Thursday, October 20, 2011

Washed anyone else's feet lately?

(Written Tuesday evening, October 18th)

So I would imagine this is what a mother hen feels like when she has all of her chicks in her nest. Yes, I know Jennifer is not my 'chick' but it is a comforting, safe feeling having her here at my 'home away from home,' Jenny and Matt's house in Nashville. It's nice being able to look over and see her resting on the couch versus driving 20 to 40 minutes (depending on traffic), parking in a garage, gathering all the laundry, food, etc. from the car that has to go to her room, stagger to the lobby with the mound of 'stuff,' ride eleven floors up, punch the security button to the bone marrow unit, wash down with sanitizer... and all this just to lay eyes on her! 

As I was saying, Jenny's resting easy here at home enjoying movies, naps, an array of t.v. channels (in the hospital there were only about 12, most of them being versions of ESPN- who knew there were so many!), spending time with Traveler the dog, visiting with Mom, our aunt Billie Jean, Matt, and me, and eating the most delicious meals! Today Billie and I weathered the FREEZING rain to visit the amazing Nashville Farmer's Market and snag some fresh veggies. That place is phenomenal! As I write, Mom and Billie are in the kitchen preparing some different dishes from our farmstand finds that Jen has requested, Traveler is tip-tapping around Jennifer's feet, and Matt has just come bounding in the door from an 8-hour long test! What a blessing to see this house come alive with Jennifer's presence!

I've been thinking a lot today about the outpouring of love and support from family and friends that has manifested itself in the kindest acts of service over the course of the last month. To name a few....

~friends and aunts keeping Jen and Matt's house squeaky clean, doing laundry and 'honey do' projects, caring for Traveler, and preparing meals.
~throngs of cards, phone calls, emails, care packages, drawings, visits, meals, sweet goodies, caps, scarves, Clorox wipes, and water! Amazing!
~friends giving us rides to and from Nashville.
~the run/walk benefit for Jennifer, simply- WOW!
~one aunt canceling her trip to Ireland to be here for 3 weeks! She also taught Traveler how to be leashed for his walk without going nuts and breaking furniture. The other aunt slaving away in the kitchen to prepare gourmet and neutropenic (a medical term indicating Jennifer has to have meals specially prepared) dishes and cleaning out and reorganizing the entire kitchen to be more Jen-friendly!
~doctors and nurses going above and beyond to see that Jen is being cared for in the best possible manner- we are blown away, to say the least!

And these are only a few! To sit back and contemplate all these sacrificial acts of service is extremely humbling. That this many people care about someone you love so deeply is truly moving. How we have been blessed by these wonderful people who have allowed themselves to be used as vessels in the Father's hands through which He has poured out His grace, mercy and love. It is my opinion that we, the human race, are at our best when we take on the heart of a servant because it is then that we are most closely mirroring our Savior, the ultimate Servant. 

When I think of all the acts of Jesus' service chronicled in the Bible, my favorite has to be on the night before his death when He washed the feet of his disciples. To understand the magnitude of what He did that night, we have to understand the times in which He did it. Right now, my feet are pretty clean. I took a shower and slipped on socks and have been walking around in shoes all day. Now, contrast that with the feet of Andrew or Thomas or Matthew on the Thursday night of the famous Last Supper. Dirt roads, sandaled feet and long walks...Pleasant feet, they do not make. In Jesus' day, when guests arrived at the hosts' home, the lowliest of the servants was chosen to do the considerably dirtiest of jobs. Can you imagine your boss walking up to you and saying, "Yeh, uh, we're gonna need you to be washing everyone's feet that walks through the door today,"? I don't think they could process my two-week's notice fast enough! To sum up this particular household servant's job in a word: demeaning. 

Now, back to the Upper Room where the Master of the Universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the Prince of Peace, and the Darling of Heaven, is bended low on His knees meticulously, LOVINGLY washing the filthy feet of his sometimes faithful followers. When He reaches Peter, Peter will have none of it! "No, Lord, you will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "If I don't wash your feet, you are not one of my people." Peter quickly changes his tune, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!" Don't you just love outspoken, impulsive Peter! (Reminds me of someone...) For me, it would have been a somewhat easier task to wash ol' Peter's feet. Yes, in a few short hours, Peter will flat-out deny that he even knows Jesus much less that he is one of his dearest friends. But take a closer look at this fisherman who left all that he knew to follow this man who made him an offer he couldn't refuse...

-When asked about the identity of Jesus, he boldly proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (Side note: Peter claimed Jesus was the Christ when making such a claim was anything but 'cool.') 
-He was one of three of Jesus' disciples on the mountaintop when Jesus was transfigured and heard the voice of the Father boom from heaven, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to him!" He then begged Jesus to let him, literally, set up shop and never leave that mountain-top experience. 
-He was often found jumping out of boats just to be near Jesus. Cases in point: Peter steps off the boat one night to WALK to Jesus who's also WALKING around out there on the water. After Jesus' resurrection, Peter doesn't even take the time to take off his cloak before jumping into the water, off the boat he and the other disciples are fishing from, to swim ashore to see and be with Jesus.
-It is believed that Peter was the disciple, the only one in fact, who drew his sword to defend Jesus when the crowd, wielding clubs and swords, arrived to arrest Jesus. 
-Again, Peter was the only one who bothered to come back (all the others had run away in fear) and head over to Caiaphus' house to find out Jesus' fate before the Jewish Sanhedrin. 
-He was a part of the "Inner Three," one of Jesus' closest friends, along with James and John. 
-He was the man whom Christ built His church upon, in essence, the first preacher. 

Peter and Jesus were buds, great friends, tight as ticks as some say.

But then, Jesus arrives at the feet of the one and only Judas Iscariot. The first time you really see this guy he's complaining about a woman who has 'wasted' perfume to annoint Jesus. If that's not a window into his heart and where his loyalties really lie, I don't know what is. At the time of the scrub down, he's the one who has sold out to the political and religious leaders of the day and been looking for ways to hand Jesus over to them to be killed - all for a mere 30 silver pieces. With 'friends' like Judas, who needs enemies?

Re-reading the story, time and again it's not when Jesus washes Peter's feet that moves me. It's when he bends over Judas and, just like the other 11, he gently, carefully washes the feet of his betrayer. In a matter of moments, Judas will hurry from the room to do "the thing that he will do (and) do it quickly," to turn Jesus over to the religious leaders who can't wait to get their bloodthirsty hands on him. Judas leads them right to Jesus, who, at this point in the night, is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is arrested and the rest, they say, is history- or should I say HIS-Story. And isn't it a marvelous one. 

Throughout the Gospel books, it's interesting to note that Jesus not only serves His closest friends and casual acquaintances, but that He also serves one who despises Him and all that He stands for. As Christians we are called to be like Jesus, called to have the hearts of servants. Trouble is, we don't get to choose whom we will serve. God just says- SERVE.

So thinking on all the ways it has been a pleasure, a delight, and a joy to serve Jennifer and Matt down this bumpy road, I got to thinkin' I'm only half-way mirroring Christ. I am called not only to serve my friends, those whom I love, but my enemies, or those whom I have a harder time loving, as well. Great enjoyment can be found in serving a friend, so it's sort of a win-win, right? But serving an enemy, now that's where the rubber meets the road... Therein lies the challenge - the challenge of turning from my sinful way, taking up my cross, making the sacrifice, and serving one who would rather have nothing to do with me (and I them) or, worst case scenario, rather do me harm than good. Sounds like a win-lose. And to the blind eye it is. But when my motive for serving is to bring glory to my Father above and not for the praise of men, then I will find my reward. And it is heavenly. 

O Lord, thank You for the parts of us that are like You, for it is not by anything we can muster. The only good things in us are those things which are from You. Let us not come up short in serving. Let us serve, with glad hearts, our friends AND our enemies. And may we be found to be more like Christ with each act of service to which we yield ourselves. That we may hear You say, on the day of Judgement, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master's happiness!"

(Written Thursday night, October 20th)

Prayerful Ponderings:
Please pray that Jennifer will continue to rest easy here at home. It was a gorgeous day here in Nashville, and she and I got the chance to walk around the neighborhood for a little while. Pray that she will continue to gain her strength back. She will have bloodwork done next Tuesday. We are praying that all her blood count levels will have returned to normal and that there will be no cancer found in her blood. On Wednesday, she will undergo a bone marrow biopsy- to determine if she is in remission or not- and a lumbar puncture- a test to see if there's any cancer in her central nervous system. Also, with the lumbar puncture, they will inject chemotherapy into her central nervous system which will circulate through her brain. Please pray for a positive outcome. Pray for Jen's mental, emotional, and spiritual state as she faces the week and all it will hold. Pray for Matt as he holds her hand each step of the way. Pray for wisdom for the doctors. It is our hope and prayer that next week will find her in remission and that the doctors will be able to begin consolidation therapy on Friday of next week. Of course, all of this is tentative but will help to serve as a timeline for the coming week. Pray, ultimately, that God will be given all the glory, honor and praise. He is worthy.

The Vandy Verse:
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will be able to do what I did to this tree and even more. You will be able to say to this mountain, 'Go, fall into the sea.' And if you have faith, it will happen. If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:21-22


  1. We are still praying for Matt & Jennifer and all of y'all during this. We are thankful she is home now though.

    Reading your beautiful words and faith and trust in Christ, and reading about each of your sister's faith in Christ, makes me pray even harder for my girls to grow up to be young women like you all who love and trust in the Lord deeply!

  2. Lauren, you really are good at this! So glad that Jennifer is home. Bet both she and Matt are sleeping better now. I think about them every day and am just waiting for someone to call to say they need me to come up. I can cook and clean too! And sew! In the meantime, they are in my prayers. Tiffany sent for her kit.

  3. Lauren, This is Betsy. Please tell Jenn that we are fervently praying for her and all involved. Hope I can " Turkey Trot" for her. Certainly won't run, but may can make it walking. I know great things are coming. Love to you all!!!!

  4. WOW~what a surprise~! My computer has been down for a week off & on~and I decided to go to the Sample of Grace website today~& I actually had to read this several times to believe it. What~wonderful news~ Jennifer being home!! I am soooooo excited for both Matt & Jennifer! Remember Kim & I are not that far away~& we don't mind coming up to do whatever we can to help! Kim loves the honey-do list! We can cook, clean, walk Traveler~whatever you need! You are still in our thoughts and prayers~! Please call if you need us!!
    We love you!
    Kim & Jeannie

  5. It's Tuesday so maybe some of the results will start coming in! It's wonderful that Jenn and Matt can be together at home! Your writing is just beautiful, Lauren!
    Love and prayers forvall! Granny

  6. I am so glad that you are home Jenny enjoying the comfort of your own bed and kitchen and traveler and every other luxury we all take for granted. Hope supper was delicious tonight, I know it was! It warmed my heart to hear your precious voice today jen, just as happy as always. Always praying for you LOVE YOU!


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