We've exchanged one daughter for the other here--not that they're interchangable by any means. In fact, I notice the differences a whole lot more when they aren't home at the same time. It's easy to tell, for example, that E's lived on her own for the last several years. There's just an air of adulthood about her. Oh wait a minute, I think our oldest child had that same air when she was four years old, trying to outdo me for 'mother-of-the-year' with her two younger siblings. She's just always been mature. And SK, who is catching up, even as we speak, is, of course, the baby. And has loved it.
SK's back in Spokane, enjoying 'Camp Whitworth,' which seems to run the week before University classes start each fall. Her rather breathless conversations involve all sorts of activities, who she's seen, what crazy thing she's in the middle of doing. Not for her is rolling in at midnight the last night of summer, just in time to unpack one bag, pull out a notebook and stumble to class. She's back with her people, and wants to suck the marrow out of the bone of that fun before she has to crack a book.
Actually, the reason she had to be on campus early is that she's on the worship team for the student-led worship service on campus for the year. One of the student leaders of the team is a young woman whose last name I recognized right away. Her uncle was my closest friend in high school and beyond (see my post from May 5). And because of that, I knew her father very well too. I even knew her mother from working at a job after college. Yeah, plenty of connections to Katherine's family. But though I've seen Katherine's uncle myriad times over the years, I haven't seen her father since right after his wedding. So after SK told Katherine I knew her dad/family, she asked her father whether he remembered me. He told her that not only did he remember me, but that I'd been instrumental in his becoming a Christian and growing as a believer. Wow, I thought, when SK told me. I remember plenty of conversations with Alan, but had no idea.
But then that's the case most of the time, isn't it? If we're living our lives for Christ, intent on 'pleasing Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strenghtened with all power according to His glorious might...and giving thanks to the Father..." (Colossians 1: 10- 12), then we won't be looking around to see if we are making a difference. We hear--shoot, I say--all the time, "It's not about me, it's all about you, Lord." And sometimes I get tired of these words that sound so overused, except that they're true. What we do--even in ministry, even for the Kingdom--is not about us, not about earning honor, glory, hearing praises ring in our names. It's a wonderful, deeply satisfying feeling to know that Alan's life was impacted by the Holy Spirit in me, and that now he has a daughter whose life is also bent on following Christ. It's a thrill to get a peek into eternity and see what God has done when I wasn't looking, even through me. And I thank God for the privilege of being His servant in those moments that touched a life that touched a life to make this family belong to Him (if that makes sense). I rejoice, thank God and really, really love hearing this.
And I've had the opportunity to speak at retreats--and I relish every chance I get. There have been responses from women that I cherish, precious times that have touched all of us, that I've felt awed to have been part. But I leave those retreats and must retreat, to tell the truth, because those responses can become quite dangerous. I get easily swept up in them--begin to think I'm something. I come home and settle back into my life and, unless I return them to Him, my life could become claustrophobic, too small for who I think I am, for what I believe I can do for the Kingdom. But there are too many 'I's in that sentence, and none of Him.
Use me as You will, Lord. Show me how to be faithful, obedient in this life I live, not in the glorious, famous life I imagine I could have--even for you, whatever that involves. Retreats/ speaking, sometimes; writing, often; but mostly, just alone in my room, praying. This is the right-sized life for one like me, hidden and small. Doing what He asks, learning not to look in the mirror as it's done.
A peek in the window of someone's life--far down the road--that's treasure enough.