Sunday was the sweetest thing! Something I needed in a zillion ways. I had confirming, but I needed more confirming! Anybody know what I mean?
Actually, the day before I'd met with a very close friend to tell her about the whirlwind of a week and a half that I'd just had. She was out of the know. And I needed to update her and fill her in. She's long traveled with me on this journey of mine, so she knows my history, what God's been doing. She sees a broader picture of my life than most.
Truthfully, it was more than just that. I needed to hear God.
For sometimes He speaks through a human's voice. I LOVE it, absolutely LOVE it, there is nothing that compares to when He speaks to you through His scripture! And He has. And He does. And He continues to. But, like I just said, for just a moment I needed more confirming through the voice of someone this time wearing skin.
I prayed on the way before meeting her. "God, please speak to me through her. So many times we're quick to speak with human speculation not knowing what we say. I don't want to know what she thinks, Lord. I want to hear what You do. I don't want to be foolish myself and my heart lead me deceitfully. Thus, Lord God, I need to know that all this is You that is walking ahead of me and opening these paths. That all these places are being opened because it's where You want me to go."
Mind you. NONE of it makes sense without God. It doesn't fold out the way it has without Divine intervention. There are years that I could tell (if only I had the space and the time) of the wow-ness of this road I've been on. It truly is obvious that the puzzle is being completed.
The reason I made such a big deal of it with God (about what my friend would say) is because of so many looks that I'd gotten and remarks that had been made in people wondering the wisdom of a woman doing anything at all inside a men's prison. I could appreciate that. I've wonder myself too. Needless to say, MY HUSBAND's wondered! Yet, surprisingly in his "I'm not too sure" mode... it seems like he really does know. He's been around a long time too! He knows the path God has been leading me on and has given me free rein. He's told me that he trusts my judgment. And will give me full support. But still, there's still a slight cringe.
My friend surprised me when we met. In a good way! In a GOD way! She didn't qualm one bit at all about what I told her. Even about going into the men's prison in addition to the girls. Especially really, going into the men's. She had a complete peace about it, she said. And said that God has been heading you there for years. Why are we surprised when we get there?
This was huge for her. Different. She's normally on the squittish side. I expected to see her antennae go up. I expected to hear her question my sanity. I expected for her to shake her head and tell me that she wasn't so sure.
She didn't. And the abnormality of her normal response spoke more volumes that normal would have. It's like she had already been given her knowing. And her knowing (which surprised her too!) confirmed and calmed mine.
Anyway, back to Sunday. We had lunch together after church. My family with hers. Mexican! My favorite! We laughed hard. Made a big mess. And ate too much. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
At one point, Tim (my husband) turned to Jeannie (my sweetest friend) and asked her what she thought of my going into the men's prisons? She told him again what she had told me. And then (this is so sweet! so precious! such a flattering compliment toward me from the man that I married 24 1/2 years ago!) he said, "Jeannie, who is the very best-looking heart-throbbing actor that you can think of? Who makes you swoon when you sit and just look at him?" Jeannie gave him her answer. And then he went on, "Well, picture putting him into a women's prison and that's where I'm coming from." :)
Does he still see me as that? After all the years, and ups and downs, and now sagging and bagging in places once fit? He still sees me as beautiful? And compares me to someone like that?
It was Jeannie's answer that quickly and assuredly answered any questions I might have had and gave me a completed knowing on this new venture before me.
She told him this. "Tim, it's going to take something different to capture those men's attention. Sharon, no doubt, will grab it. But once Sharon grabs it, her love for them and her love for the Lord will be obvious and obviously felt. Because of her love they'll hear what she says. They'll be attentive. They'll listen. Her love will flow and they'll be changed by it. And, to me, that's exactly how God plans for this to work. I'll tell you this, my brother was once in prison. And I'll tell you for sure that he would have listened to her. I wish someone like her had been there to talk to him."
And here's why:
You know the story of the Lord speaking to Moses through a burning bush in Exodus 3? Verses 2 through 4 of that chapter says this, "There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this sight - why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that He had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
For years..... I mean it's riddled all through my journals starting back more than a dozen years ago.... because of those verses I would pray that God would make me strange looking (like scripture says of the bush), so strange looking, in fact, that people would turn to look (as Moses did), and that when they came over to see this strange sight that Jesus would call out their name to them there.
I've wondered if I would be a distraction? But instead, Jeannie confirmed what I'd also wondered. Their attraction (for any female gender, I'm sure) will be the thing that God uses to make them look. And then once their attention is captured, He'll speak to them calling their names wooing them through this strange looking vessel of mine.
Disclaimer: I know that's a weird picture of me. It's supposed to be. Please, don't judge a book by it's cover. ;-) Forgive the extra skin that's exposed. I was at home. I'd never go out with my tummy showing.