In 2011, I went to the general conference of the Bible Missionary Church in Springdale, Arkansas. Since I’m not Bible Missionary, I didn’t know a lot of the people there. But I went with my cup upright, ready to receive something from God. The Bible Missionary push books among their people, and this convention was no different. A certain book, A Mind at Ease, was passed out with the instructions to go pay a dollar for it at the bookstore.
Later, as I was browsing in the bookstore, I heard a man emphatically calling to the workers, “I forgot to give my dollar! I forgot to give my dollar! This is for A Mind at Ease!”
The situation of someone being distressed over a book teaching you to be at ease struck my funny bone. I didn’t know the man, but before I knew it, I had yelled out, “Good! Now your mind can be at ease!”
Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks and stared at me. “Are you related to Mary Anne Wheeler?” he asked, surprised.
“Yes, she’s my sister,” I answered. It was my turn to be shocked. “How did you know?”
He told me, “I met her in Michigan. I could tell by your laugh.”
That was nine years ago, and I’m still amazed. Amazed that at a convention of over 1,000 people, that a Bible Missionary man from Michigan could meet a Wesleyan Holiness Alliance Kansas woman in Arkansas and know which independent Indiana family she belonged to…by her laugh!
I have a lot of Smith characteristics. My mom said that when she would go to the hospital nursery to get her baby, she would think, “I’ve seen this baby before!”
Recently, in the recesses of the church attic, my sister Glenda and her daughter-in-law Joanna found some forgotten papers of my parents—pages of notes, diaries, and letters. All of these precious things were mixed up with trash. They carefully picked out pages of words that are more valuable to me than money. They contain evidence of my parents’ spiritual DNA. There were lines telling of careful living and how they had been delivered from sin and changed. That is the spiritual DNA that I want! I want someone to say, “You pray like Mildred Smith. You carry a burden like Lewis Smith.”
I was reminded of my mom’s example of staying pure from inappropriate things, my father’s kindness in the face of adversity, and how they got under the load of the church and community. I want their characteristics.
I want to have the characteristics of Christ. I want my spiritual genetics to shine through at the airport, the fast food restaurant, downtown, and everywhere I go. I don’t want you to get confused which family I belong to. I want you to know me by my laugh.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. II Peter 1:4
O to be Thee! Full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinners to find.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
-Thomas O. Chisholm