It seems like the deepest moments of my life happen in the most unexpected places.
I love that about God.
I can be watching a T.V. show about singers (this one was the X-Factor…that last guy who had been on meth and turned his life around?!?!?! BAWLING) or just taking clothes out of the dryer and I see the Gospel.
Not the little words on paper, but the real Gospel.
It’s so easy to read, mark, and move on without letting it penetrate your heart.
But to see it in the flesh? Totally different.
I asked the Lord several months (maybe years?) ago to show me Himself in little things, and to make Himself real to me in them. You might want to do the same, but you should know that your life will never be the same. People will say the sweetest things to me about how I see God in my children’s conversations or my wedding dress or something silly, but the truth is this.
I see because I asked to see.
I love that He honored this request in ways I could never try to spin into beautiful word-webs, because they aren’t always meant to be shared. Some are just His way of reminding me that He’s still in it all.
This last weekend, I spoke in Milwaukee at a Women of Faith event (BTW, I love this city. So fun!) and if you have been to one recently you’ll know that on the last day we each stand and give a little 3 minute take-away of our main message and we bring a prop up to help cement the idea. We didn’t choose our props.
Mine is a life preserver. A giant, red, puffy lifejacket, actually. I remember they handed Natalie Grant (whom I love, love, love, love) this dainty gold mirror. I looked at her and mouthed, “How nice for you.” We burst out laughing, which has become a bit of a ritual with all the girls on this tour. We laugh like our lives depend on it. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve gotten to do ever, despite the fact that this lifejacket thing is going on.
I don’t wear it anymore because it was hard to take anyone seriously when they are talking about Jesus in a giant red vest on a giant round stage.
But the bottom line is that this weekend I was standing out there and I could hear Him whispering, “Just tell them.”
So I made it simple. I did a little of my closing thing and then I just said, “He is everything. None of the rest of this matters if we don’t know that.It doesn’t matter that I just walked up those seven stairs, or that I’ve faced some of my fears. Nothing matters if we don’t know this. He is everything.”
I don’t think I said it articulately, but as I walked off the platform, I felt incredible peace.
I looked ridiculous out there. To be honest, I was also having a seriously mediocre hair day. I had decided to throw it in a ponytail but hadn’t had a chance to look in the mirror (oops) and I had this huge lifejacket hanging off my arm. I mean, really.
But those three words.
I walked off the stage and Sheila leaned over to me and said, “That was it. I mean, if they didn’t hear another thing all weekend, that’s all they needed.”
This isn’t a pat on the back.
I didn’t do anything but show up.
Not just that day, but for all of it. It’s why I used the same three words when my book was released. Because it was never about the staircase itself. It was about Him.
I went through something terrible that many people go through, and I loved the Lord through it. Because of circumstances I didn’t create or ask for, He chose to use me.
And if that doesn’t humble me, I don’t know what will.
I used to cry after I spoke because I felt like I messed up.
Now I cry because I know He loves me in spite of it, and it’s too much.
It’s grace at work, and I get to report to duty every day.
When I came home, my three big girls came running through the backyard screaming because they were so happy. I hugged them and hugged them and told them how much I loved them and that I was grateful I got to go talk to the ladies.
They always tell people that their dad “sings to people about Jesus” and their mom “writes about Him and tells the ladies.”
Later last night I asked Ellie to read to me out of my favorite children’s Bible (The Jesus Storybook Bible), and she started. She randomly picked a page and the rest of us sat still while she read.
It was about the tower of Babel, and this one is written in a funny way so she was giggling while she went. She got to the end and we all hushed, though, because it says this:
You see. God knew, however high they reached, however hard they tried, people could bever get back to heaven by themselves. People didn’t need a staircase; they needed a Rescuer. Because the way back to heaven wasn’t a staircase; it was a Person.
People could never reach up to Heaven, so Heaven would have to come down to them.
And, one day, it would.
I felt my breathing slow down and I let my eyes close for a second. And He whispered to me then, because I asked Him to. I begged Him to.
Are you busy building staircases, or are you telling them that I’m everything? Because your answer matters. Ask yourself a thousand times a day if you have to, until you are sure of it.
Ellie looked at me and asked if I was okay. I told her I was. Abby tried to say something funny and I did a fake smile that meant I wasn’t all the way back from my thoughts yet.
Then she got serious, and she looked me dead in the eye.
“Mommy, didn’t they know?”
“Know what, honey?”
“That if they kept going up, He would just go higher?”
I shook my head no. But I smiled.
Because I will continue to walk up every staircase I am invited to walk up in order to share those words. I will never consider it anything less than a privilege.
And when dusk turns to dark, I will bend my knees to the One who allowed me to build.
Not a monument to myself, but a pile of stones that spoke of God’s glory.
May He be glorified through me.
And may He always, always be made higher.
Lord, bless those who read here. Bless them with Your presence and show them Your love in little things. Maybe something only they would understand. Give them a discerning mind for what You have called them to do,and allow them to feel the kind of joy that comes from building something that directs others to You. Keep us on our faces in prayer, and make us humble in spirit as we seek You. Inspire us to search Your word for truth and to be diligent in chasing after You. For Your glory, Lord…