Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Be Bold for JESUS, Without Scaring the Neighbors...

Years ago I had a neighbor named Nikki.  There was always something a little different about her. I admired the calm and comfortable way she had with her children, the way she always cared for others. Even though she had her own busy life as a homeschooling mom, she still found time to give of herself, to volunteer even.  I felt drawn to her in a way I could not explain. At the time I did not know what it was that set her apart from most of the other people I knew.  But now I know that difference was Jesus. My friend Nikki was saved and she just exuded the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

One morning after having a particularly upsetting conversation I was standing outside on the driveway with L1 while he was playing. He was about 3 years old.  L2 was 1 and was inside napping in her crib. I remember I was crying. I saw her coming down the sidewalk with her little ones in tow. I thought to myself, "Come on, pull yourself together...dry those eyes and put on your happy face." But I just could not reign in the tears. No matter how hard I tried they would not stop. She of course saw me, was worried and asked if I was ok. I don't even remember exactly what I told her, but I did not feel like talking about it. I knew she cared and would listen if I wanted her to, but she did not press me.

Later that day my doorbell rang. It was Nikki. "I know this may seem a little strange, but I was out earlier and I just felt like I needed to get this for you..." She handed me a "Women of Faith New King James Devotional Bible". I am still awestruck that she did this for me. She knew I was Catholic, and Catholics have the Catholic Bible. I was like "Oooookay.... ummmm... thanks...". It was July 16, 2005. I know the date because she wrote it on the first page along with "To: Allison, From: Nikki, Occasion: Just because".  Even though I was not ready for it on that day, that Bible was still sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me 5 years later when I was.

Our friendship continued on after that day with no ill effects from her doing something that most would see as "weird".  When she and her family moved away the next year I had a really hard time with it.  I wondered what was wrong with me when I could not stop crying.  I knew I could still talk to her on the phone or through email, but I was just so sad to have that feeling she brought me disappear from my daily life.  I still did not know what that feeling was at the time... but now I know it was Jesus.  She had Jesus in her heart and was in effect showing Him to me everyday.

She was also the first homeschooler I ever met and thus, through her, the Lord planted that seed as well.  The way that Jesus shows us His Spirit through the lives of His believers is really an amazing and powerful thing.  The fruits of the Spirit are plain to see even to those who do not yet believe.  Makes you wonder who may be watching you eh?