Monday, October 29, 2007


You yourselves are our letter,
written on our hearts,
known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ,
the result of our ministry, written not with ink
but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3

When I was a child, I attended Martin Luther Elementary School in Buffalo, New York, and during my second and third grade years, I had the most wonderful teacher. Miss Albers was the prettiest, smartest, kindest, most fun teacher ever created! Midway through my third grade year, my family moved to Indiana and I had to say goodbye to Miss Albers.

My parents were fond of my teacher, as well, and I was delighted that they kept in touch with her. I was so excited when the news came that she was to be married and that she and her husband were to be missionaries in New Guinea. I have a picture of the happy couple with their baby girl, Debra, and a second picture of their two little girls sitting on a blanket with grass huts in the background. Miss Albers was now more wonderful that ever—and I wanted to be “just like her” when I grew up!

Could it be that the seed for missions was written on my heart, so many years ago, by the example of a woman who created a safe, warm, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow? I think St. Paul would say a resounding “Yes! Yes, indeed!” I am your letter, Miss Albers, and because of you, the Spirit of the living God is written on my heart.

C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite writers, had a great deal to say about love and vulnerability.[1] I believe that we all come into this world with tender hearts vulnerable to the touch of the Spirit, open to the love of God. When someone like Miss Albers writes upon our hearts, we learn to be open and vulnerable, willing to risk love.

However, when someone with a wounded heart, wields the pen of rejection, criticism, and discouragement, our hearts become hardened lest we be hurt again. Most of us have experienced both kinds of etchings, and a battle ensues within: Should I reach out, risk, be vulnerable? Should I withdraw and protect myself from hurt?

I am very thankful for Miss Albers, as well as the many other wonderful people, who have written upon my heart with the Spirit of the living God. I am their letter. I, too, have written upon the vulnerable hearts of many individuals, and they are my letter. I pray that, more times than not, it is God’s Spirit who guides my pen, yet all too often I flinch with shame for a wounding mark I have carelessly left. It is an awesome privilege and responsibility—and an amazing gift of grace—to be both the pen of Grace and the tablet upon which Grace is written.

[1]C.S. Lewis, “Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

No comments: