God likes small spaces. Recently, I spoke to a MOPS group of about sixty women about relying on God in the midst of a sorrowful season. I was so nervous I took a barf bag up to the podium with me (more as a joke, but I did feel like barfing). I wasn’t nervous about speaking, but because of the intimate subject- my sister’s suffering and her dependence on God through it.
At her funeral, I delivered one of her eulogies and although the number of attendees was much greater, so was the space. The space of the auditorium actually eased my nerves, because it wasn’t as intimate as this MOPS group.
Here, was a group of ladies whom may have met Tricia or read her blog, but did not really know her, and it was up to me to describe her journey with cancer. I didn’t come through it a champ, I teared up in those dark shadowy parts, but in one of those choked-up times, I looked up and breathed. When I glanced back across the room I saw all of them crying. They got it! If there is one feeling that’s universal in this world it’s sadness.
Suddenly, I knew I wasn’t alone, they could feel the heavy and the light memories with me, and relate it to their own experiences. Words are powerful!
I stepped off that stage and by nightfall berated myself for all the things I didn’t include.You see, I set my notes aside and spoke from my heart. Since then, God has assured me I said everything He wanted me to, and has nudged me to write a book about her story.
Today, I wanted to share a statement I had written in my notes for my speech that day.
Where you place your hope, will be the source of your joys.
Some of us put our hopes in our children. Our joy will be gone the moment we become empty nesters or they enter into rebellion. We will look at the young moms with toddlers and be filled with envy.
Some of us put our hopes in our achievements, and when we loose our job, our health, or our mental capacity, our joys are lost with it.
Some stack their hopes on their husband’s shoulders, and when it becomes too heavy for them, they toss it aside. Where will your joy be when his eyes behold another?
Some place their hopes on their wealth and their name brands, only to find themselves in debt or without a job.
God forbid, some of us place our hopes in our government. For those, watch out!
The only place that’s a safe shelter for our hopes is Jesus Christ. He is the source of pure joy. Our joy is our light in a dark world.
I taught Sunday School one Sunday to a group of girls. They sat in a circle on the floor and I turned out the lights. I handed each one a candle and placed large candle in the center of us. It probably appeared I was leading a seance.
“What do you notice about the room?” I said.
“It’s dark,” They said.
I lit the large candle in the center of us. “Jesus came to the world, died on the cross, and rose again, so we can have the Holy Spirit inside of us.” I leaned my taper’s wick into the flame. “Then, on October 12, 1975, Ms. Tammy gave her life to Christ. I placed my life and my hopes in Jesus Christ.”
“Years later, Miss Tammy becomes a Sunday School teacher and she leads Jenny to Christ. I lit Jenny’s candle. Then, Jenny tells Lauren on the playground at school, and Jenny asks Jesus into her heart…” Jenny lit Lauren’s candle. Around the circle it went until each of their candles were lit.
“What do you notice about the room now?”
“The room is no longer dark,” they said.
“Exactly!” I said. “When we place our hopes in Jesus Christ, we become the light in a dark world. Imagine if there was standing room only in here, and everyone had accepted Christ. There would be no dark corners.”
Lately, I’ve forgotten that. I’ve been in a stupor about the transgender bathroom thing at Target. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you must’ve been stuck under a large piece of furniture for a couple of weeks.
I posted on my Facebook “Target doesn’t need my business.” It wasn’t as much the transgenders I worried about, as much as it was any sexual deviant could walk in the ladies room, and no-one would look sideways at him. How will I protect my daughter the day she wants to go to the bathroom alone? The announcement put me as a mother of a daughter, in fear.
You see, I forgot who I belonged to. I belong to the King and Creator of this universe, and I have nothing to fear in this world!
When I take my hopes off Christ and place them on others, fear runs rampant.
Did you know Jesus lived in an extremely dark, immoral world, just as we do today, but Jesus didn’t allow social norms to dictate his relationship with people. He sought the social outcasts of His day and offered them hope through redemption. In fact, the religious leaders became angry to find him dining with them….I imagine in a small, intimate space.
Today, I recant my former position. I’m going to be the happiest door holder and towel hander- outer Target has ever seen. Perhaps, the only place a transgender will have contact with Jesus is through me in the ladies room. God is tearing down these large comfortable walls we build around ourselves, and putting us in small places, face to face with people we may not agree with, but we are commanded by Him to love. Funny, how God can use small spaces like that.
Think about it.
John 14:6-7: “Jesus told him. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come unto the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”