At this very moment I am sitting in my kitchen with a pile of rocks spread out across my countertop, crying my eyes out. A strange thing to be doing on a Sunday morning, to be sure.
But there is a good reason.
You see, as I entered the sanctuary for worship this morning, a dear friend approached with a gift bag.
A retirement gift.
A good-luck-as-you-pursue-the-pulpit gift.
“You’ll understand it when you read the card,” she said.
Reading through the card, my eyes immediately teared. But it wasn’t until I got home and actually opened the gift that I understood the magnitude of love that had been poured out on me.
At first glance, it was a lovely glass vase filled with colorful river rocks. But as I looked closer I could see there were words written on them. Her card had told me it was a “Rock of Encouragement” jar.
The accompanying card had said,”…with any new experience there can be ups and downs…when you need it, reach in and find a word on it that describes you! Not just any words, but words I received from your family, friends, co-workers, students and church family.”
I emptied the jar and began to read, smiling with each adjective.
“Angelic” Hmmm…does that person really know me?
“Loving” Aww, so sweet.
“Partner in Crime” Now that’s more like it.
“Blonde” Perhaps some interesting implications
Then I came to the one that stopped me short.
Cue the waterworks.
Because as I read it, I heard the still small voice of the Spirit say, “That one’s from Me.”
The last three weeks have been emotionally and physically grueling.
I packed up twenty-two years of teaching and officially retired from public education…
Endured two weeks of bronchitis and pneumonia…
Wrecked my back by repeatedly picking up and putting a two year-old on the potty…
Made a quick trip to Kansas City to help out my daughter…
And had my first eight-hour License to Preach class.
By yesterday evening the only word that I would have picked to describe myself was
And yet here I am, on Sunday morning, tears running down my face knowing that is not how I am defined by the Maker of the Universe.
I am chosen.
Like each of us are.
I am not alone in my journey. Yes, I am called to be light and salt to the world. But I do so in the presence of a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before me and those who walk beside me in the here and now.
To the one who is reading this right this very minute, please know my friend, you are precious to the One who made you.
And no matter what other adjectives you may have picked to describe yourself at any given moment there are ones that supersede them.
Chosen Child of God