Intersecting Lives

My life is meant to intersect with the lives of others while walking in the world. Sometimes the intersection is only for a moment, and sometimes it’s for a lifetime. The place of intersection provides an opportunity to share my heart and hear the heart of another. Busyness and fear cause me to miss the connection if I am not careful. I am lucky to have friends and family whose love enables me to reach down and up in ways that change my heart. Love changes everything, and that makes each intersection an intercession if I’m heedful in the moment.

People will always come and go in my life, and some will connect in powerful ways. Those who allow me to be who I am stay near my heart even when they are no longer present because of geography or circumstance. Clinging is comfortable, and it’s natural to want to hold on to beautiful connections and moments. Allowing others to come and go is much more difficult. I’ve always done the best I knew how when it comes to connecting, and I believe that is true for most of us. It’s important to let others be who they are and be who God wants me to be. It’s the only way intersecting lives can become beautiful connections. If I stay the course God has in mind, my life will intersect the lives of many. If I veer off His path, I will miss opportunities to love as He desires.

Only God sees the way intersecting lives come together and produce the harvest He has in mind. I look forward to understanding it one day myself. For now, I can only rely on God to open doors and give me the courage to walk through them. Kindred hearts are what heaven is all about. The euphony of lives touching one another in love is sweet music to God’s ears. The clanging cacophony of discord breaks God’s heart, and it sometimes makes me want to run and hide. The sweet love I feel when my life intersects with another as God desires gives me hope and allows me to open the door to my own heart a little wider.

Intersecting Lives

The Why in Witness

Witnessing is much more effective when it’s worry free. I’ve worried my entire life about what others think, and I still feel a twinge of hurt when others don’t respond as I want. In the past, I’ve worried about witnessing because I’ve seen it as winning people over. It’s what I’d always been taught. Winning folks over to Christianity or leading them to the Lord usually involves much effort and results more in wearing down or wearing out than winning over.

I’ve struggled with who, when, where, and what when it comes to witnessing, but the only thing that matters is why. Witness is not a process or a game, even though many keep a running tab of their conquests. Stories glorify the teller and sound more like a mini inquisitions or a personal crusades than a loving connections. The end result is a string of badges on a sash hung proudly around the neck.

Witness is about letting God open a door to conversation and relationship, and it doesn’t have anything to do with adding anyone to a roll, a list, or my personal merit badge sash. With the help of God, dear friends, and two faithful pastors, I’ve come to understand witness in a new light. Christ doesn’t pressure or instill fear as a witness to God’s love. He loves God in front of me, and loves me as I’ve never been loved before. The only tools required for witnessing are knowing and loving God with a depth that makes everyone want everyone to know and love Him too, understanding that it is always God’s work and never mine, and letting go of the need to please others. The why in witness is love, and I do understand that. I witness because I love God and others. Telling others that God’s love is for them is very personal and cannot be done on the fly. 

I was at the grocery store this morning having a pleasant conversation with a wonderful young man I taught in middle school. A rude man standing near enough to hear our conversation felt the need to interrupt and do his witness bit for the day. I was telling Cody, who is working very hard with his family to open a new restaurant in town, that nothing is harder than working for yourself. This obnoxious man said, in a very hateful tone, “Working for God is a lot harder! You should try it some time.” We looked at each other in shock and shook our heads as the man continued to spout out venom in God’s name as he walked away. I suppose he told his friends that he was out in the wicked world witnessing today. Cody loves God dearly as do I, but this man didn’t stop long enough to find that out about either of us. It’s like folks who leave tracts or flyers instead of tips when they are in a restaurant. Let me tell you something, that is not a good witness to God. A pleasant attitude, a caring conversation, or a very nice tip are much more effective when it comes to witnessing. Good intentions surely do lead down a terrible path.

If not careful, churches can become exclusive clubs, organizations, or even very close knit families when the work is theirs and not God’s. Christ included all and left the doors open for folks to enter or leave as they wished. He knew they needed to stay near to Him, but He also knew that it must be their choice. Without the right connections, His body would become His fan club or His country club. The living, breathing, loving body of Christ is not an organization. Knowing that changes the way I witness. I only have to love God and let Him open the doors of positive and healthy connection. That’s not difficult at all.

Witnessing the way I was witnessed to today is hard work, and I feel very sorry for the man who felt compelled to tell Cody and me that we should try working for God for a change. So thankful I know that isn’t the way God feels, but it’s sad to think that there are those who have his attitude who consider themselves to be God’s witnesses. I’m thankful Cody and I know and love God and shudder to think what someone would think of God if they heard about Him from someone like the man who crossed my path today. It breaks my heart, and I know it must break God’s. God gave a clear example of a fly by witness without any love. I’ll remember that fellow the next time God opens a door for me.

Great Fishing Strategy:)

Last night, we looked at Luke 5:1-11 during our evening worship time. It was a powerful message that left me wanting to know how I could reach out as God desires.

“Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;  and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets.  And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;  so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken;  and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon,“Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”  When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”

I am always struck by those scriptures, and last night on my way home, I asked God to help me with my own fishing. I wanted a strategy. I love and appreciate His sense of humor and had to smile as two wet little girls taught an important lesson in witnessing.

Tyler was putting the new dining room table and chairs together, and Gina was at a meeting when I arrived home. The girls were playing and ready for a bath. I took them downstairs and filled the tub. They love to play in the water and have to be wrenched out when they begin to resemble pale raisins:) I put Lilly’s hair up so it wouldn’t get wet, so little Mylah, who will not normally have so much as a tiny clip in her hair, insisted on having her hair put up like Lilly’s. That took some doing as she has very little hair, but I finally got hair up and girls settled down.

They wanted washcloths, so I gave them each a soft little cloth. I soon discovered they had no intention of using them to wash themselves. They fashioned the cloths into little blankets which they wrapped around two toy fishes in the tub. I wish I had a video of what happened next. They got very serious looks on their faces, rocked the little fish, and began singing lullabies in unison to the fishes, holding them lovingly all the while. I realized God was giving advice on how to fish for Him. Take a fish and love it!

God’s fishing, like His teaching, isn’t like the world’s. I’m thankful for His sweet lessons and for the adorable little teachers whose lesson will stick with me the next time I have the opportunity to go fishing with God. He is love, so the method the girls modeled for me makes a whole lot of sense:)