This lesson from "The Shape of my Faith" is looking at life experiences. I've listed a few (Ummm, ok ALOT) of these in the past. But for the sake of doing the study in a complete manner (and so you don't have to go back through my voluminous blog entries...) I'm going to attempt to summarize most of them chronologically in this post.
And for the sake of brevity, I'll try not to elaborate...much. But you know how I am. "Help, I'm talking (typing) and I can't shut up".
My life experiences:
- Oldest of four girls.
- Poor family, dad worked away from home most of the time.
- Extremely conservative religious upbringing.
- Deer hunting, Camping, Dory fishing, crawdadding
- First job in a fish packing plant.
- Rebellious teenager.
- Some experimentation with drugs/alcohol senior year.
- Ran away at 17
- victim of sexual assault, twice.
- Got married to a man 19 years my senior when I was 18.
- Lived as a hillbilly in the mountains with no electricity, no running water and an outhouse.
- Divorced after 3 years. First divorce ever in my father's family history.
- dinner cook in a restaurant.
- volunteer firefighter.
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Long haul Truck driver
- Hospital admitting clerk
- Got married to a man 3 years my junior.
- Tattoo collection started (eventually have 4) much to my mother's consternation.
- 4 years of infertility.
- Child number 1, induced TWICE. 9lb boy.
- State police dispatcher
- 911 dispatcher (REALLY SHORTLY)
- Kelly Temporary office worker
- Receptionist at a newspaper (got to know the local reporters...which later came in VERY handy to keep from having my family name blasted all over the U.S.) It's amazing how God prepares you when you don't even know what's coming!
- Middle school youth leader at church. Husband an elder and highschool youth leader.
- Second child born with heart defect. Girl, emergency c-sect. 6 lb
- Three months later...GUESS WHAT? Two pink lines. Oh. My.
- Third child born. Girl, VBAC, 9 lb. 3 oz. after 3 hours of labor.
- Found out ex #1 was accused of Rape. He escaped on a technicality. I believe to this day he is totally capable of it.
- Husband decides to cheat on me with some bimbo he found on the internet.
- I took him back. DON'T even say it. I know.
- Miscarriage at 7 weeks.
- Part time job as an office assistant.
- Hubby was boy scout leader; I was boy scout assistant.
- Praise team leader
- Church caterer (cooking for groups of up to 100)
- child number 4. Girl, Born at home. 9 lbs 6 oz. Last one.
- Home-party business selling lingerie
- Foster parent
- All-American Soccer Mom
- Unfortunately, also a CB/Computer widow. If he wasn't working, he was talking on the CB or on the computer.
- Completed three tons of paperwork required to buy our first house. Searched for three months and found the perfect one.
- Scheduled for Gastric Bypass surgery after 20 years of obesity. Weight 405 lbs. Fought insurance company for a year to clear it.
- Gave notice at part time job. Gonna stay home in my new house with my kids.
- One week before closing on our first house, hubby was arrested for child abuse.
- Lost house, kept job, lost family dog, lost income, lost husband, lost father, lost friend, went from foster parent to DHS client in one day. Like one good friend put it...my own personal 9/11.
- Went ahead with Gastric Bypass. 185 lb.s gone.
- So many blessings from God...learning to trust Him to get me through every day.
- So many disobediences...promiscuity, anger, rebellion.
- School cook.
- Canning/preserving (tuna, pears, peaches, green beans, apple sauce...)
- Got the feeling God is gonna do something amazing with my life here. That faith I learned last year is coming in VERY handy.
Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't give me LOTS of varied experiences so that I can minister to many different people; So that I can empathize, come along side, serve, support. To be able to say, "you know, I can feel a little of how that hurts!" without sounding condescending is a tough job. Sometimes I still can't pull it off with the correct attitude.
I want to. And I think that is my prayer as my life advances now.
PLEASE, Lord, let me serve with an air of compassion and empathy; NOT sympathy, pity and arrogance. I long to reflect YOUR love, not drive them away or make them feel worse than they already do.
And even though some of these situation have been so rough I didn't think I could survive, I must be grateful for all of them. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences we have survived. I would not be where I am in my walk with Christ without these experiences. I would have been unable to help, unable to relate, unable to reach out to some of the hurting people I have encountered.
God knows. When I look back on it all, I can see His love and care. He was there with me, even when I didn't lean on Him. He just cried with me and held me.
His heart was broken too.