Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Beautify of the Broken


Angie here: Please welcome my guest post writer, Jennifer Slattery

I was eight, maybe nine, and on my way to school when I noticed a woman taking out her trash. She held the black bag in one hand and a walking stick in the other, scanning the ground with her “eyes” as she went. I ran to her side, ready to rescue this blind lady, little did I know that God had sent her that day to help me.

She smiled at me and nodded, then humbly allowed me to carry her trash to the curb. It wasn’t until a few days later when I was sitting at the breakfast bar in her kitchen that I realized the humbled love she showed to me that morning. As I watched her answer her phone, make popcorn in the micro (for me) and flitter around her kitchen with more ease than a sighted woman, I was slightly embarrassed by my offer to “help” her only days before. She let me help her not because she needed it, but because doing so would form a connection–a point of contact.

Before long, I was at her house nearly every day. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about. I do remember the popcorn, and the tremendous joy that filled her home. I remember watching her husband and son very closely, curious by their rather silly antics and the ease with which they interacted. But what I remember most was the overwhelming sense of being loved and accepted as day after day Mr. and Mrs. Neighborhood (my name for her and her husband) poured Christ’s love upon me.

She died a few years later, not knowing how the story would end–not knowing the chain of events her allowing me to carry her garbage started, not knowing the impact those afternoons had on me. She didn’t understand fully until she got to heaven, and although I don’t believe God caused her blindness, (it was the result of a stroke), I know He used it to bring her and I together. And through her, I experienced the love of Christ.

But even now, Mrs. Neighborhood’s story doesn’t end. Every time I write, every time I pray, every time I cuddle up with my daughter, a Bible spread between us, we are seeing the fruits of her service (and other amazing women God placed in my path as I was growing up.)
And it all started because she let a little girl help her.

I thought of her this morning during church as I read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-7
1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.


Her visits with me were not without results. The results just wouldn’t be seen until many years later, long after she’d passed. And she wasn’t concerned with the praise of men. To the contrary, she humbled herself and allowed a young child to help her.

Her life was the very first domino in a beautifully intertwined display, except the story really began long before then, with another domino set in motion in her life, and the domino set in motion in the life that loved on her. Each life, each domino, was but a tiny, yet powerful, part of a glorious, life-saving story that will one-day unfold before us. When we stand in God’s presence, surrounded by an innumerable family of believers, each one but another domino that set into motion another chain, everything will all make sense and all we’ll be able to say is, “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelations 7:12 NIV)

Author Bio:
Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the world Ministries (http://www.christtotheworld.com), the Christian Pulse, Samie Sisters, and is the marketing manager for the literary website, Clash of the Titles (http://www.clashofthetitles.com) She’s placed in numerous contests and has written for numerous publications, E-zines and websites. Visit her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com) to find out more about her and her writing.

8 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post, Jennifer. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet story.

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  2. Jennifer,

    Your post was a wonderful blessing today!

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  3. Thanks for the kind words, Missy! I enjoyed remembering Mr. and Mrs. Neighborhood this morning! And Angie, thanks for having me today!

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  4. Thanks, Edwina! The countless ways God uses people to show His love always amazes me!

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  5. You know, I remember once when I was very young, that my grandmother had this wonderful neighbor. I used to love to walk to her house and visit with her. She was elderly from what I remember.

    My parents tell that one day they woke up and I was missing. They found me at that woman's house, eating breakfast with her. I mainly remember she had this beautiful "glass" door handle. It was probably plastic, but I always thought of it as crystal. :)

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  6. I have memories of a few ladies like that too. Those that we gravitate to because they're so welcoming. I remember hearing the stories of each of the costume jewelry pieces in my grandma's box. That she'd take the time to play with me like that always empowers me to do that with my grandkids.
    Angie

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  7. Such lovely stories today! Sometimes there is just no way to thank someone from the past and so it's always nice to pay it forward when we can :)

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  8. Thanks for being here today Jennifer! I enjoyed reading about your dear neighbor. She is a blessing for you!

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