I sat around a table of godly men, pastors of the church-the only woman in the room. Our pastor said, “I want to hear how you are doing. How are your families?” The moment the words fell from his lips, my heart sank and my eyes hit the floor. “Don’t make eye contact. Don’t make eye contact.” People shared exciting news about their children, marriages, family milestones. I smiled and listened fighting back the tears with every ounce of my body. After several replies, the room grew quiet. “Whew! I was off the hook. I was sure the pastor would move on to the agenda.”
“One more,” he said. “I’d love to hear from one more.” My eyes glared at my computer. I was not about to make eye contact. “Stephanie, we haven’t heard from you. Tell us how your family is doing.”
Punch to the gut again. (Read yesterday’s blog for the first gut punch). I took a deep breath and raved about our daughter Nicole graduating from college the previous week and how our son would be graduating from high school the following week. I explained how we sold our house and would be moving the weekend our son graduated. Everyone smiled and nodded, so proud of the Chase family and all their accomplishments. As my head nodded in agreement, the tears broke and I sobbed. Through a steady stream of tears I explained, “We found out this month, too, that our daughter is having a baby. Rick and I will be grandparents.”
You wonder how a room full of pastors, the ministers of the gospel will respond. I know how I mentally responded. I couldn’t imagine what they were thinking. I didn’t look up. I kept my eyes glued to the floor. Silence came over the room for a split second, and our pastor said, “Well, congratulations!! What a special time for your family!” I looked up with tear stained cheeks. “What?” I thought to myself. People around the room offered congratulations and encouragement. Someone asked, “What are the grand kids going to call you?” Several funny suggestions were offered.
A moment of total horror was turned into an offering of grace and love!! I couldn’t believe it. I had never felt so much love and support in one moment. All I wanted to do was extend grace and love to every person I met. I thought about hanging a sign around my neck that said, “You got hurts and hangups? Come to me! I know exactly what you need because someone just gave it to me.”
Will you please do me a favor? Please when someone shares their deepest hurt or toughest struggle, shower them with grace and love! Commit with me for the rest of your days to love people in spite of their mistakes because we all make them and what we all need is a little grace and love.