Tuesday, November 1, 2011

i'm a modern day jonah.



yup - that's me...the thirty-something with red hair and freckles. the one with three kids walking behind her like baby ducks...yes, here i am.

i've been doing the bible study "Jonah - Navigating A Life Interrupted" by Priscialla Shirer with a great group of gals.  it's no secret that my life has been interrupted a few times.  and it still is.  but, have i really learned anything?

you remember jonah don't you?  he ran from God when he was told to go to Nineveh and preach God's word to a people who did things that i can't even type out.  they had totally and utterly turned their backs on God.  and jonah didn't want anything to do with their repentance.

it's like this.

we took the kids to the fair this year on the last possible day.  it was all planned out.  we received free tickets, turned in lose pennies at the bank from nana into fair money and we were ready!

birthing center - check.
cutting contest {horses} - check.
caramel popcorn - check.
polish dog for mama - check.
petting zoo - check.
pony ride - check.

we were on our way way to the ferris wheel, the one and only ride the kiddos got to experience that day {$2 a person?  that's highway robbery!}  mountain man took boo bear because she had chosen a pony ride instead.  i'm left standing in line with scout and trooper, my youngest and oldest. 

my stomach turned at the sight of the food litter on the ground...where is templeton from "Charlotte's Web" when you need him?  and the loud music was pulsating in my head.  then, of all things i noticed the lady in front of us had a lit cigarette in her hand.  at just the right level for my son to inhale the lovely smoke. 

deep breath mama...no never mind...it stinks...literally.

kids...step waaayyy over here by mama please.  now...deep breath.

i had a silent conversation with the Lord...yes, i did.

"this day has been perfect...just how I had it planned...now we're in the middle of a smoke cloud and it looks as though this chick will be in our caboose, ya know it would be cool for my family to be ALONE for this...really Lord...i cry uncle."  how selfish.

then i remembered...ahhh yes...it all came back like a flood.  all the times i had prayed, "Lord, please use me.  please let me see people how you see them.  please let me be the right person at the right time some of the time."

seriously?  NOW?  sigh...

so we all...me, the kids and the chick in front of us....loaded into the ferris wheel car. 

and i have to admit that i saw her...really...for the first time.  she had scars all over her body...and no life in her eyes.  she looked lost. and very sad. my heart instantly went out to her.

but what should i say?  after all, we are in midair and i'm hanging onto my son for dear life as he peers over the edge.  oh Lord..why NOW?  my armpits are starting to sweat and my heart is beating fast.

i said to her,"sooo...are you having a good day?"

she barely smiles and nods her head yes.  i can't tell how old she is...late teens early twenties.  one thing is for sure, a hard life she has lived those few short years.

i try again, "have you ridden this ride before?"

again a nod, with a small smile like she's done it a zillion times.

i noticed she would look to see what i was pointing out to the kids.  "look how little things look from way up here."  "there is downtown tulsa." 

i ventured for another question.

me: "just how many days have you been here?"

her: "every day."  {like 2 weeks}  she then proceeded to show me the megaride pass she purchased for $60.

thoughts are going through my head...what about school?  does she work? who loves her on this earth? 

me: "oh wow, that sounds like fun," i tried to sound convincing.  it was just about pure torture for me to walk on the runway for one silly ride.  that cost us $6 i might add.

i had a chance. i had a chance to share my story.  to tell her that God loves her even though not one human on earth may not.  to tell about mercy, forgiveness... that this life is but a vapor and our eternity is what matters...so hang tight...the best is yet to come. 

but no...i sat there...a sweaty, nervous mess not able to speak the words that were on my heart.  i mean, what if she got mad and threw me overboard? what if she started crying so hard i couldn't console her...i am holding on so tight to trooper i'm pretty sure he has a wedgie so giving her my full attention was impossible. we had to speak fairly loud to be heard.  the sun was in my eyes...you get the picture.  it was not comfortable.  but, is it ever comfortable when God interrupts our lives?

 and i kept thinking those stupid WHAT IF'S! 

it was time to get off the ride {finally on solid ground with the kids} and all i could say was..."God bless you."  she said an encouraging "uh-huh" in return.

i offered up a prayer..."Lord, i blew it.  i didn't say what i felt like you wanted me to say.  please send someone else in her path to say those words...please....if it's your will."

what if i would have said those words? 

and just so you know, he finally did go to Nineveh. and the town repented.

now, that's what i'm talking about!

{please do not get me wrong.  in no way do i think because this dear person smokes she's living in sin.  it was about way more than that.  the smoke was just an irritant that initially turned me off.  i did not want to preach to her.  only show God's love and have a listening ear :}

linking up with on your heart tuesday!

picture credit.

10 comments:

  1. I have often felt that way myself. All you want people to know is that in knowing Jesus, they have life..abundantly, with purpose and most of all love..forever! Now, don't beat yourself up..just trust God to bring another along with an open heart. Have a wonderful week!

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  2. Been there, I know you are kicking yourself but God knows your heart. You may have been the first stanger to talk to her on that day she may have been touched just by the way you were protecting your son from danger..
    It is so difficult at times to speak up, you are not alone in your fears, keep praying for opportunities, You are touching hearts just by sharing here today.
    Thank you for this post. You are not alone in your struggles.
    Blessings to you.
    Nell

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  3. This is soooo like me. And yes, I beat myself up about it, but you know what? I think I *should* beat myself up (a bit anyway). I've met some Christians - not many, but some - who would know exactly what to say in that situation, who would, within their allotted 5 minutes, have taken the conversation around the Christ, to salvation, to their soul. And yet, I sit tongue-tied. WHY?! Like you, my heart cries out in love; I want to wrap my arms around them, yet I feel if I speak it'll come out all wrong. It'll sound like I'm preaching, when all I want to do is to love them.
    I have no answers. I ache for the countless poor, precious souls around me. And I ache that I speak so little of the Gospel to them.
    And yet Nell is right: your act of kindness, your smile, your little words may have spoken volumes to that girl. It may have been enough just to give a glimmer of hope for that day. We pray the Lord may do more...
    Sorry.... what a ramble!
    A x

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  4. Oh, how I know that "I blew it" feeling, more than once I am ashamed to say. Thank you for sharing your heart today.

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  5. I can totally relate. A few months ago in church (mind you, a church we have no real ties to, and no real relationship with) there was a girl who went down to the altar to pray. I had no idea who she was, if she'd gone to church there her whole life, or what. She looked broken, and I felt I was supposed to go down and pray for her. People don't do that at that church, so I sat there and questioned my "rights" until it was too late, and then I had to repent. We talk about praying for our men to be Courageous for their families, but I know I need a prayer of courage for the Kingdom.
    Thanks for sharing this, you're always such an encouragement, Brooke!

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  6. I get that. You described the moment so well. Why is it so hard to stand up for God when HE is the one who gives us strength? But that's what usually happens to me. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Just the fact that you were nice to her is probably enough. She saw you being a good example of a mom to your children. She got to see that there are nice, kind people in the world. She may not be in a place yet that she is ready to hear the gospel. For all you know, church may have been forced upon her and any attempt to witness to her would have turned her off immediately. God knows what he's doing. There's a reason why you weren't able to say more. What you did was enough. Good for you!

    At work, I sometimes wish I could witness to people too. But then I realize that even just being kind and caring to someone when they are at their lowest point is enough. God will do the rest.

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  8. Jonah is such an amazing lesson! I loved this study! I swear God spoke to me just watching Priscilla Shirer's introduction promo! God is so amazing to take the time to change us into His vessels...even though it can sure take awhile in me!

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  9. I have so been there and it is so hard to gather up the courage to actually say something. Sometimes I know without a doubt that God is nudging me to say something and the words just won't come out. I guess we all need to pray for more boldness and obedience. I pray she does remember that someone cared enough to speak with her and was kind.
    Shanda www.shandaoakleyinspires.com

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  10. Such a lovely heartfelt post. The Youngun and I just read about Jonah today because we are studying whales in science. Our preacher Brother Willie tells us every Sunday, "mind the Lord children"........that can be so hard to do sometimes, but when you think about what He did for us, it makes it easier! God bless ya mountain mama. You and your family are an inspiration to me in fearlessly (and sometimes fearfully) following the Lord!!

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