Red Chairs

A couple of nights ago, I relished in the memory that God is good.

I don’t know why exactly. Perhaps the plucking of violin strings from Lindsey Sterling music playing on Pandora, or the passing tones of the Piano Guys had a little to do with my nostalgia.

Most people who know me would make the assumption that my ever-consuming love saga with Jesus as an adult would have to do with the fact that I went to a private Christian university where the culture was saturated with church, church, and more church. Oh yes and the fact that I am, yes, single. All the single people have more time for ministry, for work, for everything other than romance.

But romance starts with God, and as I listen to A Thousand Years by Piano Guys, I remember a simpler time with love, just the generic command of God to love your neighbor, seemed easier. So much easier.

Before the death. Before the grief. Before the loss, the debt, the rejections, the unemployment, the overworking, the worry. Before the adult world came rushing in-

There was a wonder.

I see it every time I look at little children. There. That’s where it is. That’s where God’s love and romance hide best. That’s where it hides safest, and that’s why it’s worth protecting them at all cost- whether or not they are “mine”. Somehow, God has saved the best pieces of himself in the eyes of those who know and understand only a glimpse.

There was a wonder in my eyes once. A twinkle love. If love could be a twinkle.

No, my continuing love saga is not due to my overcultivation with church and the baptist bible belt. No. God breathed me into being and I became a twinkle of his reflection. When I was little enough to believe Jesus was my Prince Charming, there was nothing to really look back on to choose anything else. There was no divided love. No temptation that couldn’t be squashed. There was guilt, fear, trembling at the thought that a fearsome King could dash me to hell; and then joy that He would never, could never.

But my best memories, when other friends were getting their first boyfriends in high school and sleeping around, happened in high school. At the isolated lunch tables talking to exchange students, in the early morning bible study before school, the wednesday nights and thursday nights catching rides to Awana or youth group activities, and the Sunday mornings when I dragged my parents to the car. Loving Jesus has so little to do with being single- but I can clearly see that back then, the usual hormonal high school male would have felt oddly out of place. I can picture it now:

Boy: “Let’s go grab coffee!”

Me: “I’ve got youth group.”

Boy: “Going to prom?”
Me: “I’ve got a mission trip coming up. Can’t afford the dress. Money went to the trip.”

Boy: “Want to dance?”

Me: “Only if you can swing dance!” (All AWANA/homeschoolers knew that)

Boy stares clueless and walks away, suddenly aware of his two left feet.

Of course, no real conversation ever went like that. Mostly polite stares before brushing past to the cheerleaders.

But I sat in those rickety red metal chairs in the attic of my youth group every Sunday and I didn’t hear religion. I didn’t hear cliches and practiced habits.

I saw authenticity and heard Truth. I practiced love and learned forgiveness. When bitterness chose me as it’s target, I learned I could duck. Every time. When you know forgiveness, before there’s much to forgive or seemingly be forgiven of, it seems so possible to come to the conclusion that Christ died for ALL.

Christ makes his family out of the materials that he gets- you and me. So give Him what you’ve got. He doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, I’m quite hopeful there’s more red chairs in heaven.

“You are a product of what you believe, whom you befriend, where you live, and what you do with your life.” – Grace Youth, TSADIK series.

“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in faith, in love, and in purity.”- 1 Timothy 4:12 

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