July 30, 2013

The Battered and Beautiful

    Yesterday I had a friendly debate with an atheist.  I'm still trying to let my brain digest that fact.  You see, I'm not a debater.  Especially not with a man, and especially not about a potentially explosive subject.  But I did.  He told me he was an atheist, and started asking questions about my faith.  I answered, and came back with questions trying to shake his firm stance.  It was one of those things I just couldn't let go.  I had to defend my faith, period.
    Friends, defending your faith is hard.  His questions and statements weren't overly tough, but it was his attitude that shook me.  My brain was whirling from his enthusiastic comebacks to my questions.  This guy wasn't interviewing my faith in hopes of hiring it; he was merely making conversation.
    Even if he wasn't buying it, I had to keep talking Jesus.  Even if my words bounced off his heart, I was the only Bible he would see that day. 
    I prayed a couple times during my debate, that God would give me the right words to speak.  I had hoped God would blow his mind with some undeniable truth from my mouth, but it didn't happen.  To me, it sounded like The Athiest was winning the debate.  Still, I had to keep talking Jesus - if it had to be in my own lowly faltering backwards way, so be it.  Because I was the only Bible he would see that day. 

    If God didn't give me an amazing speech, my unprepared comebacks must've been better - from a God's eye point of view.  I can't see it now, but in God's plan he didn't have Ariel blowing the mind and heart of The Athiest towards God.  His plan probably sounded more like Ariel trusting God to get her through her first witnessing experience.  Because sometimes our Bibles are battered and torn.  Sometimes we underline the wrong verse and accidentally rip a page half out.  The book we love the very most shows both our triumphs and our trials.  
Friends, I urge you; don't hide your Bibles.  Don't wince when The Athiests in your life stare at the crayon scribbles in Genesis or the flimsy spine falling apart.  Because you are the only Bible they will see today.  Don't hide the truth because it sounds a little rough.  Because God speaks, believe it or not, through battered Bibles.  They are the most beautiful kind, because those are the only Bibles they will see today. 

July 28, 2013

The God behind my heartsfire

    Slightly bewildered, I scratched "start Bible study for 
girls" in a square marked for March of the year I would be nineteen
years old.  A five year plan seemed pretty far-fetched to me.  At fifteen
years old, I was starting to test out of classes for college, and was trying
to pull together my life purpose in order to decide on a degree.  After some
prayer and further incredulous scratching, I soon forgot my five year plan.

   My life calling became an afterthought as the days slipped by and
untrodden distractions became worn paths.  The idea of a Bible study faded
into a mist as I took step after shaky step, eyes blindfolded, hands
groping.  It was hard to walk forward without a destination, and I often
cried out to God, asking where He was taking me with this journey - this one
life I was given to live.

   One Wednesday night, months later, my wondering and groping pulled a fantastic stunt by God's power and became wonder at God's plan and a heart gasping at the brightness in front of my unveiled eyes.  Casually, my little sister mentioned that she and two of her friends wanted to have a Bible study.  My heart remembered, and beat into flame a new hope.  How often, may I ask, do you catch wind of three girls itching for a Bible study of their own accord?

   What she said next tossed a wave of extremely flammable material into my heart's fire.  The girls, she said, thought I should lead their Bible study.

    The glow from my blazing heart illuminated the old forgotten dreams.  I saw
that they were beautiful, matured, and ready to be pulled off the shelf and
put to use working for God's glory. Then in my new glowing heart, I felt
what cannot be described - God sent a wind of His peace.  I nearly exploded
with joy and disbelief, coupled with a presiding sense of extreme
thankfulness and awe at a God who is indeed faithful to work everything for
my good and to the glory of His name.

   When I recorded my skeptical dreams and goals, I felt so incapable of
fulfilling them.  In my own way I entrusted them to God by throwing up my
hands and telling Him that if he actually wanted me to follow through with
my half-hearted plans, He was going to have to make a way.  Being the
amazingly fantastical God He is, He took me up on that little mustard seed

of faith I offered Him and now I squint up at a spreading tree, throwing up
my hands again in trust.

   This time I'm trusting Him to keep the fire in my heart going.  I'm
trusting Him to be my only inspiration as I plan and organize His Bible
study.  I'm trusting Him to give me words that resonate with these girl's

   This time, though, my mind is etched with the fire He lit and the

tree He grew. 

   And this time I'm expecting so much more because I know what
He has done and because He is the Great. I. Am.