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.

ChrisandJess

Top Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

 

Mother’s Day -or any day

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I remember an especially dark season of my life over 20 years ago when Mother’s day came and went several times without calling or even sending so much as a card to my mom.

I wanted nothing to do with my past or the people I perceived responsible for much of the darkness associated with it.  I severed ties with my mom, cutting off all communication with her.

Breaking ties doesn’t necessarily fix problems.  After exhausting attempts trying to fix myself, I always came up short.  I came to a point of desperation and turned to Jesus.

Bit by bit my life began to change as I learned to turn each area of my life over to Christ.  My perspective became God and others focused.   I went from accusing and resenting to caring and forgiving.

Anger and disappoint gave way to hope.  Though it didn’t happen overnight, and often it was humbling and difficult, my relationships began to change.

Over the course of several years, my relationship with mom was restored and took on a new identity that was good and healthy.  Not only did we get beyond the pain of the past, but now I enjoy the present together with my mom.  Mom lives with us; not because she has too, but because we’ve welcomed her into our family.

You may not want to have your mom live in the same house with you, but check your heart and ask; is there a welcome place for your mother in your life?

People never regret saying things that are kind and full of grace, but we all regret if there comes a day and it’s too late.  Your mom won’t always be there.

Time is priceless and words can be powerful; use them wisely.  Live without regrets.

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise —  

“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 

Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV)

On Moms

Mother’s day I reflected back to an especially dark season of my life over 20 years ago.  Mother’s day came and went several times without sending so much as a card or making a call to my mom.

Having grown up like many others, with messed up families, I wanted nothing to do with my past or the people I perceived responsible for much of the darkness.  I severed ties with my mom, cutting off all communication with her.
Breaking ties doesn’t necessarily fix problems.  My husband and I exhausted one attempt after another in trying to fix ourselves.  Whatever we tried, we always came up short.
We got to a point of desperation and decided to give God a try as a last resort.
Bit by bit our lives began to change.  Our perspective became God and others focused.   We went from hating and accusing to caring and forgiving.
Anger and disappoint gave way to hope.
Life change didn’t happen overnight.  Often it was humbling and difficult.  Over the course of several years, my relationship with my mom was restored and took on a new identity of health and goodness.
Not only did we get beyond the pain of the past, but today, we enjoy the present together with my mom.  She is single and she lives with us; not because she has too, but because we’ve welcomed her into our family.
You may not want to have your mom live in the same house with you, but check your heart and ask yourself; is there a welcome place for your mother in your life?
What’s your relationship like?  She won’t always be there.
People never regret saying things that are kind and full of grace, but we all regret if there comes a day and it’s too late.
You know the best way to reach out to your mom.  Take the time to think about it.  It doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.   When it’s from your heart, she’ll know it.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise —  
“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 
                                                                                                   Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV)