The very first Sunday after my birth, my mother dressed me up in a darling, frilly dress and brought me to church. I grew up going to Sunday school and singing hymns and praise choruses and learning as much as I could about the Bible.
In my tweens, it was obviously there were rocky roads ahead. I was a brat, which is saying it nicely. When finally did turn 13, I was pretty well in full blown rebel mode. My mom remarried that year, and I felt miserable at home.
I took refuge in rock music and later in boys. I knew a lot of the things I was doing were wrong but I just stopped caring.
After I graduated high school, I was pretty much not on good terms with God. Add that to the fact that I am an instigator that likes a good fight and I was basically a ticking time bomb. I had a friend invite me to her churches college and career night. I think this was supposed to be a place where Christian singles could hook up with compatble believers, get married, makes babies, tra la la. I wasn't interested. I was married but seperated at the time, and already had a baby. Not super marketable at these kinds of shindigs.
I decided I'd probably be ignored or rejected so I decided to make it really easy for them. I wore an extremely form-fitting top with the words emblazoned across the chest, "I LIKE YOUR BOYFRIEND", along with tight jeans and make up that made me look pretty hawt. I mean, a bit of a sleezeball, but HAWT.
I was greeted by the guy who was running the study, he asked me my name, shook my hand, and then it happened. He read my shirt, out loud. His eyes widened. He started to mutter something about how that's not very nice but then, out of no where, he just stopped. He gave me a hug and said, "You know what? I don't care what's on your shirt, I'm just really glad you came."
I was floored. I had run a number of possible scenarios in my mind, in all of which I pointed out the utter hypocrisy of church, Christians, the institution, blahblahblah. But as I sat listening through the Bible study, I could think of not one thing to say.
Love won that day, It was the day that I, like the Prodigal son, came to myself, and started the long journey home, back to my Father. I knew He was sending me a message loud and clear- I love you. And remember this, so you can hug that kid tatted up, wearing Gothic garb, or mohawked punk rockers who wear more eyeliner than I do, or girls trying desperately to get attention by exposing themselves or developing eating disorders or cutting themselves...
Let Holy Spirit do His job and you do yours- hug them and love them. Make them welcome. Serve them the way Christ served you. You might be astounded to see what kind of a ripple effect comes from loving like this.
And now, I'd really love to hear YOUR stories, Please use the comment box to tell me about a time God did something in your mess that was a game changer for you. I'm so excited to hear what you've all got to share- this is how we encourage one another and spur each other forward! Woohoo!
From my thankful heart to yours,