So these past five days have been a bit of a joy ride.
But how does one capture the emotion of a lifetime? And how could words alone, describe what’s larger than life?
I fluffed the pillows, I cleaned the room.
It had been 3 cycles.
3 cycles of the age I had started with when I first walked into their home, and 3 times that age right up to the time I am now receiving them into my home.
It was 3 rounds of washing that day: first the sheets, then the quilt, then the pillows.
They were arriving on the 13th – exactly when I turned 36.
Everything worth doing takes 3 rounds of effort. And what could be more precious than hosting the lives that have first held your flailing hands?
I felt a little giddy with delight. Could a 36 year old really be 12 again?
Right after 3 days of birthday messages pouring in, and so many long years after that first day I had stepped right through their door, right into their loving ministry.
You see, I was only 12.
My mother had put me on the plane and flown me across to a foreign land. Starting in a new school, she hoped I’d commence a new life.
I had taken the flight, and loaded up those inner struggles with me.
Landed I did, with a mountain of pain, and a towering pile of misery.
Nobody knew the depth of the loss – those gaping holes and the wound within. Nobody expected the gravity on a child punctured by the blow of death.
So I had walked through their door with a group of friends. Other teenagers all made of bones and pimples. I masked my insecurities, obsessed with the way I looked. I had hair that looked like a burgeoning mushroom. I tried to squash it down a bit, water and gel and anything else that might make hair damp. I blitzed awkward right into their living room.
They didn’t know it then — that them flinging their door wide open, would leave the largest mark of love on fractured hearts. That them sharing their space and pace of life, would mark us for a life with a future forever.
They welcomed me, and my company of friends, with the largest grin, beckoning us to “come in, dig into the food, and make yourself at home” .
They didn’t know it back then — that their practice of Christ’s love made real, would make us real disciples of Christ one day.
And I didn’t know it back then — that my shy embrace of a new found family i’ve never had, would find me waltzing into the life of ministry I’ve always dreamt of.
Nobody knew it back then — that their intentional act of loving us, their purposeful investment of building us, would one day make them the pastors that they are today. It would one day fire us up with the God-given dreams in our lifetime this day.
I guess, no one really suspected it back then — that their initial welcome would translate into years of sharing lives and laughters, shedding tears and struggles, and these were what, made the broken whole.
Nobody tells the world today — that the greatest way to leave your mark is to love the least, and that to be the greatest in life, one needs to lift up the littlest of all.
And sometimes?, your greatest ministry may not be in the crowd you attract, but the spiritual babes you care for.
And yes I hear it right. Naomi Dowdy preaching it to me 9 times that day. That as a Church we need more Barnabases, more ‘sons of encouragement’ — those who’d seek out others different from themselves.
Those who’d discard their personal preferences to make relationships life’s priority.
Those who have no qualms being servants instead of superstars — so that the Kingdom may be built, and those at the periphery may come rushing in.
They affirmed my worth countless times and told this fatherless girl her preciousness.
They said I was full of possibilities.
And then pointed me to the Word when I was lost with the world.
Yeah, I see it now.
To a girl who hasn’t got her act together?, they built bridges with me, so that my erected fences against Christ could be pulled right down.
So those early weeks turned into years, and I kept coming back — and I kept running home, and I kept returning to this Love:
That they believed in our potentials because they had first believed in Him. And they kept loving us because Christ never gave up on us.
Nobody’s told the world yet — the hands that nurtured others to strength will be the hands that release greatness into the land.
That words of faith and love can spark revivals of hope and strength.
So when the days counted down and five days came to an end – we sent them off and retained this truth at our core:
That we are never a nobody when we are loved unconditional.
That we could all be a somebody because we could make His love others’ reality.
And I just want to let you know, beckon you to come in too:
That the girl with the mushroom hair can have a faith that mushrooms today, and so can you.