Ok, so this maybe the most fragmented, confusing post I’ve written…bear with me. (I have this amazing, spunky friend whom I had asked to hold me accountable in writing, no matter what was happening. And she does, so here goes!)
The past two weeks have thrown quite a few curveballs at the family from which I came, and this family’s base-coach needed a bit to gather her thoughts. At first, I responded to our family crisis in “big sister, protector mode”. First mission – travel through the night with my brother to bring our adult siblings and their children closer to home. Second mission – keep Christ at the forefront of everything I was doing, everything I said, everything I did, everything I thought. (Yeah, that last one when you’re in “protector mode” can prove quite the struggle!) I had no idea what it would entail, but I knew these were my two best attempts to help comfort, lift up and love my family.
Thing is, traveling through the night, on adrenaline and (ok, I’ll admit it) a gas station, salted pretzel isn’t enough to carry you…only God is. My brother, Todd, and I talked faith, a love of Christ we are dependent on, and what we hoped for our family. Not long into the ride, I thought we needed to armor-up; what better way for two worship-music loving vocalists than to crank up the mega-iTunes collection? As we went into this unknown situation, I wanted so badly to be a light for my younger brother, a reflection of God’s crazy love, grace and mercy he was all too familiar with. (While Todd fully believes in Jesus Christ, he has admittedly felt a hunger to be fed more regularly in a home church un-found since he relocated. I hoped his heart would be abundantly full of Jesus through music he treasures.) I ached to hear him sing lyrics he once did alongside me on a Sunday morning, seeing the beautiful surrender of Todd accepting Jesus Christ fully into his heart. And then, I wanted him to listen to every, single new worship song I had heard in the past year or so (huge credit to my son, Logan, for always keeping the songlist fresh & alive).
Here’s the thing if you didn’t catch that…I wanted my brother to listen to every.single.song I had loaded on my phone. Folks, there’s no way the 5+ hour ride was long enough for such a lofty goal, yet I quickly realized, it didn’t matter. Todd and I would hear the songs we were supposed to, he would learn new lyrics and catch on quickly because his heart was hungry for them again. God is so, so good, you guys. SO GOOD.
Fast forward, we got our family home. Despite extreme exhaustion, we made it safely through the night, driving three vehicles with 5 adults and 5 little people…all because of prayer, I know that. (Thank you.) And then, some of us crashed…some for a few hours, some not until a few hours later, and some for a few days. But we were doing this as a family, because part of being a family (whether by blood, marriage or faith) is allowing everyone to crash in their own time, according to their own needs.
After just a few hours, I awoke to a quiet house and time with God. Time with God that gave me crystal-clear vision as to my role in our family now. At forty-one years of age, after all the foolish choices I’ve made, sins I’ve committed, and grace I’ve received…my role was simply to be a witness. I was to show love to those who were hurting and confused. I was to hug someone’s neck, cry with them, pray over them, snuggle their kids, or just sing those worship songs I had come to learn and live.
And for one of the first times I can remember in my family’s history, I was at peace with letting go of my “big sister” duties…and simply being HIS Witness. I was ok with knowing – when He says. “Ok, now you go back home, Laura”…I must go, and I would listen. I was ok with reminding my siblings of God’s love for them being stronger than all the destructive words their minds were being bombarded with in this moment. And shockingly enough, I was ok when I started driving myself back home to my little corner of the world, not feeling like I wasn’t doing enough…in fact, I was totally at peace. And the very next day, more undeniable clarity came from Him. (Note: If you haven’t had these kinds of experiences with God, and you’re thinking, “Wow, she is a total fruitcake!”…Well, you’re right. I AM a total fruitcake, but this little brick of nuts and fruit no one can identify, is grateful to be covered by Jesus and not alcohol typically needed to make fruitcake go down! Thank you.)
So here’s the thing…I had no idea what I was doing, I just listened to Him. I had no idea what I should say, I learned to be still. I had no idea what I could “be” for my family, and I soon knew…I was BEING exactly who I needed to be. I was being Laura, the older sister and aunt who loves them so deeply I prayed about everything, I prayed hard. I was being Laura who they had seen changed by Jesus Christ throughout her life. I was being a reflection of all the good He can make of the ugliest, most sinister of bad. I was being His Witness. And I have found, over this past 13 days, that is exactly whom He wanted me to be.
Special note for historical references on the path, because God is just super cool in the details:
This morning’s message at New Community Church, given by our Lead Pastor Rob Tucker, was part of our “I Will” series based on Thom S. Rainer’s book. Although I’m typically aware of the nuances Rob will preach on ahead of Sunday morning services as the Ministry Coordinator, this week I didn’t have the opportunity to hear the details of why he had scrapped and rewritten the message mid-week, how he felt his original sermon wasn’t right, and wasn’t feeling it was what God wanted him to preach on. So, here I was, just gathering with my church family this morning, missing a few of my closest family and friends sitting alongside me, knowing Pastor Rob would undoubtedly preach on something I’d “need to hear” and be able to incorporate into my life. And then, the first slide on the screen came up…
“I Will be His Witness”.
Message received, Lord, loud and clear.
Scripture references: Acts 1:8 I Corinthians 4:20; 10:31 Matthew 5:13-16