Oh dear, would you just look at me. I have lost my head.
What is that? Are you sure I am fit to come inside?
Look, I will lift my garment just a bit so you can see I am broken.
Really, I am.
What’s that you say? Yes, I will take a blanket to cover my legs.
And did you know, it warms my heart too?
Yes I see, these people come week after week.
And they give–not just money, but love.
Yes, yes, I heard that story about the healing and the hope.
So when they gathered and prayed over that woman last week,
He actually heard?
I see the microphone aimed at the cross.
Oh, okay, this preacher man speaks God’s Truth
and yes, I see it is straight from the Bible.
Oh, look at the flowering tree just outside.
And look at all these people inside, they are so kind.
Their beauty is simply divine.
Yes, my battered and bruised soul found relief.
Now I can rest with you and be myself, really I can?
Oh, thank you for the flowers.
No, no, I don’t believe they are weeds,
rather they are beauty from God’s hand.
If you hadn’t noticed, by the end of last week I was feeling mightily fogged in, yet adrift on the waters of life. I felt as if I could not see clearly for the fog had impeded my view. And my soul was crying out for a lighthouse signal, a flashlight beam, or even candle’s flicker. I also felt as if I was aimlessly bobbing about in my own marina. And my heart was searching for an anchor, a solid place to dock, or a calm place to drift amid the storm.
Isn’t it amazing how God brings us to those places?
Indeed it is a gift.
For we can only see clearly when we know what it is to not.
For we can only feel anchored when we know what it is to not.
As most know, our relocation saga started eighteen months ago. And as you know, we have all struggled with it, from the leaving of friends, to the selling of our home, to finding a proper place to live. But what I haven’t spoke much of is finding a new church family.
Prior to our leaving western Oregon, we had switched from attending church in a building lined with pews to attending church at home, in our living room. We did this each Sunday for about ten months–for a myriad of reasons. It was the season God had planted us in. It was the soil in which were intended to bloom. Those times are some of the most precious to me. And I know when our neighbors huddled close in our living room as our little warrior led the singing, they were touched by the Holy Spirit too. We all grew. And shared and taught and learned and prayed and spoke Truth and trusted.
So, in this new land of ours, we continued with home church for a month. Then one day as I drove past our tiny, new, blink-and-you-will-miss-it town, I saw a cross. It took less than a minute to find the church. I took note of the service time and told my husband. He had not seen it yet. But after driving by, he said, “Let’s check it out this Sunday.”
It was with a touch of apprehension mixed into some dough of anticipation and sprinkled with sweet wonder at what sort of treasure lie within those old church walls–that we entered one day as a family looking for a place where we fit in. That was five months ago.
Oh, the building itself and the history is really something. It is the oldest First Christian Church in Washington state. And those very tall windows and those curved pews with those ornate hymnal holders, they are beauty indeed. But they are nothing compared to the Light that shines forth from its pulpit and its people therein. From day one, they welcomed us and wrapped us in their blankets of love.
Our son has taken to speaking publicly by offering praise reports from the pew and reading of Christ’s resurrection up near the alter and standing to ask for prayer for his kin in Uganda. This once-shy and hide-behind-mamma kid is growing here. God planted him in fertile dirt. And his dad, well, he is the sort that grows well with other country folk too. What about me? I tend to hold back and hold it in and guard it, until I am certain I am where God wants me to be. Oh I know, He plucked us out of our previous dirt and transplanted us here and I should have accepted the offered water long before now…
Perhaps it was the hug and earnest look into my eyes from that one long-haired lady I have come to know who works in the kitchen. Perhaps it was sitting back and listening to the praises and prayer requests. Perhaps it was the way the Light shone through the church windows. Perhaps it was the pastor’s message that came from so deep within his very soul that he preached from a contrite and convicted heart while tears occasionally dropped without fanfare. Perhaps it was the (seemingly) mentally challenged man who hollers “Hallelujah” and “Praise God” unabashedly throughout the service.
Whatever it was that tenderly touched this mamma’s heart and finally opened it to accept the dirt and the water and the Light from this little ole country church, I trust that God did it just for me. And He did it at just the right time, for today the fog is much less dense now and my harbor is a safe place. I believe I can settle in. And even grow.
Pastor J., this post is for you. For letting God use you as a vessel for His Word and His Truth and His glory. And for your wife, for being the woman of your rib. I do love you guys and am ever so thankful that we wondered and then wandered into your midst that November Sunday.
And they shall teach My people
the difference between the holy and the unholy,
and cause them to discern
between the unclean and the clean.
~ Ezekiel 44:23 (NKJV)
This post is also part of Ann’s Hallelujah, Hooray, Shout-out to God
with noted gratefulness of the wondrous blessings He pours
over and over and over again. Watering us with Love!
I no longer count them,
I just list them