We stayed busy this weekend with sleepovers and birthday dinners and hospital visits but there was one moment I cannot pass by although my words won’t do it justice.
A week ago I was asked to host a baby shower by and for my nephew. If you know part of our history, then you know it wasn’t an easy ask or an easy answer. I won’t pretend it was my idea and look how great I am because my initial response was kind of ugly. But I couldn’t bear the thought of a new baby boy going without and as I wrote about last week, I realized it was a moment for grace.
The baby was due in a short time and when an inducement got scheduled even sooner, we realized we had less than 1 week to do the shower.
The needs were great.
I put out a call on social media, on local mommy forums and to local friends for help. Our family could not do this on our own.
What happened within the next week was astonishing.
Strangers were at my doorstep within 48 hours with bags of like-new clothing. Like, I still don’t know their real names, just their screen names and their faces.
Friends from high school I hadn’t seen in years met me with boxes and boxes of items.
People from my small group bought gifts.
Friends recommended ministries to contact.
Many families within my church and in other churches banded together, some just giving one or two things, and gathered nearly every single thing this new little family would need.
Toys, books, bottles, baby monitor, car seats, a stroller, crib mattress, high chair, bath tub, bumbo, bouncy seat, blankets, diaper bag, baby food. OH MY WORD. ALL THE THINGS.
The people who gave don’t know my nephew from Adam. They gave and gave to a complete stranger because there was a need. It was the most beautiful display of Acts 4:32-35 I’ve ever seen.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
It’s still hard to put into words the aura of grace we had that night. Tears upon tears of gratefulness and confessions of God’s provision covered any imperfections.
I share this because I need you to see that amid all the bitterness and sin and outrage among the church that God is moving among his people to provide hope.
The church is not a building or a board or committee or even a pastor. The church is his people and this is what it looks like when the collective body of believers IS the church. Forgiveness is given. Needs are met. God is glorified.
I don’t begrudge a building and gathering of local believers. In fact, I love my local church and it happened in large part because of a local church. But the beauty and power of believers among many churches coming together as the universal church is simply beautiful.
I’m walking away from this weekend with reminders to forgive when it’s difficult. The freedom you find is more important than any revenge you think you’re inflicting.
Ask when you need help. People are gracious and generous but they need to know there’s a need before they can fill it.
Give even when, and especially when, it’s a sacrifice. The freedom you find when you open your hand is better than any satisfaction you have holding on.
And finally, new babies are just the best.
Meet my new great nephew.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to anyone that had a part in providing for this sweet little one and everyone’s continued prayers are appreciated.