There’s a memorable scene where Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Warren Bump is reflecting on when, as children her siblings scratched all their names in the bark of a tree. Creeping myrtle and tall grasses have grown over where her name had been etched.She describes the feeling:
“It was as if a shadow had fallen over just me, while the rest of the world remained illuminated by bright sunlight. At that moment I felt hidden from all eyes; looking at my name, covered over by weeds, I saw how easily it could disappear forever. I saw how easily I could be forgotten, compared to my brothers and sister, compared to everyone else, everyone who was taller, more noticeable, more visible to the rest of the world. I did not want to be forgotten. More than that, I wanted, desperately—I fell to my knees and began to tear out the weeds, the vines, by their very roots—to be remembered. I wanted my name to be known, beyond this tree, this hill, this pasture, this town.”Earlier in the book Mercy depicts how she decided to pose herself in the classroom the first time her students would see her:
“I was standing calmly in the middle of the room. I did not to attempt to hide my size by staying behind my desk or perching upon any kind of platform. I simply stood there, as dignified, as tall, as I could possibly make myself appear.”I’ve been through all kinds of wrestling lately. Faith wrestling. Wrestling that is prevalent during painful spiritual growth. Wrestling that comes before and after surrender.
But I viscerally feel, and keenly identify with Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Warren Bump’s pendulum emotions. I want my stories out there. I sometimes stand as tall as I can in hopes I’ll be noticed. But there are times I feel dust mote small.The scene when she’s looking at her name in the tree bark ends like this…
“My hands were stained green. But my name was now plainly visible…My fierce desire soon faded away into the twilight…and I saw the warm, beckoning lights of home twinkle on, one by one, as Mama began to light the lamps, which shone, at that moment, more brightly than the faint stars on the horizon…so I was content to turn around and return home, content with what I knew was waiting for me there.”This brings a verse to mind.
“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?...Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 27: 30 (Msg)
And so it is.There’s hope for all of us who wrestle with feeling small—hope that He will lead us to do BIG things for Him, in Him, and through Him.
Has a book stirred deep thoughts in you lately? Do you ever wrestle with feeling small?