Brunch, the # Sixteen & the Gospel.

Colin and I just dropped Mom off at the Atlanta airport.


I was secretly hoping the strong rains in Atlanta would last just a day longer so I could hold on to Mom for just a few more hours. And a cleansing of the final layer of inch deep pollen paste that has coated my car and bronchial tubes would have been a nice little bonus as well.

Colin and I took Mom to the Flying Biscuit in Midtown this morning for breakfast. We really wanted to take her for “brunch” but her flight was leaving a bit too early for such a special event. Brunch is a big deal to the wonderful folk in Georgia and I have become quite fond of it myself. Admittedly, I had to get over my initial aversion to the word “brunch” because it appears to be a combination of the word “breakfast” and “lunch” which sorta-kinda-I-mean-really gets on my nerves. I swiftly got over my petty annoyance, however, the first time those creamy dreamy shrimp and grits touched my lips. Enough about “brunch” though. Except for one more thing, the word “brunch” is far better than “bruncheon” on the velveeta scale. My cordiality comes to a screeching halt with “bruncheon”.

Back to breakfast. In predictable Beth fashion, Mom ordered the Flying Biscuit Breakfast with the Orange scented French toast on the side. Please note that the Orange Scented French toast is actually not a side dish but a full meal. While we were waiting for Mom’s several dishes to come out we were talking about really urgent issues, like how complex and intricate the Flying Biscuit motif was on this little ceramic jar.

If I have not said this on the blog before, by far my favorite time to hang out with my Mom is right after some kind of big event like a videotaping, Passion, Deeper Still, or a Living Proof Live. In this case it was the Simulcast that was evidently extended to over 300,000 women. By the way, I told my Mom yesterday never to utter a number like that to me again without a serious warning and that if she even attempted to introduce me during the second session of the simulcast, I would take her to court for her wrongdoing. As you can guess, Mom did not listen and it turns out there really are restrictions on lawsuits. But seriously, Mom is super fun to be with right after a big conference. For starters, right after a big event she hasn’t slept in about a week and so after she steps off the stage she plunges into a very advanced case of delirium. If I thought she could handle the stress I would use this priceless state for my own advantage and literally take her from the church directly to a venue for her to do stand-up comedy. Also, since her stomach is usually pretty weak right before she speaks since she doesn’t have much of an appetite, usually the first thing she says to us after a session is, “I AM SO HUNGRY!” Then we sit down at the table and she says, “I’m going to order sixteen things.” For some reason, she always uses the same number, sixteen. I’m not sure why she has this affinity for the number sixteen but she does and it delights me to no end each new time she throws it out there, almost like it is the very first time she has ever come up with this golden number “sixteen”. You can ask Amanda. I am not making this up.

My heart is so full from such a wonderful weekend. After Colin and I left Mom’s hotel last night and had gone on home, Amanda and I called my Mom three-way from my cell-phone. It was like 1993 sans landline. We talked and giggled and carried on and on about little snippets and stories from women we had encountered throughout the day until it was past Mom’s bedtime. When we hung up the phone I realized I had a giant lump in my throat. The Lord’s ways are truly remarkable.  His intricate and elaborate pursuit of each of us just blows me away.  Yesterday as I sat listening to my Mom’s message in the second session I noticed a woman a few rows behind me who quietly streamed tears the entire hour and a half. As I watched her emotionally absorb words that were far too weighty for her to bear without a physical response, the gospel in its most unadulterated form was preached to my heart once again. That God, in the cross of Jesus Christ, has forgiven us and brought us into fellowship with Himself is the most compelling news our ears will ever hear and our minds will ever conceive. That He esteems us and deems us valuable is just beyond comprehension. I mean, we’re pretty bad.  Okay, we’re really bad, and even a tad bit unlovable a lot of the time.

Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our heart to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (4.6). God’s work in us through Jesus Christ is nothing short of a new creation. The same creator who sculpted the sun shined his very own light into our hearts by means of the knowledge of Christ’s gospel. This is not the kind of news one just sits and coldly anticipates with a forced half-smile but one that should be absorbed in a manner that cannot be controlled, contained, or folded up neatly like linens in a closet. I thank my dear sister who was sitting several rows behind me, wherever she is now, for reminding me how vast, enrapturing, and beautiful the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ really is. It is a profound experience to ponder the gospel anew in the face of someone who has just internalized God’s indescribable gift. The gospel is not safe and predictable, although we have most often rendered it such. It should turn every aspect of our lives completely upside down. Jesus has thrown everything utterly off balance. Perhaps more often than not the Gospel should completely undo us to the point that we cannot act altogether civilized. It sounds a little bit unsettling or even grotesque for those of us who are especially self aware but the bright side is that the community of God has been a peculiar people from the beginning, so we really don’t have all that much to lose.


305 Responses to “Brunch, the # Sixteen & the Gospel.”

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  1. 251
    AER says:

    My dear Melissa:

    Well and eloquently written. Your words touched my very core and I appreciate your abandon to our LORD. After all, if we are not head over heels in adoration for our savior then our hearts have grown cold. Woe to us.


  2. 252
    Grateful in KC says:

    I absolutely LOVE the stories of Beth & her daughters 🙂 Just thought I’d share that I was able to bring my almost 18 year old daughter to the simulcast on Saturday and this is what her facebook status has been all week…”Annie is saved from herself, entitled to truth, clothed with intention, upended by grace, rebounded by love, exceptional in life”


  3. 253
    Gayle says:

    Let me first say Thank you, for sharing your time with your Mom with us. What a blessing she is, you must feel so loved to know how Loved your Mom is and how much she helps others with her teaching. I can tell you that you need to spend as much time as you can with her, because I do not have my Mom anymore and I miss her more then words can say even after almost 11 yrs, espically since my twins will be Seniors next year and she missed so much and I miss her even more now since I have been taken care of my sister who is mental chanaged. It is hard to work all dy come home be a mom and wife and take care of here and wanting to spend time in God’s word. Sorry I’m just going on and on. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you thank you and let you know you and your family is a blessing.
    God Bless you all,
    Gayle Albers

  4. 254
    Susan says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Although it might have been torturous for you, we were all so pleased that your mom introduced you at the simulcast! I love how she shares her love for her family with us! My precious daughter was with me at the simulcast. Please pray for her. She is not walking with the Lord and is in a very troubled place right now. Because she stayed out all night the night before the simulcast, she only made it through the morning session. (She is 26 and doesn’t live in the same state I do, so I was visiting her the weekend of the simulcast.) I long for her to repent and return to the Lord. She is such a smart, beautiful young woman, but she is living in such rebellion. I look forward to the day she returns to the Lord!

    I also wanted to comment on the fact that your mom always uses the number 16. I had my 52nd birthday this year, and my son made a big deal…saying this was an especially important birthday. I thought, “Really!? I thought 50 was the big deal, not 52.” He said, “Mom, 52 is you favorite number! You use it all the time…like…”I’ve told you 52 times to put the toilet seat down. Or, “You’ve asked me that 52 times.” It was hilarious (and true). I DO use that number all the time 🙂

    Thanks, too, for your thoughts about God’s love toward us. It is indeed quite amazing and beautiful! Everything ends up better in His light…even my 52 wrinkles 🙂


  5. 255
    Lindsee says:

    Melissa, I thought about messaging you this comment (not sure why) but just thought I’d post it instead. Anywho, I’m not sure why this post hit a nerve (a good one) with my heart but it did. Quite frankly, I’ve been so busy and caught up in doing life, that I’ve let my heart harden just a little. I can tell when I’m not in the Word as much and tending to my own soul so my prayer has been at least the past two weeks that God would soften my heart again. That I would not loose the wonder of the cross. I’m not saying I’ve changed 100% but slowly He’s been rekindling my love for Him that I so used to have when I first started even pursuing my own relationship with Him. Anyway, all that to say this post is so legit. His love for us demands a response, if not like that sweet ladies, so you have my heart stirring for Him. So, thank you for sharing that! Treasuring it today! Much love your way, friend.

    P.S. Thought about attacking you (not really) on Sat. in the overflow but obviously did not. I loved your fun little (or not so little) city!

    Okay, I’m done now! Happy weekend!

  6. 256
    much2ponder says:

    This post blessed my heart so much. To hear the love in your words as you spoke so freely of your mother made my heart smile. You are all so blessed to have one another to share and enjoy life with.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. 257
    Lauren says:

    Love this post.

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