Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pizza Hut Communion.

I proclaim mysteries I understand less and less clearly the further I go, not more. 
And because I cannot explain, I can only extend the invitation that has been extended to me over and over, at my best and at my worst: “Taste and see, that the Lord is good.” 
Every mystery about life and God that I believe in is wrapped up in that meal; 
everything I would ever want anyone to receive is bound up in that table...
I have no great hope within myself to offer anybody. 
But I have such hope in that table, such hope in His body and His blood. 
My hope is that as I extend the invitation to the table, I am increasingly aware that even I am invited too (the most mysterious truth of all), that I am the broken one Jesus has called to share 
in his suffering and His power.

"We are on our way," I spoke into the receiver to the children's grandmother, G. 
"Well, my son's here, and he is wonderin' if you'd mind him seeing the kids 'fore we go."
"G, why don't you just have him come to lunch with us today?"

There are probably hundreds of reasons why I should not have spent Sunday afternoon at a restaurant with my husband, our three children, and their biological father and grandmother. I've already wrestled with most of the reasons you're probably cooking up in your own personal think tanks right now.
He signed his rights away about a year ago. To his great credit. A good father will sacrifice his own wants and needs in order for his children to have the healthiest life available, and that day in court he proved his love for them in a way I still can't fully comprehend. How grateful we grateful we will always be. I'm never too far from tears when I think of the gift he gave to them and to us that day. But...
I'll not forget the deep sorrow in his eyes.

I could hardly take it, which is what made me walk up to him after the gavel bang filled the lonely spaces and the moment passed. I spoke to him quietly, knowing I could only keep this promise by the mercies of my God. If he'd continue to stay well, keep his job, and keep going to church, we would make a way for him to stay involved in their lives.
I didn't promise what it would look like (because I had no clue myself) and yes, there were conditions and boundaries, but as a protective mama, it was truly the best I could offer.

The first time I was able to make good on that promise, I was overcome by fear. G called to ask, and to be completely honest, at first I told her no.
I wanted to wait until the adoption was completed before the children saw D again. 
God challenged me on it by reminding me of my promise that day in the courtroom. 
You are not a fool to stay and be a part of the redemption in a man's life. Cindy Beall
Granted, Cindy was talking about a much different scenario but the sentiment still rings true. We had an opportunity to respond in a way that showed D a deeper understanding of God's grace and the reconciliation it offers to us. 
I called Mamaw G back and told her yes.
I am a better woman for that day. 
D was a changed man who spoke so gently to the children and gave them much affection. The kids called him by his name and were so happy to see him. I am weeping as I type this because of the image I have locked in my heart: D and my husband Seth embracing before he walked away. 

Two fathers who want the same things for these children. Two fathers who harbor a fierce love. Two great sacrifices: one sacrificed hearing the word "daddy" in order to be the best "daddy" he could be, and the other sacrificed his own plans and dreams for the sake of the agenda of The Kingdom and the best life for these little ones. As I watched them hug, I couldn't help but silently praise God: "These kids are so well-loved."

On Sunday, the seven of us sat around the table, sharing stories, passing Parmesan cheese, and seeing the Turnaround. I posted on Twitter that we were going to the Enemy's camp to take back what he had stolen so hatefully. We did. All seven of us. And Jesus.

That common meal reminded me of Communion. 
A meal:
where our past and our future collide to bring abundance and blessing and to draw us nearer to God and each other
where we are reminded that our sins have been forgiven, nothing is held against us, and we all share the same need
where the most ordinary ingredients like wheat and fruits (or in this case, Deep Dish Meat Lover's) are used for extraordinary purposes: to help us remember God is Love, and that love was revealed through the Greatest of all Sacrifices
where we find provision to give us strength to remain in His love and forgiveness
where we are reminded of Jesus, who plundered Satan's plans so forcefully and forever "disarmed the powers and authorities, [he] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross"
that brings reconciliation and hope, where we are all welcome at the Table 

 It was a beautiful meal. We felt a little bit of Heaven on Earth. Maybe that sounds idealistic, but what idea is more Heavenly than breaking bread in the celebration of the One who was broken so we no longer have to live that way? Furthermore, what can't God redeem?

Communion is where we remember that we are no longer who we were in the past or even what happened to us back then and also the place we are reminded of our glorious future with Him

I believe our special lunch was merely, as my dad says, a foretaste of the Feast to come. After all, Jesus Himself spoke the prophetic words in Revelation:
‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’

Blessed to share life, love, and the Communion of saints with you here in this little corner...


Ashley Lynne said...

Lauren, I'm always do blessed to read about what God lays on your heart. Thank you for your authenticity and your willingness to tell His story in you and through you on your journey. So much love, sweet sister.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Sandy Bowman

All My Monkeys said...

beautiful. beautiful.

Collee said...

I love this, the redemption story and God's love that just pours out through your lives! So great. Love you!