I've posted about this before, but I don't remember where or when. So I'll say it again.
(By the way, I am having more and more episodes of, "I did this, but I don't remember where or when." Like where I put the cable bill. Whether or not I paid the insurance last month. Where I left my Bible. Whether or not I returned a phone call. Am I getting old or what?)
I keep a folder in my office titled "This Is Why". Inside, I keep cards, letters and emails of affirmation - testimonies to lives that have been changed or impacted for good because of the way God is working through our church. It reminds me, when I struggle, of the value of an investment in a vocation that is more about passion and conviction than money or a career. It convinces me that a crazy schedule and the challenges of working in the midst of a lot of messy lives (including my own) are worth every single minute, because every bit of the investment is in a person who matters to God.
Tonight, I was on the receiving end of one of the most powerful, 'This Is Why' experiences I have ever had. A friend who is new in her walk with Jesus and her involvement in church came in beaming, grinning from ear to ear, so full of joy that I thought she might burst. After some conversation and discussion, we were talking about the process of being a Christ-follower; how we'll stumble and trip, but that continuing to try to walk with God, to say, "Yes, this is what I want - I want to follow You" leads to further steps of faith and obedience and blessings beyond what we might be able to imagine.
She said something like this:
"It's so true. I've always loved my kids, I love them so much. I never thought it would be possible for me to love them more. But now that I'm following Christ, I have even more love for my kids! It's just so powerful and so different! And I love it!"
Wow. I wish I could translate the joy in her face to this page. Suffice it to say that my eyes filled with tears and I got goosebumps. What an amazing privilege, to be part of the local church where God can move and bless and change lives!
She's being baptized next week, and she can hardly wait. Neither can I.
This is why. Indeed.
"We can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" Romans 5.5 (The Message)