I need to frame this post by saying that right now, at this moment, my father is in a hospital in Kentucky and I am sitting in my bedroom in North Carolina and although my heart is there with him, the distance between us physically seems way more than the 300 miles I know it to be. How I wish I were there to hold his hand, kiss his cheek and pray with him as my sisters and I did a few months ago before a different surgery. In thinking about him this morning, I just marvel that the timing of God never ceases to amaze me. I began this blog post almost two weeks ago and could not get peace about posting…until this morning…
There is truth in the old adage, “Out of the mouths of babes…” Sometimes the most profound and heartfelt conviction I receive comes from children. Leave it to them to be brutally honest, right?
I would consider myself a visionary, a planner, a dreamer…and so when times comes to put those plans and visions into detailed action, I can get it done but often with that comes moments of frustration and trying of the patience level. People who work along me in ministry and those who do life with me know that about me and I’m so grateful for the grace and patience they extend to me in those moments.
The past few weeks have been very busy for our family as we help plan and prepare for our church’s fall festival and missions conference. The Fall Festival is an annual event that welcomes about 400 people to enjoy games, hay ride, marshmallow roast, cake walk, etc. as an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating. It’s so much fun and the kids have a great time. But there is a ton of work in putting that together…finding workers, buying food, decorating, etc. The missions’ conference is a highlight in our ministry and is just indescribable in this small space. Perhaps I’ll write an entire post devoted to just that one event. Again, for me personally, it is a very busy time.
So, one of the mornings as I’m leaving my house with list in hand, along with too many other things I was trying to carry, I was already stressed and near tears and my phone was buzzing repeatedly with questions, cancellations, email notifications, phone calls, etc.
Let me interrupt the picture in your mind of my morning and give you a little history to frame this blog post. Right now on the airwaves of Christian radio stations there is a popular song out that says “When you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus.” I’ve heard the song. It’s beautiful and holds deep truth.
And, several weeks ago now, I was in the van with my friend Jenny (whose children I adore) and they were all talking a mile-a-minute and each one trying to tell me something and so the youngest girl Poppy says, “Mrs. Renee,” and I said, “Yes, Poppy?” to which she replied, “Ummm, Jesus.” Instantly her sister Bella said, “When she doesn’t know what she wants to say, she just says Jesus.” So, Jenny explains that they had listened to the song and about the line that says, “When you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus.” So in Poppy’s 3-year-old mind, that made perfect sense. She really didn’t know how to say whatever it was she was trying to say to me so she just said, “JESUS.” Oh, how we laughed and laughed, but yet the truth was there. When we are feeling overwhelmed, just saying the name JESUS does bring peace and calmness.
We spend a lot of time with these adorable little people and also with my other friend Jessi’s girls. We do life together. We attend the same church, do home school co-ops together, have sleep-overs, craft days hosted by the ever famous, Nanny Bear, Michelle Delgado, and just enjoy each other’s company.
A few weekends ago we had a yard sale together (which you can tell from our garage in the following picture) and while all the kids were at our house, they decorated the driveway…sort of…with sidewalk chalk.
Back to my story about my stressful morning of preparation for the Fall Festival. So, I’m leaving the house and juggling to press the button on my key-ring to unlock the door and as I’m walking to the car I look down and between my van and the yard is just enough of the concrete driveway for me to see ONE WORD written in sidewalk chalk…JESUS. Immediately, I thought about the song and the girls and the admonition that really all I needed in my day was Jesus!
I quietly whispered a prayer and spoke to myself…”This (festival) is not life or death. It will work out. People will show up. Kids will get candy and have fun! My dad has cancer. Emma is struggling with neurological issues again. Spencer has been sick. Mike is still looking for a job. People I love are hurting. A friend just lost a baby. Another friend buried her husband recently. Those are big issues. All these little things that I’m getting stressed out over are not issues at all. Put it in perspective Renée. Just say Jesus.”
So I did…I said JESUS. And immediately, I felt His presence, calmness, grace, love, and companionship. I smiled all the way to the church and it completely re-framed my day. I can honestly say I went through the entire day calmer than at most events. Even when little challenges came up, and they did, I just kept whispering, JESUS throughout the day.
These adorable little people, whom I love SO much, were used to remind me that life is so much about perspective.
And this morning at 5:00 a.m. when the Holy Spirit nudged me awake to pray for and think of my dad and how my heart longs to be with Him…again I will just say Jesus. Because I don’t know what else to say!
For you my friends, let me say…When life gets crazy, and it will, just say JESUS.
Blessings to you,