Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Poem and a Stranger

His intent was to share Jesus with me and he did.  I don’t know how old he was....older than my Daddy.  As I answered emails on the banquette at Panera, he stopped to make a comment on my shirt.  A simple tactic to get to his real point, “Why are you celebrating Christmas?”  He was a tall man, with, as one of my favorite customers says, “snow on the mountain” which grew down into a darker beard and mustache which framed a very warm smile.  His “mountain” was topped off with a 101st Airborne Division cap.  Feeling a little put on the spot, I smiled and gave him the best Sunday School answer I could, in order to convince him there was no need to pull out a gospel tract because I am sure he would have.  He was satisfied with my answer but there was something else.

When he walked over, I immediately pulled ear plugs from my ears.  I was listening to Elyse Fitzpatrick’s podcast on her book Because He Loves Me, trying to saturate myself in this message of God’s immeasurable love for and acceptance of me in my sinful state.  I had struggled this morning even before I could get kids in the car by 9:30.  As a friend shared this weekend, I can ask God for grace to cover my sin knowing His grace will not run out and that I am not too much for Him but my kids??  They are sinful like me.  Will their grace for their Momma run out?  {Thank you, friend, for putting words to my struggle and helping me figure out from where the deep sadness stems.}  As I was quickly gathering my things to leave the house, I had condemning thoughts questioning the way I was wired, why some things were so important to me, why I respond so harshly so quickly, why I can’t remember ~ after a year ~ to STOP and give thanks instead of hot words that bear NO fruit.  Why do I make it such a struggle?  Why do I seem to wrestle against what He wants to do in my life?  This purging is not pretty.

Out of the blue, the big man in the black hat had Ephesians 2:8-10 for me.  The gospel, Pure and True.  He didn’t know I needed to be reminded of that today, but Someone did. “For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.”  vs 8-9  A grace gift.  Of course.  He made sure I did not miss verse 10. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  He told me that “handiwork” could be translated as “poem” {I did check him out on that and his Greek is good.}  and that I am God’s poem.  Crafted.  Thought through.  Loved. Cherished.  As the lines of my life were being written, He included good works for me to accomplish.  My work is parenting {and “wife-ing”} right now so I am sitting up straight listening to this stranger.  He leaned over my computer to emphasize his verse 10 point, “The word says you are “in Christ Jesus”, “created anew in Christ Jesus”.  You aren’t to struggle and strive in your good works.  You are to walk in it.  Just walk in it.”  All I could think of to say was, “Yes, sir.”  He smiled and said goodbye.

I quickly typed what he had said so I wouldn’t forget.  I knew God was speaking through him and I didn’t want to miss it.  My thoughts led me here.  I think of a good poem, a beautifully written poem.  The words flow.  There is a cadence, a rhythm.  Once written, there is no striving, no struggling over the words.  A crafted poem flows.  Beautifully.   Easily.

This sputtering, this “cranking out”, this striving was never His intention.  I’ve missed the point.  I lost it somewhere.  He’s already written my poem.  He did it in advance.  I want flow and rhythm and beauty in my life.  A poem.  I am created for that-- by grace, through faith.  I believe it’s there.  He’s helping me find it.


dsblanchard said...


This is SO perfect! It is just what I feel many times. Thanks for being so transparent. I was just to the Panera Bread in my town at noon. I think this was meant to be that I drop by here today. He loves us so much that He gives us a post through someone we don't even know. You met the man. I read you.

I came by here from Ann's and I'm really glad I did,

Emily said...

Good word sister. Soul soothing and ministering to me right at this moment in time.

Sarah said...

Great words, K!

TJ Wilson said...


Alyssa said...

I love that God brought a special message to you through this man. So touching!