As many of you know I recently had the privilege, duty, opportunity and obligation to host a baby shower for the daughter of a dear friend of mine. You may wonder why I use those particular adjectives to describe my compulsion/desire to be a hostess, after all I did volunteer! The older I get the more I realize how disguised and layered my actions, attitudes and motives are. Jeremiah 17:9 states, ” The heart is deceitful above all things… who can understand it?” Even this redeemed heart is conflicted and impure more often than I know or care to admit.
A heart is dynamic. It is not static either as an organ or in reference to our will, emotions or desire. I can start off with the right motives and at some point my motives can change. Or perhaps because I’m still in this sanctification process, as the Bible refers to it, it is impossible to maintain a pure heart 100% of the time. Or…gasp… I’m as spiritually challenged as I’ve always feared. At any rate, time tends to reveal the convoluted nature of the reason I do things and my “hidden agenda” is brought to light along the way. In my case, “response” can be the end game for doing what I do. (See previous blog “Redemption of a People Pleaser”).
Back to the shower! Here are a few facts you need to know.
#1- My friendship with the mother of the “mommy to be” goes back long and deep. Thirty years ago she and her husband took me and my husband under their discipleship wings nurtured and loved us. Our friendship has spanned countries, kids, joy and sorrow. This is not a casual relationship.
#2- I have witnessed my sweet, loyal, faithful friend endure many hardships and challenges on every level, (physically, emotionally, spiritually, economically) you name it and they have faced it with tenacious faith. If ever anyone deserved (I don’t use that would casually) a celebration this is that person!
#3- Mommy to be and me share the same name and birthday…Hello????? It’s only fitting!
#4- I’m conservative by nature and nurture. I recall two actual birthday parties during my entire childhood. I grew up in a generation where at weddings we had cake, mints and peanuts at the reception. Bridal and baby showers were simple gatherings of friends and families, not “events”.
#5- Since I currently live in a small condo I enlisted my party planner personified daughter in law Jamie, who lives in our former residence, to plan the “EVENT”! And plan it she did! This girl was made to be a professional party/event planner for the rich and famous!
#6- Lastly, before I lose you my devoted readers…my husband has a finance degree, is conservative in spending and is totally behind in the current costs of hosting social events.
Taking the above list into consideration, my motives and delight in hosting this shower went from joyous anticipation to mounting fear and anxiety….”Why did I commit to this?” …”This is not going to be good enough”….”This is too much!”…”How am I going to explain the cost to Mr. Economical?”…” My friend and her daughter are totally worth it!” …. “I could have supported a child through Compassion International for a year!” On and on it went, contrasting and conflicting emotions and thoughts.
I prayed and prayed. Weeks before, day before, day of “The Event”. “God, you invented celebrations and the reasons we have them. You are all about love and relationship. Please take our efforts, time and money (That come from and belong to you.) and communicate to my friend and “mommy to be” Your love. Amen.”
The shower was fabulous, by the way! I knew in my heart when it was over and the guests had departed, we did a good thing. God did a good thing, through Jamie and me.
It wasn’t until the next day, however that God revealed to me the truth that He was letting me experience in the midst it all. Bear with me one final short list.
#1- God’s love is extravagant! “For God so loved the world he gave His ONLY son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
#2- It has little to do with us “deserving” and everything to do with Jesus’ love. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8
#3- It’s costly! The disciples, Mary the mother of Jesus and all those that loved Jesus no doubt were horrified at his beating, scourging, nakedness, and crucifixion. What a terrible, terrible waste and injustice.
In no way was my little party a demonstration of love on the order of God’s love for us. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 I just laid down a little green$ and time. Not to mention, Jesus laid down His perfect life for imperfect us. That blows my mind now and eternally!
What I did learn is that God calls us here to express His love. We respond; imperfectly, clumsily, anxiously, with mixed emotions and little faith. In the end, He does what only He can do, produce pure love! I am so glad He prompted and allowed me to have a itty bitty part in that expression!😀💜