“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

— Luke 15:8-10 NIV

When I was a teenager, my grandmother – who was the Shahrazad of my life – grabbed my finger in her wrinkled hand and said, “I have a gift for you.” She took off a beautiful diamond cluster ring that I had always admired and put it on my finger. My grandmother wove a colorful tapestry of how my grandfather procured that ring and gave it to her. “It’s the Jayne ring. Keep it always and think of me.” And I did. I wore it with pride, explained to other admirers that it was the “Jayne ring” and tried to weave together her stories as she masterfully told them to me.

We moved to Eastern Europe in 1994, in the midst of a refugee crisis, war, pregnancy, and just general chaos. By the year 2000, we had added five more kids to the fray and kept the flurry of ministry, language learning and life spinning. I didn’t talk to my grandparents often in those days, but I always had the “Jayne ring” and would feel loved and connected. Both of my grandmothers died over a single weekend in 2001. Even though we couldn’t make it home in time for the first funeral, I felt connected by my ring and was able to grieve in my own way.

And then one day it was gone. In the chaos of our lives I had lost the Jayne ring. “It’ll turn up…things always do,” I told myself vacillating between despair and shame. Days, weeks, and months passed, yet it never turned up. I remember praying earnestly about that ring in the beginning, but then my prayer to my Father turned to feelings of shame that I had not taken care of it, that I don’t deserve nice things, that I can’t be trusted. I quit praying and took up residence in that shame anytime I looked down at my empty ring finger. It’s a personal pattern that the longer I live in shame, the farther I move from the voice of the Father. I get disappointed, I lose hope, I move to shame, I avoid the One who can speak to it all…and then the pattern starts again.

When I read the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15, I certainly identify with the old lady’s flipping the house upside down to find her money. I can hear her “fussin’ and cussin’” (as we say in the South) as she looks for what she values. And I can see my Father caring that much about me to find me – my wandering mind, my shame-filled heart – to call me back to Himself even when I try to make my own home with the dust bunnies under the bed. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Not on whether I manage my chaos better, or keep up with my stuff, or pull off perfection. And the rejoicing is connected to the repentance. In verse 10 it says, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” My repentance is turning from the belief that I am safer lost under the bed with the dust bunnies than I am in my Father’s knowing and loving arms. That hope is found in Jesus’ blood even when I am careless and lose what is precious to me. My Father is looking for me to turn to Him at the micro-level of my life, not just for the one-and-done salvation decision.

P.S. I found my ring more than a year later in a bathroom cabinet. I rejoiced greatly.

ACTION:  What kinds of things take you to shame? What does it look like on you? Does it drive you towards or away from your Father? Can you name what you’ve lost hope for these days? What is Jesus’ invitation to you?

Prayer: Oh, Father of all lost things, thank you that you found me. Thank you that when I try to hide, you pursue me in your love to remind me that I am safe with you. Thank you that you will turn the house upside down to capture my heart. You are enough for me.


Hope as a Double-sided Coin
Jesus the Victor