Here’s the story:
We were in New Haven, CT at the same time and met a church function where she was helping raise funds for a project to Nicaragua. I learned her name and asked, “Did you have a sister named Eleanor who went to Wheaton?”
“Yes, do you know my sister?”
“Um, not really, but the name Nagy is unique…”
I hung around, and we got to talking. Turns out I got to be friends with Andrea more than Eleanor.
Andrea asked if we could meet weekly to pray, and soon Mary joined us.
A year later, January of 2000, I asked them to pray with me that I would have a child. But I was scared. So Andrea gave me assignments: this week observe a baby for an hour. Next week hold a baby.
Combined with a deep love, and openness of heart.
We shared our hearts, our prayers, and our difficulties.
When I got pregnant and then complained about morning sickness, Ant gave me a compassionate response to how I felt and then said, “but it’s supposed to be good for the baby if you feel badly, so I’m so glad for the child!” which totally made me laugh along with her delight.
When her uncle came once and she invited me to meet him, he teased me about being Greek, calling me his Greek goddess. That was funny because I’d always felt a bit awkward about how I look. But Ant told me afterward that Uncle Ted had said to her after I left that I had such healthy good looks, and when she told me that I responded, “now that’s a real compliment that I can live on.”
My reaction took me by surprise and I started to notice Andrea’s ability to give a perfectly timed true compliment.
Another time when I was struggling because my husband and I are so different from each other in many ways, Ant said, “what I love about you both is you are like a well balanced meal.”
That set my heart at rest.
So one time, I have to tell you that Ant was discouraged. She was telling me how she didn’t have certain talents others had, you know, like Shakespeare’s sonnet 29:
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
It sort of fell into place that Andrea wasn’t aware how special her gift of the well timed life giving compliment was. So I told her, said how it had helped me, and how it was needed in the body of Christ. We don’t think of it as a spiritual gift, we don’t call it discernment or exhortation because it just comes quietly and gently but if you have experienced Ant telling you a truth about yourself you know it is a gift from God.
When we moved away and Ant and I would connect, I often remembered to ask her, was she serving the body with her gift? Oh yeah, she at first responded, having forgotten again that there are those of us out there parched for what seems to her a simple drink of cold water.
But she asked me to tell you how it happened that she came to use this gift, because she said she’d been doing it more, and people have begun to notice.
I’m so glad.
I’d like to hear, to have us share together things she said.
We should thank God for that grace through her.
I’d like to see myself doing it more, imitating her.
Because it was wisdom she gave, and like James 1:5 says, if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.
She didn’t find fault.
She gave love that cut through cobwebs.
Ant’s heart, deep and caring, welled up to speak truth to me, giving me a better picture of myself that cleared away doubts and fears.
I will miss that gift,
And I will try to practice it,
And I will treasure it in others when I find it.
All thanks and praise to God.
For the connection
For time online in SBA
Nonstop to Newark
Finding the bus info to Grand Central
Time with Ravinia at Cosco, printing pictures, tasting, dinner, reading
Maurice’s care, in spite of attending lecture
Capax Dei time, though full of doubts, noisy channel
Alisha came, Troy led
Sunshine after rain, so clear on the mountain
Ocean bright and blue
Good sleep (eye mask)
Walk, coffee (McDonalds), find bus stop
Not so cold out
Bus to myself
$28 round trip, cash from ML
Trees still green
Excited to see NY, be here again
Thinking about the new Jerusalem
Reading 1 Peter in MSG, strange a few places too modernized
Almost to Grand Central, not bad traffic so far!
Mary recognizing me (from behind) at New Haven’s Union Station
Pretty day, bright though cold
Communion service at Ant’s with Cathryn Green-McCraight
Singing Holy Holy Holy and Great is thy Faithfulness
Crying: anger at sin, devil, death, grateful for Jesus who pulls us through
Mary stroking my hair, holding me while I cried
Timing of God in the day
Arrival at Ant’s, service, time to talk
Arrival at train station
Talking with Mary during train trip
Smooth connection to airport bus
Buying Dunkin Donuts to take home
Seeing the One World Trade center tower (I hadn’t realized)
Just arriving at gate in time to board
Sitting next to a priest that observes the Latin mass
Resting and talking all the way
Time enough to have soup supper and connecting flight
Getting in and hearing about the time I was away
Ant’s encouragment: “You can do it. You’re a pretty good writer, Beth. Just write from your heart.” Yes, she pegged it. I was hoping for “pretty, good writer”! That is, I was desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope. Perfectionism, ambition, they’ll lock me up in chains while what I need are the truth tellers, the loving encouragers who remind me to just use the gifts I’ve been given to serve the body without dismissing them, thinking they’re no big deal! Hoist…
I’ll probably write out something else when the actual time comes. God be in control of timing, of hearts, of my words. Please!