Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tell Them / Speak Life

We are temporarily down to one vehicle again.  So, I am currently utilizing public transportation.  The buses here are great, clean, affordable, and not that crowded.  I've only been on one other city's bus to compare though.  In Mexico we took their city bus to Market 29 to get some great deals from locals on souvenirs (if you buy souvenirs close to the resorts, you'll pay double).  That bus was CAH-RAZY.  The locals use it every day and they just cram into it to get to work, or home.  It felt extremely illegal.  But since we were sitting and it kept getting squishier, there was not getting off.  We had people holding on while hanging out the front door of the bus, and people at passing bus stops were still trying to flag our bus down to get on!  (Eye opening....considering most people  I know (myself included) have the luxury of riding around in a five to seven passenger vehicle with a/c and heat).
All this to say that Clarksville buses rarely have this problem.  I've been taking it nearly every day.  It allows for exercise, fresh air, some thinking time while waiting or riding, and personally I enjoy it.
But it also does something else for me.  It's humbling.  Many times I overhear people talking about how they are trying to just get a job, or a GED, or place of their own.  The bus I ride is en route to the local medical clinic that charges based on income, so a lot of people riding are in need of medical care also.
So it was last week when I got on the bus and heard a young lady talking loudly to a guy friend sitting in front of her.  She was in a wheel chair, and she may have been missing part of one leg, but I didn't want to stare, so I walked past her and sat down two seats behind.
She was talking so loud and so much, I went to put my earphones on to resume listening to music.  But then I could hear her over the earphone music, and Tobymac's song Speak Life came on, so I felt compelled to listen.  She was telling stories of her childhood, wrought with emotional abuse.  The stories were supposed to be funny, as she was loud in proclaiming them.  But every once in a while she would look out the window and I could see her eye.  And I knew that she knew.  She knew that the life she'd been brought up in didn't make sense.  That it wasn't right, but it had made and shaped her and she had resigned herself to it.  I could see the pain in her eye even as she laughed and loudly recounted the stories of her family's dysfunction.  She knew, somewhere deep down, that this childhood she'd had wasn't "good."
Then I thought of Tobymac's song and I wondered, "how can I speak life to her? I'm not even engaged in the conversation.  She doesn't know me!"
But I imagined for a second myself walking up to the seat across from her and time slowing for the moment, as I seriously told her what God wanted me to: "I have been sitting behind you listening to your stories and I feel God wants me to tell this:  You are so worthy.  You are beautiful.  You are valuable and you are wise. The experiences you have been describing don't sound stable, and so I sensed that God wanted me to tell you how truly wonderful you are."
Then I really wanted to tell her!  She need to hear it!
But then, I wondered, how would she respond to that?  I didn't want to offend her.
And I lost my nerve.
So, I just prayed that she would know it somehow, as I sat there wondering who would tell her.
I felt everything the opposite of brave.

Is it possible (for ordinaries) to speak life to total strangers?  I've heard stories of evangelistic people doing that.  Is it Personality? Gifting? Or simply being equipped with courage while being obedient to God?  What are some instances in your life where you have followed the Holy Spirit's prompting in a situation that seemed uncomfortable?  How did it turn out?

I know I don't want to be ordinary.  I want to be a rebel.  An ordinary rebel.  A fool.  A crazy God-loving kid, who is NOT afraid to speak the truth to perfect strangers.  I desire to speak LIFE.
Oh God, please give me the courage.


  1. Unfortunately, I am not one of much courage when it comes to talking to people... at all. So, I relate very well with your experience. Thank you for sharing! Usually I'm going about so self-absorbed and that makes it hard to notice other people in the first place. I'm slowly learning to not only notice the people around me, but to go in expectation that God actually wants to use me to bless them. I think the last similar type of experience I had was with a waitress. As soon as I made eye contact with her as she was getting our drink order I could see, in her eyes, that she was hurting. I prayed off and on for her through the dinner. I felt strongly that the God wanted to speak into her situation. I, like you, didn't have the courage to actually say something. She's busy working... blahblahblah. There can always be an excuse. As I was signing the check, the feeling in me was even stronger that I could not leave without telling her. So I wrote a letter to her on the back of the extra receipt(still felt like the easy route.) I don't remember exactly what I wrote other than it being something of encouragement to her because I felt the Spirit was telling me that she was currently in a bad relationship. Still, I wish I had said it to her, face to face. I, too, continue to ask God for courage. I believe that He will increasingly use me to "speak life" into other strangers if I stay willing. If he can use me then I know he can use you or anybody else for that matter! My hubby has plenty of bold stories...I'll have to tell him to share one.

  2. God was using this woman to help you grow... in confidence and for His glory. You may not have spoken a word to her (this time) but you thought about it, you prayed about it and you even wrote about it. He knows you will speak next time. I think you found your courage, just not verbally (this time) and who knows, you may see her again! Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment with us. Speak life, Jenna, you do it with profound grace and that's one of your many God-given gifts. xo

  3. I totally agree with Jenny but I'm on the same page as you. I am so afraid that I'm going to offend someone but then I have to rethink that. If they are offended, then they are probably one of the ones that I need to share the word with as opposed to a like minded person.