just write

Posted as part of Just Write, an exercise in free writing the ordinary and extraordinary moments in life. {More details here.}

There is a great couple at my church who are the kind of people who are truly everyday saints. 

Although they both work there during the week, they are the kind of people who come early, stay late, and work weekends and special events, too, just because they have the hearts of servants. 

Both behind-the-scenes sorts, you’ll never see them up front, or expecting thanks, let alone letting anyone acknowledge them, even though they do plenty that’s worthy of acknowledging.  They are true “whatever it takes” folk.

They are the kind of couple that go above and beyond.  For everyone.  Instead of bringing one or two things to a potluck, the wife, a great cook, will slip several extra up there when no one is looking.  When a prayer sign up is going around for someone they don’t really even know, instead of passing it along like most people do, or hesitatingly signing up for a spot, they notice there are a lot of holes and not many people left, and they sign up for several spots.  And they don’t just pray, but they write notes of encouragement, ask for updates and current prayer requests, and find practical ways to minister, too.

Warm and friendly, they are the sort of people that the church – and our world – needs more of.  People who welcome sincerely, love genuinely, care deeply, and pray earnestly.

The husband was one of the very first people I got to know at work. 

Two weeks into my job, I was the staff person in charge of one of our two biggest annual events.  I had no earthly idea what I was doing (or what my boss was thinking!)  I couldn’t imagine how this event really worked as I was told…if you saw what it looked like at noon when I got there, an hour early than told, and it started at 5, you’d wonder, too…let alone what in the world I was doing as “lead” and the only one of my team there the whole day and night!  And of my co-workers helping that night, none had been on staff long enough to have worked that event prior either, though they at least had attended! 

This sweet man was at my beck and call all night.  He knew I was new, he knew I was feeling a little over my head, and he knew this was a huge event.  He went so far above and beyond his job, he stayed so many extra hours just because he wasn’t as confident the person relieving him would handle things as well, and he was a constant source of encouragement and help.  As I think he would have done with anyone, he looked at me as if I was his daughter and what would he hope someone would do for her if the roles were reversed, and then he did it.  Just like he does every other day of the year.  Even years later now, he’ll go out of his way nearly every day to come find me and say hi, ask how I’m doing, and really wait for an answer.

His dear wife is the same way.

Yesterday we had our annual business meeting.  As she always does, she came over, gave me a hug, complimenting me on something as she did so, asked how I was doing.  And, as always when she asks that question, she pulled back to read my eyes as I responded.  I love people like that, as much as it is completely disarming, and as much as I really didn’t want to give an honest answer.  After my “ok,” she expressed her concern about me, something she’d noticed, and asked if something was going on.  That exchange has happened constantly, of late, though usually with a lot of snide remarks, subtle digs, or outright prying included – a complete contrast to our brief conversation.  There was such a sincerity in her asking, her arm gently around my shoulder, looking me in the eyes, both as she asked things and as I answered.  As much as I’m a fiercely private person, had it not been in that context, I probably would have shared much more than I would have with almost anyone, because she’s one of those rare people that you know is not only trustworthy and safe to be honest with, but genuinely cares and persistently prays.  And so today, when we took a couple of minutes for a bit more of a conversation, she shared more of why she felt the need to ask – ways God kept bringing me to her mind and urging her to pray – and listened, asked the right kinds of questions, prayed for me, and gave me several hugs.  All the very things I needed more than I even knew.

But isn’t that the blessing of those everyday saint sorts?  They are so in tune with God that He uses them to meet needs you didn’t even realize you had.  He speaks through them, uses them as His hands and feet – in the big ways and the small, and continually reflect and point to Jesus in all they say and do.  As believers, that really is how we should be living, especially to the people closest to us.  I’m humbled by the chance to get to do life and ministry with a couple that live that way with everyone, and I’m grateful for the way God uses them in my life, meeting needs I was completely unaware of!

We were made to represent the love of God in each other’s lives, so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God’s love for them…[it] is an opportunity to act on God’s behalf in the lives of the people that we’re close to, reminding each other who God is.  When we do…we bring a little more of the divine into daily life.  We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can’t always see from where we are.

Shauna Niequiest
Cold Tangerines, p. 49