Sunday, February 24, 2019
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Who you are is what you have been through
The When is... when you were ten. Studies have shown that your basic character, the real you... is almost set in stone at the age of ten. There are, of course, changes that can occur over the years and two of them are trauma and religious experience.
This was the 1980s and older managers were clueless as to why twenty somethings acted the way they did. It was because the world had changed dramatically from the WWII years when they were young.
It also explains why so many of us today look at what is going on in the world and wonder if it has gone stark raving mad. The kids growing up today have no idea of the world most of us were born into.
The reason I was remembering the training film was more personal, I thought about my own experiences and how they shaped the person I am today... for good and not so good. It is interesting that ten is the age they talked about in the film because that was the year of my greatest trauma.
I walked home from school one afternoon and no one was at home. Our neighbor came over to take me to her home and I later found out my father had suddenly died that day of a heart attack. My most beloved person on the face of the earth.
That trauma changed everything and honestly, I have never been the same. My happy family life became difficult without my father, even though my mother tried her best. So many things happened that were difficult... but Someone else was pulling at my heart. Someone who wanted to become a Father to the fatherless.
That is what got me thinking of the film recently for rarely does a week go by that I don't thank God for being that Father to the fatherless. I think of what I would have been without Him and then my mind cannot travel that road. It wouldn't have been pretty. It still amazes me all these years later that He came after ME! What a wonder...
By the time I was ten, I had grown up in a rural area across the road from a grain elevator. Surrounding me were crops of corn some years, soybeans other years, and the aroma of grain as it was processed by that elevator. I smell it all over again when I grind wheat in the electric wheat grinder.
We moved when I was in the early years of elementary school to the nearby small town where we lived when my father died. Across the street from the K-12 school whose brick walls hid the many decades it had stood. Although we lived in a town (Population 800-ish), it was still of a rural mindset. Conversations quite often began with the most recent weather report.
When I was thinking of that film, I was thanking God for bringing me through life this far. I can't say as I understand everything about life, far from it... the longer I live the less I understand about some things. However, I have come to realize that He has always been there even in those seasons of trial that were difficult. He has always been faithful.
I truly believe God allows certain events in our life so that after we walk through them with His guidance, we can become His hands and His heart to a hurting world. Only those who have walked through experiences truly empathize with others as they walk through them. When I talk to people, whether in person or through emails, that are suffering as I have suffered at one time.... I can feel their pain.
The experiences are what made me feel comfortable in the most expensive homes and at a homeless shelter. For there were broken people everywhere that need someone to listen. I want to be an encourager for God. I encourage people to keep on going, to not give up, and to get to know the God who loves them.
I still have people gossip and put me down because I stay home most days. They are quite often people who have never had a serious illness, who cannot (or do not try) to understand what intense fatigue can do to a person's ability to live a normal life.
I have people say things like, "I know other diabetics who can make it to church each week". They do not comprehend the difference between Type 2 diabetes and the auto immune disease that is Type 1, Adult Onset Juvenile Diabetes. Sometimes it is tiring to have to explain all the time.
However, my friend who suffers from fibromyalgia understands immediately. She walks the path every day. She has experienced that intense fatigue almost daily so she can empathize and not just sympathize. Her experiences cause her to "get it" without a daily explanation.
How about you? Do you look at what you have experienced only through the lens of pain or do you realize that God has molded you for His purpose. There are people in your world that you can truly reach for Him. You understand them. You can be God's hands and feet and the expression of His love not in spite of your experiences... but because of them.
God formed us for this time in history and the place in which we were born. (I can't recall the verse in Acts at the moment.) He leads when we move and sometimes when we come back home. He is as interested in your comings and goings as an earthly father... actually, far more than any parent since He created you.
There is only one person with the exact same set of circumstances from birth until now and that is you. How exciting to think because of this, you are the exactly person God can use in the life of another. Even if you prefer skyscrapers to cornfields.