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A Joy That May Surprise You

May. 9, 2014


"You may not remember me, but . . ." It's a conversation starter that my husband and I hear frequently as we come and go from our church these days. It's (to borrow from C.S. Lewis) a surprising joy.

A word of explanation: In the past year Woody and I have moved back—finally, for those of you following our house-sale-saga—to the Boston area where we had lived for many years. We are now back in our home church. It's the church where we raised our family. It's also the church where we both served for many years—Woody as Elder and Adult Sunday School teacher and I as both lay teacher of Bible Studies and Sunday School classes and later Pastor of Adult Development. It's the church where Mom to Mom was born.

Nearly every Sunday we run into people we haven't seen for many years—maybe a decade or more. Sometimes they share their stories: "Your Sunday School class was the first I ever attended, and I've been in Bible classes ever since." "I was in Mom to Mom when my first child was born. I thought I'd never make it. Now I have three teenagers—and sometimes I think the same thing! But most of the time it's great, and I love encouraging younger moms along the way."

We see a couple working at the Welcome Desk that we knew (through Mom to Mom or Sunday School classes) before they even knew Jesus. We watch as a Core Team is commissioned to plant a new church, and we talk afterward with one couple: "I'll never forget how Mom to Mom helped us through our first year of parenting—and how attending your Sunday School class opened my eyes to the power of studying God's Word. I've been addicted ever since!" I speak at Mom to Mom and visit with numerous Titus 2 Leaders who, in our early years, were struggling brand new moms. I see how magnificently they are now encouraging "their moms."

It's sheer joy. To get a glimpse of God's work in lives over these many years. Of course it's not about us. Yes, we had the joy of planting seeds. But many others—many!—have watered and tended ever since. And God has given the increase!

I'm often reminded of you, many of you who may be reading this. Especially, of course, I think of you who are Mom to Mom Titus 2 Leaders. You have planted seeds and given hope to many moms. You may—or may not—have the opportunity to see the fruit of your labor. But God knows—and He does "give the increase." He is a very persistent Gardener.

I also think of you who are younger moms, just starting out on your mom journey. You who may find it hard to see beyond the current sleepless night or next diaper change. There truly is "hope and a future." One day you will be one of these moms who will say: "I was . . . and now . . ."

It's one of the joys of Mom to Mom—to get to see this bigger picture as we come alongside and encourage one another. As we speak a word, lend a hand, give hope. A note I received recently captures it:

"You have been so important in my life—you have no idea. I was one of the ones who was always watching, listening hard to every word …[and thankful] that you shared you were a learner as well as a wise one, transparent and still growing. That was . . . huge to me. That meant I could do it. I could learn, there was hope. God was in it, and with Him by my side amazing things could happen. And they did."

You may not be having these conversations now. You may not have received that note just yet. There is, after all, a certain uniqueness of perspective when you've been gone ten years and return, a sort of time-lapse photography. But I can assure you that, whether seen or unseen, these things are happening as we live out Titus 2 in our churches, our communities, and our lives.

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap . . ." (Luke 6:38)

May such surprising joy "fall into your lap" one day very soon!
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