Friday, March 11, 2011

One Size Fits All

She was probably in her mid-to-late fifties when we moved to town, but she already had snow white hair and emitted a distinct grandma vibe. She had a passel of biological grandkids she adored, but they all lived out of town. My kids had four devoted grandparents, but they lived out of town as well. It was a match made in heaven.

Nothing was ever officially said, but her actions communicated more than words. Smiles, hugs, cards, gifts. Every birthday. Every Christmas. She was one of those sweet, gentle, joy-full souls -- quick to laugh and quick to pray. As dependable as the sunrise. Every time you looked at her, you knew exactly what you’d see. That smile. That love sparkle in her eye.

People like her ooze sweetness and joy. You'd think her picture would be beside the word "Christian" in the dictionary.

Or would it? I’m not so sure any more.

Last fall I attended an organizational meeting for Arts Aftercare, a non-profit group that seeks to be a bridge between artists and rescued victims of human trafficking. An assortment of artists -- mostly musicians -- gathered that evening to hear more about the program and learn how they could become involved. The meeting wasn’t restricted to Christians.

One girl, probably in her early twenties, caught my attention. She wore a dark hoodie and tattered jeans, and tattoos adorned the visible patches of her skin. Two young men were with her, sporting an equally grungy style and a variety of piercings. The three were in a band together.

Each person present was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and share why they were interested in the program. When it was her turn, her face lit up. Every word out of her mouth radiated love and passion for Christ and a longing to help others in His name. To be honest, her candid zeal surprised me, and I was disappointed with myself that it did.

Later I bumped into her in the kitchen and got a chance to really look at her. The resemblance was unmistakable. That smile. That love sparkle in her eye. This young woman couldn’t be more different in outward appearance than my kids’ surrogate grandma, but the two obviously share the same Father.

Why am I such a slow learner? Christians come in every age, color, shape, occupation, and style. And that’s exciting. It’s a glorious reminder that the Holy Spirit is one size fits all who love God and are called according to His purpose.

These days I’m rethinking that dictionary picture beside “Christian.” I don’t want to put a face on her. I don’t need to. I’ll know her by the love sparkle in her eye.


Marti Pieper said...

Your difference in perspective shows you're thinking like your Father, Jeanne. I'm pretty sure that when Scripture says "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7) we can translate "heart" as "the sparkle in her [his] eye."

Thanks for this reminder of what matters most.

kitkat said...

we tend to consciously or unconsciously make preconceived notions about people but it does pay to actually get to know them and see who the person behind the outward appearance really is :)

In Waiting Ministries said...

This was very insightful and thoughtful- very well written. It is so true how quick we are with our preconceived notions. This post was great! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.