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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Woman at the Welcome Kiosk

Beauty and grace are a couple of things I’ve often felt eluded me. But God always seems to bring into my life the one person in the crowd who is filled with both. He knows my heart and that, even though my personality lends itself to whatever the opposite of those two attributes are, it’s more of a cover for the grace and beauty I’d love to display, if only they came naturally. Those attributes that I know are hiding somewhere deep, deep down just waiting for abrasive layers to peel away so they can shine.

In my church, there’s this tiny, fortiesh, dark-haired woman who exemplifies both of these qualities in such a way that you just know God is biting His nails, trying not to call her home before her time is up and she can go be with Him. If I know God, He is aware this world needs her, but I bet He’d love to pull an Enoch and draw her into his giant lap, and just cuddle her forever, the way I have a feeling her gigantic six-foot-four (at LEAST) husband probably does every chance he gets.

She smiles, speaks in soft, gentle tones and is adored by all—because she’s the real deal. She loves animals, has a heart for children, and when she talks to you, there’s just a peace that comes over you. And she never seems to notice that you’re not worthy of her time.

Like Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind—only with a God twist—and if anyone is dumb enough to be mean to her the way Scarlett was Melanie, I’ve never seen it. And if I did, I’d probably give them a dressing down that would make them beg her forgiveness—and maybe bake her an I’m-sorry pie.

I think there are very few women like this—and even less men. (not to be a man-basher, I like men too).

She loves Jesus with tears in her eyes and trusts him for herself, and for me.

Yesterday, I slipped out of the sanctuary during a film clip, making a dash to the bathroom before the sermon got a real start. And she was standing at the welcome kiosk with one of my friends. They both stopped talking to tell me they loved my hair and I looked good. Blah, blah, blah. And then she asked me about the house (clearly she doesn’t read my blog—which is probably her only flaw). I told her we lost it.

She seemed genuinely surprised because she knows we’ve been praying. And her God never fails. She said, well, remember, God promised you a house. “Yes, He did,” I said---honestly just wanting to run away. I don’t smile-through-the-tears very well. I needed to pee anyway and get back into the sanctuary where pastor was already preaching the first in a new series about making adjustments. Choices.

“Well, then,” she said, with a slight lifting up of her teeny, tiny shoulders, making her four-feet something stature, rise about a half-inch. “God must have a better house for you than the one you’re in.”

Oh, how I love this woman. Most of the time, I want to take her home with me so I can serve her in any way she needs. She might be the one person who actually deserves to have her feet washed like Jesus washed the disciples feet--but then if you only washe the feet of those who deserve it, you're probably missing the whole point.

“I’m sure he does,” I said.

She gave a confident tilt of her head. “Oh, I know He does." And she smiled, and her face glowed with love and kindness that made me believe maybe God actually does have something even better. And as I walked into the bathroom, I thought, “Lord, make me like this woman, filled with beauty and grace. Let me see the big picture through the tall, full trees that are threatening to suffocate as I navigate the forest. Let me see You in such a way that I trust without wavering, knowing that the end of one season, always brings the beginning of the next.”

I can “say” I trust God, but this woman KNOWS her God is not going to leave me in my weakened state. She KNOWS that if He promised to provide, He will do it. I think she must have seen God’s faithfulness many, many times. Because she has that quiet, unshakeable faith that only comes from experience and relationship.

So I’m praying today at the church with my pastor and whoever else shows up for our first Prayer and Seek service. I’m praying for grace to walk through the doors, not focused on my great need, but the needs of a town filled with people who need to know Jesus the way the woman at the Kiosk does.

Beauty and Grace. A face that shines with the love of Jesus, a gentle voice that brings peace. Kindness for all. Unwavering faith in a heart that knows her God.

Jesus, make me like that.

1 comment:

Andrea Strong said...

Me too. Thanks, Tracey.

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