Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feed, Clothe, and Love Jesus

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' Matthew 25:41-43. Whoa! When 2 tattered, homeless teenagers ended up on our front door step... there stood Jesus, hungry and thirsty!!

This was not exactly the plan I had for myself. In fact, I decided that I would have my children young and when I hit my 40s and 50s, I'd be in my prime because my kids would be grown and gone and Ron and I could then travel and do some of the things we enjoy.

I remember thinking 5 years ago, "Okay, Josh is now in high school... just 4 more years and I'M FREE!!!" I love my children to pieces and part of loving them is planning for and anticipating their independence. Isn't it interesting that God's plans for you don't always align with your plans for yourself. In fact, more often than not, they don't align at all.

Well, there they stood reaching out for help, a family... love. I remember thinking, "Oh children, you don't really want me to be your momma. I'm growly in the mornings, if I ain't happy, aint nobody happy, and I nag!" Yep, I NAG. I like things a certain way. No shoes in the entrance way, beds made and rooms cleaned every day, recycling is a must, and it's essential you pick up after yourselves. "Are you sure you really want me?" Here, I was turning it around as if they were to accept me before they would grace me with their presence.

Huh, they were merely saying, "Yes, we want you... and not only do we want you, but we NEED you!" Well, alrighty then, let's see if we can make this work. Welcome home my children, welcome home!
Just as a puppy wiggles its way to the very core of a child's heart, these teenagers wooed me to the place of no return. I love them!
Yes we are asked to do some things that are not on our "to do" lists. God will bring people smack dab in the middle of our pathway and it's almost as if He says, "Now, what are you going to do with THIS?"

Jesus came to set an example. He came to show us what it looks like to love people.

Love is not telling a young person she cannot come back to church until she gets rid of her lip ring. Love is not ostracizing someone because they are different. Love is not setting perimeters on a clique and excluding everyone else. Love is not professing Christianity and looking down our noses at others. Love is not isolating ourselves and praying the oppression around us goes away. Love is not critical, judgmental, or legalistic...

Love merely loves... love waits with open arms with a robe, a ring, and a pair of sandals. When the prodigal son returned home, his father simply embraced him and welcomed him home.

Love opens the door wide for those in need. Our son has taught us how to look beyond the tattered covers of people to their inside pages penned with horrific stories of pain and suffering, looking for their chance at redemption.
We have welcomed Heather and Dillion into our family. Today, this Father's Day, they have lavished my husband with gifts of love and appreciation for inviting them into his heart, his home, and his family. Two distraught, down-trodden, fearful, down-on-their-luck kids are now looking forward to a bright future full of laughter, joy, family, and... love!
What started out as an attempt to "help" 2 hopeless kids ended with lavishing us with the abundant joy that can only come from acknowledging God in the middle of that pathway with an open and willing heart to be and to do what He's asking from us... to feed, clothe, and love Jesus.



Anonymous said...

Scott, again. Well, I didn't know this story about you. Now, I understand a lot of things. And, you are right! God asks a lot of us at times, but He always knows we can do it. Also, you are right about what things are NOT. There are so many people in churches that I want to just stare at and hope they will go away. They do look down their noses at people and they do think they are better and that their lives and thoughts and opinions are better. As you know, I am trying to write a book. It is coming along, though slowly. However, a good part of it concerns God and how He helps us through problems often by giving us problems and situations that may appear hopeless. Those are the successes that feel the best inside. It is when you struggle then see God in all of it that you just can smile from down deep and know that He was always there. My hope is that, someday, I will know always that He was there to start with. Then the worries can lessen and, perhaps, disappear. I am getting much better at it. Things are good; life is great; God is perfect.

Misty said...

Can I just say wow Marisa! You are going to have one full crown in heaven! I just finished reading What Difference Do It Make? and am rereading Same Kind of Different... you inspire me!!! God Bless you sister as you continue to bless (and help) everyone that comes into contact with you.

Marisa and Brittany said...

Scott, God IS with you always... He promised you that. He has also shown you a number of times, particularly in the last year, that he has no intentions of ever leaving you :-)

Can't wait for your book signing!!


Marisa and Brittany said...

Misty, thank-you for your kind words! Truly, in my brokenness I'm merely trying to be faithful... though I fail more often than I dare count.

Those 2 books were a real blessing for me as well and I would also encourage you to read Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. May I caution you, however, there are some who have read his book and were left depressed because they thought he was asking them to sell everything they have and go live with the homeless in some inner city... not very realistic huh? You can see why they were depressed. I didn't read it that way. I found him spot on when interpreting scripture. He is simply saying we need to be Jesus to others wherever we are and in whatever circles we associate.

Anyway, my true-blue friend, supporter, and sister in Christ... I look forward to hearing all about your travels in July! May the Lord meet you in the middle of your pathway and reveal to you His perfect plan to bless the socks off anyone and everyone you meet :)



Rebecca Bany said...

That is probably the best post I've ever read. Touching and beautiful. Happy tears! Thanks for sharing.

Marisa and Brittany said...

Rebecca, What a kind and thoughtful thing to say (you're NOT lacking in the "thoughtful of others" department).

I truly look forward to the fellowship with my new bloggin' sista!

Blessings to you my friend!


kemarias said...

You loving kindness is very inspiring. God loves is shining through you! Blessings Marisa

Marisa and Brittany said...

Thank-you Kemarias! I so enjoy leafing through your blog... you are quite the talent!!