Some days life has its way with me like a cat swatting at a defenseless mouse. I’m hard on myself and quite honestly, many days my only goals are:
1. Keep your head above water – however narrowly.
2. Do whatever it takes to sidestep the Emergency Room with the Fab 5.
A couple Sundays back, depression was winning our arm wrestling match. You’ve heard this sad Prehar tale before…not one child cooperated to get out the door for the early service and I was NOT on my game. The coffee spilled over. Troy and I had an argument that erupted in front of the children. I slid into the pew punctually challenged feeling defeated by my Benedict Arnold emotions. I wanted to give up. I hadn’t fed the baby in the windstorm of getting the kids out the door, but had packed a bunch of Cheerios to hold him over. Moments into the service, he announced to all “I’m starving! This woman hasn’t fed me!!!” by letting out a wail. I actually felt blessed to get to go to the cry room, where I could sulk alone.
Pastor’s sermon was about how each of us has a purpose that was Divinely designed by God. I bet you can imagine how receptive I was to that! I looked around the congregation, happy for those around me who the message must have been intended. But not poor, miserable me.
Pastor talked about Mary and described the scene where Gabriel tells her of all that was about to happen with Jesus’ coming. “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38) Pastor encouraged us to be like Mary and embrace this call from God. To aspire to be His servant. I hung my head ashamed of my track record and thought that surely there was someone that would be a great “me, too” Mary, but not me. Andrew stepped on a Cheerio in the cry room, smooshing it into the carpet.
Pastor continued by telling us we were all part of God’s plan. I sighed and a tear escaped my eye. My self-talk whined, “Oh, Pastor, I wish you knew, even God probably can’t use me. To borrow my boys words, my fails are “epic.”
That’s when the music commanded my attention. The song was “Angels We Have Heard On High” and the lyrics praised God and welcomed our newborn King:
“Angels we have heard on high, Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be, Which inspire your heavenly song?
Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo!”
My heart rejoiced considering the angels, the mountains, the backdrop to the heavenly celebration the song described. I’ve always been fascinated with angels, whose sole purpose is to worship and praise God, singing and rejoicing. Then inexplicably, my vision blurred and all I could see up on the screen was the “Lori” in Gloria. I looked on with disbelief but joy filled my curious heart. I have sung that song a thousand times, and never once saw my name. Was God telling me, “Yes, LORI, even you. Poor, miserable sinner you, I have a plan for you and it’s gLORIous”?
It was a “God wink” I think. He reached out to me, initiated intimacy in my heart and told me in a way only He could, I’m exactly who He had in mind. Perhaps He loves the way I gLORIfy Him, smooshed Cheerios and all.
In listening to that song, 2 Corinthians 12:9 came to life for me:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I thought back to the sales job I had when I was in my 20’s. Countless times while making cold calls over the phone, potential clients thought I said “Gloria” when I introduced myself with the standard, “This is Lori.” I remember thinking to myself, “Gloria? Who names anyone that anymore?” It was like a trail of bread to mark my way and bring me to this moment of God’s loving embrace. I’m God’s gLORIa now and forever. Apparently I have been before I even knew enough to look out for His winks.