Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You Are More

Don't you think it's funny when you look back at something that you've experienced and realize that what you thought you had experienced is different than what you actually experienced? I mean in the real world we expect to experience something immediately the way we perceive it with no change to our intent perception. Then, more often then not, the perception and experience is changed dramatically - only most of the time when we are going through the experience we believe that it is happening just as we expect; it is only after the experience is completed that we start to see it differently than we had perceived. That happened this week to me, almost four years ago to the day Lee and I experienced a welcome at a church we were blackmailed to attend (yes blackmailed, no matter what the dear friend who orchestrated this event calls it). When we first walked through the doors at Grace Church in December 2008, there stood my dear friend arms raised, smile on face and singing "hallelujah".  In that experience I only saw her standing there, or at least that was the experience that I perceived. But standing just inside the double doors were two people that perceived something amazing when they saw us, one of which was no more than 4 foot 11 inches in height, that would be a good day, the other no much taller, both - as I recall - what I would say very old. Both easily in their 80s, and both smiling (although I really don't remember that part, I don't remember seeing a day when either of them without a smile - I'm guessing that was true that day too). I don't remember directly if we met these 2 people that day, although I'm almost positive that we did, and that meeting changed, in retrospect, changed 2 lives.

That amazing 4'11" woman, not more than a lovely grandmother looking lady, contained within her a gift that was more than just slightly amazing. And everywhere I remember seeing her stood closely by her husband, giving soft encouragement and support to his bride and, at least in my sight, always smiling and concerned about the direction she was going. I have on many occasions and almost every Sunday morning said good morning to this couple, well that is if they were not greeting new comers into the church, how did they know they people they were greeting new comers, I have no idea.  Lee would say in a sea of 800 people coming in and going out of the front doors, this amazing woman could pick out those who had never been through those doors before. That's how she changed our 2 lives too. After only about 6 weeks, we were walking back through those doors and she immediately stopped us and asked us to become greeters on Sunday morning. At that time, I could only imagine what was going through Lee's mind, not the social butterfly, I'm sure he felt obligated to assist and grant this gracious lady her request. At least that is what I perceived, that is not what actually occurred. All 4'11" of this small framed, smiling woman knew exactly who needed to receive a gift and by far it was not her.  In all the times that she approached people, she knew exactly where their service for God would raise, don't ask me how, I have no idea, but without a doubt she knew that Lee and I were to start at the doors of the church (Lee would be a greeter for much longer - but it was the doors that first transformed me to go later to children's church). She  knew, when we first walked through those double doors, that we were more than 2 unsaved people fulfilling a blackmail order.

I am sure that she is more than what I describe in the few sentences above and although I never took her small group class Titus II, I read this - this morning:  Titus 2:1-5 "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise,  teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers...but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Although her group, Titus II was to train up women, in all of her body, she trained men and women every day, in every experience, whether they knew it or not.  This set of scripture, is an embodiment of Loretta Kauffman, a small framed smiling woman who saw more than what we were in every moment that we met her through the front doors of the church. And in every experience of meeting her  smiling face, she was training me up, an experience that I never saw in those moments, never realized was happening, and was not - in those moments - what I perceived. Rather, each meeting, greeting, hand holding, hug, smile or concerned word was an experience to train me up....for what I have no idea but training up nonetheless.

I can only hope that everyday of my life, I can be that Titus II woman, the Titus II woman that Loretta saw when she met me every day that I met her at the church doors. I hope that with every person I meet ,after I walk through the double doors at the church, the single door at work, the sliding doors at the store, and every door that I open, I can bring the experience that I am meant to bring to the person or persons whom I meet. I can only hope that with every meeting I have, I can bring an experience that, at that moment is perceived as something other than what it truly is, an experience that in retrospect, is something more than originally perceived, no matter how long it takes for that realization to take affect. I will miss seeing her smiling face on Sunday morning or the occasional weekday at the church, I will miss her impromptu training sessions, and the way she knew more about me than even I know today. 

I know that I do not have a gift like Loretta but I know that somewhere in her life she saw a gift in Lee and I.  And from the first moments we walked through the doors, she had a plan to change our lives, to be more than we were, and she succeeded in training us up, slowly and without our knowledge she did just that.  I will miss seeing her smiling face, and her words of concern and direction. I can only thank Loretta, the Titus II woman that I've known for 4 years, for the gift she brought to me, one I didn't perceive during the time we spent together, she showed me Christ every time I met her. I hope with all my heart that one day I too will be a Titus II woman, a woman not to unlike Loretta, and a woman who reflects Christ every day. 
Train up the younger men and women, to be self-controlled, to love their spouses, to be kind, and to love God, in faith and endurance.