One of my girls offered up words of prayer for Ms. Harris, one of the monitors/guards who works at the recovery center, thanking her for taking time to play this one song in particular, “Near the Cross,” and for encouraging them.
Ms. Harris endured an illness last year, quite serious in fact, and her absence sent her to intensive care with heart problems. Reports seemed to range from good, to worse, to better, to scary, and the girls lifted her up in prayer continuously during her stay in the hospital.
Well today, she lingered in the back, her movement of grace an example to the girls. One of integrity. One of hope. One of health.
Ms. Harris told me as I came inside that she plays music for the girls on the weekends when she works, to set their minds and hearts on the Lord before I arrive.
So when one of my girls raised her hand and mentioned the kindness of Ms. Harris and how much everyone appreciated her, I called on this let-your-light-so shine woman to share her heart. To speak life over the girls. “I want you to come up front in a minute to give us an encouraging testimony. The girls would love to hear from you.”
She sort of stirred with a two-step, and announced, “No. I don’t know what I’d say.” A hoot and holler of encouragement came from the girls, “Yes. Come on. You can do this.”
I added my words, “I’ll give you a few minutes to gather your thoughts.” Now I wasn’t taking “no” for an answer and she scrambled around and acted anxious, but she nodded her head in agreement.
After I prayed and opened the service with a worship song, Ms. Harris moved to the front, and it was like she balanced herself on a skateboard of grace, and her infectious smile lit up her face. Her gray hair looking like a crown on her head, like royalty.
She challenged the girls to not just carry their bibles but to read the word and ask the Lord for understanding. To ask Him for wisdom. To seek Him. To trust what the verses say.
She tapped her chest, her hand over her heart, and she told the girls how God has brought her through so much, and how he must have more for her to do. She told them, “I tell my own daughters they are to be living testimonies for the Lord.”
They listened. I listened. And her words became the tone for the service. A kindness of her speaking to them resonated with me as she came boldly to the throne of our Savior and called the girls to live for Christ.
Afterward, as she walked to the back of the room, the girls stood and gave her a standing ovation. They sensed her faith-walk, the strength she possessed, and when she spoke to them, she didn’t mince words. She called them to standing firm in their faith. Her loving kindness was evident in the way she spoke, and in the way she carried herself.
As I taught, we would spend time speaking of kindness and how King David showed kindness to Jonathan’s son, the crippled Mephibosheth. And how we too, can show kindness, and how it affects and changes hearts. How it ripples.
I took us to Romans 2 where we read that the loving kindness of God is intended to lead us to repentance.
Yes sin cripples. It tends to take us to places where we hide like a “Lodebar” (that’s the town where Mephibosheth lived) off somewhere dark and desolate. We stay in hiding. We stay in the shadows.
But Christ calls to us and invites us to the King’s table. To a place where sin must leave and a walk of faith begins. To where we eat with our Lord and become a reflection of Him. Where we are forgiven.
So this morning in our service we untangled the “lost and ugly way of living in sin,” and how it wraps us into a knot, how it traps us, and destroys us. But grace from Christ “brings us into the Lord’s presence” and we find Him calling to us and delivering us of our crippled walk of sin. He gives us ears to hear. And new hearts.
May we seek the Lord and run to Him, and come to His table and receive His mercy. For He still has something for us to do — it’s to give Him glory with our lives! Whether we live in Lodebar. In Jerusalem. Or in Texarkana.