Tambourine

I like a weird store. The kind of store where you gotta fish around and you might find yourself a hair bonnet, half melted gourmet chocolate, a hundred number 2 pencils, and any number of random stationary items for a dollar or two.

I don’t mind to dig around to find the aforementioned items and my Modern Day Bethany Three are the same way. They love a bargain and they love a hunt. They love to bring home their found treasures and show them off to their Daddy. He shares in their excitement as they display each of the items and in detail explain how the item was found.

“Mama said I could look in that blue box and everybody else must’ve thought it was a pop-socket but I saw it wasn’t it was a Jewish thing…you know Mama loves a menorah and I got it for her and come to find out it’s a real live gold coin!”

happy-hanukkah-3791393_1280.pngIt was a Hanukkah gelt she had found. And it did have a resemblance to one of those stand-up sockets that go on cellphones. (Hanukkah gelt refers to money as well as chocolate coins given to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah.)

Recently we were at just such a store when Maggie picked up a bent and broken tambourine. She instinctively shook it and did so with a matching rhythm of the background music playing in the random and weird store. I gave her a sharp sideways glance. She laughed and said,

“I know Mama, no tambourines in our home.”

I laughed and said, “You got it Maggie.”

She laid the tambourine where she’d pick if from and we moved on in our hunt for bargains. A short time later as the background music changed in tempo and in genre I heard the tambourine once more in time with the music.

I instinctively looked for Maggie who was within feet of me. I turned in the direction of the tambourine and saw a petit framed woman holding it, tapping it on her leg. Her long skirt danced as her legs beneath it must have been. She had a smile on her face and joy in her heart for the brief moment as she played. I laughed again, and was reminded of a verse in the King’s book,

Psalm 149:3
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

For a brief moment in the randomness of a random store with the help of a complete stranger the King’s Word came to life and illustrated a beautiful picture of what heavenly worship will look like all because of a bent, broken, haphazardly placed tambourine.

russia-1070160_1280.jpg

Rest Time

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

“Well all’s I know is Mama’s gonna take some naps.”

I had asked what her day out of school plans were. We were on our way to meet her Mama and Daddy who had spent the weekend in Boston and were flying in. She’d talked to her Mama and knew she was “just exhausted.” Her mama is my sister and when my niece explained the next day’s plans would include a nap or two my response seemed perfectly reasonable.

“I love a nap.”

She said she sure did know that. I’m famous in our family for my ability to nap. Her Daddy once pointed to a ledge of a bookshelf, no more than 6 inches wide and said to whomever he was describing my napping skills prowess,

“You see that ledge right there? Amy Martin can climb up on that ledge and nap for 3 hours solid.”

It was an exaggeration of course, my sizable derrière would not have been supported by the shelf, but not that much of an exaggeration. I could indeed sleep a solid 3 hours.

I do love a nap and it is true, it takes very little in the way of accommodations for me to nap well.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

When I was in kindergarten decades and decades ago, I got 2 naps per day, the first in the morning under the teacher’s desk, and the second in the afternoon alongside my 5-year-old peers.

Naps serve to rejuvenate me and help me feel refreshed. Occasionally I’ll have the “wake up and have no idea what time, much less what day it is” nap, but that’s not an everyday occurrence. I also rarely nap in my bed. I don’t usually nap on the ledge of a shelf, but my best nap work is done on a sofa, in a recliner, or a hammock.

I rest well when I nap and once I am no longer post nap groggy I am more productive and can think so much more clearly.

adult-bank-bench-274845.jpgI know there are those who are in the anti-nap camp. Those who are unable to sleep the following night after a nap, or those who reserve naps for special occasions like Thanksgiving or limited only to Sunday afternoons.

My sister is not as good at napping as I am, despite our genetic makeup being the same. So I knew it was serious business when my niece declared her Mama would spend a good part of the next day napping.

I thought as we drove on to the meeting destination about how the King desires us to rest well. To bring our heavy burdens to him and there we will find rest. For myself, the act of rest must be intentional, just as intentional as my quiet time, or serving the King. Rest doesn’t necessarily mean a nap, and despite being skilled in the art of napping, I have to make myself rest. Rest doesn’t always equate nap but sometimes it does.

When I am depleted, I am ineffective and the enemy of my soul knows that. I must make concerted efforts to find rest, allow myself to be filled with the good things and to allow myself to find rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

relaxing-1979674_1280.jpg

 

Living Logos

Occasionally words will dart through my brain and I may not necessarily know the definition but it may seem to fit the occasion. This happens frequently and on one occasion I distinctly remember getting it wrong. The word was lucid. By definition I thought the word lucid meant unclear, confused, not quite coherent. By definition that is the precise antithesis (or opposite) of lucid.

alphabet-close-up-game-695571I have long had a love of words. Written ones, spoken ones, even my thoughts and imaginations are verbose. For most of my life words have meant something to me. I can distinctly remember being no more than 4 or 5 years old, sitting on the floor of the public library; I sat with my legs folded and a book larger than my lap opened in front of me. I sounded out words and read that book all by myself, cover to faded cover. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment and the new world that opened before my very eyes. In those moments I had been transported to Paris, France, and the adventures of a tiny little girl. Those words had come alive and transported me to a different place.

When I was in the 4th grade I remember teacher would read aloud to us everyday after lunch. I loved those times everyday, I can still picture her seated in front of the chalkboard, her perfectly scripted cursive writing as her backdrop, chapter book in hand, and her soothing voice like a Mother’s lullaby singing over a newborn would read tales of adventure and fourth grade fun.

Words, they mean much to me and have served as a medium in which to express myself on the regular. Recently I encountered several words I had questions about that caused me to give pause, write them down, find their origins, and define them.

Words like accoutrements, antiquated, assiduously, bedlam, bon vivant, catchword, ruminate, and serendipitous.

The Greek word for “word” is Logos.

John 1 (ESV) says,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

And then verse 14…

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

And the Logos, the Word was made flesh. Talk about words coming alive. The very same Word, or Logos that became flesh is the very same Word that is alive today. That very same Word possesses a greater power and is not just a dead text on a page. He is alive and active and He loves you and me without limits and deliberately.

The book of John begins with the Word and ends with word. The last Chapter of John is 21 and these verses speak volumes (pun completely intended.)

“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:24-25)

love-699480_1280

 

Candy Basket

My Boss carried a basket of candy toward me. “You get one for doing a good deed.” She wanted me to know that I had earned a piece of candy. She encouraged me to take a piece of my choosing.

Meanwhile my coworkers wandered up and a few asked for a piece of candy too. She grinned, nodded, and said something about me taking two pieces then. I turned around to continue with my work and another coworker wandered up the hallway.

My Boss held out the candy basket toward her.

“Do you want a piece of candy?”

The coworker paused at the basket and moved her fingers over the candies.

“How much?” She said. My boss looked a tad puzzled and responded, “One.”

My coworker clearly meant something else, “No How much? Like how much does it cost?”

My Boss laughed, “Ooh nothing!! They’re free!”

Immediately I thought about that basket of candy was a representation of salvation. My coworker fully expected a dollar amount in relation to that candy but the candy wasn’t for sale. She couldn’t earn it, she couldn’t purchase it, she could only receive it and receive it she did.

Ephesians 2:8  (ESV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

chocolates-3193666_1280

A Box of Faith

For we live by believing and not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT

The irony of the conversation escaped me at the time. I made note of it; then later when I sat down to actually write it out, the irony was no longer lost to me. I giggled to myself when I thought back to the day the conversation had taken place. I had been at work and was taking any spare empty boxes and reserving them for myself. I had written a note and placed it on them in a corner.

“Please save for Amy Martin.”

My friend Faith with her thick Nigerian accent and last name that frequently befuddles the television announcer when he announces it during ball games, walked over to me and placed her hand on my shoulder. She was an Olympian, she married an Olympian, their offspring play sports with Olympic-like prowess. I adore her and I have often said she has taught me more in my adult life about Jesus than near anybody else. She is also the sole reason I have even a slight interest in SEC football.

“Amy Martin, why do you have all of these boxes?” She says my name in such a way that it sounds like “Am-Me Maw-tin.”

“I might be moving. I mean if nothing goes wrong, I might be moving.” She looked puzzled.

I clarified. “Faith, I sort of expect something bad to happen or something to go wrong. I know I should have more faith but…but well…I need a lotta faith.”

mustard-seeds

“I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.”

“Jesus say you only need a little. Like a mustard seed little.” She gently said back.

I had half braced myself for a Spiritual spanking on the hand, but Faith just patted my shoulder and said, “You’ve got the boxes and that’s a little bit of faith. You’ve got the boxes.”

With faith a paradox is created: not seeing is believing. I couldn’t see myself moving, couldn’t see myself in a new home, but I had just enough faith to gather the boxes. And then I had just enough to pack them. Those baby steps of faith turned into larger steps.

Sometimes I think I need to have it all, I felt that way about that move. I thought I needed all the faith from start to finish. But what I learned was that I just needed enough to take the next baby step. In trusting in the small, the King would help me to trust in the big.

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen….By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.… Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:1, 3, 6 NASB

beautiful-beauty-blond-761999.jpg

Dance Undignified

When I walked outside to haul the trash to the dumpster the air itself felt a little strange. Normally there was never a shortage of humidity but this particular day the air was hot and dry.

“Arid.”

“Huh?” My Colaborer in the garbage taking out was next to me and asked me what I had evidently said out loud. I do that sometimes, I think something and say it out loud without even realizing it.

“Oh sorry, I was just thinking this must be what arid climates feel like. Hot, dry and with a little breeze.”

“Oh okay.” We carried on with our task, making our way to the dumpster and disposing of the day’s garbage. I didn’t give our conversation a second thought until I made it back outside sometime later when all was cleaned up and the day was drawing to a close. As we walked out of the door, the weather had changed and hot dry air and sunshine had given way to humidity and rain. It was sprinkling, not yet a downpour but the other Mamas and myself knew today’s good-bye would have to be short and sweet. As I thanked my friend for a gift she had given me and we hugged, I heard her shout, “Elijah David!” I turned just in time to see the 7 year old boy freeze at his mother’s use of his first and middle name. He had been running head long into a parking lot, albeit an black-and-white-black-and-white-dark-1530423.jpgempty one, still a parking lot. The rain too much a temptation for him to pass up. He began to twirl about, his arms wide, his Dinosaur lunch box flying through the air. He was laughing and saying, “I love the rain!”

He continued to spin, and literally broke out into song,

“Rain is the heart of my life!”

I laughed and his Mama headed in his direction. She gently redirected his wayward parking lot wander, and long after I had turned to walk in the other direction, I could still hear him singing

“Rain is the heart of my life!”

Looking back I could see him spinning around with that dinosaur lunch box.

I laughed, a big hearty belly laugh. Immediately I thought of another David; one who declared in his state of worship that he would be undignified for the Lord. Much like little Elijah David, who was so passionate about the rain, King David was so passionately enthralled with the Lord that he found himself caring less and less what others thought and only of his audience of One.

bonding-child-cute-2701585.jpg

Unexpected Dividends

I’m not much of an investment banker. One would think one must have something with which to bank and to invest to be an investment banker. I am of the lower economic echelon, therefore I get a bit confused on how all that works. I think the general idea is to take some money, give it to an organization, said organization makes a copious amount of money and gives you your money back and then some. If said organization loses money, then so do you. Nothing gained, everything lost. I could be way off, and that process may have another name, like scratch off lottery, but I kind of think that’s how it works. Keep in mind I am the same person who will frequently lose a bet over a simple math calculation to Scott Martin.

I do think on a day to day I am making investments, but they are of a different nature.
Included are, investments of my time, my skill set. Investments of words, investments of money (albeit small amounts), investments into friendship and other people’s lives, but investments nonetheless. Some of the investments I make, I don’t see the payoff. Sometimes, well lots of times, that is frustrating for me. I’m not known for my patience. Several years ago I made the widow’s mite kind of investment, or at least what I thought was.

My heart was hurt and broken to bits, my vision skewed by the world around me. The King’s people especially frustrated me and I wanted nothing more than to not invest in them, despite being a them. I just wanted to crawl into my bed of hurt and pull the covers of disappointment and cynicism over my head and sleep. As I pondered putting on the pj’s of self pity the time-consuming practice of Bible study came up. I had always enjoyed knowing about the King’s book. I’d read it and occasionally studied it, liked it, found it fascinating. I certainly didn’t love it, not even close.

bible-christian-christianity-272337So on a warm September morning one who knew me well insisted I drive across town to the Bible Study where I was sure to find out where in the King’s book my dinosaur questions could be answered. I went reluctantly.

Over the course of time, something happened, the investment of others began to pay off and I was reaping the benefits. I was beginning to see how the King’s economy works. I grew to love that book, and now the thought that I haven’t always makes me sad inside. Eventually the need to drive across the town would not be necessary and not only did I figure out the Dinos, I began to appreciate the King’s book a bit more. As I meandered around in my pjs of hurt I was asked to pray, to pray about making an investment, an investment I viewed as one of epic proportions, for it would take all that I had to give, and the payoff wasn’t guaranteed.

I wasn’t sure if I were willing to risk it. I’d have to think about it. A few weeks later I received the go via the TV weatherman. Give it everything. Blindly. Stand back and reap the dividends I’d never even begun to consider. For several years now, during the school year, I’ve invested in Wednesday.

Wednesdays have been aptly named by a friend of mine as “Wipe out Wednesday.” At the end of each Bible Study Day, I’m exhausted.

Over the course of time, I’ve counted snacks and crafts, I’ve sparkled, sorted, and separated and herded Sheeps of all manner to and fro. I’ve disciplined and discipled, and doctored boo-boos. I’ve hugged, now I’m both the initiator and receiver. I’ve pondered, cried, and laughed so hard my body has physically hurt. I’ve surveyed a room full of women seeing each one as absolutely stunning, convinced this is how the King must see them. I’ve prayed with, cried with, and have just been present with women from all walks of life. I have seen prayer after prayer answered and over time healing has come.
This weekly investment though can cause one to grow weary. During the summer months it isn’t as easy to see a payoff. During the summer months when one is not in the thick of it, the encouragement to press on is difficult to distinguish as well.

This brings me to a dividend I never expected. I had the privilege of glimpsing into that in the most unlikely of places.

best-friends-blond-hair-bonding-1574650It looked something like this. Recently, when asked what she wanted for her birthday Charlotte told me 2 things, a set of colored pencils and time with her friends. After some text messages and such, the plan was in place. Despite not realizing it until well into the evening, the friends all had a common denominator, their Mamas were made up of Wipeout Wednesday Workers. I observed them as we traversed the roads picking up and meeting and such, one-by-one the meeting of the last just as giddy as the seeing of the first. Their conversations tickled me and I inwardly laughed, remembering those years when I was their age.

They talked comics and Marvels and DCs and mission trips and church and music and snacks and oh how they’d missed one another. They captured a “night butterfly” known to the rest of the world as a moth and tormented the hater of winged creatures of the group until I confiscated said night butterfly. They ate more than a swarm of locusts and my picnic bag looked like it had been merely a light snack. They giggled and shrieked over the thought of a port-a-potty and oohed and ahhed over a fireworks display. They circled up and every time I said “Girls, we’re prayin’!” they dutifully bowed, and immediately quieted and it hit me none of them was unfamiliar with the act. As they giggled late into the night, talking and shhhing and talking again I clearly saw the payoff. The King’s book says as metal sharpens metal, two King’s kid friends will do the same (Paraphrase Amy Martin style).

I am thankful that once again the King’s economy means investment from me, dividends for my children. My imagination wandered that night and I saw each one of them grown, sharing that common denominator of friendship and Bible study, and I wondered where it would take them. Among them they are sure to change the world. The possibilities are endless: artist, comedian, athlete, missionary, nurse, spy, administrator, teacher, mom, wife, writer, pharmacist, doctor. At the heart of them all is a love for the King. And as the Mama of one of them, I can say confidently, that is what I desire most.

backlit-dawn-friends-862848

Old Testament Roll Call

I felt about as far from the Old Testament as I could have gotten. I was floating in a chlorinated pool with depths ranging from 3-12 feet, my head back, feet elevated, certified lifeguards towering above me, and Today’s Country Music singing behind me.

My friend says that he has done a lot of research via the YouTube and has figured out that country music of old just isn’t the same as country music today. We had gotten into a discussion about Old Tyme music several months before and he had set out to uncover the change of sound. Up until that moment, I had forgotten about our conversation we had one day at work a while back.

He stated his hypothesis void of any context clues.

“It’s the neck stretch”

“Huh?” I was deep in thought and I couldn’t have been farther from the Grand Ole Opry if I’d’ve been in Australia.

“It’s the neck stretch. Back in the day the Country Singers used to stretch out their necks and it’d make that twang sound. They don’t stretch their necks anymore.”

As the country music played in the background, bass kicking and drums drumming, words of I don’t even know what but I do know I didn’t hear a thing about cheatin’ hearts, cotton pickin’, country cookin’, or Mamas. There was no Jesus, prayer or lost loves as far as I could tell. No semblance of church choir or preaching’ in the lyrics.

I was pondering on the neck stretch and how a lot of life seems to revolve around a lack of neck stretching; it seems folks used to be willing to put their neck on the line for their neighbor but that happens less and less these days. It made me especially thankful for the Ultimate Neck Stretcher who died for me and for the entirety of the world.

In my imagination I was meandering somewhere between Nashville and Calvary when the Old Testament role call behind me jolted me into the moment, the stray beach ball that landed squarely on my forehead most assuredly aided in jolting me back to the present.

“Miriam!”
“Samuel”
“Elijah”
“Hannah.”

activity-beauty-blue-61129-2.jpgI giggled. The bearer of those names were tiny toddler and teenage frames clothed in shark swim trunks and modest tankinis, not the Old Testament Players for whom they likely had been named.

With my eyes closed to shield the sun, I smiled and thought of the gravity of those names and the legacies they carry.

A sister of Moses who celebrated beautifully that God had saved her and her people, having just crossed the sea on land and escaped the pursuing Egyptians.

One born to a barren woman, who when God called said, “Here I am, your servant is listening.”

A prophet who called down fire from heaven and consumed a waterlogged sacrifice to demonstrate that One Jehovah God is more powerful than the multitude of prophets of Baal.

A barren woman promised she would dedicate her child to the Lord, and dedicate him she did. The very same son who was ready and willing when the Lord called.

Shakespeare asked the question, “What’s in a name?” in Romeo and Juliet. I have pondered that a few times this summer myself. What does a name matter? As my mind tends to do it wandered to a particular verse in the King’s Book. A verse that talks specifically of the King’s Name.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There is but One name that the whole of Creation will bow, and that is the Name of Jesus. There is but One Name that has been the bearer of the greatest burden on history, and that is the Name of Jesus.

jesus-1327883_1280.png

Chameleon Living

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Ephesians 5:1 NLT

The overhead loudspeaker crackled to life. A familiar voice announced a page for an individual.

“Mr. So-and-So please call blah-blah-blah-blah.” There was hardly a pause, “Mr. So-and-So please call blah-blah-blah-blah.” I had no idea to whom Mr. So-and-So was referring and despite the familiarity of the voice, I had no idea what the speaker looked like. The overhead loudspeaker went silent and the familiar matter-of-fact voice of my coworker standing behind me spoke.

“Ruth-Ann’s been in Alabama longer’n I’ve been alive but she refuses to acclimate to the accent. She still talks like she’s in the north.”

I literally burst out laughing and spit out the water I had just taken a sip of. I snorted and turned around.

I knew exactly what he was talking about. I had never actually knowingly laid eyes on Ruth-Ann. I do not know her state of origin, her last name, if she wears glasses or not. If I had to pick her out of lineup I’d have to be blindfolded because I only know her voice; she has a distinct accent, not at all like my own. She sounds, well … northern.

As I pondered on the statement, I thought about the acclimation that takes place when we inhabit a place for any length of time. How we take on the accent of those around us, words and phrases of the speakers. Case in point, I watch a lot of British TV and find myself saying the following:

                    “That’s Brilliant!” Instead of “That’s great!”
“Queue” instead of “Line.”
“Rubbish” instead of “garbage.”
“Bin” instead of “trash can” and “tin” instead of “can.”

Without even knowing it I’ve acclimated to the television vocabulary. I’ve become like a verbal chameleon, speaking like those I have heard.

As I thought about Ruth Ann (if that actually is her name, I have no idea) and her apparent refusal to acclimate to the Southern-speakers around her, I found myself challenged.

This world is not my home, yet there are times you would never know that, not based on my behavior anyway. I look so much that the world and so little like Christ that others can not distinguish the difference residing in me. I walk around so defeated and beat down you’d never know I possessed the joy of the Lord. Perhaps I should live more like Ruth-Ann, with such intention as to not look so much like the world around me and more like the unique me I have been created to be.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 MSG

rome-1051030_1280.jpg

Mama Mended

She handed me the bag with a fancy boutique name I could not pronounce,

“You won’t forget will you?”

My Mama knows my nature to forget things, I assured her I would not. I put the Boutique bag beside me on the front seat. She had told me it was a shirt for a coworker. I knew what she meant. The natural assumption would not have been that Mama went to the fancy Boutique store, the kind with a name that is pronounced “Booty-que” instead of ”Boutique.”

I knew for a fact she was not likely to have been into the fancy store with the fancy name as it was likely located in a mall. She hates to “shop,” is fairly practical, and typically “shops” the on-sale racks. She is always stylishly put together but a less than sticker price cost. When we were teenagers and would go shopping, she spoke the same mantra prior to entering the store, a shopping with teenage girls sort of battle cry,

“I am not buying it unless it’s on sale!”

She wasn’t dressed in a tartan nor did she have her face painted as William Wallace running headlong into a field of enemies, but she was firm. She said it and she meant it. If those name brand jeans that everybody wore and wanted weren’t on sale, we knew not to even ask. The battle cry has become my own as I now too, shop with teenage girls.

My Mama is a mender of things. Hemmer of garments, repairer of zippers, sewer of stuff. Someone is forever asking her to perform the aforementioned to garments and things. She has a standard response, “Let me take a look at it and I’ll see what I can do.” I am not a mender, I do not know my way around a needle and thread like she does. My work is sloppy and elementary compared to hers. I struggle with basics, however, one of my most fond memories of growing up is when she taught my sister and me to sew a quilt square. I chose the “Ohio Star,” a series of squares and triangles sewn together to form something of beauty.

That day she waved in my rearview as I drove away with the unseen garment in the bag. I had no idea what she had done to it. She’d said it was a shirt but that’s all I knew really. I was just the courier. I have transported formal gowns, wedding dresses, swimsuits, pants, dress shirts, Bermuda shorts, a pair of firefighter bunker pants, little bitty baby birthday bow ties. The items she has touched and relinquished to me to return are too numerous to recall.

jacek-dylag-jo8C9bt3uo8-unsplashI made my way to my destination, half forgetting the bag on the seat beside me. As I pulled into my parking space I was mentally mapping out how I would return the garment to its rightful owner. She is one whom I love and adore so and was trying to configure how I just might fit in a quick visit. I was thinking as I realized I was parked crooked so I backed out of my space, looked left and right, and pulled back in just a smidge straighter. I noticed to my left one who was going to the same final destination as the package that I had been entrusted with.

I rolled my window down and yelled her name to get her attention, “Hey can you take this to Casey Rae for me? It’s from Mama!” She nodded and came closer to my cattywampus van. I thanked her as she took hold of the still unseen shirt. I straightened up again, and by the time I exited my van the shirt and the new courier were long gone. I had done my job, I knew that I had handed the precious cargo off to one who was trustworthy and would, in fact, deliver it accordingly.

That evening, Mama asked me, “Did you give the shirt to Casey Rae?”

“No Ma’am, not exactly,” I said in between bites and looked up to see her expression. I knew she would be disappointed; I had not completed my task.

I mumbled between bites, “I gave it to Moffis to give to her.” Mama nodded in approval knowing that the shirt arrived to its owner promptly and just as she had intended it to. As we carried on our conversation about other things I thought about how that bag from the fancy Boutique had been in a sort of a relay, many hands touching it, transporting it, for the achievement of a common goal. Each of the couriers playing a role seemingly unimportant but in reality just as significant as the Mender’s role. I was reminded of this verse, found in 1 Corinthians 3:6

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

That verse says that in the Kingdom our jobs may not be equal, may not seem to be of the same caliber, but are all important. Ultimately it is God who does the big work, the work of Salvation, but every time we carry the gospel to another, we are a part of that work. When I handed off that package to Moffis, I didn’t go into a full explanation of the contents, no more than Mama had when she handed it to me. Yet, our work, the delivery of a fancy bag and its contents, was as crucial as the mending had been. Perhaps if I were writing that verse to fit that scenario it’d read something like this:

Mama mended, Amy carried, and Moffis delivered.