This stained glass window was used by God as one of his most powerful tools in my life. That probably sounds funny from a woman who currently attends church in a gymnasium with no garnishment, chosen particularly for that reason. However, I’ve come round to the view of my ancient forebears. Stained glass has its place.
I sat in the sanctuary of this church for the first seven years of my life. My parents, grandparents, and extended family attended.
Here I tried to hold the springy chair seats down with my short, pudgy legs. Here I embarrassed my parents by my constant need for intellectual and visual stimulation during the service, once throwing a washcloth over my shoulder and onto the head of the startled woman behind us. Here I loudly informed my teenaged uncle sitting with all his friends in the back row that I was going to the bathroom to potty, thank you.
Meanwhile, Jesus smiled down on me. Quite clearly, Jesus loves children.
I didn’t realize how profoundly that window and the love of generations about me had affected me for good and for eternity until I’d moved numerous times and faced hardships far from home. These stripped away my ability to return often. I raised my own family in distant places. Our life was shaped by these trials.
My view of Jesus was formed by that window. I knew he cherished me, even long after I left childhood, long after I’d made mistakes and committed acts that rendered me quite unloveable. The love of my grandparents, who attended that church beside me and who exhibited the unconditional love that grandparents seem to specialize in, strengthened the impact.
God used that window and that love to bring me to him. To me, this is a sacred site. Homes are gone, along with grandparents, but I was overjoyed to find that recent tornados hadn’t eradicated the window. It may blow away on the prairie winds someday, but I was able to capture it on film.
We never know what will touch the hearts of our children, but the love in that sanctuary with those people and that stained glass made me long to know Jesus and convinced me beyond a doubt that he loved me. The Holy Spirit used this anchor of my life, so he could bring me safely home. The love of Jesus is the only certainty.
We can’t go wrong by instilling that love in our children and grandchildren. They have been the greatest of God’s gifts to my husband and me. They have taught us about unconditional love. Loving them has refined and polished us.
And so, on this thirty-second birthday of our oldest daughter, my love for her continues deep and unwavering. Jesus loves perfectly, and I know I do not. But my heart’s goal is the love he demonstrates. I’m thankful that his love has filled the gaps in mine, nourishing her to radiant adulthood.
Happy birthday, dearest daughter. Though I’m a flawed and broken woman, my love for you is more sacred than stained glass. It is forever.