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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

I have been reading the book by my new friend, Jim Palmer, “Divine Nobodies.” In it he tells the story of his journey of shedding religion for a personal relationship with Jesus and the stories of those unlikely people that came into his life that helped him find Jesus. I have smiled, laughed and wept as I have read this book. I relate to his feelings of anguish in feeling unworthy, a miserable failure trying to come to terms with the truth that Jesus sees us so differently than what we or the world sees us to be.

I know in my heart of hearts I’ve walked with Jesus since I was a small child, long before I even fully understood who He was.  He simply was for me. He talked to me when no one else would. He listened to me. He laughed with me and He cried with me. Somehow I always felt like an outsider even amongst my own family. I am not sure why and I am not blaming anyone. I just felt different and nothing I did could make me fit. 

I learned early on people didn’t take kindly to you telling them that God had spoken to you or that angels had visited you. You’d either get a stern warning to quit making up stories, especially where God was concerned or the lecture of why God would Not personally speak to you. If you didn’t get the verbal tongue-lashing, you’d get “that look.” We all know “that look,” the one that stops you in mid-sentence because you are sure you just blasphamied the entire universe that God created.

So I tucked my personal relatioship with Jesus carefully out of sight of the world and tried to fit, to find my place in this world. In all my attempts to be ‘normal,’ to fit, to be the person the world tells me I must be … I never have arrived …and I always run back to Him, more broken, full of more self-loathing, my failures ringing in my ears attempting to drown out the very truth of who I am…

Divine Nobodies…today as I was reading, I went back to page 11 and Jim’s first account of Jesus speaking to him. As I read it the Lord reminded of a time when I had hid myself in the palm of His hand in the year 2001…trying to find out at 45 who I was, searching for His purpose for me. I was sitting on the back steps in the early dusk of a  warm summer night watching the herd of deer that came out to feast nightly in the lush field of clover behind my little trailer where I was living at the time.  I often found Jesus there waiting for me in the quiet of the early evening. Somedays I simply sat in His presence and took in the the glory of Him and basked in the joy of creation. But one night I was was once again broken…it seemed everyone I knew had it all figured out…and I was still asking…Jesus, who am I? And He spoke…

“You are my beloved daughter. I take delight in you, for you were uniquely created by me and you bring me joy! You are a joint heir to my throne. I am the King of Kings…and you are mine…You are a princess.”

Wow! That was a new concept! A princess!

I looked at Jim’s book and smiled…to this world I live in, even often to myself I may be a nobody…but to HIM I am a princess and because of Him I am free to be who He created me to be!

 

(thank you, Jim, for sharing your journey with the world! Our Lord is using it!)

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It was on a hot, humid August day in 2006 when I first met her. She was sitting on a bench on Demonbruen Street just off the infamous Music Row in Nashville, TN. Her faded blonde hair was pulled neatly in a bun. Though her face was deeply tanned and weathered, her eyes were a crystal blue and when they caught mine, something resonated deep within me. Looking at her from the face up one might think she was someone’s grandmother waiting for her children to finish their shopping at one of the upscale shops. Or perhaps they dined at one of the quaint restaurants that catered to the music industry and the well dressed young people of the city that stood across the street from the bench where she sat.

 

But then you notice…she’s dressed in layers of clothing, way too many layers of clothing for a 90 plus degree day; and you quickly realize the layers of clothing she’s piled on herself have probably never seen a washing machine. Heavy black boots hide her feet from the occasional warm breeze that stirs the dusty, dried leaves on the street. Sitting beside her is a large, tattered suitcase, a neatly folded blanket and a smaller opened suitcase holding trinkets and CD’s, which I later found to be her ‘store.’ People would give her things and she would promptly add them to her store and sell them. I couldn’t help but notice how she held her cigarette with an air of sophistication as she watched the people walk by, many totally oblivious to her presence there.

 

Yet, it was evident to me … that bench was her home.

 

Truth be known, I’m not sure I would have noticed her had it not been for the fact that we needed the bench she sat on. I was helping a friend shoot the opening scene for a TV comedy pilot. The sequence called for a battered, dirty, homeless man to be sitting on a bench with a sign propped in his lap which read, “will work for free” as our star sat beside him with a bottle of Jack Daniels wrapped in a brown bag. The two would commiserate over the lack of good jobs and our star would offer the man a swig of Jack. (I would like to believe we were naïve at the time, because today I find no humor in that scene.) Regardless of what I think or feel now, in order to accomplish securing that bench for a few hours to shoot the scene, we paid the woman with the neatly done hair and the eyes of blue crystal ten dollars to vacate her bench.

 

She packed up her belongings, shook our hands and walked across the street to the small gourmet coffee shop. Once again I couldn’t help but notice how blue her eyes were and how deep they spoke. During the hours it took to shoot the 30 second scene, I went over to the coffee shop numerous times to refill my coffee and get iced tea or water for the crew. I’d see her through the shop’s window and watched her write on a yellow legal tablet and wondered what words she was lost in.  As I’d walk through the shop’s door without fail she would lift her head and draw me directly into her gaze. I’d give her a faint smile, before walking quickly to the counter, anxious at the time to get away from the truths held in her eyes.

 

Little did I know her eyes held the stories that would change my life forever…

(C) 2008 Penny Carlton

All Rights Reserved

 

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