If it was clean, orderly, pleasing to the eyes, and put together nicely,
you can bet it got her starry-eyed approval.
Her mother would often tell her, "You can't just love the pretty Jesus."
But the pretty Jesus is sooooooo easy to love.
He was the sweet one to be found in the lilacs bushes or the summertime. He was the picture-perfect
family that came over for dinner on Sundays, the friendships that just clicked, the ministries that everyone
wanted to be part of. He was the colorful paper, fancy parties, good food, and sparkling lights.
He was beautiful. And she loved Him.
Time grew this girl into a woman,
but God would not let her age unrefined.
He came to her more and more often as the "ugly Jesus."
For that's what she called Him. Not out of disgust, but more out of playful understanding...
knowing that He was TRYING to purify this part of her heart.
He was the one that was not easy to love, not pleasing to look at, and not sweet smelling.
He was inconvenient, in the way, and didn't make her feel good.
But she let Him move her. As the years went on He became more and more familiar.
Easy to spot. Almost a welcome comfort. This was part of her path to sanctity.
As she was wrestling her whiney children into the car one day He showed up.
Here she was - a fit to be reckoned with, trying to get organized and to the grocery
store in all of her yoga pants and messy bun glory to grab FOOD to FEED
visitors who were due at any hour. A noble endeavour. Worthy of sainthood.
"Excuse me... yooohooo," came a little voice over her shoulder.
OH NO. I don't have time for this!
She turned around to see an elderly woman standing in the cold,
in the snow, trying to get her attention.
"Oh hey. I'm really busy. Don't have time to talk.
My kids are crazy. I'm running late. Catch you later?"
Yes, she really said that.
The old lady just smiled and began to walk away.
The woman sighed. She knew. This was it. The ugly Jesus had come to see her again.
The inconvenient one. The one that wasn't dressed up or pleasing to the eyes.
The one that was uninvited, in the way, and a little irritating.
But He was here in that old lady.
"Stop. Please come back. Can I help you?"
The old lady turned and with much thanks asked for a ride to the drugstore.
That was the test. That was the refiner's fire for the day.
I'm glad I didn't miss it.
I'm glad I traded in my starry-eyes to love this ugly Jesus.
I know that I gave Jesus a ride to the drugstore that day.