I watched her from a distance and it took only a moment to realize there was just something different about her.
Her smile radiated light, she exuded peace even though she was working with her two small children at her side, and I saw how she was content to do the little, unnoticeable things nobody else wanted to do.
She clearly wasn’t filled with the desire to gather praise for herself and her humble, gracious attitude caught my attention from that first day.
Over the following months and then years, I continued to watch her. But more than that, I began to learn from her. I saw a woman, a dedicated wife and mother, who had very real trials in her life but who chose to represent Jesus as she met them. She was unhurried and unstressed. And she seemed entirely unmotivated by circumstance.
I watched her quiet strength, year after year, as she raised her two little ones into strong young adults after the unexpected death of her husband. And I watched as she gave herself to ministry without ever making mention of all she was doing. She wasn’t filled with pride over being an active member of the church or an instrumental part of various outreach committees. She was simply living her life as God was leading her.
But probably the single most inspiring moment I ever experienced in her presence was during a fellowship meal following a special church service. She sat surrounded by a small group of ladies when the conversation turned sour. They began to speak of another church member; a young mother who was struggling with a strong-willed child. The tone of the conversation was ugly and unkind words were spewing forth from unkempt mouths. I watched in horror as they seemed perfectly comfortable with their vicious, self-righteous attack.
But then she spoke. She cleared her throat calmly and leveled a look at the instigator of the conversation–a woman who seemed proud of both her church work and parenting practices. Her words will never fade from my memory:
“Your tongue is not your own. Either the Lord is controlling it or the devil is. One thing I can assure you…God isn’t fooled by spiritual résumés. He hears the tongue and knows who we work for.”
I remember my heart thumping so loud in my chest that I could literally hear it. Because I was that young mother they spoke of. How they didn’t see me sitting so close, I’ll never know. But as I watched my champion scoot her chair back gently and excuse herself from the table, I knew God had let me hear it for a purpose. And I’ve carried that purpose with me ever since.
Because I never want to be caught busying myself building a spiritual résumé. I do, however, want to be busy finding Jesus. And I’m grateful for the promise that when I truly seek Him, I will find deliverance from a loose and vile tongue.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
**I failed to mention initially that I am not the “I” in the above post. The reader who shared this with me simply asked me to help her tell her story because she felt it’s one that God could use as a reminder.**