"You witnessed them?" I clarified for anyone eavesdropping.
|Photo Credit: Flickr user Fourbyfourblazer, Creative Commons cc license|
"What did the store owners do? What did the police say?" My questions tumbled out.
"I just told them what I saw," she said, stopping to sip her peppermint tea. "We were glad the manager went out cautiously. What if the man had had a gun?"
We shook our heads.
At a recent women's weekend retreat I walked into a beautiful cedar-sided lodge. Silver-haired and white-haired grandmas chuckled, checked in, and carried their luggage into rooms stacked two-stories-high. Suddenly, an inexplicable shyness crept into me. What could my paltry forty-two year old frame try to teach wise grandmas?
"Just tell what you've seen. That's all I've ever asked you to do," I felt God whisper inside me.
Calm coiled and crept deep. My breathing lengthened. That's right, I smiled. This has never been about me, I reminded myself.
"God, this is for you," I spoke in audible soft words as I stepped across pine cone-strewn sand and under towering evergreens. The lake glimmered turquoise below the hill. I made up songs, singing them in breathy tunes, grinning crazy to myself.
"God, you're so good! Thank you...." I stammered in wooed, whipped love for him, naming his gifts and making up lyrics as I went, singing a love song for this God who weaves tri-color sunsets, stretches pine trees tall, and who tells me again and again, "Just say what you've seen."
In our comparing-prone world, we can forget it so fast, huh? I can. And then the truth comes crashing back. I am loved, delighted in, enough, sufficient in Jesus, and absolutely free. Loved unconditionally by the God of the universe, I am free. The weightlessness of that bubbles up tall most days, stretching my shoulders wide in joy. Later, and throughout that weekend, we got to pour over God's words together and watch him move and teach all of us. I was thrilled and thankful to be a part of that.
I saw it this Sunday morning and my giggles shook the bench. My husband glanced at me, and shook his head grinning. I pointed, and he smiled too, but my mirth was evidently greater. I sang and laughed, switching from one verse to another, giggling harder as I sang.
Because caught up in the joyful song, two little girls in the front row of church were tossing their baby dolls into the air. Blond plastic braids flying wide in the air, the dolls arched up, froze for a second and then curved earthward again. Their owners caught them, swung their legs in joy, and catapulted their dolls again.
The song* sang about freedom and joy and new life, and I felt a bit like soaring as well.
"Oh your grace so free
Washes over me
You have made me new
Now life begins with you
It's your endless love
Pouring down on us
You have made us new
Now life begins with you...
Free, free, forever we're free..."
Throwing dolls in the air seemed like a perfect response to me too. I giggled and kept singing, my face wide from smiling. Because our best witness protection plan is to rest safe in who we are in God, and to just say what we've seen.
* "Death Was Arrested" by Coker, Smith, Kersh, & Ballztglier.
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