Us Loves You

by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.” Psalm 25:5a NIV

My family attended a Baptist church while I was growing up and no excuse was good enough to get out of going, barring coma or gushing blood. As a preteen, I was quite annoyed to be stuck in Sunday night “Training Union” class. I did not wish to be either trained or unified with the other unfortunates, like me, who were forced to be there.

So many more important things to do – bike paths to forge; Lost in Space to watch on TV, homework to ignore.

Instead, I was held captive week after week by Mr. and Mrs. Buford, a childless, elderly couple, neither of whom had completed eighth grade in order to help their families scratch a living on farms during the depression. They owned no television, nor microwave, and had never been on an airplane. Why, they had no idea what a video game was. Unfathomable.

Yet there they were, week after week, month after month, faithful as the springtime rain. I and my know-it-all cronies scoffed at their country bumpkin speech. So uncool.

“Us loves you.”

It was the phrase with which Mrs. Buford started every class. An occasional snicker would burst from one of us enlightened scholars, but the Buford’s never seemed to notice.

Soon they’d have us racing to look up Scriptures, learn the books of the Bible, and win candy for answering Bible story questions. Of course, we acted as if none of this was the least bit fun. Yawn.

“Us loves you.”

Mrs. Buford would close the hour with the same ridiculous phrase, a warm smile crinkling her careworn face. Somehow, I remember like it was yesterday.

Fast-forward thirty years.

My husband Chuck and I are surrounded by a group of 12- to-14-year-olds, all of whom wish they were elsewhere. We are trying to teach them scriptural principles and bring God’s Word to life.

They’re only interested in who got busted Saturday night.

Chuck asks a boy with a purple Mohawk whose father is in prison to read a specific passage of Scripture aloud in answer to his question about how we know the Bible is true. The boy reads haltingly, unsure of what some of the words mean.

We explain it in terms he can understand. He’s still unconvinced. Skeptical. Mistrusting. But for some reason, he keeps coming back. I notice that he listens, really listens, when one of the other boys asks, “Miz Coty, why do you meet with us every week, when all we do is eat your food, wreck your house, and give you one big headache?”

The answer travels through time and registers in my mind as if I’m hearing it for the first time.

“Us loves you.”

Faithfulness has a resonating voice, doesn’t it? In this world of casual abandonment, when we choose to faithfully serve God by using our gifts and abilities to help others in His name, His love shines through like a lantern piercing the darkness.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you” (Proverbs 3:3 NIV).

We may not preach globally, or teach from an elevated platform, or have more than a handful of Facebook friends, but if we show up day after day, week after week, faithfully glorifying our Savior in the ministry He has custom-designed for us, He’ll be there too.

Whether we’re riding herd on a passel of squirming preschoolers, sweeping up crumbs after a home Bible Study, or invisibly running the worship service sound system, Papa God promises to bless us and keep teaching us the eternal truth of His ways.

And that’s the way I want to go. How about you, my friend?

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Us Loves You – insight and encouragement from @DeboraCoty on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deboracotyAbout the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt frustration that your ministry is too small? How has/is God using your efforts for His kingdom?

I Will Pray for You

by Letitia Suk @LetitiaSuk

I recently engaged a community group in a conversation about prayer. I asked them how they felt about people saying, “I will pray for you.” Each one, even the ones who called themselves non-believers, remarked that they felt cared for and supported and appreciated the gesture.

I wish they could meet my mother. She would put them all on her list.

If you have ever spent any time with my mom, she probably told you she would pray for you. She immediately gets on first name basis with most everyone she encounters: the guy pushing her wheelchair through the airport, the wait staff in any restaurant, and individuals sitting next to her in public settings. She manages to get the highlights of their story and ends each conversation with “I will pray for you.” And she does.

It’s not just a one-time deal, either. Once my mom starts praying for someone, they go into her permanent record. She once told me how worried she was about her cable guy’s girlfriend’s family and had put them on her prayer list. I’m sure they are still there. Each night the list gets covered before she goes to bed.  She does admit it takes a long time to get through everyone!

Perhaps some of these folks might not welcome being prayed for, but I’m sure she would just pray harder for them if she knew.

When we’re out together, she usually commits me to the effort as well. “We’ll pray for you,” even though I haven’t been a part of the conversation. Sometimes she adds, “We’re good pray-ers.” That always seems a funny thing to say, but I guess it is like a personal endorsement. So, I pray too once I get proxied in but not forever and ever like her.

I thought of her today when “Luigi” drove me home from getting my car serviced. I got the highlights of his life story in the fifteen-minute drive but didn’t add the final line, “I will pray for you.” Once I got home, I did anyway though. My mom’s voice rang in my ears.

I don’t know if I will ever take my stranger prayers to that level, but I know my life has been profoundly shaped by being near the top of her list for every one of my days. Maybe one of these days, I’ll start carrying around a list too!

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2: 1 NIV

TWEETABLE
I Will Pray for You – inspiration from @LetitiaSuk on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

letitia sukAbout the author: Letitia Tish Suk invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger and author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat and Rhythms of Renewal.  She is a speaker, personal retreat guide, and life coach in the Chicago area.

Her latest book, 100 Need-to-Know Tips for Moms of Teens and Tweens, will help you cope with the day-to-day challenges of parenting your teen while encouraging your heart and soul.

Join the conversation: What inspires you to pray for people?