Today at church I was swarmed. I normally shy away from crowds but today, I devoured the delicious feeling of being known and loved. I wish I had someone take a picture so I could show you but I was too in the moment to think of that, and really to stop and take a picture would have ruined the moment.
I was swarmed by about 8 teens girls from a local orphanage here in Nassau. This orphanage has decided to make St.Andrews Kirk their church home, and the church could not be more thrilled and me, well I am on the moon just thinking about it.
In 2011 I had the honor of leading 2 different girls groups for this Home for Children and I got to know some of the most beautiful young ladies I have ever had the privilege to meet. During those hours together I shared stories, helped them share their stories and encouraged them to remember to live like they are loved. That no matter what they have been through, they matter and they are loved. I tell you, those groups have remained one of the highlights of my time here in Nassau.
So back to today. I saw the girls come in and sit just across from me as my pew was full. We all waved excitedly at one another and then settled into worship. Once the last note of the last song was sung and the choir had left their loft, the girls ran over even before I could stand and the swarming began!! I think I was having about 5 conversations at once. My arms were full from the multitude of hugs and I was beaming.
The conversation quickly went to their dating life. I asked them (semi jokingly) if there was anyone I needed to beat up for them. They know I am their biggest fans and will go to war to make sure they are treated well. They answered no, but smiled and told me that they were figuring out how to take dating slow and give more attention to who they were as an individual not just in a relationship. I smiled as they took a page right out of my "dating lecture" I give to all my girls. Lesson heard and received!.
Then one of the girls, in all seriousness turned to me, put a hand on my shoulder and asked, How is your husband treating you? Tables turned. My smile was huge, and my heart was bursting. I chuckled a little at such a question. They were caring about me, and since I always ask about their relationships, it only fit that they asked me about mine. I was so touched, I smiled and told them that just the other day Bryn quoted a Bruno Mars song for me and that it was just what I needed that day. They all said ahhh in unison and smiled, as did I!
Their bus was about to leave so I walked them to the steps towards their bus, one on each side of me, all of us still talking excitedly. It was so amazing!
I was reflecting on the way home how the girls were so excited to see me and to be there with me . But then realized that it was myself that was probably the more excited one! I thought they would have been thrilled for me to have acknowledged them and ask about them but it was me that was thrilled to see care come my way. It is an amazing feeling; knowing you building into others lives. I seriously love doing that and believe God has given me many opportunities to do so, but when that relationship shifts a bit and you are the one who is not just doing the caring but now is one who is is cared about there is a whole new dimension to the relationship. There is a mutual respect and love that just blows my mind. God has shown me today that it is not just amazing to care about others in your life but that it is also amazing to be cared for in return.
Being so often a caregiver I fear I forget to let others care for me in return. I fear I even do this with God, not intentionally but I so often want to show God my love and show others my love for God that I rarely sit with him and let His love into my life in an intentional way. I am so grateful for my girls today, they not only showed me love they taught me that I need to accept it too!
shine on my friends!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Here is a self portrait from Tuesday. I took this after recognizing that I was getting more attention than I usually do, all because I was wearing my new Angry bird shirt. I knew this would turn into a blog so in search of truth and armed with just an iPhone I attempted to capture my an image of my then more popular self and the said angry bird shirt at the focus of all this fuss.
Later that day I went to Anya's school for pick up, it was there the real popularity started. In almost every hallway I was told I had a cool shirt, was told that some kid likes Angry birds too or I was asked where did I get such a great shirt. Seriously by the time I made in back to the car with Anya in tow, I am sure my t shirt was commented on about 10 times. That is a lot of interaction or a quiet girl like me who tries to get in and get out without much notice.
Later on at the pool for Anya's practice I had to walk through a bigger crowd than normal to get to the pool, there was a sporting event happening on the field adjacent to us. I actually saw one girl pull her almost seated mom out of the car and say, nay, yell to her mom. "That, as she pointed, that is an angry bird shirt!"
I saw groups of teen girls comment and nod in conclusion my shirt rocked. I heard boys holler out and point at the angry bird shirt and watched little kids stare then move closer to me to see the shirt closer. More people said something to me than I can ever recall in my life. For that 3 minute walk, I was a celebrity!
I got thinking, I walk this path to the pool nearly 3 times a week, I am at the grocery store with the same frequency, and I am at Anya's school so often I cannot count. Does wearing a shirt corresponding with the pop culture of the moment really make me that much more approachable? Perhaps some how my t shirt made me easier to relate to and approach.
So to recap so far, people somehow felt more comfortable with me when I wore my angry bird t shirt. So what was stopping them from saying hi before? I do not think I changed much else about me that day, I had my usual I-do -not- care hair style going on, a shocking lack of make up and my old flip flops worn by days in the sand. The only difference was my new shirt. (yes I leave a very boring fashion life..no comments yet please) back to the question what was different? I like to think I am friendly but this shirt got me thinking. Perhaps people need something in common to break the silence, a shared joke, a shared hobby, or shared experience. Some how angry birds bridged that gap with others for me, interesting. Most of us in life are just looking for others to relate to, to feel like someone else can understand them or gets them. To feel better understood is a huge deal, it counts for a lot in peoples lives. Angry birds might have just been a game for someone or a new t shirt for me but on Tuesday, it became a launching point for many many conversations and interactions.
God did the same thing you know, no he did not wear an angry bird shirt, although that kind of makes me smile to think about it. But he knew we find Him hard to relate to. We are mere mortals full of imperfections trying to relate to an all powerful, non human holy God. Talk about barriers, how are we suppose to even try. So what did God do? No he did not wear an angry bird shirt, but he did make himself more relatable. He bridged the gap, broke the barriers between Himself and us by coming to walk among us. He lived with us, He ate with us, He died for us, all so that we might have an opportunity to relate to a Holy and awesome God.
The cool thing, is that God did not change anything about Himself, Jesus, was God just in human form. He did not fake humanness much like we sometime fake friendliness. Jesus did not walk among as just for PR sake, he walked among us because He loved us and wanted to get to know us. Amazing if you think about it. God in human flesh, making himself available and approachable to us because he wants us to know him better. He, unlike me and my accidental angry bird shirt wear, did all of this on purpose with the intention to interact and let us know He gets us. Awesome!
Just something to think about
Shine on my friends
p.s I would be remiss to not mention my fantastic BFF Jen who brought this shirt for me from Canada. Jen, you have always made me feel loved but thanks to your amazing fashion sense, I feel popular!
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Happy New Year to my readers, friends and family!
I am so very much looking forward to 2012
I am excited about what I am to learn this year, what I am to do this year and How I am to grow this year.
I will delight in the renewal of old connections, the establishing of new connections and the joy of my current connections.
I will not be tempted to create resolutions today, too many are broken in a week, and most forgotten with in a month.
I will however, determine to live each day for what it is, God given.
I will try to not get carried away with my own created plans and learn to wait upon the Lord to see where He would have me.
I do hope that daily, I reflect upon the joys of knowing Christ and daily I remember to be thankful and honoring with my thoughts and actions.
I hope, that this year I live in the knowledge that God's love for me is completely, unalterably, and undeniably real.
Happy 2012 everyone!!
Posted by Allie MacPhail at 7:33 AM