I signed up months ago. The email came asking for help on Easter Sunday at the 11:00 service. It wasn’t in an area I would confidently say I am gifted, but I was happy to help. I didn’t know then what God was orchestrating. But now I see. As I clicked send, He grabbed His maestro stick and rose in His compassion.
Weeks passed after my Easter sign-up and through a myriad of events, I was reconnected to the ministry God had laid on my heart months earlier. God had nudged me toward being a Prayer Partner, someone to step out into the aisles during service worship time, to take the hands of the broken and cross the threshold of the Holy. I started up with the Prayer Partners again just weeks before and as Easter Sunday approached and emails were exchanged to ensure Prayer Partners were allocated among the services, I felt this pressing from the Holy Spirit. Gentle, yet unwavering… to serve in this capacity at the 11:00 Easter Sunday service. But I had already committed my time elsewhere and so, I dismissed it.
Easter Sunday arrived and after spending Saturday night dressed up in cute high heels that left my feet blistered, I selected my bright red “Join the Family” serving t-shirt, comfy jeans and cushioned running shoes to join the preschoolers in their too-cute-for-words sweater vests and spring dresses. In the preschool room, we waited for children to show up. First, a little boy who reminded me how big and loud the world can be when you feel scared and alone. His mom was in a rush to drop him off so she could find her seat in the crowded sanctuary and his big brown eyes told me everything. He was shy, he liked his mom and he couldn’t imagine spending the next hour without her. He clung to her skirt and in a quiet rebellion, he refused to move. I walked over and offered my hand. To my great surprise he took it. Tightly. Like it was a life boat. And he held on for dear life for at least five minutes.
We finally got two more children, little girls dressed for the occasion, and to my delight, my new hand-holding friend was comfortable to let go and played remarkably with his new found friends. I watched as the three played in all their imagination together. Strangers. To each other and perhaps to this place. But I could see so purely in these children how much we need each other. This was fellowship at its most innocent and bare. And it was beautiful.
Before long, the service had started and our room count was at three. On Easter Sunday. At 11:00. The preschool staff was reeling wondering whether there would be a mad rush or if they should accept this as it. As I stood baffled, they made the decision that I wasn’t needed and moved our three littles to another room.
The minute those tykes were taken care of, the Holy Spirit gently pressed again, reminding me of those weeks before and how He’d been whispering about the 11:00 service as a prayer partner.
So, about as underdressed as you can get on Easter Sunday, I walked down the hall, grabbed my white Prayer Partner lanyard, and entered the sanctuary. I quickly found a seat, sang and worshipped and gave thanks to my Abba Father, who allowed me to corporately worship Him with our worship pastor and the choir leading the way not one time, not two times but three times that weekend!
Prayer partners were summoned from the stage to take their positions around the room and after a brief observation, I filled in a gap along a wall. It wasn't long before I saw her coming, headed straight for me. A friend. And she was broken. I could see this long before she made it to me.
As she walked up, she smiled through her tears, called me by name and said, “When I saw you, I knew I had to step out. I wasn’t going to but then I saw you. Please pray for me.” And she went on to explain her need.
I prayed. We left the sanctuary and spoke for a few minutes in the hall. I offered what I had. She left and returned to her seat… smiling and claiming she felt better.
Humbled doesn’t even scratch the surface here. A woman, a friend opened her heart and shared a brief paragraph of her story because she felt safe. And, oh how I wished right there that we would all make each other feel this way. Safe enough to be two or more gathered at His feet, mess in our hands, strengthening each other to bend together and lay it down.
That she would have forgone stepping out except that she saw a familiar face in a sea of people… and that this time, God orchestrated me as that face to call someone out of the shadows… No. words. Well… maybe a few.
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you…” (2 Samuel 7:18, 22)
On a day that calls the masses to the pews, God spoke so vividly to me about the importance of even one. One lost sheep is worth a search party. One scared little boy is worth a rescue crew. One broken sister is worth moving mountains for a friendly face to stand out in a crowd. One mess of a Jesus girl is worth sending the broken to affirm the willing. And only One is worth what little we have to offer and He will feed the multitudes right before our very eyes.
A willing heart offered in faith and He will use it to move heaven and earth for even one, even me, especially you.