Soul Food: “Trash for Glory” by Katie Wilson
Trash for Glory
By Katie Wilson
Phil 3:8-“What is more, I continue to consider all these things to be a loss for the sake of what is far more valuable, KNOWING THE MESSIAH, JESUS , MY LORD! It is because of HIM that I have experienced the loss of all those things. Indeed, I consider them rubbish in order to gain the Messiah!”
I am a Memphis girl, born and bred, but “Sweet Home Alabama” has been my home for the last 22 years. My mother was the last thread holding me to Memphis and she went home to Jesus in the spring of 2013. During her final days this side of Heaven, I packed up and headed to “The River City, the home of Graceland” for a bedside season. My journal and Bible were constant companions. Having lost my dad unexpectedly in 1991, I knew I would see the “God Moments” in hindsight, but my continuous prayer was to recognize HIS PRESENCE, while still IN the valley.
One morning during the “Valley-Vigil,” I specifically wrote in my journal:
“Lord, show me YOUR GLORY today, please.”
(*Get ready to have your hair blown back, because God, in HIS magnificent mercy, blew me away with HIS creative, clever and kind answer to that plea!)
During a therapy session (that is what I have come to call my jogs with Jesus), I was running around a golf course near my mom’s, through a neighborhood of beautiful homes with long driveways. I was watching the sky of many colors, as the sun was setting, ushering in twilight.
I was listening to a sermon about having a servant’s heart and how it is never to late to become who you were meant to be. I was inspired and encouraged and excited to return from this “Jesus Jog” with a renewed spirit to serve,
when I ALMOST missed a divine appointment!
Dressed in a starched white uniform with matching white shoes, she was bent over with a cane and attempting to put the recycle bin inside a big green trashcan. The long journey back up the driveway called for some trashcan consolidation. She showed no frustration and a toothy, white smile beamed from her beautiful, brown face. I am convinced it was her “glow” that caught my attention, not the wrestling match with the trashcans. I smiled back, said “hello”
and ALMOST kept going.
Remember, I had been praying continuously to notice the “God Moments,” while still IN the valley, noticing from Christ’s perspective. God is faithful and I DID NOT miss it! What good is an inspiring sermon if we don’t live it out! I wanted a servant’s heart and here was my opportunity to serve.
“May I please take those trashcans up for you?” I asked. She smiled and tried to say NO but I was a servant on a mission and I wasn’t taking NO for an answer. I took both cans by the handle with the recycle bin strategically placed inside one of them and we began our trek up the long driveway.
(Here it comes. Are you ready?)
I asked her name and guess what she said?
I got to take up the trash for Glory!
I started crying at the mention of her name.
(*Remember what I had asked God for in my journal that very morning!)
It took us a good 10 minutes to get the cans back up the driveway, just long enough for me to tell her I was from Memphis but now lived in Alabama, just long enough for her to tell me she was from Alabama but now lived in Memphis. Although decades apart in age, our hearts were connected immediately as we shared snippets of our stories.
Glory reminded me so much of my Aunt Leta, my “other mother.” Aunt Leta worked for my dad before my parents were married; she helped raise me and all 3 of my older brothers and was still working for my mom. Although my mom was technically Aunt Leta’s employer, “best friend” and “confidant” were more appropriate titles.
But now back to Glory!
She asked me if I knew her boss. You could tell by the admiration in her voice that she had the utmost respect for her employer and that getting those trashcans was a labor of love, not just a part of her job. You could tell that, although the owner of the big house with the long driveway was technically Glory’s employer, “best friend” and “confidant” may have been more appropriate titles.
You could tell Glory was one of those souls who truly lived out:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for man.”(Col 3:23)
She thanked me repeatedly for helping her take up the trash but I am the one who was overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn’t tell her enough:
“Thank you for letting me help you!”
We were doing our own little “grateful dance”- round and round we went. What a sweet world this would be if we all tried to one-up one another in gratitude!
In that moment, I truly understood that all things are “rubbish or trash” compared to knowing Christ. In knowing Christ, we NOTICE HIS GLORY, because we see through HIS PERSPECTIVE, not ours. When we NOTICE HIS GLORY, we won’t take NO for an answer, going ALL OUT because we are ALL IN!
I asked to see GOD’S GLORY and HE delivered in the most creative, clever and kind way!
To God be all the Glory!
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 NIV
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 NIV
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial; because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIV
“But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV
What does “Perspective” mean to you? And how would you describe yours?
Do you feel like you look through the “lens of Christ” or the “lens of circumstances, emotions, past experiences or future expectations” most of the time?
Based on the answers you gave to the previous questions, what is one change you could make this week in order to gain a more positive perspective? (As lifelong learners, we always make room to grow:)
Faith in Action:
**Check out the Author, Andy Andrews and his book, The Noticer.
**Check out Andy Andrews and his podcast archive.
Check out the TEDxDesMoines – Angela Maiers – You Matter
Become a NOTICER!
Let people know:
**Keep a notebook and document the world around you in our city. We would love your feedback.
**Send in all the ways you NOTICE “God at Work” in our city to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear God, I thank you for your GLORY! Help us to “Let our light so shine before men that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father Who is in Heaven! (Matt 5:16) Your Presence is all around and within us. May we see YOU in the most unexpected ways, even while taking up the trash!
About the Author:
Katie W. is a Memphis born, messy masterpiece, who is confident in her Creator! After graduating from Vanderbilt, she married her college sweetheart and was Huntsville bound! 20+years and 3 children later, Katie spends her moments amazed by grace, which leads to “freedom writing”, God-dependent parenting, Scripture gold-digging, “opening her mouth wide and letting God fill it”(Psalm 81:10), and running her race with perseverance, while podcasting and posting her Jesus take-a-ways. Katie serves on staff at Lincoln Village Ministries and is an active member at Church of the Highlands. She loves the ministry of reconciliation and how it reflects the heart of God and is passionate about seeing the next generation hunger and thirst for THAT JESUS! Connect with Katie on her blog at psalm8110.com.