Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Doing God's Will

I first met Elizabeth and her female partner at a lunch for families with adopted Chinese children. Shortly thereafter in early 2006, Elizabeth started attending the classes I was teaching on writing Lifebooks. In the class, I share my writing for my daughter's Lifebook. Because of our beliefs, my daughter's Lifebook is full of references to God. I was surprised when she referred to God in her writings, based on her lifestyle. I was also surprised to find out she was a chaplain in the local university hospital and was teaching students to be chaplains. Then I learned that she attended a very liberal Baptist church that accepts and supports the homosexual lifestyle. She also shared that because of today's “tolerance” attitude of respecting all faiths, God is hardly ever talked about in her job as a chaplain.

As we moved into the scrapbook part of the Lifebook, Elizabeth started coming to my monthly work sessions. This offered me a chance to chat with her about once a month. In addition, since my husband and kids were usually around those days, Elizabeth was able to see how we interact as a family. As I got to know Elizabeth more, I came to like her and to enjoy her company, despite our differences in lifestyles.

Every year I host a scrapbook weekend were I take a bunch of ladies out of town to work on scrapbooks all weekend. Last year, in September 2007, Elizabeth expressed a desire to join us. I was a little surprised since almost all the other ladies were from my church. Although Elizabeth does not promote her lifestyle, she does not hide it either, so I prayed a lot for the weekend and God heard my prayer.

The weekend went well and Elizabeth seemed to fit in okay. On the way home, Elizabeth rode with me and another Christian friend. Our conversation turned to spiritual topics. Elizabeth shared with us how she was truly amazed at the love and acceptance that was shown to her that weekend. She was amazed because “Christians hate homosexuals” and usually show it. She said that although she hears people at her church talk about God, no one seems to talk about him as part of their lives. She said it was clear that God was part of our daily lives and she wanted that kind of relationship with God too. She then started sharing her life story with us – one filled with sexual abuse and the mistrust of males. Unfortunately we ran out of road before she could share how she ended up going to seminary or if she had ever made a personal decision to accept Christ. I continued to pray for Elizabeth. I visited with her at my scrapbook days every month, but because there were always other people around, our conversations never led to spiritual matters.

This past spring, Elizabeth came to a scrapbook day quite upset. She really disliked her job and had interviewed for new one in a town several hours away. She was upset because although the job was “perfect”, her partner was not willing to move away. She was also concerned that they would not find a church that supported their lifestyle, like the current one did. I told her I would pray for her decision.

Around that time, I was finishing up a study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore on overcoming strongholds. I felt God leading me to get a copy of the book for Elizabeth, which I did. I also became convicted that I needed to some how confront her about her homosexuality. So I started praying. Then I found out Elizabeth was moving; her partner had agreed after all. I was just sitting down to write an email about meeting her for lunch to give her the book, when I saw in my inbox an email from her – asking if we could get together for lunch before she moved. By this time, I was praying for Elizabeth frequently, as God had laid her on my heart.

We arranged a time and place and on the way there, I cried out to God – “Tell me what to say to her. Let me be led by the Holy Spirit. I am not a brave person. I avoid confrontation and I certainly don't tell others they are sinning. I can't do this on my own.” God's answer was: “Relax, I will handle it”. I was immediately filled with peace and confidence. Want to guess what happened?

Elizabeth brought up every topic that I wanted to discuss with her before I could mention them. I shared what God had done for me in my life. I shared how being obedient to God's Word had made and was making a difference in my life. One of the most amazing things she said to me was that although it was very clear to her that our theologies were different, she never felt judged by me. She was amazed that I could care so much for her spiritual condition. She commented on how she could see God in my life, my husband's life, and in our relationship with each other. She also said that if there had been more men like my husband in her life, and then perhaps things would have been different for her.

We talked a lot about Change that day. We talked about how sometimes the hardest part about change is admitting and accepting that we need to make a change. Then she asked if I would pray for her if she decided to pray about making changes in her life. Of course, I said I would be honored to pray for her. Although she did not explicitly say so, I believe the change she was talking about was her lifestyle.

That was 5 months ago. I still email her once in a while. The few times she has been in town, it has not worked out for us to get together. She is reading the book and has found it helpful. She now has a co-worker who is like-minded about God. I continue to pray earnestly for her whenever God brings her to mind. I pray she comes to know God on a deep and personal level and that she comes to understand what his Word says about her lifestyle. Perhaps my part in God's plan for Elizabeth is complete or perhaps he has more for me to do. Either way I am really glad that I obeyed his prompting and made a difference in her life. It is amazing how God can use our everyday activities. Other people are watching us. Some are even hungry for a relationship with God like the one we have. Is God that evident in your life? Can others see the hope in God that you have?


A bit about Beverly:

Former career mom for 20 years, I have been a stay-at-home-mom for the last 6 years. I started homeschooling 3 years ago and currently homeschool my two youngest. My husband and I have been married 25 years and we have 3 children (ds 17, ds 11, dd 7). My two sons are biological and my daughter is adopted from China. I have been a Christian since age 11.
My purpose in life is to support and strength my husband, to raise our children, and to minister to others as God directs. I currently lead a small weekly Bible Study and participate in Christian Women Take Root.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for telling that story! It illustrates two very important points that I think most of us miss: judging doesn't show Christ's love, love shows Christ's love and it is the little ways we live our life that reveal who we are in Christ. I'm going to forward this post link to my pastor...I think it will encourage him.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Beverly is who I aspire to be like. Thanks for this great picture of Christ in the midst of today's world.