Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ordinary

I used to envy people with amazing testimonies of how God's grace pulled them from the brink of divorce or led them out of a drug filled haze. These extraordinary examples of God's unending mercy and steadfast love reach people. No one was going to ask me to stand up in church and talk about growing up in a Christian home, accepting Christ after church camp and getting baptized on Easter at age 12. *Yawn* Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I actually want to live the events that lead to other people's awesome testimonies. I think it's just the writer in me who wants the great story for myself. (Sad but true.) Regardless, I really thought that God reached people through the extraordinary.

Well last night I was at my dear friend Jennie's baby shower listening to her friends extol her virtues when it hit me. God uses the ordinary just as much as the extraordinary. Let me explain.

Jennie has been such a blessing to me. We met in jr. high and remained friends until going our separate ways for college. 10 years later, we were surprised to find ourselves sitting a pew apart in church. As I reflect back on our years of friendship, what strikes me is how unchanging Jennie is. Even in the throws of puberty, she never got caught up in the high school drama. Through it all, she remains as her friends describe her, down-to-earth, welcoming and genuine.

I recall sitting in her kitchen 5 years ago telling her of my plans to start a family. This plan included even the month this child would be born. After all, we have far too many fall and winter birthdays in the family. It would only be prudent to have a baby in the spring! In a gentle and loving way, Jennie casually wondered aloud whether I had considered that our plans aren't always the same as God's plans. I think had the tables been reversed, I would likely have smiled and added my 2 cents to the plans. But Jennie was holding me accountable. This is just one example of how God used Jennie's ordinary, day-to-day life to make sure I heard His voice.

So if you find yourself feeling ordinary as you go about the business of living, just remember that God may be using the way you respond to a driver who cuts you off or the way you talk to your kids or even the quality of your work. Speaking of which, lunchtime is over. Back to work. But before I go, I would like to thank all of you, my ordinary friends, for all that you've taught me through your words and your actions. God bless you.

6 comments:

celestemc August 16, 2007 at 11:41 PM  

Amen! I've often had discussions about this topic. I have a lively testimony, don't know if I'd call it "extrodinary", though God is pretty extrodinary to have rescued me. But there have been several times when others have wondered how God could use their "ordinary" testimonies.

I have to say, it was the "ordinaries" in my life - grounded, consistent - that played a huge part in my salvation. It was their actions and their love that woo'd me to Christ - not some spectacular story. And I needed it, I was hurt and broken. God is good, He knows just what we need when we need it. An "extrodinary" testimony would have done nothing for me.... but the love, it did everything.

Jennifer August 17, 2007 at 11:40 AM  

I couldn't agree more with Celeste. I thank God for people like you and Jennie. Who else will I be able to use as examples to my boys, who are being raised in the church, that living life in Christ can be exciting without all of the junk/sin? When I look back on all of the times I thumbed my nose at God, I have so many regrets, so many "I wish I would haves". In you I see a grace and strength that I know comes from the years you have spent trusting Christ with all of your being...God takes anything that we see as ordinary and transforms it into the extraordinary...just as He has done with you. You are extraordinary because of His light shining through you...because you allow Him to use you and mostly because you trust Him (and give all of the glory to Him) even when the rest of us sit in amazement...wondering how you do it.

Chrissy August 17, 2007 at 10:11 PM  

I have to say that this post really opened my eyes! I am a Godly woman, but my flesh acts out sometimes in ways that aren't so Godly. I have reacted badly to a driver following to close, and I do yell at my kids, for stupid things as well as warning them of things they do that can hurt them. I am still growing in my faith, and there are wonderful people, like you :) that teach me things that I am still learning. You are right, God is using us all day, everday! I have to stop and realize that the world won't end if all the macaroni and cheese ends up on the floor, or that the driver behind me is in a hurry. I have to remember that being a Christian means that God is in control of my life and I need to have that shine through me so others that don't know the Lord will see me, the way I act. Thank you for helping me to see that!

celestemc August 18, 2007 at 1:10 AM  

Chrissy, I am blessed that you shared. Thank you! We all have our moments, but to train our minds to focus on what is right and true (Phil 4:8) will help us get through the days. I am learning more and more to let the petty stuff go. It's challenging, but the rewards (ours and others) are great!

Anonymous August 18, 2007 at 2:07 PM  

your testimony is anything but ordinary, my friend. - Becci :)

Cheryl August 20, 2007 at 12:35 PM  

Thank you for such a timely reminder! Today, as I feel extraordinary and struggling just to make it through my work day, your exhortation for living the best ordinary life possible has convicted me. I appreciate it, tremendously.


:-)

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