Let me tell you about Deb...

Vancouver hosts some really interesting individuals. The average day in the Friendship Centre bears witness to this. Inside, we have some of the loveliest people in the world; outside, some of the strangest. One of the sights I have been most curious about occurs on Wednesdays. If I am vigilant, at some point in the day, I may see a slight woman walk toward the SkyTrain station with a longsword strapped to her back. It's the sort of little thing I live for. This is really interesting, because people in BC tend to frown on the idea of owning guns, so a lady with a three-foot-long edged weapon is, well, ironic? Confusing? Counterintuitive?

I've been planning to talk to her for some time, because, hello, sword. Sword = awesome. You can imagine my sheer delight, then, when I noticed her standing at Waterfront Station tonight with a rapier on her back (two swords! Twice as awesome!). She was very friendly. She's been learning the sword for over two years now, and she owns two longswords, a side sword, and a very nice rapier. She's working on her blue ribbon and will test to qualify next month. By day she works with alzheimer's patients; by night, she duels. Her name is Deb.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, as we got on the SkyTrain tonight to head home, three ladies were sitting in the adjacent seats, and one muttered to the others, "This is going to be interesting..." and glanced meaningfully, pointedly at Deb, as if the mere presence of the sword certified her as a nutcase and probable nuisance. I'll be straight up with you; it made me very angry. My suspicion is that Deb's life and friends are probably significantly, qualitatively more interesting than that lady's life and friends. Deb minds her own business, and I didn't hear her denigrate anyone over the course of our forty-five minute conversation. Deb was perfectly pleasant, sincere, kind, and interesting--and yet, in that lady's eyes, she was weighed, numbered, and found wanting, just because of the sword.

I have two thoughts: the nature of my own judging heart, and the problem of responding to human judgment. I definitely judge people. I often actively try not to, but that doesn't mean I succeed. A lot of the time, I don't really know what to do with people, and I let the fact that I am uncomfortable stand as an excuse not to engage them. It's not good, and it's not Christlike. I need grace as I travel around this crazy, diverse city. I need grace and love to reach out to people who are not like me in many ways. I need grace.

My second thought is probably going to be a little meandering (it's after midnight). The lady on the SkyTrain judged Deb and found her wanting just because she was carrying a sword. Something that wasn't even a part of her served to define her in the other woman's eyes within seconds. The lady knows nothing about her. Nothing. This hits me pretty hard, because the Lord's been doing some stuff lately in surfacing areas where I've let the judgment of others dictate who I think I am or should be. If you've had a few significant conversations with me, you've probably heard me mention the movie Mean Girls. It's probably my favorite source of illustrations, second to the Bible. If that doesn't make sense, I probably can't explain it to you; you just had to be there. I'm not exactly sure how Tina Fey got hold of so many details out of my life for her movie, but, when I saw it in the theater with my mom, there were times when I cried while everyone else laughed (though I laughed louder than the rest of the theater when Regina George got hit by that bus). It just resonated so much with me--the cruelty of one's peers. I was weighed, measured, and found wanting many times in middle school and high school, in school and in church. People saw me, made snap judgments, started rumors, and made catty little comments (and some not so catty or little, but shouted from cars as I rollerbladed in my neighborhood). I felt hounded. Worse, I wondered if those things were true, and I weighed and found myself wanting too. Here's the deal: it's like the Bible says--man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. I was basing my view of myself on the opinions of people who were absolutely ignorant and unqualified to have opinions in the first place. Think about that. It's like making assumptions about gravity based on the scribblings of a two-year-old. It doesn't make sense in any other arena of life. It's like evaluating the relative dollar worth of something based on whether the dog will pee on it. I mean, really? I've spent years of my life valuing myself based on the casual words of callous and cruel teenagers who have no right or authority to make significant pronouncements about anyone's relative worth, and I am just starting to see the absurdity of that. Only God knows who I really am; may I listen ever harder to His voice. May His opinion reign in me. And in you, too. You are precious, valuable, accepted in the beloved, forgiven, justified, complete in Christ, the apple of His eye. One day you and I will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father.

  • I'm going to be able to take a trip to Ottawa in February for a prayer conference. The Lord opened the door for this trip up so clearly and beautifully and provided for it. I am terribly excited.
  • I have already gotten to witness to several people in my first two weeks back. I have had a couple of situations in which the Lord has given me a lot of freedom to speak out.
  • I was very sad in the days leading up to coming back to Canada, but the day I left, the Lord gave me such incredible peace, and as the plane approached the city, He gave me such a yearning toward this place. It is good to be back. I miss my Memphis people, but it is good and right for me to be here now.
Prayer requests
  • Please continue to pray for my landlord. Pray for wisdom for me to witness to her, and pray that she would hear with understanding, accept, and obey. Pray that she would be like the good soil in Matthew 13.
  • Please continue to pray for divine appointments. Pray for boldness for me to step out and speak the truth. Pray that the Lord will help me to speak the truth uncompromisingly, and that His love will shine out even as I do.
  • Please pray for opportunities to start ladies' Bible studies. I am not naturally skilled at gathering people. Pray for the faith just to try it.
You who are still reading, thank you very much for sitting through this. I covet your prayers.

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