What I see.

When it comes to witnessing, I’m thinking some wise, much-older-than-me person passionately and articulately explaining to those who don’t know, just what Jesus Christ is all about. And almost magically channeling God Himself as a crowd gathers round’ in awe. Over to the side in a dark corner, I watch, and I just know I could never be that guy, (Or girl). But witnessing can be evangelizing in the literal sense of the word. I’m begging to learn that I don’t have to be a savant genius christian that knows everything all the time to share God’s love.

“ . . . for My strength is made perfect in weakness,”

Literally through watching, observing, learning, and growing in faith, then sharing my experiences, and adhering to God’s word in action, I can be evangelizing without knowing it. Not that I don’t mess up. I do. A LOT. Still, I know that the same God that created the universe in six days can certainly use me if that’s what he wishes to do.

Now in full disclosure, I’m an adult who’s led a fairly ‘sheltered’ life and not had it all that hard; relatively. My parents loved and provided for me and my siblings to the best of their ability, and I cannot rightly complain about them.

At the same time, I have seen things that have shaped me as human being. I have heard stories and testimonies of others that, sometime later on, I may share with all of you. Terrible things. And I remind my children (in part because of these experiences) that they need to guard against what they see and hear. Those things cannot be unseen and unheard.

One of the things that I’ve seen I think I need to share now. It’s glued itself to my psyche. Bonded with my soul and vividly shows itself like a brightly preserved image painfully reminding me that this world needs good people and simultaneously echoing the anguish of a child that deserved better.  I see a child staring at his adult authoritative figure, as innocent looking as a Norman Rockwell painting. Yet, he had just caused a huge ruckus on my bus which was now parked on the side of a dirt road.

He had just lashed out violently at anyone unlucky enough to be in his path. Pushing, hitting, kicking his way around. I had managed to keep him away from the others now that I was parked. I didn’t hurt him. I didn’t yell at him. I simply put my body between his and the others. I let him climb over the top of the bus seat a couple of times. I even let him hit me. I told him he could hit me all he wanted, but no one else. (He was small it didn’t hurt.) Soon, the school security guard arrived. Who was quite stern. And then my boss, also stern. And my boss is the taller-than-I female he was guiltily staring at. She told him she’d be taking him off the bus. And then I believe God guided me to inform him of something. “She’s not going to hurt you.” I said.

Here is where yet another image was burned into me leaving a permanent mark. I saw a frustrated, broken child break into tears, and put his small arms around my boss’s neck as if he was simply giving her a hug because he was glad to see her. His face now buried into her shoulder, she carried him off and drove him away.

I drove him to school one more time. This time in a suburban with no other passengers. We spoke as if nothing happened. And something I remember him saying, that I can’t unhear, was that, I wasn’t as angry as his mom. I didn’t understand, so wanting to encourage a relationship I told him that all moms got angry sometimes. After that he was silent. And I’ll never forget his thoughtful little face looking out the window.

I went back to his house one other time. They said he had an appointment so I didn’t get to drive him to school. Then, when asking my boss about picking him up again, I learned that I would not be doing that anymore. His parents were now in jail, and he and his brother were now in his grandmother’s custody. He and his brother were victims of physical abuse. I think about him almost daily. And he is the only student I’ve ever shed a tear for.

Yet here this memory stands, as a witness to me, and now you. And I believe my boss and I gave that boy a glimpse of what it meant to be loved. For a moment in time he saw kindness when my boss carried him like mother would. And he was witness to our patience and gentle examples. I pray that those things are what sticks with him. And even though I can’t tell you his name, I think sharing his story may cause someone else to have just a little more patience with that ‘difficult’ child in their life.

I don’t know how God is planning to use me. And I still say I’m not very good at witnessing in the traditional sense. But I do know I can type a little better than I can speak, and I can share in this way what I’ve seen as I try and set a good example.

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The Lack of-obedience.

 

I am not special. There is nothing about me that makes me better than anybody else. I do not have the discipline of perfect obedience. Though it seems many are under the (false) impression Christians think they are better. I can’t get inside everyone’s head, so I suppose I can’t say that there aren’t some (who call themselves Christians) that do think they’re better. To this I bring up one simple fact. They are then wolves in sheep’s clothing. That kind of thing occurs in ALL group types.

That being said- let me attempt to reassure. No true Christian thinks this. What we do know is that we have is a gift. Like a big secret no one has seen, yet is plainly visible. A secret that is shouted from hill tops and sung praises about, but no one has heard. Why are we less stressed, more content? The reason is we know no matter what earth throws at us; a brighter more vibrant life awaits us. When we make a mistake (which happens often) we are aware that grace is our lot, and forgiveness is our helper. We have placed our trust in the one name, that we believe is above all others. Jesus Christ.

It’s not that we think our “stuff don’t stink”, it’s not that we’re so much better at rules . . . (although because of our love and understanding of a great mercy given we do try, and fail) it’s simply that through the word of God and the help of the Holy Spirit, we are AWARE.

Aware of grace and love. Aware of a wonderful creator, and His steadfast love. We are aware that we’ve been adopted into His family, NOT because we have accomplished some awesome feat. But because He chose us. He first loved us, and through the power of his word alone, we now know.

It may be though as the good book says, that the deaf whose ears have been opened and the blind whose eyes see, believers in Christ, keep the secret that really isn’t secret. Will it be that no matter how much we praise God in song and show the wonders of His good and perfect creations, that some will remain blind and deaf?

For the record, I sometimes claim to be a rebel. Proof of my imperfections. I am no better than those who don’t hold to my beliefs. But I do have a secret I’d like to share.

Switched On, Continued

I have to admit, I’m obsessed with the brain. I fail to see how anyone can believe this complex organ simply “evolved” without divine plan (but that’s a subject for a different post). Anyway, in case you didn’t know, the brain has a quality called plasticity, which means your brain can change! Sometimes after an injury, or stroke, different parts of the brain learn to take over for the area that was damaged. If we practice something over and over and over, it causes new pathways to form in our brain. The truly amazing thing is, an experiment showed that people who thought about playing the piano showed the same changes in their brains as those who actually did it! In the book, Switched On, John Elder Robison describes how after experimental TMS treatments, he “heard” music differently and his son “saw” brighter, enhanced colors.

Here’s where I am going with this: when we are reborn spiritually, I believe our brains actually change. Yes, the Bible talks about this. When we think spiritually, we “hear” and “see” in a new way:

                                                                                                            .                                                           “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them” (Proverbs 20:12).

 

When Jesus teaches his disciples, he tells them, “…blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”(Matt. 13:16). He also tells them that many …”shall indeed hear but never understand, and …see but never perceive.”(Matt. 13:14). When God said, “… I am making everything new. ”Rev. 21:5, that included the transformation and renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). When we are reborn in Christ, we put Him on, He lives in us! Our brains are changed!  For some of us, this happens in an instant, for others it is a process.

 

Have you experienced this brain change? Let us hear about your experiences.