Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ruby Slippers and Something Pink in the Dryer

Ruby Slippers and Something Pink in the Dryer

My schedule had been crazy and out of control. For some time now I had over committed my life and had taken on too much responsibility. It had been a long day and I was tired. Tomorrow was my birthday and I didn't want to wake up still feeling tired and looking old My body wanted to go home, change into my comfy clothes and just slow down. But on this night, my heart won and my tired body followed.

A couple of weeks earlier I had accepted an invitation to a friend's home for a "Pamper Melanie" party.

I had met Melanie a few years earlier and quickly learned to love her dearly. We had worked together in a Christian women's ministry, planning retreats. Melanie had impressed me from the first time I met her. I had often teased her and told her that she looked just like a Barbie doll. But her beauty was much deeper than that. She was fully sold out to living her life for the Lord and serving others. She especially poured her love into the lives of her husband and five little boys. So tired or not, I knew that not going to the "Pamper Melanie" party was not an option.

As I entered Carolyn's home she greeted me with warmth and hospitality. I could see that she had spent a lot of time preparing for this special night. Carolyn's spiritual gift of hospitality was something to be be envied. But the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me that envy was a sin. He reminded me that He freely gives us gifts according to His plan and purpose.

The home was full of precious women who had come to "Pamper Melanie". After dinner Carolyn shared how not only her love for Melanie also her love for Melanie's mom Barb had caused her to plan this special night. As I listened, I couldn't help but think that Barb must be smiling as she looked down from heaven.

As Carolyn continued to speak, she shared how she had asked Melanie if she could give her a baby shower. But when Melanie gave birth to her fifth son they both knew she didn't need a baby shower. She had more than enough for a little boy.

Then one day, Melanie said, "I would just love something pink in my dryer". That is when the "Pampered Melanie" party was inspired.

We each took turns affirming Melanie and presenting her with our pink gifts. Christ had clothed her in His righteousness and we were clothing her with pink gifts of love. We were all moved as we watched Ruby present her gift. What ever it was we all knew it would be a treasure to Melanie. Ruby's physical body was challenged with Parkinson's disease yet she was the strongest and most faithful prayer warrior in the room. As Melanie opened the box and lifted out house slippers she cried as she said, "Ruby Slippers". We all smiled .Carolyn invited me to help massage Melanie's hands as Bethany massaged her shoulders . Suddenly I found myself knelling and massaging Melanie's feet as she cried in humility. She whispered, "I did take a shower and even shaved my legs today." We laughed and the tears continued to fall down not only Melanie's face but many of our faces.

Before getting back up, I looked at the beautiful feet of this precious young mother of five little boys. I was reminded that the Lord says, "how beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of Jesus Christ". As I slipped the Ruby Slippers on Melanie's feet I knew they would be a constant remind that each of us was praying for her as brings her sons up in the knowledge of the Lord.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

No More Walls

“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.”

As we sang the words to this beautiful hymn this morning in church it brought back sweet memories of growing up and attending Vacation Bible School.

Times were different then and we only had two white churches in our very small rural town in middle Georgia. I feel confident that there were Negro churches but that was something that I was not aware of at the time. There were no “Black” churches because that word was not used to describe the Negro race at that time. I did hear another word but I knew it was not a nice word.

Each summer both the Baptist and Methodist churches would host Vacation Bible School during the same week. This was a very special time to learn Bible verses, songs, and stories about Jesus and learn to love others and obey our parents. We had great snacks and made crafts that we were so proud to share. It was a fun week and something we all looked forward to.

At the end of the week a program was held to show our parents and the other adults what we had learned. This was the only time that the Baptist and Methodist churches came together. A combined program took place in the church whose turn it was to host the program.

As we marched in separately we had a special hymn that we sang as we entered. The Methodist marched to “Onward Christian Soldiers” and the Baptist marched to “Holy, Holy, Holy”. To this day when ever I hear either of these songs it touches my heart in a very special way.
Many years later my husband who was raised in the Catholic Church asked me if the Baptist were prejudiced against the Catholics when I was growing up. I smiled and answered very quickly, “No, we didn’t have any Catholics in our small town so we weren’t prejudiced against them. We were prejudiced against the Methodist because they sprinkle instead of dunk them into the water”.

I smiled and laughed when I spoke these words but I knew in my heart that there was some truth to what I had just said.

There is always a risk when we revisit times past but often there are some very wonderful things that we will forever treasure.

As I reflect on my memory of marching into Vacation Bible School singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” I will always be grateful to my parents who took me to church as a small child and introduced me to Jesus Christ Who eventually became my LORD and Savior. Although I do not recall who they are, I am thankful for the Vacation Bible School teachers who gave their time to make a difference in my life.

Today, I still attend a Baptist Church but find such joy in knowing that my LORD is the LORD of all who call upon His Name in Faith. He is no respecter of persons whether they are Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, White, Negro, or any other name. He invites all who will to come to Him. I rejoice that through Christ my boundaries have been extended and the walls have come down.