It is a beautiful Alabama day, the sun is shining bright and I can feel the tingle of a stunning southern Summer in the air. I am currently sitting at the top of a gorgeous 35 foot waterfall…one of the prettiest I have seen. All I wanted to do today was sit in this glorious sunshine and read the Word, write a few words on my heart, catch up on some of my favorite devotions. I drove two hours to escape the internet, cell phone service and my never ending “To Do” list. But mostly, I just wanted to be in God’s sweet presence in a beautiful place to celebrate renewing my spirit, reviving my soul and awakening my heart. Just relax and be about as useless as a white crayon; that is all I wanted to do today. I just wanted to pray about creative ways to lay up some pretty crowns and take as many lovelies with me as I could to the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead of relaxing this beautiful day away, I truly thought of the function of the white crayon and my heart has been further stirred to the point of restlessness.
Yesterday, my beloved church family, Church of the Highlands (www.churchofthehighlands.com) in Birmingham, Alabama held its annual SERVE Day- one day of the year where we participate in massive outreach by donning bright red shirts and saturating the community with God’s love; literally being the hands and feet of Jesus. I LOVE IT!! I was looking forward to this year with such delight because this Spring, I spent much time in a cast from my toes to my knees. My ankle was surgically repaired and required casting to heal. Post cast I was confined to a dreaded walking boot for what seemed like eternity. Prior to surgery, I had looked forward to the forced downtime thinking I would establish new habits and do amazing things such as engaging in hours of prayer and worship time, reading the entire Bible, writing letters of encouragement to everyone I had ever known, and even pre-planned 52 blog posts in order to stay a year ahead.
But I did none of those things; although my plan was quite ambitious, I admit. The experience was a bit more of a struggle than I care to say aloud. Everything was difficult. You see, I ALWAYS have good intentions, and I NEVER have a healthy balance, but more so than not lately, I feel like my life sometimes imitates a useless white crayon. I am sharp and in a fresh box with all the other vibrant colors, but am I producing any beautiful art?
I write today, because just maybe, I am not alone.
White crayons are absolutely pointless. Have you ever really thought about that? For that matter, so are the shirts hanging in Matthew McConaughey’s closet. In fact, the “g” in the word lasagna is pretty useless too. (But not the gooey cheese; keep the cheese, girls!) Just like people, the white crayon has its own place in the box (the church), it has its own label and title (service team and function), and it even travels well with the rest of the crayons (life’s journey). White crayon, like the others was made for a functional purpose (spiritual gift). It works until it is used up and discarded (burnout and exhaustion), also just like the others. But once the drawing is complete and the artist steps back and admires his final work of art, is it really the work of the white crayon that stands out to him?
We were created for a purpose and once we are at the end of our life’s work and the Lord stands back admiring His creation, do you want to be the mark He doesn’t see?
I do not want to arrive at the end of my life and realize it was useless in furthering the Kingdom of God. Rather, I want to create consistent, persistent, bold and beautiful strokes of kindness, encouragement, love and merciful service to His people. And when it is time for the Lord to review my life’s legacy painting, I want Him to see only His own beauty reflecting back at Him. In order to do that, one must be fully devoted to being frequently, totally sold out to serving His people.
Now that SERVE Day 2014 is safely in the books, the need of God’s people is weighing heavily on my heart today. There is a need for everyday essentials, a need for physical healing, and a need for emotional healing…a beautiful need for acceptance. My heart is broken for His daughters- those that I had the honor and privilege to meet yesterday. I am beyond wrecked and restless after seeing such an overwhelming past of brokenness in so many shadows of their gloriously lovely faces.
My eyes looked into their pretty eyes, my hands touched their soft skin, and my ears heard their extraordinary stories of survival. All the while, my heart felt the full devastation of their circumstances.
Part of our time in service included providing pedicures for these ladies living together in a transitional home. Many had been incarcerated at some point; others previously addicted to drugs. There are quite a few living there with their children and most all of them have been in some form of trouble with the law.
While I could not relate to those experiences specifically, I was shaken to my soul with the depth of the only true bond that matters- our pure bloodline. Simply put, we share the covering of the shed blood of our Savior. These women are my Sisters in Christ- we are all indeed daughters of the One True King of Kings.
No matter what those ladies have done or experienced in their past lives- their future is secure in the Kingdom of Heaven. They know our Father- just as I do. We are equal. I hope they become my friends. These ladies know that- they are being taught deep spiritual principles so that the sins of the world can never lure them astray, knock them down or hurt them ever again.
Yesterday, I was charged with the detail work- the painting and prettying of the toenails post pedicure. Some of these ladies had never had a simple pedicure before and were so excited and even overwhelmed with gratitude. We removed polish from toes that had walked the prison floors for months or even years. I polished toes that had never been polished before. My beautiful SERVE sisters washed feet and massaged legs that perhaps had never felt even the gentlest touch. As each one came to my station, I frequently had to hide my face and I shed more than one tear onto the sweetest little feet. My touch was feather soft and I prayed over the feet of each and every single one. I was unafraid and could have even kissed their little feet- if it meant proving to them they were loved. If only they had known my thoughts toward them! Although I was fully engaged, I wasn’t the most talkative of our group; but my mission was to be most effective with my task. My assignment was to provide the loving touch of The Master’s hand. And my prayer was they would be forever changed.
My message today is simple. In the words of our beloved Pastor-
“Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and heal it.”
Serving His sons and daughters is equivalent to serving Him. Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Don’t just show up and contribute a white mark of duty; let your touch upon the hearts of others be a legacy painting full of vibrant colors- leave the white crayon in the box where it belongs.
After SERVE Day 2014, I am forever changed.
I am beyond wrecked and restless today and that is exactly where I want to remain.