11 September, 2013

Back+to+School at Starbucks

Back-to-School shopping was always a big event in our house.  New notebooks, backpacks, school clothes, new tennis shoes, file folders, 3 ring binders, calculators and etc etc.  The upcoming year offered our children a clean slate, a new start.  All of their gear was new, the teachers were new, the classroom was new.  All the difficulties of the past academic year seemed long gone.  The lazy days of summer were over.  A fresh start awaited.  And in anticipation...we waited.

This year is no different; however, now we buy used furniture for apartments, sheets for new beds, tires for cars and college books!  Yikes, the price tags have increased but the process remains much the same.  It's a new start for my kids and for me.  We're each anxious, excited and anticipating what lies ahead.  It's like a New Year celebration.  I'm ready for new year.  One that I dream new dreams.  One that let's me start over with a newness in spirit and purpose.  A year that I don't question where I am or what's next BUT what will I do with this place in time.  I'm here.  I'm in my community.  I have relationships.  What will I do?  



My brother posed this question recently: 
"What is God’s dream for you?  Here is some language that I think is part of God’s dream for us, His children"
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (I Peter 2:9-10).

Part of the back-to-school process for me is getting reacquainted with students and friends I've not seen over the summer months.  Yesterday, I met with a friend that I have known for 5 years but have not seen or visited with in many months.  We had a lot to catch up on!  She shared stories of her teaching, her boyfriend, moving to a new apartment, worry about her mother, employment questions, American culture questions and her departure from Alabama within the year.  We talked of our old friends.  We talked of my family.  And we laughed of old memories and many things.  At the very end of our visit, I asked her, "Have you had any further curiosity about spiritual things"?  She laughed and replied, "No, not really.  I've been very busy".  I assured her I understood.  But then, said "I'd like for you to begin thinking about spiritual matters especially since our time together will be ending soon.  Let's use this last year to talk of such things."  And she agreed.  And she seemed interested.  And then she told me this, 
"Kathy, I would like to know how Jesus has changed your life.  Many Americans ask me why I don't become Christian or ask me why I don't believe in this Jesus.  But honestly, I don't see how Jesus has changed their lives.  If I saw that I would decide to follow Him.  So when we meet again, will you tell me how Jesus has changed your life?".......

How will I answer this question?  I said earlier that I was ready for a back-to-school new year but now that it's here I feel paralyzed.  Hesitant.  I'm not special.  I'm not a willing servant. This was coffee at a hot and crowded Starbucks.  This was me really NOT wanting to be there, of me wanting to cancel this meeting.  I dreaded it all day.  Then she asked me, ......how Jesus has changed my life!  Ughh..... 


Does my life reflect a Jesus-changed life?  What words will I use to answer her question?  I really have no idea what words to say but I know I rely not on myself but on my God.  And claim that He who has called me will equip me.  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him...


Are you ready for new year?  One that you dream new dreams.  One that let's you start over with a newness in spirit and purpose.  A year that you don't question where you are or what's next BUT what will you do with this place in time.  You're in your community.  You have relationships.  What will you do?  




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