Saturday, December 06, 2014
Friday, December 05, 2014
I don't often post of things of this nature, but I believe this is worth writing down for future reference.
In this post I told you that God has given us a church home this year. Little did I know what was ahead of me; what God had planned through this little church. A change - in me - in my life.
Allow me for a moment to bare my soul and share my heart...
Our little church home is atop the Blue Ridge portion of the Appalachian mountains. We were led there because they were in need of a pastor and Daniel has the call of ministry on his life. We found ourselves among the sweetest group of people we've ever met; a family unlike that of any we've ever known before.
During this journey of the Lord taking us up the mountain and a certain turn of events, Daniel is, indeed, not the pastor, but that's ok. It wasn't at first (being honest here), but there's a refining process going on. You see... we were "warned" of these mountain people. They're different - not like most people you will meet. When we finally made their acquaintance, the only difference we could even perceive was that of a different dialect; they do talk different from how we were taught. But everything else seemed 'normal' to us.
Looks can be deceiving.
That's usually a bad thing, but in this case it is a very good thing. I'm only five months into this church family and already I have learned so much - about me. But first a little about this "mountain mentality".
These folks are:
Quiet. Not the kind of quiet like not-talk-to-you kind of quiet, but quiet about themselves. As they become comfortable with you they reveal a little more every now and then. It takes time with these folks - you have to be "family" for them to open up.
Loyal. These folks are a word-picture for this term. They don't say anything against another because they share the love of Christ amidst them.
Family. They are their own little family and just like my big brother would watch out for me, even more-so they watch out for each other. They've got each other's back.
Simple. Everything in their lives is functional. They don't need all the bells and whistles.
Faithful. In all things they are faithful; traditions (there are some that have been at the church for 67 years), in family, in relationships, in prayer, to one another.
Positive. These folks may not have cornered the market on the name-it-and-claim-it portion of faith, but they sure have on the being positive portion of it. If something ill/negative is said it never fails to be turned around to reflect the positive.
Gossip. They won't hear of it and do not haste in redirecting the conversation from it.
Thoughtful. They avoid hurting someones feelings at all costs (even when the truth needs to be spoken, in love).
Willing. It doesn't matter what you need, what it takes, what the time - if you need help with something they will do everything in their power to help.
Humble. They really don't KNOW how special they are.
Since I learn best by writing things out (making lists) - I thought I would sit down this morning and write out this list of character qualities of these mountain people; about their mountain mentality. I wanted to know what I could do to make them like me more. It wasn't until I started reading over what I had written that it occurred to me: every quality they have, I don't. All of the sudden it wasn't about how I could get them to like me more - it was about how I needed to really be more like them. Oh... I do obtain those qualities, but not with the passion these folks do. The Lord spoke to me this morning and I [rightfully] received my spiritual spanking. It took me to my knees, tears in my eyes, in humility realizing... the reason we're here is for these folks to teach me what God would have me to know next.
I had a great education. I've gone to college. I'm a (self-proclaimed) student of The Word. I know the bible. I dress well. I even sometimes match my husband on Sunday morning, but much like the analogy of the cup - sparkling clean on the outside with everything looking the way it should, but a miry, filthy mess on the inside... that's how I felt when reading over my character list of these "mountain folk". I'm not trying to imply that I'm perfect on the outside or that I'm a terrible person on the inside - just that - when using these people as a mirror to see myself... I came up short.
Because they reflect Christ and his Love.
I have a lot of growing to do and the Lord is using this little mountain church and its people as His teaching tool. I guess I should be grateful they don't like to hurt the feelings of others ;o)
Take me to the mountain, Lord... I'm ready to learn.