I never thought of myself as a farm girl, a barn girl. I always longed for ocean waves crashing against heart, softening ridges deep. The smell of salt and sand sticking on ocean dripping skin. How peace ripples sacred into my spirit when I stare out into the vast unending of God. How mountains crumble away in the small of me.
Lately, I long for a field. A field where the sun is hidden and the crop weeps for the water to grow them strong and tall. A field where the sky is set ablaze all orange and red before night falls and just before God turns on the moon to glow and the stars to twinkle over the lost and the lonely and the broken weak.
I long for a field. God’s field.
Matthew 9: 36,37 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
Funny how God remembered the prayer of a little girl who only wanted to help people when she grew up. And later in life, when that young girl first believed, how God kept safe her purest desire to help and now to lead people to the truth she found in Jesus.
I find myself in that little girl, still.
Only God could have brought these scuffed up boots full circle from the backyard of my heart, through every thundering storm, to the very special barn doors of Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN.
I’ll never forget that day in the Fall of 2013 when I kicked those barn doors open with these boots of mine and sat myself down in the middle of that glory place.
I was a bit messy that day.
First, I heard the guitars strum and the drums beat and then voices blared out songs with a servant’s heart about them. And then the rising up from the cushions we all went, arms stretched wide past our doubt, hands reached high above our fear of letting go. Faith lifted us toward the blessed hope of forgiving grace.
Our fingertips brushed soft against the hem of Jesus robe skimming heaven’s floor. You could almost feel the swoosh, the restore.
The blood sacred seeps into spirit pores. The healing begins. The happy follows.
And when I heard that Pastor preach the Word of God from that burnt barn wood up there, my heart leapt. I felt a spirit limb snap back into place…, back into the vine. I felt living water gush into me saturating the spirit drought.
This guy’s good.
And when that service was over I marched these broken boots straight up to that burnt holy to tell him so.
When that Pastor saw me from the corner of his eye eyeing my way over to him, I bet he thought, ‘Oh boy, what do we have here?’
I composed myself like sheep do when they come back into the fold. Head down, heart up. And I didn’t know I was out of the fold until that moment. Not really.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
Through tired tears and lips guilty trembling I said, “I’ve been looking all over this place for a church that preached the word of God uncompromised and I found it today. Thank you, I said, I found where I belong.”
You see, God parted the red seats in that place so you and me could walk down that rug of tweed through our shame and our fear and our ugly into the promised land of prayer.
From that day forward, every Sunday, I sit smack down on one of those red seats and I listen crazy hard to that barn preaching Pastor from that burnt pulpit God gave him.
Steve Berger, that’s his name.
How God uses him to unwrap the gift of grace better than any gift on Christmas morning.
A gift for life.
And I gotta get this guy some knee pads for all the falling down and the preaching on the knees thing he does. At least once every Sunday, down he goes preaching in prayer. Compassion for Jesus oozes out of that guy.
And I wonder how many ripped knees his wife, Sarah, has had to stitch up through the years.
God planted my heart inside those barn doors and today I pump a little louder. A little stronger. A little bolder.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
And now, everyday I go out into the field God gave to me and I get to plowing, get to sowing.
Anywhere God takes me in a 24 hour day; work, home, the grocery store, the bank. How my heart is moved with compassion and how I long to sprinkle God’s true light on the hurting, the wounded, the deceived.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
It’s all in the clinging to the vine. The pruning of the branches dead. The planting of the Truth seed in the good soil. The watering and the growing up bold and strong and the going out into the field.
We bend and we stretch and we grow in there.
We’re ‘all in’ in there.
God built that church with the passion He put in the people who serve in there. He breathed His life into that church and now it’s alive and bursting wild open, blowing nails straight out of those truth filled barn walls, popping that weather-vane rooftop right off it’s glory grooves.
And I know God’s smiling down on that farm sprinkling His healing blood all over me and you and that Pastor too.
God gave me a serving church, a giving church, a church with a heart like my own. Yeah, God made me to be a part of that church, to labor in the field of that church and to continue what He began in me when I was just a little girl. And so today, I go out into the field of this busted up earth ball and I stand tall and bold and brave smack in middle of the muddy lines of compromise and I share the Good News of the Gospel because Jesus is coming back soon and I have to get about my Father’s business!
“Equipping People to be Passionate Servants for Jesus Christ” that’s what they do in that place.