Names and Faces

Sharon and Stacy. They’re who I met this morning at Starbucks on my way to work. Sharon, about my height with beautiful brown skin, was standing at the counter getting her man and her two tall drips of the day (House Blend I think) with two pastries. Didn’t see what kind. Already in the bag. Would like to have known but I felt a little funny asking. Sharon watches Wednesdays on Life Today and is going to try to come to the kick off of the Esther Bible study tomorrow night. We hugged like crazy. Then, while the barista was brewing up my Grande Nonfat Cappuccino, I met Stacy, a tiny little light-skinned blond who just finished “Get Out of That Pit” and felt like God had really spoken to her. She’s a missionary with YWAM and will head to Amsterdam in January. And, yes, missionaries can feel like they’re in a pit, too. And so can Bible teachers. And pastor’s wives. And pastors. Praise God, His arm is long enough and His hand is strong enough to rescue us all, no matter how deep we’ve gone or how long we’ve been.

I like to know names and see faces. And hug necks. A big crowd is overwhelming and so, somehow, is something contrived (like someone who doesn’t have enough to do trying to figure out which Starbucks – she’d be so disappointed with the let-down anyway) but when God alone appoints these momentary one-on-one encounters, something profound happens to me every time. Not to them. To ME. My worst nightmare in ministry – besides letting ministry steal my intimacy with Jesus – is losing touch with real, live people. Loving God and loving people. Serving God and serving people. That’s what it’s all about or it’s about nothing at all. Although I can’t see your faces, you have become a very real community to me. I know many of your “names” by this time. Like Boomama and Patty and The Preacher’s Wife and Ocean Mommy and so many others beside them and have come to appreciate you so and laugh with you and love Jesus with you. I often stop and pray for you as I read. I don’t even have to know a name, my beloved “Anonymous,” if I can occasionally read through your words and see your heart because, in seeing your heart with my wild imagination, my mind’s eye conjures up a face. And it’s so darlin’. Every last one of you are to me. All shapes and sizes and ages and do’s. Make-up or not. Highlights or not.

As we launch another Bible study tomorrow night and I labor again at the computer today in the solitary confinement of what God has most called me to do, He has added two names to my life and two loves to my heart. Sharon and Stacy. And I am grateful.


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