It wasn’t the grandest of gestures from a friend. It didn’t involve flowers or an extravagant gift. It wasn’t a voucher for a spa treatment. But it was the most extraordinarily timed and perfect gift possible – that of a simple text message.
Friday wasn’t going well, a health scare had me slipping away from the office to rest before an emergency scan appointment. 11 weeks into my pregnancy and I was scared that I was losing the baby. As I drove home holding back tears, fighting fear and praying, my mobile alert of a text went. A simple text message from a friend checking in to say she was thinking of me and sending her love. It was encouragement for my soul, balm for a heart in anguish. Perfect timing. It was just what I needed. And being the friend she is, it led to a text exchange and her praying for me.
That’s the thing I love about God! His thoughts to us are always good and He knows what we need before we need it! It’s also what I love when we live with our hearts inclined to His whisper. A prompting, a hunch to take the time to act. In this case to send a text. The result – a partnership with God that reaches out and touches someone in need. We don’t know the impact that our seemingly little acts of kindness will make, the blessings that small acts of friendship give. It could be a coffee, a letter, a willing ear, a meal, an offer of help. Not headline news. But important, needed, of value – yes! And in God’s eyes precious indeed.
It all ended up ok. The baby was fine and is growing well! I am left though with an indelible mark on my spirit – how God demonstrated His love to me during a time in need through a willing and gracious friend.
Recently I watched Dior and I, a documentary of Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director. As I watched it, I was struck by the creativity and skill that resides inside so many people. I saw the evolution of a labour of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators from concepts, sketches into an amazing fashion show. I saw too the emotion of Raf Simons’ as he watched the models take his creations down the runway. His tears as his dream become reality. I also saw the amazing craft and skill of the seamstresses and their passion to take a sketch and to make it 3 dimensional.
This beautiful documentary to me had an unspoken story. That of a God who places dreams and giftings inside each of us and when we step into the reality of those dreams and when we outwork our giftings the ordinary becomes extraordinary. We can overcome obstacles. The seamstresses worked well into the night to finish the garments. Raf Simons inspired by a painting in an art gallery created a beautiful ethereal material, pushing past convention to make it happen.
When we become who God made us to be it is a glorious thing. St Irenaeus said “The glory of God is a man / woman fully alive”. This is what I believe – our light shines brighter, we illuminate and reveal God when we are fully alive – embracing all that we are, all the we’re called to be. To be alive, to be fully alive, we need to be true to who God has called us to be, who God has made us to be, and to realise that we can enjoy the life that we’re in.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!” (St Catherine of Siena)
Go on! Embrace who you are – artist, strategist, writer, teacher, designer, programmer, preacher, singer….
Today our household celebrated a birthday. My 2nd son turned six today. The look of pure joy on his face, his outbursts of “oh my gosh!!” as he opened his presents to discover gifts that he had long hoped for, were a delight. From Thunderbirds to Superman Lego to Super Pocoyo and Om nom (yes I am still speaking English!), even the “annoying orange” made it into the gifts.
As his mother I had been intent on what he wanted, intent on knowing the unusual and varied desires of his heart. Intent on tracking the gifts down from shops and the internet.
God is intent on us too. His heart is towards us. What matters to us, matters to Him. I know that when I look back over my life I can count numerous answers to the desires of my heart. And just as random ones as my son’s birthday wish list! From rocket duvets that were too expensive, to trips overseas, to feathers, the finding of a lost watch, my house, the list goes on. All hopes and dreams – all fulfilled by a God who loves me.
As much as I listened to and observed my son for indications of his dreams and wishes, God does too and more so.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ‘ (Matthew 7:9-11)