I'm sure that many of you know the poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson. If you haven't read it, I think it is worth looking up. With Easter approaching, I've been thinking about Jesus in our lives and accompaniment...walking alongside us (or carrying us, when needed).
A personal story of accompaniment for me took place in October, 2013. I had decided to run my first full marathon (26.2 miles). For months I had trained, but I think you truly don't know what the experience will be like until the actual event. The day of the Portland Marathon was beautiful and the first half of the run was really good for me. Then, at about mile 19 or so, I started to really feel the fatigue.
All of sudden, at mile 20, I hear "Hey Jessica" from Jared and Alex (two of Messiah's high school youth) as they started to run alongside me. I was a little out of it at that point and the first thing I thought to ask was "What are you doing here?" and "Where are your parents?" and also wondering if I should be carrying permission slips for them. They had come to surprise me and run with me in the last six miles of the race. They stayed with me the whole time, even though their natural running pace is twice as fast as I was running. What a gift. I truly know Jesus was shining through them. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.
I stopped to think about the endless ways that the people of Messiah walk alongside and accompany the youth and young adults. I have the honor to stand back and see Christ shining into their lives. Just a few examples...
- Tuesday morning breakfast cooks who smile at each and every student and wish them "good morning"
- Confirmation prayer partners who send cards and thoughtful gifts throughout the year
- College care packages are getting ready to be sent to students in time for finals
- Graduation celebration including a quilt made with love from Messiah's quilters for each graduate
- Chaperones, drivers and so many others who readily give of the their time, talents and resources