Older Sisters and Milestones

Hey, My Darlin’ Sistas! Thank you so much for celebrating Melissa’s graduation with us! You are such a blast to do this God-life with! We want you to know that we celebrate God’s glorious work in your family, too. When Amanda and I read your comments, we react over your news just like you react over ours. We wish we could write back personally to every single one. Before I get to what I want to share with you (next paragraph), I need you to humor me for a second while I say something about Melissa’s big sister. Something that Melissa’s big sister is going to want to snap me in half about but I’ll take that chance. Melissa is all of those things Amanda said she is and in addition, she honestly is one of the funniest people on earth. But she will tell you what I will tell you. She has the most incredible big sister on earth. (Amanda, just don’t read the next few sentences.) Amanda Jones is one of the most caring, loving people I’ve ever known. One of the best friends to people I have ever seen. So tender hearted that she would cry with you in an instant. So witty that Melissa and I have to order an extra shot in our Starbucks just to keep up with her quick mind. With your loving patience, I will only take this moment to boast in Christ’s gift to me in these two young women but, in light of what Amanda wrote about her sister, I cannot let the gap go unfilled. Each of my daughters has become indispensable to me in ministry, just as God in His great mercy planned it. (Melissa will soon join Amanda and me at LPM. It is their heritage.) Melissa’s education and experience in the academic world has already (even in the last two Bible studies) had a huge impact on my research and the resources I can access for study. She also has well-surpassed me in formal language studies so I now have a resident assistant who can aid me tremendously in Hebrew and Greek. Melissa will undoubtedly be my greatest help on the research side of what God has called me to do. Amanda, on the other hand, is my greatest help on the other side of any project. I never write anything she does not proofread for me and reflect upon with me. Just as I trust Melissa’s help on the front side of a project, I trust Amanda like no one on earth on the back side. She is my number one editor and my absolutely uncontested number one encourager. They are equally amazing young women – just as I can tell so many of you blog sistas are.

Now, here’s what I want to say: God has been so lavish – so scandalous, for crying out loud – in His outpourings of grace and mercy upon our family. None of us Moores or Jones are the least bit confused about how on earth we arrived at this or any other milestone in one celebratory piece. Jesus. J-E-S-U-S. And He will be the only way we make it to any other. At staff prayer time yesterday, my beloved coworkers were about to burst with enthusiasm to hear every detail about our weekend and Melissa’s graduation. They were so proud for us. I told them something I want to tell you. The beauty of finding yourself at a milestone of any meaningful kind in life is not that the journey there was so pretty. Or so successful. In many ways, the mysterious beauty of the whole thing is that the “getting there” was so awkward, wobbly, inconsistent, and even down-right messy that most of the time, you thought you’d never make it. What makes life on this frightful sod so exquisite is God’s merciful propensity to perform divine tasks amid deeply flawed people. To paint intricate colors on a torn-up canvass. We can recognize a miracle when we see one because we know that, for God to use us, redeem us, or complete one stinkin’ thing of value in us, it would have taken nothing less. That’s what He calls getting the glory.

I don’t know if you happen to be under heaps of discouragement right now over how messy your trip to any place good – even any place “God” – tends to be but I’d like to clear something up. No one does this life-thing perfectly. NO ONE. Not your biggest hero. Your favorite pastor. And certainly not your Bible teacher. At least not this one. No one’s kids grow up perfectly. No one’s marriage is one hundred per cent healthy. No one’s character is beyond wrecking. I don’t care how people around you seem, they do not have it together. At least no one I have met, been around, or known anything about. I know plenty of God-seeking, authentic followers of Jesus Christ with humble hearts and sacrificial service…but not even they are perfect. And if they were, I probably wouldn’t want to have coffee with them. (They wouldn’t drink caffeine anyway.) Don’t misunderstand me. Everyone of us is called to live in victory and authenticity. You’ll never get permission from me to be hypocritical and I never want that permission from you. We must be what we seem. I’m just suggesting we quit trying to “seem” perfect. Because we’re not…and sooner or later people are going to find out. I’d just as soon tell them in advance.

The four Moores have a TON to be thankful for. But not because we’ve done it so well. Because Jesus has. And because He has graced us when we didn’t deserve another chance and held us when we squirmed to get loose.

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love,
Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood,
/Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love./
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee”

(Lyrics to the hymn “Come Thou Fount”)


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