Friday, March 13, 2009

The Blessing

I'm going to a wedding tomorrow: Ben Johnson and Becki Bell are getting married. I have watched Ben grow up since he was a skinny eighth grader in my Bible class at Friendship Christian School in Tennessee and I have come to know Becki through Honduras mission trips. The wedding will take place at the home of Preston and Ann. The following, from April 24, 2006, is about Preston and Ann's lovely daughter, Meggan.

I had a first tonight. I was invited, and I attended, a blessing. Two young ladies, Allie and Meggan, will graduate from high school next month. I haven't known Allie for long but I have been honored to work with her on mission trips the past two summers. Meggan was a student of mine in both eighth and tenth grades and played on my junior high girls' basketball team at Westbury Christian School. All guests were asked to write words of blessing for Allie and Meggan to be compiled into a scrapbook. The night was hosted by a couple from their church who have opened their home for these blessings for ten consecutive years. A wonderful meal was followed by public acknowledgement of the girls by a number of very close friends and family members. About one hundred of us joyfully observed these two adults-in-the-making embrace a wonderful launching into the next phase of their lives. Tears flowed and hugs shared as these best friends were showered with affection. I was touched by what I heard and saw. I don't know if Allie and Meggan ever realized how much they have been loved, not just by their biological relatives, but also by their church family. The evening was fittingly capped by our gathering around the two and singing the hauntingly beautiful, The Lord Bless You And Keep You. If there is such a thing as a perfect night, I just witnessed it.

We live in a harsh world. Reputations are made by ridiculing others in the name of free speech or artistic license or talk radio. What a contrast, as well as a concept, to flood individuals with praise and adoration. I will be honest with you. Allie and Meggan would make it without tonight's anointing of their road ahead. They are grounded in so many ways. Allie's parents, Ed and Donna, and Meggan's folks, Preston and Ann, have taught their daughters right from wrong using the Word of God as the guidebook. They have modeled lives of sacrifice and service which are reflected in their little girls' hearts and their servant attitudes. First hand, I have watched Allie and Meggan love babies and cuddle little ones in Honduras who are starving for affection. They have traded their lives of relative ease for working in a brutal environment, fitting seamlessly into a poverty stricken culture like they were born in it. It's no accident- they are just modeling what they have absorbed in Godly homes from the cradle. The two will enroll at Abilene Christian University in the fall and while I am no weatherman, I predict they will take the campus by storm. Tonight was a reinforcement and one more evidence that Allie and Meggan have been blessed beyond their wildest dreams. The moon had yet to come out as we were leaving but there was sufficient beaming from enormously proud parents and grandmothers to light the neighborhood. The Psalmist, in speaking of the righteous, made this declaration: "They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed." (Psalm 37:26) The evening was a celebration of two young lives, but it was more than that. It was also a vindication of the generations that came before, who put down the foundations that will keep their descendants anchored in Christ.

Allie and Meggan are fortunate. Tonight confirmed what we already knew. Not every child is so lucky. I bragged on a student last week and told her I hoped she was not embarrassed. Her response was that she isn't used to being complimented. Shame on me; I have had the opportunity to praise this terrific young lady the past several years. On missions to Honduras and Haiti, we wrap up our trips with group blessings, although shorter and more spontaneous in nature. The emotional and spiritual lift we get from public adulation sustains us through ugly times, when the road gets treacherous and we struggle to love ourselves. We can bless someone daily. We don't have to wait for a birthday or graduation or wedding. It doesn't have to be public. Some of the memorable blessings bestowed on me were only heard by me. Jesus blessed publicly and I'm sure he did so privately as well. He blessed those who may not have received much recognition of a positive nature. The Savior praised those best known for their sin, their disease, or their poverty. When our Lord passed out public blessings, the recipients were praised for their faith, their generosity, even their youth. He must have been thinking of Allie and Meggan two thousand years ago. Others just gave his sentiments a voice tonight in Houston.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Whoever is happy will make others happy, too."
Mark Twain
God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Ann Hill said...

Tears flowed once again, as I read the words that so beautifully flowed from the keys of your computer. I have prayed for years that my children would be wise in their choice of friends and that He would surround them with Godly people. People who would be there to encourage them to make the right decision when they were tempted. Godly people they could confide in when they didn't feel like they could talk to us. People who would correct them we weren't around. People who loved them enough to "tattle" on them when they did something they shouldn't have done. It's hard to take credit for the beauty inside of Meggan. God has been so faithful in answering my prayers. He blessed us with putting all of those people I've prayed for in her life and you, Coach Hawley, are one of them. Thank you.

JKC said...

What a beautiful idea to help pave the way for very deserving young people. You are right, we just don't praise or compliment or bless others the way we should. It would certainly make a difference in our world.

Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

Recently I had the privilege of witnessing my grandson, Jordan, receiving a blessing from his maternal grandfather, who is blind and bedridden. Jordan stood beside Tata's bedside as Tata placed his hand on Jordan's head and said one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard.

I was told of a similar thing happening when Jordan was only about 3 or 4, when his grandfather placed his hand on Jordan's head and said, "May God bless you, Jordan." In turn Jordan placed his little hand on his Tata's head and said, "May God bless you, Tata."

Such precious memories he will hold.

Jon said...

did u say nice stuuff... HAHAHA