Before I write anything else, inspiration for this post goes to two special women: Derricka and Krystal. You remind me daily that my mason jar has purpose.
Hello beautiful people!
It has been quite the weekend! Chilly, but I feel inexplicably warm inside.
Inexplicable? What am I talking about? Of course I can explain why I have been smiling all day long. It’s because, once again, God showed up and showed out and is taking up residence in a human heart.
Yesterday, I went to help at setup for church. My church is portable takes place inside of a high school, so every weekend requires us to build our service experiences from the ground up. Being a part of setup gives you such a deep respect for the care and intentionality that goes into making sure that everything is excellent, by the way. But I digress.
I am positioning pipe-and-drape in one of the classrooms that the Children’s Team uses for Destiny Kidz when I hear my sisterfriend Derricka calling my name. I meet her in the hallway and she hands me a card. “OK, read it now!”, she said, so I pulled it out of the envelope as I headed back towards the classroom. I pull it out of the envelope and I see this:
Derricka, who has SUCH a way with words (one of the many reasons that I love her), used this image on the front to equate her life to this mason jar: something that at first resembled a castaway and thought to have no worth becoming repurposed by placing both something beautiful and a means to nourish it. She wrote something along the lines of God using me (me?) as those flowers and us both being not just sustained but relivened and revitalized by the living water that is Jesus.
And I cried. Well, not full on cried, but I definitely teared up and have without fail every time I read back over this card. Which has been about 5 or 6 times since last night. (I really love heartfelt cards, y’all. Is Hallmark/Papyrus/Mahogany/a piece of notebook paper with some lovin’ on it a love language? Somebody call Gary Chapman!)
It’s been somewhere along the lines of three years since I joined my church. I wasn’t outwardly broken into pieces, but inside, I was the perfect storm of reasons why people stray away from God or from the church. Growing up, I can’t honestly say I had any close friends in church…so there is a lack of connection. I didn’t feel like anyone explained the meaning behind some of the things that we just categorically do as Christians, and so I went through the motions…so lack of growth. Finally, generally, I grew up witnessing some meeeean folk in church–no joy, no life, just sarcasm and what seemed like a lot of hurt. The 28 year old me now knows to study people, ask for Holy Spirit guidance and see the why behind their what…but the teenage me was disillusioned, confused, and ready to go.
And I did. As soon as I got old enough, I left that church and never looked back. I tried other denominations and churches, feeling like the Goldilocks of congregation searching: Some were too large and others too small. Some were too loud, some were too quiet, and some felt like they were exactly what I was running from. Eventually, I adopted an “I don’t need church to have God” mentality. I was making my way in the adult world, dealing with father hurt, heartbreak, fake friends and more without the benefit of a church home to shelter, stretch and soothe me. By the time I made it to Destiny Harvest, I was in a holding pattern of defeat and moreover, insanity—doing the same thing and expecting a difference.
But what a difference a few years makes.
DHC has been like the baby bear of church homes–just right. I receive teaching as well as preaching, I have been drawn to heal friendships and familial relationships that were long dormant, I found purpose and friends and pure, “so intense it don’t make sense” kind of love. Best of all, my mason jar–this life of mine that I wasn’t altogether sure what to do with–has had some pretty spectacular flowers place in it. And just when I think that my jar is completely refurbished, some more living water is added, and I see a spot in need of His love…this process in incredible. It’s funny though. You get so busy watching God own and polish your mason jar that you forget how He’s using you to majorly affect other people’s jars as well.
I think about my sister–we aren’t actually related by blood, but she has been in my life since she was a pre-teen through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MD. They officially dismissed us from the program just over two years ago because she aged out, but I told her long ago that I am here for as long as she wants me to be. Her mason jar has looked a lot like mine. Cracked, discarded, smudged, and more but guess what God can do?
He can wash it clean and make it new.
Having God repurpose my mason jar and having her around for the process–as I pray first and pursue opportunities, as I ended a relationship with a man that she knew that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life because he didn’t submit to God, as I form and refine life giving friendships with strong, whole people that are also chasing God and whose lives are conspicuously absent of all of the hurt and drama and pain and anger that comes from an uneven yoke, and most recently, as I refuse to let her go, refuse to let her twist in the wind when she does things that don’t make sense–as I do these things, she is learning a little more about God. She is knowing who He is, and better yet, how He can change her life.
My sister got baptized today, y’all. I’ve been so busy asking God what He is going to do with my mason jar that I failed to realize how much He has already done.
So what can God do with YOUR mason jar? He can:
M- Move: God has a knack for showing up in our lives and taking us and our purpose places that we never thought we’d go. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has a plan for us to give us hope and a future. Often, that hope takes place in miraculous ways.
A- Answer: He will place people and situations into your mason jar, into your life that answer questions that you had about your purpose, your destiny that you hadn’t even thought to answer yet. Habakkuk 2:3 says that there is a vision–for an appointed time.
S- Save: This seems pretty much like a no-brainer–of course God is mighty to save and offers to make us as clean as driven snow. But you’d be surprised just how much else God has saved or is currently saving us from besides Hell. I’m talking doubt, sadness, fear, insecurity, isolation, lust, anger, chaos, the concept of “luck”, empty relationships, broken hearts, and the list just keeps on going. You’d be unwise to sleep on that good of a Savior. Isaiah 61:3 says that he is trading us an oil of joy for our mourning.
O- Overwhelm: Because of how He moves and How he answers and the extent to which He saves, it is quite easy if you don’t remain in a place of intentional gratitude to take all of what He does for granted. Like, no, homie. This is the God of Zion–the God that brought the persecuted out of persecution. He made science and religion connect–look at the Golden ratio. He made stars–and He made you. And He sustains you. We SHOULD be overwhelmed. Jeremiah 10:12 says that by His understanding, He stretched out the Heavens. That’s a big God.
N- Nurture: He loves us. And those you love, quite frankly, you love ON. That takes different forms for different people, but the nexus of it all is that it is human nature to spoil the ones that you care about. Why would the same not be true for God? He desires to literally take our breath away and heal us from our broken. He heals us from the cracks and the crevices that come with a life lived searching for something greater. He is definitely a restorer. Joel 2:25-26 promises that God will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.
Darling, I promise you that when you grasp the idea of what He has done with your mason jar, it gives you a much deeper appreciation of what He is planning to do with other people’s. It promises to be amazing