The first time I hosted the small group at my home, I cleaned for three days. I labeled the food. It said, "fried chicken, chips, salsa..." Shirley put her arm around me and said if you ever do this again, you are out of the group. She began to take off my makeup and my mask. I was a mess. It wasn't long until I broke my ankle. Helpless. Broken. And finally still. I don't remember her ever leaving me from the hospital and even at home. I pushed and she stayed. That was always my go to, to push away but she wasn't leaving. She and countless others moved me broken into a new home. She threw away half my belongings and had me so blissfully unorganized and surprisingly it was okay. The girl I used to be was starting to fade.
She is the person who would give you her clothes off her back. She rarely ends up with her socks still on her feet in Belize because she has usually given them to a kid. So it is no surprise she showed up at my house this past week with shoes for me to wear on a upcoming trip. She says she won't need them in Belize. I can have them. That night I slip them on. A little too big but I can make it work.
I know God is changing me and has but this relationship has changed me too. She is my Paul. As she is to so many others. And just like Paul she is on her mission and leaves for Belize soon to live full time. There is a couple of us who have started a new bible reading plan. The other morning she sends me a text to see if I am up and reading. I send back yes but I have terrible news Paul and Barnabus separate. As God in sovereignty would have it we are reading Acts together before she leaves. Now we are really just Shirley and Marsha. I know that. But I am just saying, this Barnabus is tender. Separation is hard but good.
One day in Belize this summer she took me to the house she would be moving to to call home. I cried for the rest of the day. The next morning I crawled out of bed and she and I had devotional time on the beach with the bugs. I wrote on a scrap piece of paper and put it in her pocket. "The gospel is worth my friend." I believe it and so does she. So what to do when Paul,leaves? You slip on the shoes that are too big to fill and you try. You keep on the mission before you.