The Dailies is proud to present our guest blogger for today, Dionne!!!! Golf clap everyone!!!
Dionne has known me since I was knee high to a grasshopper (that there is country talk fur sayin' she done know'd me since I was just a young feller). She and my cousin, Heather went to the same elementary school growing up and they were totally BFFs. I was always so jealous of how big they could tease their bangs. You should have seen these bangs, ya'll...it was art...they could have hidden Jimmy Hoffa in there (maybe they did!?). It just wasn't fair. My bangs just refused to stay in the "tarantula formation" no matter how much Aqua-Net I used. (Sorry Ozone..). They would show up at our super awesome 4th grade dance parties with their teased hair, neon socks, big earrings and their matching New Kids on the Block t-shirts tied on the side....and there would be poor little Katie...sporting a perm so serious that it would make a poodle blush (why did a girl with naturally curly hair get a perm!? Oh, eighties...so many questions!), hammer pants, the obligatory nerdy retainer (pink sparkles!), and glasses big enough to cover the moon. It's a wonder I ever got kissed (sorry mom....I hope this isn't breaking news). BUT, the good news is...I have moved past those covetous days and entered into a whole new....non-bang related, friendship with Dionne (I'm still a little jealous of Heather's hair...I'm not going to lie. One of these days...I hope to get over it). I feel pretty safe saying that our new friendship is much much deeper and way more profound. As many other young hipsters in the eighties found out...a relationship built on hyper color and Banana Rama...is not a relationship with a solid foundation. You would think after "walking the dinosaur" with someone that your relationship would be pretty well solid...but alas...that was not always the case. We took a few different roads in life, but in recent times have found ourselves converging onto the same path....the one that leads towards God...the one that is, unfortunately, less traveled. She is one of the funniest, most creative people I know. She also happens to be one of the strongest people I know. She sent me an email today telling me about an experience she had going to see Carmen in concert and the message she shared definitely made me think. And I don't know about you...but I am a big fan of thinking. Without further adieu....
Take it away Sam!
Last night, in a last minute decision, I went to a CARMAN "Concert" with my boss and a co-worker. Carman was performing in Philippi at my boss's church. I'd never heard of Carmen, but I was told he was a religious singer of sorts. He was apparently popular 'back in the day'. Google and YouTube him if you've never heard of him.
Basically I had no idea what I was going to witness. I had envisioned a cross between David Copperfield and Patrick Swayze's character in Donnie Darko (another great movie) and even some snakes thrown in the mix...I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario. I envisioned one of those embarrassing, train wreck type shows you can't tear your eyes away from. But, as it turned out Carmen was pretty awesome. Especially when he announced that he was going to speak on "The Shane Effect".
He told a story of how as Christians we have this need to minister to others and take them into our homes and open our lives to them, thinking that we can help and fix them. But in reality, this is not what we should be doing because you never know what you're going to open up when you start digging into people's lives. You never know what evil may lie within them. He used this analogy: There's a reason why there is a set number of surgeons in an operating room. There's a certain person that is skilled at opening up a person, a certain person skilled to fix the inside, and a certain person skilled to sew-up and finish the procedure. We Christians think we have this same ability, but truly it is only God who can be the 'fixer'. So what happens when we invite these people into our lives in hopes to change their life? We are now thrown in the middle of the whole Evil mess. We question our faith and if we don't turn it over to God, we'll become mortally wounded and want to wander off into the wilderness away from Him "to die".
Carman went on to say that even though it's hard for us to believe or understand, Christians are many times exposed to these evil, empty people. People we love and think would never hurt us, but in fact they are the ones that CAN hurt us the most because they know how to do it best. They know us like no one else because we have opened our lives and hearts to them. People can seem perfectly fine and you feel at peace with this person which is the whole point of deception. These desperate, empty people can fool the unfoolable person. When you are wounded by someone like this, you question yourself and ask, 'Did I not pray enough? Go to church enough? Did I not say the right things?' And after the person is done beating us up, we beat ourselves up, and we ultimately finish ourselves off.
Enter-- The Shane Effect...
Drumroll please! The 'Shane Effect' is taken from the movie....'Shane'!
Shane is a gunfighter sent to protect a family. He goes into a bar and shoots up all these bad guys. There is one guy in the balcony from behind with a rifle that shoots Shane. Shane turns and shoots and kills him and then walks out of the bar and starts heading out of town. He's limping from the wound. A little boy is pleading with Shane to say, but Shane continues to leave. He's not heading to the doctor, he's heading to the mountains to die...to bleed out. He just completed this great act of heroism and someone from behind shot him. He could have stayed with this kid who obviously loved him and waited out his last days with him, but he didn't want the kid to see him die so he went off by himself.
How many times do we put ourselves on the line for someone and they come from behind and attack us, hurt us and we start to bleed out? We're hurt beyond what we think and beyond what anyone else can understand. We can't discuss it. We won't discuss it. Even though we should. We are content to go off by ourselves. It happens to people who are born again Christians, and it's part of the "Christian Experience". Getting wounded IS part of the experience. The one element that is hard to remember is that when we head off on our own into the darkness there is a man in a robe asking us to stop and telling us we don't have to die. Who better to know about being hurt by the ones you love the most than our friend Jesus?
God wants to heal you and stop the bleeding. You could be bleeding for years,and it doesn't matter. You just have to recognize it and ask for the healing. Take Lazarus for example. Before Lazarus was dead he was a friend of Jesus--what a great thing indeed! The place of burial is also the place of resurrection. Read that again...the place of burial is also the place of resurrection. The end is just the beginning. Whoever you thought you were or were going to become before you were hurt and shot from behind, you will be better and even more than you imagined. Lazarus was much more popular after his resurrection.
Hearts break, relationships go broke and loved ones die. Carman told the story of his brother's death. Carman prayed and prayed and prayed for his healing, but he still died. Here, Carman is going around the world praying for complete strangers and seeing them healed, but his prayers couldn't heal his own beloved brother. That messes with your prayer life. Then he inherits his niece who turns out to be unwed and pregnant. She suddenly becomes ill and after giving birth she dies. What scripture does all that fall under? Where in the Bible is that story told? Nowhere, but the point is that we are not alone. Maybe we feel we don't qualify for God's love, but if we come before Him He will answer in some way. It may not be the answer we want or think we should get, but it will be an answer to give us peace if we hold onto our faith.
When I read this, I thought about all the times that I stayed around people that I knew where fixin' to shoot me from behind while I wasn't paying attention or while I thought I was safe with them. Some of these people called themselves Christians, or God believers of some kind. And you know what....they shot me. Sometimes it's the slow bleeding smaller wounds that add up and cause us to bleed out. It's the little rips and tears that people make at who you are, what you believe in, and how you live your life that finally do you in...it's the little abuses that add up. And other times, it's a gaping wound left after a huge blow that causes us to "die" instantly. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:5 that we..."should not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet and then turn on you and tear you to pieces." Jesus is telling us not to allow people into the sacred places in our hearts without much thought and caution. Some people will take all that we have and rip us to shreds. It's sad but true that we have to guard our hearts at all times...because our hearts are the wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23). Our hearts is where God lives. When Jesus went out and hung out among the sinners, He didn't pull up a bar stool and have a beer with them and tell them all about His most sacred secrets and let their sin overtake Him. He came to give them the good news that He has come to be the sacrifice for the Jew and the Gentile...and that anyone that accepts Him will be saved. While He didn't wait for them to get their life together and come find Him in the synagogue....and came to meet them where they were....He certainly didn't let their decision to live a life separated from God take Him away from His task. It's an unfortunate fact that there is much evil in the world. It's taken me a long time to realize that being a Christian, and being, loving, giving, forgiving, and kind..doesn't mean I am a spineless chump that is going to be taken advantage of and abused. The same power that conquered the grave....lives in me. I am a child of the Most High God. I am protected and cared for by the Creator of Heaven and Earth. If God is for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:28)? Being a Christ Follower means that you have to be as shrewd as snakes and yet innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). I love the fact that our place of burial....that place in your life where you have died to your old self, your old hurts, your old ways, your old emptiness, your old ideas...is the same place where you raise up and live again. No one can understand our bleeding gashes left by people that know not what they do....more than Jesus. He is just waiting to receive you into His arms and heal your wounds. But just because some people "know not what they do" doesn't mean that you stick around for the beating. Let God fight your battles and you will always be victorious.
I feel so blessed to have amazing friends like Dionne, Heather, and Wajh. We do our best to be a team for eachother....backs together...making sure that there is no one lurking around trying to put a bullet in our backs. Thank you, Dionne for sharing this awesome testimony. You are welcome back to The Dailies anytime.
Katie the rootin' tootin' roughenest gal this side of the Mississipp! : )