Lisa's Reprise - by Laurie Henry
She walked onto the stage and a smile instantly came to my heart. This familiar, vibrant face brought back memories of last year when I first witnessed the gift called Lisa. Lisa is a young lady who sings occasionally for the "Women of Faith" conferences. Watching her share her gift is like unwrapping a surprising, wonderful present. Her song filled the arena. It filled the arena with love; with love for her singing, with love for her friends on stage, but most of all, for the love she has for her Creator. What makes Lisa's voice so distinct? The voice of this lovely child of God comes from a person with the special needs of Down syndrome. But that is almost a side bar. Lisa's voice is so distinct because it does not reverberate from her mouth but extends from her hands. Lisa signs her songs.
Earlier when I reached the arena, I gave the attendant my ticket and walked in sporting a broken heart and dragging my large bag of troubles behind me. I excused myself past many other women and found the correct seat securing my baggage next to me making sure to not let go of the handle. We were tightly squeeze together in that seat, me and my bag, but I was there and so was it and I held firmly to its handle.
First, the praise singers began to sing as the crowd vibrated with excitement anticipating a wonderful weekend. The music stirred my heart. After singing, I listened to the speaker. Her insightful message was delivered with humor but drove home a convicting point. Next on the program was Sandy Patty, the guest vocal artist. Sand's voice is so powerful, so lovely. I think she could shatter glass. Then the cherry on my conference sundae was served. Sandy asked for her friend Lisa to join her. When I saw who it was I just beamed waiting for my treat.
Lisa sang with Sandy Patty. As Sandi's beautiful vocals filled the room, Lisa's song filled my heart. Her body danced, flowing to and fro as her hands shaped the words. Her face tenderly expressed the feelings of the song. When the song became soft, Lisa's motions and expressions softened. When the song became powerful, Lisa's hands and body were strong and forceful. Her expression of the music and message shadowed any dancer or vocalist I have experienced. What a gift she has.
Standing in the midst of the crowd, I watched an angel named Lisa. I stood there my eyes fixed on her light not wanting to miss a gesture or expression. I absorbed every part of her. Joy burst from her like fireworks on the fourth. Then I noticed something in me shift. In that moment I felt my grasp slip from the handle of my baggage. In that moment my heart didn't feel so heavy and hurt filled. In that moment, as I watched Lisa, I saw Jesus. Lisa was Jesus to me. Her love and joy took my bag and hurt away if just for a moment. But isn't that what Jesus does? Doesn't he take our baggage out of our hand and mend our heart? Lisa had put on Jesusâ flesh and ministered to me. Thank you Lisa. You lightened my load for a little while. Thank you.
Who is Lisa? A big named star? A speaker of deep scholarly truth? No. By today's standards, Lisa is a nobody. A young, special needs person, whom society might be tempted to toss to the side. How cleaver for God to use such a small, vulnerable creature to impact an arena of people. It reminds me of the time God used a shepherd boy and a stone to destroy a giant. For God, no one is too small to be used in a mighty way.
I wish I could sing like Lisa but I can't. I will never have her gift. But that must not let me miss a chance to be Jesus to someone like she was to me. To lightened the load of someone's heavy bag of troubles. To help them heal the pangs of their broken heart. To love them like Jesus.
God blesses each of us with gifts. Your gift may be a listening ear, and outstretched hand, a kind word. Your gift may be an uplifting piece of art, the way you teach truth, or the gift of laughter. Whatever your gift, use it to love people. Love people like Jesus. Lighten their load. Maybe, if just for a moment they will lose the grasp of their baggage handle. Lisa exalted God and shared her love for her Savior with her gift for song. She was not a famous, powerful person but God used her in a powerful way. She shared her joy and love. She was Jesus to me. Let God use you. Share your God-given gift with someone. You're not too small, too unimportant, too nothing. You're perfect for the assignment. Don't underestimate yourself. Don't underestimate your Creator. Try on the flesh of Jesus. It will fit you just fine.
1 John 3:16-18 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.