Thursday, October 25, 2012

A babbling mess of babble.

So I wrote this a couple days ago. And since then, even though I totally got off track. I tried to "clean it up" a bit. To make it easier to read. But, it is what it is. A babbling mess of babble. Welcome to my mind. I know, scary. And this morning as I was on the back of the moto, I was thinking. So many people have asked me "What changed it all? What moment did it all start to turn around?" And I always try to come up with a adeqieut answer. But today on the back of the moto....

I realized I never knew anyone to come to Christ because they felt condemned or judged. I honestly cannot think of a single person who my spiritual pride, has brought to Christ. In fact, I get rather fired up and angered when I see Christians do that. I remember once at a party, there was a bounce house outside. (It was a kids party!) and a bunch of us adults where being goofy outside in it. And one said (rather loudly!) "Do you realize its all the Christians who are out here having fun, while all the non Christians are inside being BORING." I seriously had to bite my tongue and go inside with the non judgmental people. And sit on my hands, least I be a Christian who punched another Christian. Since when did one person come to Christ because a Christian made them feel like a outsider? I vowed to not be that Christian. 

 "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou

On another note, I do know quiet a few people who have come to Christ, been ablaze for God, and done radical amazing things, because they where loved. And so now if you want to know what changed it all around for me. It was love. Simply love. 

So this is what I wrote the other day. That pretty much, is as cleaned up as I can get it. Which is like, not cleaned up at all. If I take one thing away, it just doesn't portray right. Though I am not sure it portrays right, right now. So again, it is, what it is. 

Proverbs 27:17 states “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

This is not just for them. This is God sharpening me. This is God stretching me, this is God pruning, molding, and sharpening me. This is God teaching me. And as I get to be pruned, taught, molded, and sharpened. I hope that the girls I get to live alongside are sharpened as well. Sometimes it’s a bit like sandpaper, and we squirm, and it hurts. But it is smoothing us. And sometimes the girls call me out on something as well.

Sometimes they see things I have been dulled to as an American. And vice versa. And *chink chink* one sharpens the other. That was probably mistake number one, that I made on my first trip. I thought I was coming here to help them. I thought I would make a dent in their lives. Little did I know, I might have left a dent here, but I came home a train wreck! And a train wreck in the most amazing way possible.

Then I came on the second trip, by myself. Hello stretching and growing. And I remember honestly, and literally SKIPPING over James 1:27 when I came across it again. Thinking I had drained that verse of all its meaning. Thinking I knew it front ways and back ways. Thinking I could not possibly get anymore from it. I am sure you know what’s coming next. Something in that verse hit me like a semi-truck. (Maybe I left a small nick here, and here I am being hit by train #2!)

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

And as I read it again for the millionth time. God lifted some veil over my eyes and said “Do not get comfortable. Do not go back to America and fall back into comfort. Do not forget. Do not become polluted by ease, comfort, commercialism, peer pressure, temptation, and everything else.” And regardless if I stayed in America, or the fact that I now live here. I am not to allow myself to be polluted. I am not to allow myself to become polluted by thinking I am saving anyone. Because I cannot do that. God has clearly laid that one out to me. That all I can do is love people, that’s it. He does the saving. I am not to become polluted by pride or praise. I am not to get polluted by what I allow into my mind. Here, there, God is telling me, just don’t do it. It is not worth the price. It is not worth loosing closeness with Him. And not on His part. We all know that nice little sign in the Christian book stores, “If God feels far away, who moved?” It’s true though. When we take a step toward Christ, he barrels forward toward us.

I remember when I first start to truly surrender to Christ in my personal life. For me, there is two distinct times in my life, spiritually. When I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. And when I surrendered my life.  But, for me, it took lots of time of watching. Like a ridiculously long time of watching. For those of you who know me, you know right now is when I pull out the baseball analogy. Yep, here it is.

Imagine you met someone who had never seen sports in their life. Never watched it,  never saw sports equipment. And you know baseball, is what they were created for. They are failing miserably, and fallen into a deep depression, because they cannot seem to find meaning. Well, they are not suppose to be working in this factory, they are meant to play baseball!!!! They were created just for that!

So you plead with them. . . “You got to play baseball. It will bring you purpose, It is what you are created to do!! It will fill the void in you. Baseball!!! Play baseball!!”

Of course you know, that person will stare blankly at you. Baseball? What, that what? Well that all nice and dandy that you know what is going to bring me purpose, but how in the world?

Now replace baseball with Christ. I had many people telling me I needed Christ from time to time. I had run across the passionate Christian time from time, before I committed to Christ. I acknowledged and knew I needed someone else to run the show because I was failing miserably. And a few times I let others who had no good intention to run the show. But, I didn’t know HOW to let God. I didn’t know how to read the bible. It did not make sense to me, and I would get flustered. I didn’t know how to pray, but say a bunch of prayers someone else wrote, over and over. I didn’t know what half the things these “Christians” said, meant. They were just weird.

I asked Jesus into my heart. I asked forgiveness. But then I watched. I watched for years. And some people who where long suffering in my life. They took me to the ball field. I sat in the dugout and I watched them play baseball. When they were not looking a few times, I mimicked a few of their actions. I would go home, and feel empty. I would self harm, even OD’ed a few times. As I could not get a grasp on life, and was not doing what I was created to do. ICU…. Respirator…. Charcoal… inpatient… back to the ball field. Ball players sat by my hospital bed, more times than I can tell you. “Baseball, you need baseball.” GREAT! HOW?!

So then with those who refused to see the reality, and chose to see the potential of Christ in my life. They took me to the batting cages. They showed me how to hold the bat. They showed me how to swing. They explained discernment of knowing when to swing, and when to stand still. Back to the dugout. Back home, taking 11 pysch meds. Back to inpatient. Back to intensive out-treatment. Again waking up strapped down to a bed, hearing the beeping of machines, unable to speak with a tube down my throat breathing for me. Slamming my restrained wrists again the metal of a hospital bed. The baseball players kept showing up. Kept picking me up to go to the baseball field.

They fit me with a glove. They kept reminding me I was an incredible baseball player. And really it had nothing to do with how good I played the game. They already knew who was going to win. I need only show up.

Then one day I lay in a hospital bed, and a knock at the door. The whole baseball team showed up (AKA all of women’s bible study at my church!) and sat around my bed and they show me the gameplan (aka had bible study right there in my hospital room) Something changed that day. I guess I realized I was loved enough, that even though it was scary. I would begin to loosen my grip on all the things I felt stabilized me. As crazy as it sounds.

And I cleaned out the alchohol. And I walked away from the drugs. I quit smoking. I kept showing up at baseball practice. I kept watching. I kept trying to learn to swing. The team was cheering me on. I knew they wouldn’t let me fall. I was not sure yet if I could trust an unseen God, but I knew at that point, I could trust this baseball team. And I remember there where times, I wanted to run back to what I knew. What was destructive but comfortable. I remember as I started to learn to die to myself, I told another ball player “Man, it hurts to die.” As my flesh began to die, and I continued to choose not to run to the victim role. Not to run to the drugs. Not to run to even mental health.

Then I will never forget the moment. I was sitting in the living room, in my chair, in the word of God. I felt his presence, and I felt His leading. I was confessing, I was walking with Him, I was starting to trust him. And I screamed “IM IN THE GAME!” The grass green beneath my feet. The glove on my hand.

Of course it was never really baseball. And really I stink at all sports, so it is kinda funny I use that analogy. But for me, I had to watch those around me live a life of abandonment to Jesus. I had to watch them lead, disciple, minister, and serve. I had to be on the receiving end, and have been insanely blessed to have chances now days to be on the giving end of that. To get to serve those, who served me at some pretty low moments in my life.

Those people chose to live it alongside me. I remember the day I sat in my psychiatrists office. Over 50 inpatient stays later. Died on the way to the ICU basically twice. Scarred up. Grinning that cheesy grin. And I remember Him saying “Well, you are off all your meds, You are doing good. I guess we don’t need to make another appointment, unless you need to call and set one up again.” I remember walking out those doors, practically skipping away. I was done.

Don’t get me wrong. Life never became a bowl of cherries. But I finally began to do what I was created to do. To have a relationship with Christ. And that’s what I hope I get to do where I am. I want to live it alongside them. I want to play baseball in front of them. I want to bring em to the dugout. I know some all-star players, I would love to introduce them to some day as well. Who to me, are in the baseball hall of fame.

I spent more years, walking in this redemption. This sanctification process, that every Christian goes through till the day they die. Then I went on my first trip, my second trip. And I realized I wanted to come to Africa and play baseball here. I wanted to live it alongside them. I know how it feels also to have no one show up. I know how it feels to be scared and alone. I know what it is like to be homeless.  And I know all I can do is love them.

And someday God really gets in there and prunes me. And I squirm, and I kick and scream. And then I feel Him. I feel how close He is to me. And I quiet myself, and listen to Him as he woo’es me. As he comforts me. As his words seep into my very marrow. And I rest in Him.

So, I have no idea where this blog post just went! It was suppose to be how this is an iron sharpens iron experience here. But I guess it ended with baseball…. Welcome to my mind, it never stays on topic. :p

Well, I guess I will just say then. . . “Let’s play ball!!” 

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