Hey there, friends!
Let me tell you a little story that might make you chuckle.
It’s been gray, cold, and rainy here in Portland ( Oregon ) for what seems like forever and my mood has grayed, as well. But today, I woke up and the sun was shining bright. The temperature has warmed, and I took the opportunity to take a long walk with my dog Tucker around the neighborhood. I noticed the blue sky, the new green spring plants and hints of colors as the flowers are starting to pop up, the birds happily chirping away, and everything smelled fresh.
But then, my mind settled on a specific Easter Sunday when I was about the same age as my daughter Alice—around 10 or 11 years old. See, my church had a Sunday Service where kids started with their families in the sanctuary. We would sing hymns and recite the Lord’s prayer “Our Father who…” before the minister would say, “Let the children come.” That was the kid’s cue to approach the pulpit where the minister would move from standing behind the pulpit to sitting on the top step of the platform and all of us children would gather around him on lower steps. He would give a short bible story/lesson, and then he would release us to go to our Sunday School Class.
On this particular Easter Sunday, the minister used an analogy to explain the idea of the Trinity using an egg. He said that the Father was in Heaven, His Son walked the Earth, and the Holy Spirit was with each of us. He compared them to the shell, yoke, and egg whites of an egg, all different but still an egg. For the most part, my mind could grasp the concept, but one detail...
Now, here's where things get a little bit embarrassing to admit. After the service, on our drive home, I asked my mom if the Father was in heaven, as the minister said, then why do we start the Lord's prayer with "Our Father who aren't in heaven." My mom started to laugh, saying, “Is that what you’ve been praying?” I was confused—what was so funny? Then she said, “It’s Our Father who art in Heaven, not aren’t in heaven.” Oops!
I had been saying "aren't" instead of, "art" for years and nobody noticed!
I was truly mortified, especially since I thought I might have offended God by saying it wrong for my whole life. But looking back, that little mistake might have been what sparked my deeper interest in faith and understanding.
As I continued my walk, I thought about how my journey led me to another “Art” as in “Thou Art With Me”—another piece of scripture that holds a lot of meaning for me —and then to my “Thou art with me “ bracelets. The original “Thou Art with Me” bracelet was a lifeline for me during a difficult season of going through separation and divorce. Then, the “Thou Art With Me” bracelet collection became so popular that I started my business and, thanks to my amazing customers—I haven’t had to worry about a roof over my head or food on the table for the last six years!
I had that rewarding moment of seeing a straight-through line of my life—from childhood straight to where I am today—where the path of different ways God has weaved my life experiences together becomes visible—linking an embarrassing realization from childhood, with a heart-shattering event, with a life-supporting and life-giving vocation. It's amazing to see how God weaves all of our experiences together and works all things for good.
I spent the rest of my walk grateful and thankful for “Our Father who art in Heaven” and who is always “Thou Art with Me”, and praying that my little business and bracelets could continue to be a vessel God could work through to spread His Love and Light.
Honestly, I pray daily that my bracelets do the same thing for my customers as my original bracelet did for me—become a reminder of God’s constant presence, generous grace, and mercy…a comforting visible reminder that God loves us, He’s generous with His grace and mercy, and He wants us to go to lay our troubles at the foot of the cross.
So there you have it, folks, an embarrassing confession turned into a rewarding journey of faith and business.
Keep laughing and keep praying!