March 27, 2008

My Bible Study group did this amazing exercise yesterday. We were supposed to reflect on our spiritual journeys and share our testimonies. Testimonies can be so formulaic but last night was just story after amazing story of how God works in the lives of ordinary people. I loved the rawness and honesty of the sharing – it was so refreshing! Real people, real struggles, real lives and a real God. It was such a spiritually uplifting experience!! It made my heart swell with an overwhelming sense of blessing and joy.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a little bit of what I wrote. Each statement represents 1 person or group of people who have positively influenced my spiritual journey. There are no repeats and actually, I could go on and on and on but I’m going melt into a pile of mush and sentimentality as it is.

That said, I could write a list which the exact opposite of this one. I’m not naïve enough to believe that Christians are all rainbows and butterflies. But it would be a short list with things not worth mentioning. Crap is put in perspective when you realize why it bugs you so much is because you’ve been so conditioned to expect otherwise. And this exercise really made the crap in my life look like fertilizer for bigger and better things. It’s funny how the view changes when you turn your eyes…

So this note is to YOU. Thank you for being part of my spiritual journey. Most of you still are and because of the role you’ve played and continue to play in my life, I considered myself truly blessed.

1. You – I don’t know how you can summarise life truths in bite-sized chunks that fit into an SMS but when you give me advice, it always resonates and switches a light on in my soul.

2. You – You always take the straight and narrow road. Not because it is easy but because it is the right thing to do. You always tell me to do the same.

3. You – Thanks for bringing me to church. I haven’t left yet.

4. You – You have always been someone who loves me for who I am but who sees me for who I can be. I wish you lived here. (Actually, if I’m wishing for stuff, I wish I lived there.) Yours is a friendship that never gets old.

5. You – One of my earliest experiences of the assurance of the Holy Spirit was when you told me that it was ok to feel lost and that we could feel lost together but we should just stand still and *bleat* (like sheep) and soon enough our Shepherd will come for us. My first thought was – Hi God.

6. You – I never understood your sacrifice for us until I led a cell group.

7. You – You are strategic in your decisions and I have great respect for that. Once you told me to consider becoming a preacher. I’m frankly a little worried.

8. You – In your quiet, steadfast ways, you have been a bigger blessing to me that you will ever know. I respect how you know what you want to do and pursue it with conviction. I pray a lifetime of Bavarian sugar cookies for you.

9. You – Meeting a friend to just to pray used to seem totally odd to me. But you made it seem totally normal. And it is possible to pray together anywhere – in a public carpark, in an empty coffee shop, over dinner or a drink, in a pub, over the phone, over IM.

10. You – You’re so funny! There have been times that your ability to make me laugh when I’m feeling down is enough proof to me that there is a God. You’ll make an excellent father.

11. You – You are often one of the first people I turn to when I’m having an ARGH moment. I must have written you a million emails with the header “ranty email warning” and your replies are always thoughtful, objective and encouraging. God is working in your life more than you think he is.

12. You – I watched you try again and again to the point of pain in the offering and I wished that the people you served could see how blessed they were.

13. You – I disagree with you about many things but at the heart of it, I know you have a deep love for God and his people and I am blessed to serve alongside you.

14. You – I watch you lead and I give thanks that you pursue excellence in ministry. Sometimes I take notes.

15. You – You took interest in the ministry and share in our burdens. Leadership used to feel like jungle-bashing. It doesn’t anymore.

16. You – Thanks for checking in when I’m not in church. Most people don’t even notice.

17. You – I really enjoy our conversations about religion at the pub over a pint. I had to read a lot of apologetics books just to be able to talk to you.

18. You – You struggle with walking the Christian life sometimes. And sometimes you get so indignant at the state of the church that your voice goes up one octave and you start talking really fast. And I think – God, I wish there were more people like her who would get indignant for your cause.

19. You – You’ve held on all these years because God placed a burden on your heart and you’re not letting it go. I thank God that you’ve always bounced back.

20. You – You told me once that God might not be on time but He is never late. I’ll always remember that. You’ve also always challenge me not to settle for less than God’s perfect will in my life.

21. You – You gave me a cross to put in my pocket when I moved to Melbourne. It was worn and used but it meant a lot to me because it was yours. I gave it back to you when you moved to the UK. We hardly talk about religion but whenever I’m struggling, you always have kind words to say.

22. You – We are actually very different people and even though the differences in our personalities means that you don’t always identify, you always try to understand and for that, I’m always very thankful. You are more amazing than you think you are and you deserve better.

23. You – We have such great conversations and I’m glad they always fall into a familiar pattern – The world is shit but God is good. I’m also glad you like ice-cream too!

24. You – You preach not with words but with your life. You live different and it shows. Your life as a case for Christ is very compelling.

25. You – You are possibly one of the most balanced people I know. You pursue things that are of eternal value and when I grow up, I want to be like you.

God bless everyone. 🙂


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