Last Thursday, I opened my mailbox to find a proof copy of my book. (You can read that post here: When You Hold A Proof Copy In Your Hands). In a moment of pure excitement, I took a picture and pasted it to my Facebook wall. Little did I know how many of my friends and family would react immediately to that picture. It was so overwhelming!! At last count, 293 likes, loves or wows; 77 comments and 3 shares. I am not posting those #s to “toot my own horn” but rather to share with you the power in God’s overwhelming amazing grace.
Have you ever realized how incredible it is to have people cheering you on; to have others who see your gifts and point them out to you; to be showered with the same overwhelming grace and love of God? The other day, a friend posted a quote from Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber; pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. The quote read “If you see something in someone and you suspect they don’t see it, it is your duty to tell them. That is speaking the truth in love.”
Speaking the truth in love is something we aren’t always good at, is it? Yet God calls us to do just that. God calls us to surround each other and shower each other with God’s love in the midst of our joys and sorrows. God calls us to continually speak the truth in love to one another. Speaking the truth in love is telling that high school senior the gifts you see in him or her. Speaking the truth in love is telling that new mom who needs to hear it that she is doing an awesome job with her new child. Speaking the truth in love is telling someone that it absolutely takes more guts to stick with it. Speaking the truth in love is identifying and sharing with your friends and family the amazing gifts you see in them.
Seminary was not an easy journey for me. In fact, there were more days than I care to admit that I came home to my dorm room, collapsed onto my couch; completely defeated. And other days, when the tears simply wouldn’t stop flowing. Was I really being called to this time and place? Were there really these gifts in me? And then one day it all changed…it changed when my seminary advisor spoke the truth in love to me. It changed when my professors saw my gifts and used them to help me pass my classes. It changed when my friends opened my eyes, ears, and even heart to the depth of the amazing gifts God has given me.
One of those gifts has always been writing. When I was little, my mom often said I was happy with a pen and paper and not toys. I wanted to create my own characters and plot lines. Yet it took me a long time to fully see that gift in myself. I may have graduated with a Communications degree and English minor. I may have always loved writing poetry. But it wasn’t until someone turned and reflected my words; my gifts back to me that I truly saw those gifts in myself.
In the waters of Baptism, I was called and claimed as a precious child of God. And as those waters cascaded over my head, I was named “Tara Lee, child of God, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, compassionate one, sweet child of mine, writer.” When I remember these gifts, I am reminded who and whose I am. I am reminded that with each droplet of water poured on my head, as a beloved child of God, God has indeed called and claimed me as a writer; one who pours out her heart and soul through words; words that first began when God sent Jesus into the world for each and every one of us. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”–John 1:1
And when I am fully able to trust in that promise; knowing who and whose I am, I can fully declare that I am “Tara Lee, child of God, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, compassionate one, sweet child of God, writer.”