Monday, March 26, 2018

Crazy Haired Jesus Freak!

I love how God shows up and allows me to be a part of something unexpected during ordinary tasks of my day! Today, I needed to stop by a mailbox on my way home to drop off some letters. The closest one on my route was at Walmart (the ONLY reason I ever go there lol). I parked the van and walked towards the store. As I was walking, I passed a gentleman as he was getting ready to load stuff into his truck. I felt that "holy nudge" (as the Newsboys call it) in my heart. I felt like maybe God wanted me to pray for him. I was about half-way to the mailbox, so I thought if I was really supposed to approach him, there would be a chance after I walked back. I dropped off the letters and started back towards my van.

The man was just starting to look for where he should return his cart. I came up to him and told him I would take it for him. He was friendly. He thanked me and let me take it. I noticed his patriotic hat, so I asked him if he had served in the military (because I make it a habit of thanking a veteran every time I see one). He said no, and that he just barely missed Vietnam. Then, I asked him if I could pray for him because I felt like the Lord wanted me to. He was completely open and responsive to it and I asked him if he had any needs or something weighing on his heart. He said he couldn't think of anything specific, so I asked if I could put my hand on his shoulder and just say a prayer of blessing over him. I asked for his name and I thanked God for him and prayed over his health, home, family, needs, etc. When I finished, he brought up his newborn grandson that is at Riley's. I prayed again; for healing and that this baby would bring glory to God for the purpose for which he was created and born into this world.

After that, we talked for a little bit. He said he was in his 60's and that it was nice to see young people willing to share their faith. He asked me how old I was and I told him 35. He said he wouldn't have guessed it and thought I was in my 20's. I was like, "yessssssss" lol. ;) I told him that my oldest child's birthday was today and that he was 15. I also shared that he was born hearing impaired and autistic. I encouraged him that just as God has used him for his glory, his grandson would be used for the Kingdom too. We agreed that there are no accidents, and I shared about the Activ8 youth conference at my church this past weekend; particularly about and how Jeremiah Carlson shared about his experiences in his life and that all of it is being used for God's glory. He emphasized that while there are mistakes, there are no accidents. None of us are accidents; even if we "happened" by "mistake". God plans everything. We're all meant to be here. He encouraged the kids that they were all God's masterpieces....created on purpose for a purpose. All things (good and bad) can and will be used for God's glory (Romans 8:28).
Crazy hair, and crazy about Jesus!

The funniest part about this encounter happened when we were discussing God's purpose for meeting today. He said he felt like God was using it to tell him not to judge a book by its cover. He explained that his generation doesn't always know what to think about mine (tats, piercings, etc.) and that he didn't know what to think about my brightly colored hair when I first walked by. I laughed and told him, "you probably thought, 'she needs Jesus'," and we got a good laugh out of that. I told him it reminded me of a Max Lucado piece that I read years ago where he talked about how he prematurely (and mistakenly) judged a family by how they looked. I encourage you to take a second to read it (it's short!). It's called "Label or Love?" where he says: "I'd applied the label before examining the contents. We've all used labels. We stick them on jars and manila folders so we'll know what's inside. We also stick them on people for the same's easier to label than to love." 

I also shared with him about a similar message that I saw on Facebook recently. It was a short video message from Joyce Meyer (again, take a minute to check it worth it and so funny!) where she talked about the way people judge others based on their tattoos, piercings, hair, etc. I told him about how my Mom didn't like my hair (though, ironically, she was the one that originally forwarded that Max Lucado article to me lol) and that my Dad didn't really care for it either....and that he jokingly asked me if I was a barbarian when I got my nose and tongue piercings. I pointed out the fact that nose rings have their place in the Bible. Read about the nose ring that Rebekah received when she was chosen as a wife for Isaac (and Joyce referenced Ezekiel 16 and talked about not being "baptized in prune juice" and that legalism isn't holiness). I told him that there's lots of styles of hair, piercings, and tats that I don't like either (I really don't fancy ear gauging) but that it's all just that.... different styles. Everyone has different ways of expression and personal preferences. I explained that God had told me years ago, "It's all about the heart, Melissa" and that it's something that has permanently stuck in my mind and helped me so much in my life. I reiterated that I have met many passionate people for Christ that have a creative/colorful hairstyle, or that have nose rings like me (including our youth conference speaker)."Crazy" hair, tattoos, piercings, etc. are just the "packaging" of a person. You have no way of judging the motives of someone's heart by their outsides! Like the Pharisees, a clean cup on the outside could have a very filthy inside; or a dirty and unattractive exterior could have a pure interior (Mathew 23:25-26, Luke 11:39) You just don't know...only God knows. We see the outside, but God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

I got a big hug from him before we parted ways and he said he'd be sure to talk to me again if he ever saw me. I told him about my job at the Salvation Army and encouraged him to stop by and say hello sometime. I shared about how much I loved my job and that I get to smile and welcome people in, pray for them, and just love on them. I also told him that there have been four drive-thru workers that I've been moved to prayed for recently and that only one of them refused. You just have to say "yes" to God and he'll let you be part of something when you cooperate!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I hope you're as inspired and encouraged as I am! I couldn't stop thanking and praising God for allowing me to be part of it as I drove home! I really wanted to put this out there today because I love sharing moments like this (and reading/hearing about others' moments as well). Who doesn't love a good "God story"?! We need to read encouraging stuff like this; and to be inspired to be PART of these moments as well! It really isn't hard to obey a simple prompt from God. I have so many of these awesome moments that I could be blogging about, but I would be writing non-stop if I shared them all! I am so blessed to be a part of God's Kingdom work! I feel so honored that He would include me and choose me to interact with people like this! The good news is, He wants to include ALL of us! You can be part of it too! Just listen....and then do it! Keep on listening and loving well! Ask God to open you up to love better and bigger; to give you HIS eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart to listen and love others (watch "Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath!). Be receptive to Him and He just might let you have a peek at someone's beautiful heart when you step out of your box to connect with them! That crazy haired, tattooed, pierced hooligan may just be crazy about Jesus too. ;) She could be a crazy haired Jesus me! God bless you!