When you want to give up: Remember

Take a trip with me? Let’s walk down a road into the past. . .

Mur & NeeMur & Nee

My grandparents, two people who loved my sister and me as much as anyone has ever loved. They took us to church a few times when we were kids. I hated wearing hose and toe-pinching shoes, but I loved the lunches afterward. We’d go to Pizza Inn or Burger King where they could get a senior citizen discount. We road around in my grandfathers gleaming green Chevy Caprice with white rag top. Sometimes we’d go to Jones’ Orchard for peaches. Those were (are) my favorite food on the planet.

Tommy Stigall

The boy, a year older, who lived across the street. Around 1992, he invited me to a church event – we went ice skating. To say we ran around in different crowds is an understatement. But, that night was fun and for all of our teenage years he remained faithful to the Lord – even when he had the opportunity to be ‘up to no good’ around me and my friends.

He graduated a year ahead of me and I really never gave him another thought until I heard his name mentioned by kids who were active in the on-campus ministry, BCM, at University of Memphis. I saw him in person this past summer he and his wife were at a wedding Scott and I attended.

Shawn Peoples

In 1997, after Scott and I spent a day at the lake, we went to a bar for a fantasy football draft. There was lots of drinking and yelling and an all around good time. This was in the days pre-computer generated drafting. We all had magazines and stats and hazy ideas about who we wanted on our teams. After the draft, we decided to stick around and eat dinner.

Sean decided to stick around and tell us about Jesus. Scott, ever the kinder soul of the two of us was mostly silent and polite. I, however, mocked Shawn’s faith. I rolled my eyes.  I questioned him. I tried to trap him. I cursed him. He remained graceful and told us about Christ’s love.

Fast forward to December 2001, we had been followers of Christ for about 3 months. Scott coached a basketball team in a church league.  Lo and behold: Shawn was coaching the other team! As we were so new in our faith, we didn’t have the presence of mind to thank him for that night so many years before.  When I remember that night in the bar, I thought he was foolish and simple. All these year later, I know it was incredible love and courage that kept him there.

Pam EthridgeLJIZlzHgQ7WPSh5KVTCB_Typewriter

I worked with Pam in an office full of women. When most of us when stand around and gossip on breaks, she would just walk away. She had proverbs and other pithy sayings posted around her desk. She loaned me Christian Fiction. While she never came out and gave me a three-point-plan of salvation. Her lifestyle was her evangelism.

Why look back?

I’ve ventured down this lane of memories to remind myself of the ones who made a difference in my life.  Although only one actually shared the gospel – and at the time I rejected it, they all had significant impact in bringing me to a point where I was ready to follow Christ.

Ministry is hard. I get tired and frustrated and overwhelmed. I want to quit. Thankfully more often, I want to dance and sing in delight! But when I’m exhausted and fed-up, I need reminders that the work we are doing in these fields are important. Whether sowing or watering seeds, God is causing growth (1 Cor 3:6). He is faithful. As we plant the seeds of the truth of His Word, it produces fruit and prospers. (Is 55:11)

These stories are sweet. The promises He gives in His word, oh, how I need to cling to them!

To my co-laborers, let’s press on together. Even when it seems we aren’t making a difference. When it seems like we are wasting our breath, we can trust the work of the Holy Spirit. Even if we are ignored or mocked for following Christ, we can rest in the knowledge of the Truth.

Those of you who are mentioned by name, if you ever read this: THANK YOU!(so inadequate! But what more can I say? You rock, thanks for pointing me to The Rock!)

I have been reminiscing over the past few weeks. Thinking about the timeline of my walk with Christ thus far. It’s a good thing to think back and see His work in the timeline of our lives. I choose to write this today after reading about Thom Rainers adventure in finding the man who shared the gospel with him.

 

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