Monday, March 24, 2014

Front Row

Great seats are a premium for plays, concerts and sports events.  People often pay dearly for tickets that provide front row seating.

But my life work provides me with front row seating more often than I can tell about.  Take for instance the past five days.

On Thursday, I left to participate in a discipleship conference for women.  I've spoken at this before and I knew I was in for an intense few days.  Tres Dias (the name of the conference) has all the elements necessary for a great women's event.
  • Lots of excited ladies
  • Incredible camaraderie 
  • Challenging/inspiring teaching
  • Great food
  • Activities
  • Surprises
  • Chocolate!  Lots of chocolate!
  • Equal amounts of laughter and tears
I so enjoy being part of the teaching team for this event.  Although, it could be a bit awkward as I'm usually the only woman on the three-person team.  (Spiritual Directors for Tres Dias must be ordained ministers.)

But I've gotten to know the others and they've truly become like brothers. Lots of teasing, agitating and cheering.  They also make great prayer partners as we pray together that our messages will touch the women attending the conference.

What a privilege to sit front and center; watching as the ladies absorb truth from God's word.  To watch as the light dawns about just how much God loves and treasures them.  To see them accept the call to follow Him with their whole heart.  To stand by as they connect with the Father in prayer for their families, their friends, their dreams!  To watch as HOPE begins to reopen closed hearts!

Beats the daylights out of watching a play or a ball game!

Frank arrived for the closing service Sunday evening and gave me a hug that let me know how much he'd missed me.  We stopped for a snack at Wendy's and then started home.

That's when we got the call saying front row seats were waiting for us at another event.

A young couple we know was approached two weeks ago about the possibility of adopting a baby which the mother couldn't keep.  They eagerly agreed and began preparations for the baby's April due date.

This was a dream come true for the young couple.  Eight years ago, they were able to adopt a baby boy from Guatemala.  And while they love him dearly, financial restraints prevented them from pursuing a second adoption.  This baby would be a totally different situation.

As Frank and I drove slowly toward home, "Grandma" called.  "We've just gotten word that the birth mother has already gone into labor and the baby will be born at any minute!  Are you and Pastor Sheri able to meet us at the hospital?"

Without a moment's hesitation, Frank turned toward the hospital and we picked up speed.

By the time we arrived, the baby had been born.  Frank was able to join the family upstairs as they were meeting the newest member.  I drove our car back to their home to pick up an aunt and the new BIG brother.  It became my task to snap pictures - hoping they would be in focus.

Soon mom and dad came downstairs to get brother.  As they shared the details of their new daughter's birth, dad suddenly became overwhelmed.  He turned toward Frank who wrapped his arms around the young man and just stood with him while he sobbed.  

Eventually, permission was granted and we all headed upstairs.  The excitement was contagious!  The joy unmeasurable!  We beamed until our faces ached!

As the nurse wheeled a bassinet into the dimly lit room where we waited, conversation dropped to a whisper.  The adoptive mom picked up her new daughter who was less than three hours old.  We circled around as she placed the swaddled bundle in the waiting arms of big brother.

He reached out a cautious hand to smooth the blanket.  At that moment, the newborn opened her eyes and looked right at brother.  "Hi, Baby."  He said tenderly.

Tears surfaced for us all!  What an honor to share such an intimate moment with that little family!

I suppose that if we'd chosen a different profession, we'd be privileged to have front row seats routinely for theater and ball games and symphony.  And while I'm sure we would enjoy those, I wouldn't want to trade for the seats we've occupied this week.

Front Row for Ministry is truly a joy!



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