It didn’t start off as any ordinary day.
I walked out the open doors of our church with sweat already wetting my back from a random dance started by a simple clap. As I watched the beautiful women of our sewing class laugh and join in with the beat, a few of them started the moves to the national dance that gave me the puppy dog expression of a head tilt and raising of the eyebrows.
As I attempted to join in with their flowing moves and rhythmic steps I couldn’t my smile.
We started off for ministry with new translators and a new brother. Walking down the hill by our church the sun shone brightly.
Weaving through a few alleys we quickly came upon a beautiful woman
sitting on a small bench outside her house. The wrinkles on her face
looked painted on with perfection and there was a welcoming peace as I
shook her hand. As the foreign language explained that we were here to
pray she mustered what seemed like all the strength within her frail
body, pushing and pulling herself off the bench as she took her
perfectly shaven walking stick in her hand and slowly lead us into her
dimly lit home.
We sat across from her on what seemed like equally frail benches we should have called a couch. I leaned over to Jon and told him my thoughts, guessing she had to be in her 70s and relating her to the men who had also asked for peace in their lives.
Then she told us she was 101 years old.
Disbelief filled my mind and I let out a laugh that held emotions of “are you serious/she has to be joking/this is ridiculous, she looks so young/wow!” She had to know how beautiful she was!
We crossed the distance of the room and sat down next to her on the cushion-less couch. We laid hands on her small body and lifted her up in prayer, speaking strength, healing and peace into this daughter of the King. As we said “Amen” I wasn’t prepared for the series of events that would follow.
So I sat in amazement and pride as this new brother of mine stepped out in a faith I so desire to have. He stood up and asked our Mama to come walk to him. As we helped her to her feet, she slowly started walking towards him with her walking stick laying on the ground beside me. She stopped and stretched, reaching her thin arms down to rub her knees and back while also hinting that her eyesight isn’t as strong as it once was. I didn’t need to hear anything else.
We prayed again.
I covered her eyes with my right hand, feeling her eyelashes against my palm while I rested my left arm on her back. Jenna sat before her on the concrete floor, touching her legs with Jon on the other side, sitting on the wooden arm of the couch, both hands resting on this ever growing stronger body. More prayer ensued, more words, more declarations and more requests with the authority we had been given. I opened my eyes as I came to the end and I slowly lifted my hand back from those beautiful eyes.
I will never forget the grin that overtook her face.
The joy of a three year-old radiated from a woman who was almost 5 times my age. Her eyes stayed wide as she informed us that she could see the translator sitting across the room. She rubbed her eyes with those wrinkly hands and looked around at each of us, taking in this new world.
I sat beside her with tears in my eyes. She informed us that she has never been this well before. She stood to her feet, walking again towards Jon. Joy filled that house as we sang songs about Yahweh being praised, as our feet refused to stay still and as I watched a 101 year old woman tell this 20 year old man that he was holding her back by dancing with her, that she could do it on her own. So we danced and jumped undignified before our magnificent Lord, a community, a family of brothers and sisters.
This woman stole my heart and it was just bursting with love not only for this daughter dancing before me, but for an ALMIGHTY GOD that works in ways I will never hope to understand. This is the God I serve. I wanted to scoop her up in my arms, to hug her forever.
As I stood before her to say goodbye, I kissed her on the forehead, staring into the eyes I knew saw me and prayed that she would know how much Jesus loves her, how precious and beautiful she truly is.
I love a Father who loves to show off for His children and I will waste my life to risk being used to bring His glory.