“He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.”
This past weekend we traveled three hours north to spend two and a half days with my extended family and to meet with three pastors from supporting churches. These were healing days.
Adventure days. Grace-filled days.
- Pizza with my dad and step-mom at an old favorite local pizza shop
- S’mores around a campfire
- Sleeping in Grammy’s camper
Saturdays Gentle Storm
- Breakfast with Pastor #1 – Listening, encouraging, sharing vision and a different perspective. My dad grew up in this church. My sweet mom, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents… are buried here. My earliest church memory is here. I was a toddler. Members here call me “Tessie”… many knew me all my growing years. I come back here and they love me like their hearts can still see me little. This church is a thread in my tapestry.
- Meeting with Pastor #2 – Our hearts are shepherded here. It’s about adoption here… adopted into our family eight years ago through my step-mom. Adopted into their family because of grace. Blessed rain.
- Meeting with Pastor #3 – He, too, used to see me still a teenager. Our hearts are sad now to see him… aging, hands shaking with the effects of Parkinson’s. But his heart is still strong for Jesus. While we converse in this beautiful log church, he ministers to strangers who find their way there. His prayer for us, a blessing.
- A family reunion and Kendolle at Knoebels Grove – We share great-grandparents, Kendolle and me. She is just one year older. We found each other on the porch swing of our great-grandparents’ house. We were in early elementary school then. Until today, I have not seen her since! We told stories of family history and were sad that so many stories have been lost because when the television came no one sat around telling stories anymore. We were like old women, lamenting culture together. Kendolle is a thread in my tapestry.
- Knoebels Grove and Tim, my brother – Rarely do we get to hang out for whole days at a time. Rarely anymore do my children get to enjoy Beaver cousins. What a gift, this day together. Tim brings out the quiet competitive in me. He dares me to do stuff. He dares me to live. And because I don’t want a sleeping, lazy, scared heart I take him up on his dares… sometimes. I took him up on the bumper car dare. Bumper cars aren’t my style. I can’t drive for laughing because I am impossibly uncoordinated. And just as the ride was coming to an end I got a straight shot at my brother’s car… and I hammered him!! So rich and sweet… and so, so funny. My brother, he is a grace gift.
Sunday’s Grace Rain
- Adopted – Pastor #2 shared our adoption with his church family. Men laid hands on us and he prayed for us. In his message he encouraged his people to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit all the way through. It was a baptism day. “Be More”, he said. When you go into that water not only are you following Jesus in obedience but you come up out of the water, ready to walk with Him and “be more”… be ready to fully, pro-actively live for Christ, no turning back. No sleeping, lazy hearts.
“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” II Timothy 4:5
- Here at our adopted church, God gave me another grace gift. His name is Troy. Troy and I went to kindergarten together 41 years ago. Together we were a group of six neighbor friends – three boys, three girls. The six of us played hard and fought loud. Though the connection dimmed throughout our teenage years, we shared childhood. I have not seen Troy since we graduated from high school though his family still lives just across the road. Today Troy follows Jesus. He’s my brother in Christ! Today I got to give him a hug! He said, “You have FIVE kids??!!” Troy, he sees my childhood self. Troy is another grace thread in my tapestry.
- And after church our adopted Pastor baptized six people in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River just below the Montgomery river bridge. It was striking irony that as we sang “The world behind me, the cross before me… no turning back,” buggy after buggy of Amish crossed the bridge, headed home from church.
- As if that wasn’t enough grace just in itself… I got to spend a short time with someone I love and haven’t seen in a very long time. I know that the Lord was in our conversation, His presence very real to me there. He answered my prayers.