Monday, December 8, 2014

I Squealed And Shrieked. Just A Little.

Timing is everything.

And I do believe that people play an incredible part in God's plan for us to bless and encourage one another, mostly when we don't even know the half of what's going on.

Old wooden sign...anybody else
remember these?
A few weeks ago, my friend and coworker Karen posted a photo on Facebook, showing off a cool piece of home decor that she'd put on her wall. I was instantly intrigued; it was a brilliant combination of the power of nostalgia and the appeal of contemporary worship music. I recognized the format - an old wooden church attendance sign, just like the ones I have seen in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and in Grand Prairie, and in Tolar, and Hico, Texas. The numbers are compelling; they tell of smaller, more intimate gatherings than the ones I'm accustomed to these days. It makes me thing wistfully of 'good old days' (that were probably not all good); it's a nice memory.

You know how sometimes you see something and it just feels right? That's how my heart beat when I saw that sign in the photo Karen posted. It just fit me, so perfectly, in ways that I cannot name. History and memory and nostalgia and my love for the church and where it all started. The blonde wood of Nicklin United Methodist Church. The deep burgundy and dark, rich stained pews and walls of First United Methodist. The tiny Baptist churches, and the baby grand that sat underneath a sign just like this one.

I thought this wall hanging thing was brilliant!

I got excited and checked out the online catalog Karen referenced. I got REALLY excited when I noted that it was only EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!!! 

Then I looked again and realized that $18 would buy the song lyric boards; the sign itself required a more substantial investment. It was more than I could part with at the moment. However, I directed my husband to check out the catalog, sharing with as much persuasion that I could muster that he could definitely find my Christmas gift inside. On that specific page.

Then I let it go, fairly certain that I'd probably never have one of those old-style church attendance boards on the wall of my house...but that would be okay. There are more important things to invest in, and that's okay. I've got three kids in college, and that's our substantial investment. Home decor can come later.

Cut to this afternoon, when I arrived at the office after several hours of meetings and a nagging sense of loss that I still hadn't quite shaken. A box sat by my desk; an envelope with my name on the front rested on my chair.

I blew by them both and headed down the hallway for a few more meetings. When I finally returned to my office, I opened the envelope. Written inside of the card were several phrases of encouragement; words that meant a great deal, indicating that someone really sees me. They were affirming and kind.

The card was not signed; there was simply a small heart sketched out after the last sentence.

I opened the box, perplexed.

I found the lyrics to In Christ Alone on boards slipped inside the notches of an old-style church attendance board.

I squealed and shrieked just a little and ran out in the hall asking, "Who did this? Who brought this in? Did you see who was here?" Apparently nobody saw anything, or if they did, they're not telling. I was left to gaze in awe and wonder at this incredibly extravagant gift.

To you, whose kindness prompted this generosity: Thank you. I'm not sure I have words to express how deep and wide you impacted me with this gift. Thank you for surprising me. Thank you for being anonymous, leaving me in child-like wonder. Thank you for giving me a gift that will remind me, daily, of the great grace of God and the people who follow his lead. Thank you for naming my presence and affirming it. Thank you for caring.

My step is lighter, my attitude is better, my soul is stilled. I have done my best, in the three hours since I discovered this gift, to pay it forward. I will continue to do so.

Go do something nice for someone today. It matters.


Susan Lloyd said...

so excited for did this person know you wanted this? wow. congrats

Brandee Shafer said...


Brandee Shafer said...


Anna said...

Beautiful. God sure showed you some love. Precious gift.