Monday, July 9, 2012

I Got Rid of Leprosy In Just One Moment

It's 2:00am and I've just finished listening to the podcast of Pastor D and the "Naked Preacher", Steve Grant. I can't sleep and all I keep thinking about is the statement he made "What would of happened had he not listened in the moment to what God was saying to him about sharing his faith with Pastor D?" What will happen if I don't listen to what God is saying to me in the moment?
For the past month or so God has really been speaking to my heart each day about forgiveness. Well today He opened my heart, my eyes, and my ears to hear him saying "Remember when you had Leprosy?"
Did I really have Leprosy ? Literally no, but as I read the story today of the man in the bible who had leprosy it made me think back through many things in my own life.
In the times of biblical culture people with certain physical ailments were shunned and set apart from everyone. They were seen as unclean and therefore could not be touched.A person with leprosy had mass ulcers and decay. It caused the body to stink and the skin to become discolored. Sometimes the hands were disfigured and gnarled and nerve endings became numb and sometimes even dead.
Can you imagine coming home one day with nothing wrong and waking up with a small patch of discolored skin and then little by little and day by day noticing something popping up. Could you imagine waking up and no one being able to hug you, kiss you, hold you, or even be seen with you? This was a leper's life. In some ways this has been my life.
As I think back over this I am once again drowned in the emotions of loneliness, anxiety, anger, bitterness, frustration, confusion, and sadness. Most of my life I've lived with a label or two. No mine was not leper but they have been mentally ill,major depression, PTSD,anxiety disorder, abused, neglected, rejected, abandoned, needy, gay, disabled, and many more. In many ways I've felt the physical and emotional repercussions of these labels. But as I continued to read the story of the leper, I see that just one moment also changed his life. One touch from Jesus and he no longer had to live with the label, the rejection, or the pain. In one single moment Christ gave me forgiveness and changed my life and he has asked me to do the same with others in my life recently. I'm not saying its going to be easy but through this story God has allowed me to see it will take compassion and His strength in a single moment.
Look at those around you. In biblical times we were always told that lepers were the worst of society. Today it could be a murderer, a pedophile, a gay, or whatever your experiences have told you. Who needs your compassion? Who needs your forgiveness or who do you need to ask forgiveness from? Take this moment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Battlefield or Mission Field

I have a niece who began her second half of seventh grade this year. I am allowed to have her once a week to spend time with her after school. Some days I feel as if I'm on a battlefield with hidden mines and roadside bombs just waiting to destroy the relationship I have with her. I wander at times what kind of alien has invaded the body of that sweet little girl that use to cuddle and sit in my lap for hours just wanting to be near me and copy the things that I did. I had worked with teens for many years at group homes and babysitting but this was different. Each week she gets off my the bus at my house and spends a few hours with me before she is to go back home. Each week I try to take her out to dinner or do something so we are not just doing homework when she is with me. Tonight though, as I look across the table at dinner longing to talk and longing to know what is going on in her world, she sits and reads a book with headphones on and music turned up loud enough for me to hear. She shuts the world out and that world has begun to include me. My heart breaks but at the same time God is whispering to me that it is a battlefield but it is also just one of my mission fields. Though ,I on my own, don't have a clue what language to speak to now communicate with her, God knows and God knows my heart. He begins to remind me of the battle I had as a child in middle school. I wanted to grow up but also be a child. There were so many pressures from my peers and I was bullied. I didn't want to be forced to talk and I wanted my privacy. I had so many things going on inside me that I didn't understand and other things around me that I didn't understand. God also reminded me how He never forced me to love Him or come to Him to talk but allowed me the space and the time to learn His love for me through His faithfulness and His consistent actions in my life. So as much as I wanted to talk, I wouldn't force it. I occasionally ask small direct questions and simply listened as she spoke. I also bought the book Queen Bees and the Wannabees. It's a little book that just describes the roles some kids play in the teen years and how it affects the personality and decisions our kids make. It helps to see how we only have a moment to make a choice that could push our child in one direction or another, possibly one we don't want. Our children have their own minds and their own choices to make. God says to " Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 We have to take an ACTIVE role in their lives but we also have to leave them in God's hands and trust that we have chosen to allow God to work through us to use this as a mission field for His Glory. Know your child and the choices he or she is having to make. Trust that God has "...train[e] your hand for battle. " 2 Samuel 22:35 , that He is your strength, and that He will guide you no matter what battlefield has become your mission field.