She glides up to the podium in a shear peach dress, hair pulled back with a trendy feather attached to strands dangling on her shoulder. My shoes fit her perfect now. Unfolding handwritten notes, she begins by introducing herself to the audience of churchgoers with a smile. These words, virgin to her parent’s ears, tell about what happened for my daughter on her first missions trip:
“Throughout this trip I was personally able to discover a lot about myself. I discovered things about my faith, things about the way I viewed myself, and the motivating factors behind my actions. I realized that throughout my life, especially in the last couple of years, I have not truly believed in God. I “believed” in Him because it was what I was told, what was expected of me, and what my parents wanted. I love my parents. I view them as role models and think the world of them. But their faith has been the only thing carrying my faith for some time. By learning this about myself, I was able to have a new view of the things around me and felt the presence of God for the first time. I am now working on deepening my faith and the full understanding of what it means to have God by your side and with you all the time.”
So much honesty, I wish I could hit a rewind button. I am still stuck on these words, “I believed in Him because it was what I was told, what was expected of me, and what my parents wanted.”
For a fleeting moment, those words made me feel naked and ugly. I wonder if people will judge me as a mother and clergy wife; that she is choosing to follow Jesus now, instead of earlier in life. Is this somehow a reflection of my inability to present Him well?
Then I realize that this is not about me at all. I feel my face flush exposing of my selfish thoughts. Her words answer prayers of fifteen years now. That she would know Him as her own. Follow Him because her heart ached to. Feel Him beside her, loving her.
This honesty is a gift.
A gift not only for me, but for others in the room moved to respond, ask for prayer, get their lives in order. Apparently, this kind of authenticity is rare. It moves people to action.
I wipe the wetness from my eyes. Want to laugh at the hilarity of my focus and worry as I mother this teenager. He laughs with me. I know it.
We know God because He reveals Himself to us. Not because of all the good things we do or don’t do.
He doesn’t need anything from me to accomplish what He wants for my daughter.
I sigh deep, feel His peace and remember: Exhale the cares of life, inhale His promises.
“Who do you say I am,” Jesus asks the disciples. Simon Peter answered, “You are the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” Matthew 16:15-17
It is by revelation that we know Him. An open heart that we receive the life He wrote for us. That same revelation reminds me that all is grace. His simple grace makes life truly beautiful.
Who do you say that He is?