When the Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office contacted me over a year ago asking permission to use my watercolor of the Governor’s Mansion on his official stationery, I said, “Certainly!”
(That was a no brainer! I also cried some happy, grateful tears.)
At the time, I asked IF there happened to be a time I’m in Austin (it’s a 7.5 hour drive from my home so I don’t get there too often) and IF Governor Abbott was in town and IF he had a moment in his busy schedule for me to stop by for a photo with him, could we please make that happen?
Katie, his Mansion staff representative, graciously agreed.
Almost a year and half later, all those IFs came together and that meeting finally took place on Valentine’s Day.
When my sweet husband, Shep (he’s a people shepherd), and I arrived for our appointment, we learned Governor Abbott was in a long meeting working on a transportation bill. Instead of seating us in the hallway outside his office, a staff member ushered us to one of the beautiful front parlors.
As we waited, we looked around at the amazing memorabilia in the room- artwork and artifacts telling the story of the great state of Texas.
That’s when Irma (of the hospitality staff) brought us water and warm cookies. We were drinking our water out of the crystal stemware and using little white napkins embossed with the gold governor’s seal.
By that time, we were feeling pretty fancy- kind of like royalty or something.
(Since I’ve never been royalty, I’m only guessing here.)
Marcus, Governor Abbott’s official photographer, came in and visited with us for over an hour as we waited. Since my dad had been a professional photographer, we had a great conversation about “photographer life.” Marcus was delightful!
The Governor had another meeting after ours with a group of people already assembling in another parlor across the foyer, so I figured our meeting would be a breeze in and breeze out photo op.
Boy, was I wrong.
Governor Abbott came in and was beyond gracious with us. I have long been inspired by his courageous story of overcoming a life altering accident plus his stellar leadership gifts.
Guess what? He was more amazing in person than I had imagined. (You can read about him here.)
He talked with us about the history of the mansion and the way the artifacts were safely in storage when a fire damaged much of the mansion while it was under restoration several years ago.
Side Note: The 2008 fire was what prompted me to paint the mansion watercolor he is using on his stationery. If you’re interested, you can read about the Governor’s Mansion fire and restoration here.)
One of my favorite moments of our little photo session was when Governor Abbott called out, “Pancake! Come Here!” and his beautiful dog came bounding into the room to join us in the picture!
I’ve never met a dog named “Pancake” before. 🙂
Chuck Swindoll says we are all just P.O.P. (plain old people) and that’s certainly true of Shep and me. We are not heads of state or financiers or people of great influence, yet, we were undeservedly treated like royalty that afternoon in Austin and I’ll never forget it.
When the time came for Marcus to take an official picture or two, I had this surreal moment of thinking, “I can’t believe the LORD has used my paintbrush to bring me to this place, to this special seat beside the Governor of Texas.”
I was once again reminded that the LORD is so GOOD! (Not to mention super creative.)
Keeping Perspective (here’s the Ephesians part…)
To keep all this in perspective, the same week of this meeting and photo shoot, I was studying about an even more special seat believers in Jesus possess.
I was preparing to teach a Bible study on Ephesians 2 where verses 6-7 say:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
As great as it was to sit beside the Governor of Texas for a few moments, it’s an even GREATER blessing for me to know of another seat I have.
It’s not temporary and fleeting. It’s permanent and powerful and cannot be taken away.
I’m talking about my seat in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus. . .
Yep. I’m living here in Texas, yet seated there in heaven. This is true of all believers in Jesus! Isn’t that amazing?!?
What’s more, all it takes to be “seated high” there is faith.
Scripture tells us Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf. In Christ, on a spiritual level and in a way I can hardly comprehend or explain, I’m right there with Him!
I thank God for the opportunity to sit in a special seat in a special room by a special person in Austin that day, but even more, I thank the LORD for seating all believers in the heavenly realm in Christ!
To God be the glory!