblings on top of that.  In addition, how could I “pick” one parent over another without hurting one?

I decided to go with mom, choosing unity over personal desire.  It seemed unfair that I had to make the kind of decision my parents were unwilling to make themselves.

Though I really wanted to be with my dad, there was no point in voicing it.  I knew it would only hurt my mom, and further break my dad’s already bruised heart.

The longing to stay with my dad didn’t change over the years.

Decades later, as an adult with kids of my own, I see things clearer.  Enough time and healing have passed that I could safely talk about it with Dad.

Sharing this with my Dad turned out to be more for me.  He told me he had sought legal advice to get custody of us.  Having met with one lawyer after another, he found what we all know; that unless the mother is found to be incapable, the court would always defer custody to the mother.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom.  Still, I wanted to be with Dad.

Dad had not wanted to put us thru more drama.  He said it really wouldn’t have worked for me to go with him anyways.  Ultimately, us children needed to be together, to preserve as much “family” as possible.

For decades, I had perceived that my Dad gave up too easily on me.  Then, in one conversation, I realized he did what he believed we needed most at that time

There’s two things I took from this.

1.  A reminder that divorce is far more costly than most will count the price of.

Parents, before entertaining thoughts of divorce, consider the long lasting affects it would have on your children. 

2.  Share what is in your heart as soon as it’s a proper time.  You never know how much life you’ll bring to the person you share it with!