The Promise of Abundance

Abundance1God has promised to provide in the here and now. He supplies all we need. He gives himself. But that doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen. How do we embrace abundance in the face of loss in this world?

Eternity. If God hadn’t promised to reconcile the whole earth to himself through Jesus sacrifice there would be no hope. But once we enter God’s kingdom our horizon broadens. If this life was all there was then no way, it wouldn’t be good enough. It would be a bum deal. But it’s not all there is.

The promise of abundance gives us hope.

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1 The Message

“Glorious living,” that sounds abundant, doesn’t it?! But what happens when the life you’re living feels less than glorious?

My daughter struggles with anxiety. The move we made this summer and the passing of my mother this fall didn’t help with that one bit. She has developed trichotillomania, a hair pulling condition often triggered by anxiety, although it can have other causes.

Her eyebrows are not abundant. Actually they’re patchy and thin, along with her eyelashes. She even pulls hair on her arms and legs. Thankfully she’s stayed away from the head but I’m always afraid I’m going to find a bald patch one day.

I’ve noticed in Maggie what I’ve noticed in a lot of people, including myself, a fear of scarcity. What if love doesn’t last? What if security dries up? What if there’s not a place for me, or I can’t make friends, or someone else is better, or I don’t get a turn.

From kids to adults those fears can plague us can’t they. What if there’s not enough. Thankfully in God’s kingdom there is always enough. Of course grandmas die and moves still happen. But my prayer for Maggie is that she begins to look past the veil of this world and catch a glimpse of the cosmic story, the eternal reality, we’re all a part of, but are so often unaware of. This life isn’t all there is. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Before it all began you were thought of. Before sin ruined what was perfect, there was a plan. After your last breath, the living’s still not over. For those who have trusted Jesus to be the hero of the story, the one to lead us home, there is full throttle living ahead.

I want Maggie to get that! I don’t know if it will change the hair pulling, but I know it will change her anxiety. If she, if all of us, can understand that we’ve been welcomed into a kingdom of abundance I think we would be joyful, whimsical, hopeful people. Not that it won’t hurt when bad things happen but our perspective will be so much bigger than the moment.

In those dark moments, or even seasons, we have to ask ourselves; do we believe the promises God has made in the Bible, to give us a life of abundance, are true? Sometimes the promise is all we have to hold on to.

I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” Revelation 21 The Message

I’ve read these passages to Maggie many times. She loves them. Intuitively she knows she’s destined for another home, because this one is just not enough. Some seasons in our life do not reflect abundance materially, relationally, physically, even mentally, but God has made a promise. Abundance to all who come to him, now through his Spirit, and later face to face.

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. Ephesians 1 The Message

The Holy Spirit helps us to endure, to overcome this life. He doesn’t remove us from it, but his presence with us is the down payment, the assurance we will receive all the healing and restoring that’s been promised to us. There is abundance today, but there’s a lot more where that came from!

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In Search of Abundance

Abundance1November seems to burst with abundance! Berries ripen, fat pumpkins line up in rows, hearts expand with thanks, communities begin the preparation of celebrating harvest, advent, and a new year. Abundance. We long for it. For fullness of health, of resources, of relationships, of opportunities, of freedom. We fear scarcity and ache for our lives to overflow.

I have had season’s full to the brim. And seasons sucked dry with want and emptiness. No doubt you have too. The last 12 to 18 months have been, to date, my deepest season of grief. At moments the bitter taste of my heart shrinking in on itself has left me gasping. I’ve feared my whole life and soul would stay shriveled up like a prune.

Season’s of drought and dead dreams can seem eternal. But a heart indwelt by the Holy Spirit has the capacity to soak in God’s goodness, and heal – even in lean times. Once we’ve been refreshed we won’t settle for the sour taste that comes from a fearful, unforgiving heart. We won’t settle for scarcity in the light of God’s promise of abundance.

Last month I wrote about kindness. I don’t know if I’ll write about abundance this whole month. But it’s what I’m writing about today. It’s what I want to think about right now.

The day my husband and I realized we had to sell the dream home we had bought only 12 months before, I cried. I asked God why he would give me a gift just to take it away. Through those tears the Holy Spirit whispered, a blessing is a blessing regardless of its duration.

And it’s true. A child, a good job, a parent, a home, health, love, financial security, respect, friends, freedom, all of these things are blessings no matter how long they last. A blessing brings joy to our lives, not merely because we enjoy the goodness of its presence, but because it originated in the heart of our true Love. Abundance flows from the heart of God, or not at all.

This fall the rain has poured down for days. Even now it is drenching the ground, washing, pounding, saturating the earth. But it will dry up in time. The earth will get hard, plants will whither. And after a while the rain will flow again. So it is in life. Some seasons are a fire hose to the mouth, we’re drowning in abundance. In others our tongue sticks to the roof of our mouth, parched with longing.

I don’t fully feel the blessings of the season I’m in yet. I want to live in my dream house again. I ache for a home of my own, and a dog, daily. Every day I want a place for my heart to unwind and feel safe and at ease. A place for my hands to create, my arms to welcome freely, a place that looks like me. Where people will know my heart more deeply when they walk through the doors because I’ve displayed it on the canvas of my home. Every day I long for this. I’m still mourning what I’ve lost.

Over the years I’ve learned to recognize that at the heart of it my longing for home is a reflection of my desire for heaven. But that doesn’t change what I hope for on this earth right now, a place of my own. I share this, not to elicit sympathy, but to say simply, we all have unfulfilled longings. I get it.

Through it all I pray for contentment. Even if I don’t feel it in this moment, I know God gives good gifts and I trust him. I want to hold out my hands in expectation of the rain and let his presence filter through my fingers, and drip down my lips, and saturate my heart. I want to find the true blessing there, abundance.

Who hasn’t felt weary, poured out, and lost at moments? Every one of us has been wrung out by life. Sometimes we look at our neighbor and think, “what have they done to be so blessed by God and I feel like Job.” But that’s a lie, every one of us has the capacity for abundance.

So what do we do in the lean moments? We put out our pots and bowls to collect the rain that’s coming. We get ready to contain blessing. We stretch our hearts out to a greater capacity to collect the truth and presence of God. He is sufficient. We have to be ready to contain the supply.

Ultimately it comes down to agreeing with his word. Submitting to it. And reciting it. Whether we feel like it or not. Because you know what? His word is amazing. It can take feelings, and broken thoughts, and turn them around. Seasons that once felt lean can suddenly gush out blessing, without any circumstances changing at all.

The secret is recognizing that Jesus is the true prize, having him is the real abundance. And as my mama always said, “we have as much Jesus as we want.” 

Sometimes Jesus gives us earthly homes that speak our language and warm our hearts. And sometimes he himself is our home. Sustaining us supernaturally through tough times.

Here is what we can do to get ready to receive abundance, and what I mean by abundance is a sense of well-being, of joy, of satisfaction and contentment. Abundance doesn’t necessarily have to do with material blessings.

  1. Learn God’s word. Be familiar with what he says is true. There’s nothing like believing a lie to suck joy right out of your life, even if you’re unaware it’s a lie and are sincere.
  2. Believe God’s word. It’s one thing to know what God says, it’s another thing to stake your life on it. An honest reliance that what God says is true will bring life.
  3. Praise God. Even when it’s hard, when you feel offended, or slighted, either by people or life in general. Worship God because he deserves it and it’s what you were made to do. Worship increases our heart capacity for more of God.
  4. Bless others. When we take our eyes off of ourselves, stop recounting our losses, and focus our care on someone hurting more than us, we realize how full our lives are. God blesses his people in order that they may be a blessing.
  5. Remember. It’s better to retell the ways God has been present and generous than to rehash the ways life has hurt us. When we look back at what God has done it gives us hope for the future and eyes to see good in the right now.

Abundance relies on God’s willingness to bless his people, and he is willing, and on our willingness to be satisfied by better things. Often what we think we want isn’t the best God has to offer. He can adjust our perspective and expectations, if we let him. It’s not an easy process. (I’ve been known to pitch fits, I’m ashamed to say.) But it will change us. Instead of living in the fear of scarcity, we will begin to live in the assurance of abundance. 

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:31-34

Once again, I find I’m preaching to myself. If you, by chance, needed to listen in too, I hope you found encouragement! God is not holding out on us! He offers his very best. Himself. Let’s put out our pots and get ready for the rainfall of his provision!

I am a slow learner

Can anyone else relate? Any other slow learners out there?!

This has been a booger of a year. People, I am emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted! If I look back to last August I’m amazed at all that has taken place. We were in a hard place a year ago. Needing a job. Bleeding emotionally and relationally (and financially).

But hope was on the horizon. We had just heard from First Alliance Toccoa. After a couple of other disappointing church contacts from around the country we were stoked about the possibility of moving to Toccoa.

Of course moving was the operative word. Dang. We’d just bought our house a year ago. I loved where my kids were going to school. I had precious friendships. We’d just moved three times in the last two years already! SERIOUSLY.

Pull up the big girl pants and off we go. If I’d known then that we would live in three different temporary homes before finally moving into our semi-permanent house I don’t know if I would have gotten out of my bed. Some days I didn’t.

Throw in my mom’s physical spiral downward. When she crashed this summer I didn’t feel like I had any emotional reserves left to draw on.

On top of that throw in some disappointments this summer. I lack one semester in my college degree. Yeah, I know, “one semester, you seriously couldn’t have finished that two decades ago?” It’s an equally long story. Four denied job applications later and school bills I just can’t stomach, and I still don’t have the means to finish my degree. On a human level it’s frustrating.

And then my first-born had the audacity to go to middle school! He’s an awesome middle schooler, but that’s not the point. The point is I feel old! I find myself looking back and realizing I’m not the mother of little’s anymore. The seemingly eternal days of nap time and Wiggle’s are gone. How did that happen?! I really don’t know whether to cry or clap.

So – much – change in just 12 months. My head is still spinning.

So what’s the point? Through this long roller coaster of a year I have struggled with my identity. Circumstances told me I was in danger, I was a failure, I wasn’t good enough, I wouldn’t be happy again, I was worth little to God, others, or the church. Circumstances became my plumb line. They became my god.

Do you ever do that? Let that broken relationship, poor job review, bad habit, hard circumstance, etc. tell you who you are? It’s a huge temptation for us earthbound humans.

When will we learn that just when things get tough is the best time to dig in deep to God’s word? When we feel the temptation to pull away from godly friends or the accountability of church family, that’s the very time to draw close. If we don’t we will listen to the voice of circumstances, instead of the voice of God.

You [God] will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3

What a powerful promise! Peace for those who tenaciously, steadily look at God. Not circumstances, not our own selves, but God, and find our worth and peace there.

Through these hard months my husband and a handful of dear friends have prayed for and with me, have pointed me back to God’s word. Some days have just been hard. But I know I forfeited peace more often than I should have because I listened to the words the world uses to measure success, and not to the words of eternity.

If you find yourself there, press in. Listen to God’s voice and let him shape how you view your circumstances, not the other way around. I’m a slow learner, and no doubt life will give me more opportunities to practice these truths! But the more you and I practice, the more we learn to trust God and build our faith muscles!

What’s your worth?

IMG_3182Recently I sat surrounded by a diverse group of women. Conversation flowed, regrets and wishes were shared. I was amazed. We all asked essentially the same question, “do I matter?”

All of humanity is asking that question. We need to understand there are two voices that offer us an answer.

Our age old accuser, that first liar, the enemy of all mankind, Satan. And God, the Creator, and only one qualified to answer such a question. They both weigh in.

That might sound dramatic but stick with me a moment. In this group of friends we had different struggles but the heart of the issue was the same. Our worth, ultimately our identity. Singleness, motherhood, career, beauty, relationship, talent, they become our labels. We put those labels on and believe – if I have this I matter, or, if I don’t have this I don’t matter.

I know it’s true for me. Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time know I became a mother on accident. It wasn’t my plan. I had plans to serve God a different way. Motherhood wasn’t a label I was seeking to wear. Sometimes those old doubts creep in. “You’re not good enough because you have no salary, no full time job, no meaningful skills, no ministry of your own.”

Who does that sound like? Certainly not Jesus. You probably have one of those voices too. The voice that says, “you don’t matter, you failed, you’re not as good as her, you’re unworthy, you’re incomplete.”

Satan is a vicious enemy, but he’s also cunning. He can cast his voice to sound like truth, he mixes sugar in with lies. Unfortunately we are often unprepared to recognize his lies. Which causes us to underestimate him.

It’s important for us to realize that Satan is at war with humanity because we bear the Creator’s image. Like a hooligan spray painting graffiti on a priceless work of art, our enemy cuts right to the core of our worth. As if he could deface us and make us less valuable.

But we are valuable. We bear the nature of the Uncreated One. Our worth was bestowed at the beginning of time, and then redeemed after the fall by the Son. We are twice blessed. But if the enemy can get us to believe the lies. If he can peddle a false identity to us. He has won a small victory. He has defaced God’s nature in us.

That is why motherhood, singleness, employment, artistry, productivity, beauty, etc. can never become our identity. The seeming reality of who we are is now overshadowed and caught up in the greater truth. Our lives are redeemed and hidden in Christ. Satisfaction comes in the knowledge that we are wanted. Jesus wants fellowship with us. Everything else is a gift. And isn’t that a relief? The pressure’s off. Callings, and roles, and relationships become gifts to enjoy instead of ground to prove our worth on.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a

God isn’t interested in you because of what you can do for him. Your worth to him is as a child for him to lavish love on, and in return receive your affection and thanks. The end. It’s our enemy’s value system that says what we do, or don’t do, determines our worth.

So what is your worth? Do you measure value by what you produce or who you know here on earth? Or does your value stem from eternal truth? I fear if we neglect to answer this question we will be stalked by doubt our whole lives. There are two voices, which one are you listening to?

Dixie Lee ~ Part 7

It’s that time again! Here’s the next part of Dixie’s story. I enjoyed writing this week’s scene, though I always feel like there’s more to write as the clock breaths down my neck!

I hope you’ll join me every Friday for the continuing story of Dixie Lee. It’s my goal to post a section every week until the story is finished. I hope in the end these posts will turn into a full fledged book. If you see a typo or feel a particular sentence or scene doesn’t work well feel free to let me know. This project will be the better for your collaboration!

And if you like the story the best way to pay me a compliment is to share it with a friend, or on your facebook or twitter feed!

(If you need to catch up with Dixie’s story you can begin here.)

Dixie Lee

On the ride to church Kenny and Gabriel chatted pleasantly. Dixie was surprised how comfortably Kenny interacted with Gabriel. He was good with kids.

By the time the trio pulled into the church parking lot her two guests had become friends. Dixie’s heart was racing. They were late. Any hope of quietly hiding in a back pew was gone. Kenny helped her get Gabriel out of the truck and situated with his crutches. Slowly they crunched their way across the gravel parking lot, Kenny and Dixie on either side of Gabriel to help steady him.

Everything in Dixie was straining to move faster. But there was nothing to be done about it, Gabriel set the pace. Finally they made it to the white church’s double doors. They were opened by deacon Peal. He smiled and offered a bulletin. “I see you brought a little friend with you today Dixie.” Leaning down towards Gabriel he said, “Hello buddy, glad to have you.”

The three made their way to the doors of the sanctuary. Organ music was filtering into the small lobby. Dixie peered through the narrow windows in the doors. Everyone was standing, she couldn’t tell where any empty seats were. Straightening her shoulders she pulled open one of the doors and let Gabriel pass through, followed by Kenny. A couple of ushers came toward them. She didn’t need to be told where the empty seats were, she knew, but she greeted them warmly and followed one of the men down the center isle. They moved slowly. First Dixie, then Gabriel, followed by Kenny. Every head turned and followed their progress down the isle until they came to the second pew. Dixie’s mother looked up sharply. First confusion, then surprise flashed across her face in one brief second. Immediately she checked her response and set her jaw. Dixie saw the steel come into her eye as she moved down to make room for Dixie and her entourage.

The song leader finished “‘T’is So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” and asked the congregation to be seated. Dixie helped Gabriel get situated on the smooth wooden pew. Her father stood to welcome the congregation. Briefly she caught his eye. She saw the question flash across his face as he quickly took in the scene before him. In that moment Dixie’s heart caught and she was ashamed. It was inconsiderate of her not to have told her dad that she was bringing Kenny and Gabriel. After all these years as a pastor’s daughter she should have known it was unfair to surprise him. How many times had she seen people approach him with a concern or complaint right before he preached and watched as he struggled to regain his composure?

Casting a sidelong glance at the little blond boy and young man beside her her heart sank. Maybe this was going to be harder than she thought. She could feel the eyes of a hundred people boring into her back. Her father began preaching. His words floating around her. Kenny’s head was back lit by one of the stained glass windows that lined the white sanctuary. The one where little children all gathered around Jesus sitting on a rock.

Dixie had always loved the simple, old fashioned building. The pews were satiny from years of use, glowing with a rich patina. Her dad’s pulpit was solid and timeless, matching the two sturdy chairs on the platform behind him. She doubted much in the sanctuary had changed in the last century.

Again she cast a sidelong glance at Kenny. His face was intent, taking in her dad’s words. It had been such a busy morning she hadn’t really had time to notice his appearance earlier. She hoped no one else would notice the earring and eyeliner he was wearing. Her eyes swept over him briefly, assessing the situation. Was he wearing nail polish? Yes, yes, he was. Dark brown that matched his tan stripped shirt. Great.

Sighing, Dixie looked down at Gabriel. Sweet little thing. His hands rested gently in his lap. Dark lashes blinked solemnly over bright eyes. His face looked as intent as Kenny’s though perhaps more peaceful.

Turning her attention back to her dad Dixie tried to ignore the ramrod straight figure of her mother to the left of her. Her dad was saying, “John had walked with Jesus, touched Jesus, loved Jesus. When we read his gospel we know we’re hearing from someone who has the inside scoop. Right from the first verses of his gospel John tells us that Jesus was no ordinary man. He’s the one through whom the whole of creation was made, he is very life and light itself. God had put on skin and moved into our neighborhood. Darkness has not overcome the light, John says. But the light has come to point the way.”

Dixie remembered her dad telling her he was starting a new sermon series on the book of John. As she read along in the first chapter renewed confidence surged through her heart. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Could that not be the answer? Grace and truth. Jesus was full of both. Not sacrificing one for the other. What if we were? Isn’t that what Kenny needed from God and from people? Truth to make sense of his life and set it right, and grace to meet him where he was and help him find his way. The hesitation and doubt left Dixie and courage flickered, lighting her face.

She turned her eyes back to her dad and listened with renewed interest. He concluded his sermon and the song leader, Mr. Jenkins, came up to lead them in “Blessed Assurance.” At the end of the song her father stood up and prayed over the congregation, blessing them for the week ahead.

Dixie turned to Gabriel and helped him with his crutches. The little boy turned his sweet face up to her and said, “I liked the singing a lot. I have missed singing in church.” Dixie smiled and squeezed his shoulder. She turned toward Kenny.

“I had never heard that about Jesus before. I liked your dad’s message.”

“Do you have a Bible Kenny?” Dixie asked him.

“Not with me, my mom’s bible is somewhere at my dad’s house.”

Impulsively Dixie grabbed one of the Bible’s from the pew and held it out to him. “Here take this one.”

Kenny looked surprised. “I can’t take that, it belongs to the church.”

“Nonsense, Bibles are for being used. If you need one that’s what it’s for. Take it and read the book of John this week for yourself.”

He hesitated and then smiled reaching for the book. “Okay, I will. Thank you.”

Dixie’s mother, Sharon, was engaged in conversation so the three headed down the isle toward the back doors. Dixie glanced up and caught Sadie’s eye. In a moment she read her thoughts. Sadie made her way to them and stood by Dixie’s elbow.

Under her breath Sadie whispered in Dixie’s ear, “Dixie, what are you doing?”

Dixie turned to her friend and said aloud, “Sadie I’d like you to meet my friends, Gabriel and Kenny.”

Sadie was caught off guard for a moment. Her good manners took over and she said, “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” She turned her attention to Gabriel, “Dixie’s told me about you. I’m glad you could come to church with her this morning. How is school going for you?”

Gabriel responded politely, “It’s going real well. I like Manning Academy.”

Sadie smiled at him, then turning back to Dixie said, “well I’ve got to get going, I’ll see you later.” And she hurried to join her family. Dixie’s heart sank for just a moment. Surely Sadie would come around. She was the sweetest person Dixie knew.

As the three continued down the isle Dixie caught Bo Sheridan’s eye. Dixie stopped beside him. He was handsome in his light blue oxford shirt and khakis, his gray eyes twinkling. “Hey Bo. How are you?”

“Good Dixie. I haven’t seen you since the race the other night. You been workin’ to hard?”

“No, not really.”

“Well how about after the race next Friday we grab something to eat?”

“All right, I’ll plan on it.” Turning to Kenny and Gabriel Dixie said, “Hey, Bo, I’d like you to meet my friends Kenny and Gabriel.”

Bo turned his attention to them. Dixie saw his face cloud as he took in her guests. He hesitated, then replied, “Nice to meet you boys. Glad you could come today.”  Turning back to Dixie he said, “Well Dix, guess I’ll see you Friday then, looks like the family’s leaving without me.” Dixie knew he had driven separately, she’d seen his truck in the parking lot. But she told him goodbye as he turned to go.

Mr. McAllister was standing by her elbow as they turned again to head to the door. “Oh Mr. McAllister, how are you?”

He reached out both of his bony, age freckled hands and clasped one of hers in a friendly hand shake. “Good, Dixie, I’m good. I see you’ve brought some guests.” And turning he stuck out his hands to her friends, “I’m Joe McAllister, so glad to have you.”

He was a small, old gentleman, clad in a light brown suite three decades out of date. Wispy white hair was smoothed back over his age spotted head. His watery blue eyes were smiling at Kenny and Gabriel.

“Mr. McAllister, these are my friends Kenny and Gabriel. Gabriel is in my music class at Manning Academy.”

The old man was patting Gabriel’s shoulder. “Good, good, Dixie’s a fine musician isn’t she young man? So glad she brought you along with her today.”

He turned and rested his hand on Kenny’s shoulder, “And how do you know Dixie, Kenny?”

Dixie held her breath. “She gave me a ride home last week, sir. I was having kind of a bad day and she was a good friend to me,” Kenny answered.

“Well now that’s our Dixie isn’t it? I hope you’re doing better now son. I’ll be praying for you. I’m very glad you joined us today and sure hope you know you’re welcome back any time.”

“I appreciate that Mr. McAllister,” Kenny said, and Dixie saw he meant it.

“Joe, call me Joe, young man.” And turning to Dixie said, “Well little lady, I guess you need to get these young men home but I’m sure glad you brought them today.” He reached out and cupped Gabriel’s fresh cheek with his worn hand, “sure glad.”

Dixie could feel the tears pushing a lump up in her throat, “Thank you Mr. McAllister,” she responded.

The three had just turned to head back to the door when Dixie’s mother approached, “I’ll see you at home Dixie, once you’ve dropped your guests off.” She didn’t great either of them.

“Mother, this is Gabriel,” Dixie said smiling down at the boy, “And you know Kenny.” They both smiled at the commanding woman dressed elegantly in plum colored wool. “I’m going to drop Gabriel off,” Dixie continued, “but I thought it would be nice if Kenny joined us for lunch. He enjoyed Daddy’s sermon and I thought he may want to discuss it with him.” She had her mother cornered and she knew it.

“Very well.” Sharon’s tight lips clipped out the words, her green eyes where impenetrable depths. She turned to go, “I’ll see you at home.” Dixie knew so much lay behind those words.

“All right guys, let’s see if we can make it out the door this time.”

Dixie and Kenny loaded Gabriel in the truck and headed to his house.

“I like Mr. McAllister,” Kenny said. “He was kind.”

“Me too,” piped up Gabriel. “But my favorite was the singing. I loved the singing.”

Dixie smiled, she was glad Gabriel had found such enjoyment in the hymns, and she was touched and relieved at Mr. McAllister’s kindness. Had he not noticed Kenny’s appearance? Maybe he didn’t see well enough to notice. Or maybe he had and didn’t care.

Come back next week to see how lunch with Kenny and Dixie’s mother goes!

So what did you think? I’m always interested in feedback. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything as challenging or as important as Dixie’s story. I believe God has given us story to teach us how to think through the reality of our lives and express ideas more clearly. Jesus used story better than anyone else. He brought truth home in contexts his listener could understand. Stories go beyond our heads and touch our hearts. I’m learning so much as I write Dixie’s story. I hope it’s reaching your heart as much as it is mine.

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