I can’t walk Danny today because it is raining, and raining, and RAINING! There are flood and wind advisories out.
The other day, however, I was busy all morning, and then took my dog for a walk. I got to thinking that even though sometimes I think, “Oh, I’m tired and don’t want to walk!” I go for a walk anyway because I know Danny loves it so much. And once I start walking him, I am glad that I went for a walk. I love walking my dog. I always have. This made me consider that except for gaining some experiences and, hopefully, some wisdom, I am still pretty much the same as when I was a little girl. When I was young, I walked my dog K.D. (named after my brother’s first and middle initials since he is the one who brought her home as a puppy), and I pondered and prayed as we walked. I still do that. When I was young, I loved nature and the stars. I still love them, and EJ, JJ, and I are always pointing out interesting aspects of nature that we see–spiderwebs, rainbows, bugs, trees…..We also often go out to look at the stars. When I was young, I loved to read and learn. I still do, as you can probably guess.
This made me think of a conversation some friends and I had around a table in the Fellowship Hall at the church we attended. Sometimes people arrive too late for Sunday School or too early for church, or there just wasn’t a Sundays school class they were interested in, so they’d gather in the Fellowship Hall to drink coffee and talk. It sounds sort of awful to chat rather than be taught in a class, and yet many times wonderfully spiritual conversations took place, as people shared their LIVES with each other. I think that in many ways this was more how we are “assemble together”–by talking and sharing our lives together, encouraging and helping==than simply sitting in a class listening to lectures and never getting to know anyone or the sufferings they are going through.
I started meeting in the Fellowship Hall during Sunday school and church because I had a friend who was struggling greatly in her life with dysfunctions, abuse, marital problems, etc. The only time we could meet was on Sunday mornings. We sat together and I counseled her. While I we were talking, a prayer warrior who was in the Fellowship Hall each week prayed silently for us. I didn’t know he was praying until he told me one day that he was aware of our “counseling” sessions, so he prayed that God would give me wisdom and work in the friend’s life. When my friend wasn’t there, I’d join the others at the tables, and we’d laugh and share.
Finally, my friend’s family started attending another church, and I didn’t know if I should go to a Sunday School class or stay in the Fellowship Hall. I asked God if He had someone else for me to “mentor” and I said, “I’ll wait here in the Fellowship Hall for one month, and if You don’t send me anyone, I’ll go to a SS class–although You can always pull me out of class if You want.” I sat in the Fellowship Hall for three weeks and for some reason no one else was there at the tables–so I sat alone. One Sunday the SS superintendent came by and suggested that I go to a class because “we all need to be fed.” I explained that I was waiting for God to send me someone to mentor. She looked at me as if I was crazy. (Why is it crazy to wait for God??) The finally week, the “regulars” all returned to the Fellowship Hall and we were sharing and laughing together. In a humorous way, I told the group some things that God was teaching me. They all laughed, and one woman said, “TJ, I just LOVE your relationship with God. Will you meet with me regularly and help me?” Sunday mornings didn’t work for us so we met during the week at her house, and on Sunday mornings I went to a SS class. I KNEW God had someone for me to meet with!!!
Anyway, one time some of us started talking about the fact that none of us feel old inside–we all feel as we did when we were children. An 80-something year-old lady came by and we asked her if she feels like she’s 80 inside–in her spirit. She said no, she still feels as she did when she was a child. Sometimes she looks in the mirror and wonders who that old lady with all the wrinkles is. I sort of wonder if who we really are–our spirit–never ages. Only our body does.
Another time, one friend described her interest in researching the genealogy of her family. She loved sharing with a husband and wife and tracing what happened to them, their children, their grandchildren…and where they ended up. She said, “I think it would be interested to trace a spiritual genealogy in sort of the same way–to follow one act of faith and see where it led.” That was astounding to me, and I have never forgotten it. Sometimes I think of acts of faith/obedience and trace them to see where they led. For example:
My parents bought a house next to an elderly widow lady who had never had any children. This lady was a Christian. When I was 2 years old I (and later my younger sister, when she was three) I began to spend Saturday nights with her so that I could go to church with her on Sunday. My Mom had six kids and it was just easier for us to spend the night with Mrs. King. We did this all through my childhood until she died when I was a senior in high school. I (and my younger sister) became a Christian. Now, even though my family is really messed up in a lot of ways, most of them at least attend church. Maybe they never would have gotten this far if Mrs. King hadn’t invited us to church.
Because I am a Christian, I married a Christian man, and we are raising our son to know God. Who knows what will happen in his life because of it?
Because I am a Christian, I have many times mentored struggling, wounded believers. I call it “mentoring” but mostly we were just friends, and I encouraged them when they were discouraged, shared with them what I was learning, gave them what help I could, etc.–and they have helped me. I “mentored” my friend Dorothy, for example, and she became strong in her faith, and she loved her husband better, and she is raising her kids to love God, and she went on to mentor her friends, who have begun mentoring their friends. This is just one friend.
All this has happened because Mrs. King obeyed and let me spend Saturday and Sunday nights with her, and took me to church. It’s pretty awesome. In a way, all the people that I minister are the spiritual descendants of Mrs. King–and of whoever ministered to her and led her to Christ, and whoever ministered to them.
I once read in a book that our faithfulness can affect people around the world and 500 years from now because the people we minister to reach out to others, who reach out to others, who reach out to others around the world and through the generations. . And this doesn’t just apply to acts of faithfulness. It can be applied in a negative way as well. For example, because Hitler chose anger, he ended up killing millions of people. Furthermore, he has left a legacy of hatred that exists to this day. Husbands and fathers who aren’t faithful to their families leave a legacy of pain and abandonment to their children and grandchildren. And so on.
It just all makes you think, huh?
This is the sort of thing we talked about as we laughed, and shared, and counseled, and drank coffee around the table at that church.