Monday, June 05, 2006

And He Thinks All He Did Was Grill Some Chicken

Saturday when we got in from Memphis and the pediatrician's office, I had lots of prep work in front of me. We had a new members' meeting and dinner last night at church, and there was much to do. There was cheese to be grated, bacon to be fried, butter to be melted, arteries to be clogged, etc. David offered a couple of weeks ago to grill all the meat, so I just had to get the chicken in the marinade and let him take care of the actual cooking yesterday afternoon.

I cook so much that I don't really think about it if I'm in the kitchen for an hour and a half frying bacon (Janie and Bubba know that's the truth - they've experienced it firsthand), but I definitely noticed how long David spent on the grill Sunday afternoon. He cooked chicken for 2 1/2 hours, and it was sweltering outside. At one point he walked in the kitchen - his shirt completely drenched - looked in the den at a sleeping Alex, and instead of risking disturbing the napping child, he wrote me a note: "Sweatin' for Jesus," it said, and I had to cover my mouth so I wouldn't cackle out loud.

'Cause see, here's the thing. My husband is by no means perfect. And he's certainly no self-righteous holier-than-thou type, because his faith, like mine, is a work in progress. In fact, he's fought harder for his faith and had to jump more hurdles on the road to peace than anyone else I know. But he's always had a very clear understanding of what he lacked spiritually when he was younger, and he's very intentional and very prayerful about the example he sets for Alex. That blesses me, as a wife and a mama, more than I could ever tell you. My point is: it's been long journey to happily "Sweatin' for Jesus," and even though that's kind of a silly example, it's great cause for praise from where I stand.

So last night we served the chicken (David had to cut each piece in half because we had 60 people, not the 40 we were planning on), and the hash brown potato casserole, and the yummy green beans that David doesn't like at all but always nods and grins when others compliment me on them, and we handed out ice cream and did our best to make the new folks feel welcome. Then we cleaned up and loaded the car and headed home, attempting to carry on a conversation while in the presence of The Toddler Who Never Stops Talking. And it's only now, several hours later, that I can look back on what was actually a very ordinary evening and see it as a total gift of grace.

And you're thinking, "Um, a gift of grace? It's just chicken."

But it's so much more than that. It's a faithful God.

It's a God who heals all the broken parts of our hearts and puts those hearts back together in such a way that we can't help but reach out to other people. It's a God who takes two people at different points in their Christian walks and draws them, over the course of six or seven years, to the same place. It's a God who transforms us from wanderers into seekers...and eventually into servants. Because I'm telling you - being able to serve alongside my husband? That's a gift.

We were just about home last night when David made a comment that cracked me up. We were laughing, and for some reason Alex didn't like it. He said, "No laughing! No laughing together!" And David answered, "You'd better get used to it, buddy. Your mama and daddy are gonna laugh together. Because laughing? It's the glue. Well, that and Jesus."

I'm telling y'all: the grilling and the serving and the laughing? Topped off with Jesus?

It was a mighty good day.


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