As we sat at the table gluing toothpicks on to folded crepe paper, I looked at the people around me and realized they weren’t too happy about helping me. Well, maybe just a little bit. This task, this repeated, seemingly unending task was not bringing them joy. They couldn’t see the end or the glory it would become…the light at the end of the tunnel.
The colorful mountains of crepe paper strips filled the living room and dining room. Lavender, violet, gray, and yellow. I was quite pleased with the extra hands and the heaps of strips waiting for attention. Gluing the toothpicks to the strips was the third step in the process and there were two more steps needed in order to finish it. As weddings go, it was one of many projects. Many, many projects. I stopped counting the number of times someone said, or signed, “We will never finish this.”
Weddings require a lot of little projects to make the day special. One of something for every guest: Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes topped with purple frosting nestled away in white boxes, little bags to hold the little sprinkles for throwing at the bride and groom, colorful bags with stickers to hold buttery popcorn, fluffy white tulle to line the aisle, pretty gray ribbons to tie around the numerous mason jars that go on all the tables covered in white tablecloths, matching napkins, little bits of punched paper scattered over the tables, and on and on.
Despite the plethora of lists and seemingly unending tasks, I love preparing for weddings. I know that every time I cut a piece of crepe paper, fold it, glue a toothpick to it, and twist it in to a delightful rose, I’m one step closer to finishing the project. That mountain of lavender colored crepe paper is a challenge I gladly accept because I know the result is a beautiful ball of roses that will look amazing nestled amongst the tulle lining the aisle.
This is how I approach the ministry God has called me to. Each woman who comes in to my home – each little child – is a beautiful project, a heap of giant potential, a life worthy of my time and sacrifice, one day added to many more days until she’s ready to shake off the past and take on a new life with Christ.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s difficult work, even tedious at times and often thankless. There seems to be an unending list of things that need attention – all important and necessary, all soul-related issues that are revealed over time, over dinner, over birthing classes, over laundry, over doctor visits, over tears, over laughter.
Eventually, you get to the bottom of the pile and you look back and marvel at God’s amazing grace, at how perfectly things fit together, and that He knew your love was just what she needed at this time in her life. Mostly, how His promises are real and if we do what Christ asked us to do, we will have the good fortune to walk along side some pretty amazing women and watch as the Holy Spirit molds and shapes them into something more beautiful than they ever thought possible.
It’s a blessing too few people will ever receive. Not because God’s promises aren’t true, but because you first have to see her value, recognize the image of God in her, and know – deep down inside where faith and hope take root – that showing kindness and mercy and giving everything to God: your heart, soul, strength, love, obedience, and service, is one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges you’ll ever face. Giving everything to God may mean letting go of dreams, walking away from relationships, closing the door on goals, and living in a way that sets you apart from the crowd.
This I know for sure…God is faithful. If you don’t have a willing heart, ask and He’ll give you one. The mountain won’t appear as big, the burden will be lighter, the calling will be a perfect fit. And, you will finish.