Saturday, January 8, 2011

More Than Just a CUTE SHIRT

Yes, this kid is adorable. Yes, my husband is a HUGE Dallas Cowboys fan. Yes, his zeal has infected the entire family. (Lucky man...has a wife who loves football.) Yes, one of his all time favorite players is Emmitt Smith. And, yes, our little man is pretty darn cute in that jersey. But...that is not the best part of this "story."
I work at a large church in the childrens area. We are casual and fun and warm and welcoming. I have some really AMAZING volunteers in Registration where we check in each and every child who comes to one of our three weekend services.
Well...there is this one woman.
She usually came to the Saturday evening service with her husband and 4 kids. So many times she would come in and be so obviously m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e! Without going into private details, suffice it to say, there was a lot in this woman's life to be unhappy about...from everyday irritations to sheer pain - the kind most moms do not even want to imagine. I had the advantage of knowing this about her from others who had a real heart for this struggling family.
Because I love my volunteers - and I tend to be a bit protective of them - I would go out of my way to be the one to wait on this mom when she checked in her children. Regardless of her demeanor, I tried my best to be positive and loving toward her. Most of the time, she was able to check her kids in without making eye contact...all the while uttering something painful or negative.
Some of my dear, sweet volunteers were led by their hearts to step up and make a difference. They made it their personal mission to get this woman to smile.
My volunteers usually only stay down in the children's area until about 10-15 minutes after the adult service starts. Our unhappy mom usually arrived after the start of the service and during a time when most families had already checked in...and I was the only one left in Registration. Two or three of my volunteers started to wait each Saturday evening until this family arrived! I no longer ran interference for them...they enthusiastically greeted the family and focused so much love and affection on this women - all jammed in the few minutes spent at check in!
Fast forward....this woman has CHANGED! She signed up to volunteer in the baby nursery. She started to bond with the other precious volunteers who were in there loving on beautiful, perfect infants. My little guy was in there at the time and she proclaimed him her FAVORITE! He was my excuse to get to know her even better. She is now absolutely delightful and her smile lights up the room. Her rich laughter blesses my heart. I love to see what God has done in her life...and I attribute at least some of it to the wonderful people who choose to spend their time serving Jesus and others - by my side.
This mom and I have joked about all the name changes we have considered if we are able to adopt our sweet baby. It has been FUN!
Tonight, she brought me a little gift bag. I thanked her, told her she did not have to buy me anything, and she excitedly insisted I open it. Adorable! Precious...on more than one level. I had an excuse to give this mom a HUGE HUG...the same woman who would barely look me in the eye about one year earlier.
I will keep that little Cowboys jersey forever. It will remind me of a special mom and a Jesus who loved her through me and some very special friends of mine. What an honor!