there are times...

when you actually see the words of Scripture illustrated in a photo. sent to you on your phone. in the middle of an ordinary day. case in point, this photo... 


that photo speaks a thousand words. and a thousand promises answered. oh wait, you don't see it? well, it make take a thousand words to explain it... 

here go the words... that is my daughter millie (on the right) and one of my best friends deaver (on the left) having lunch together yesterday in nashville.  simple enough. millie is in college in nashville and deaver lives in nashville, so what is so special about that photo?

well, it came after a rough 36 hours for millie (and deaver too.) millie woke up saturday morning early (like before the crack of noon. WOAH.) feeling horrible. she took her temperature (because i packed a thermometer in her "health and medicine kit", of course) and her temp was 103. she isn't studying to be a dr. but she knew that was bad. she texted me (i was at a cross country meet in georgia with maxx.) no response from her loving mom. so then she called deaver. early on a saturday morning.

deaver dressed and flew out the door and into super hero like action. picking millie up from her dorm. HAVING THE FORETHOUGHT to also take all of millie's laundry AND the sheets plus duvet cover off her bed so they might be washed as well. she took her to a CVS walk in clinic. left her there with a nurse and went to starbucks to get her a favorite drink. came back and the verdict was a sinus infection. antibiotics procured. took her home. tucked her into her daughter's bed (her middle daughter is at UT.) while millie napped, deaver washed, dried, and folded all the laundry and linens. made dinner. kept the medicines coming on schedule. millie woke feeling better but stayed there for the night to really get a good night's sleep. and to hang out with a family for a while.

then yesterday they had lunch, did a little shopping, and back to the dorms went millie. deaver even MADE HER BED. and it is a loft bed. not. easy. yoga moves are involved. up high on a loft. dangerous stuff.

deaver sent me that photo around lunchtime. and i was so grateful that i really didn't think anything beyond how great it was to have a friend in nashville that would drop everything and devote most of her weekend to caring for your daughter. and a daughter that felt so secure with a friend that she would call her early on a saturday morning because she knew she would be cared for. 

then i realized that photo was so similar to a lot of photos that i have of college girls who are not my daughter, but who i love very deeply... 

it reminded me of all the times i ate lunch with a college girl in the past 15 years here in tallahassee. all the times one (or several, or dozens) slept at my house because they were sick, scared, lonely, breaking up, or just wanted to hang out all night...

looking through my photos to find those moments with those college girls was a pleasure. everything i did with them was fun. we poured into their lives and it was never tedious. or boring. or challenging (well, the challenge trips were challenging. hence the name.) it didn't feel like GIVING. it felt like GETTING something great in return. how like God to take our meager offerings to Him, our filthy rags and to change them into something exciting. worthy. enjoyable. to make what we are giving into a gift to us AT THE VERY TIME WE ARE GIVING IT.

and then to RETURN IT LATER AND GREATER in a different form... but in a way that is so recognizable to me that i kept staring at the photo wondering why it looked so familiar. 

ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

it looked like some crumbs that i had thrown into the water. returning to me. after many days.  

luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

i never poured my life into those college girls because i wanted a return (face it, i don't think past 5 minutes from now. i couldn't ever have imagined that i would one day be the mother of a college girl.) i poured into them because it was exciting. they were energetic. they listened to me (sometimes.) they laughed with me. and at me. they french braided my hair. way past the age when a woman should sport french braided hair. they loved me and shared their lives with me. and i loved (and still love) them and still share lives with them. even though some of them live really far away. 

and i am still so grateful for their presence in my life. 

but today i am grateful for the presence of another older woman pouring into my daughter's life when i am over 400 miles away.  i woman i call friend. and a woman that millie will also call friend. sometimes it is more than we could ever ask or imagine...

ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.