Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Musings From The Church Office

I wanted to share this with all of you. This is a post from a story I wrote to be included in a letter sent to our church family. (I will try to include a picture of mosiac). We are starting a new season of giving to help pay for our new church building. Yeah Compass Church - you are my family and I love you!

I remember walking into the space that would be my “office” on the church grounds. My computer was up (albeit on a card table) and I loved the receptionist space with its large windows that overlooked the grassy hill across the courtyard. However, construction
still abounded-the offices would be occupied while the rest of the building was still in its finishing stages. Looking around, my edge of excitement was tainted with a thread of anxiety. The church campus swarmed with a sea of construction workers, all wearing orange jumpsuits. The workers were inmates – female inmates- from the local prison in Perryville. I had never had cause (and I’m now ashamed to admit, never taken the opportunity) to spend time with felons of any type. As the weeks went by, God began to soften my heart and open my eyes to very real hurts and needs in the lives of these women. They were grateful for the little things in life, and open to discussion about the larger issues. As trust was built (on both sides), the ladies began to stop by my desk for a few minutes to talk with “that little white girl”. I began to know their names, get a feel for their personalities, and they began to ask questions about why I believed what I did. There are so many things that I learned, and I haven’t the room to write them all here. Hoewever, I will share my most vivid memory. The church was nearing its completion, and we called upon the ladies to help us construct the very beautiful mosaic that now graces the entrance of the auditorium. Part of the process involved breaking black tiles into large shards with a hammer. The ladies invited me out to join in the “breaking”, and were all generally teasing me about how such a little person could swing a hammer so hard, when a sudden thought popped into my head. Breathing a prayer, I cleared my throat, and said, “Ladies, I promise I’m not trying to get religious on you, but breaking these tiles has reminded me of something that God does for us. He takes the broken pieces of our lives and turns them into something beautiful.” Reactions were varied, some thought the sentiment “cool”, and “sweet", but one of the ladies wanted to know if I thought that they were “broken”. I went on to explain that we are all broken – and that I had made the decision to allow God to be the one to put it back together for me.
I don’t know how God used that moment in their lives, but I do know how he used it in mine. There has never been a time since that I don’t think of those ladies as I walk over that mosaic. And I am constantly reminded of how God is putting together the pieces of my life into a work of art.
The doors of the church have opened to the community now, and many new faces have walked across that mosaic and into our church family. I am waiting for the day when one of those faces is one that I recognize from those many months of construction. For those ladies, the church literally represents their blood, sweat, and tears. Our ministry to newcomers is enhanced by their work – a home to call our own and a place to offer an ever-growing community hope, purpose, and true life.

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