I don’t like that story…

img_2983Whatever I had just said, Grace (30) responded, “I don’t like that story you are telling yourself.”  I loved that response.  What a unique way to say, “that ain’t the truth you saying.”  And it wasn’t.

I suppose if there is one area of my life where I need to continue to do the most maturing it is there, in truth-telling to me.  It is believing the way in which Jesus believes in me, that is the growing point.  You’d think after 40 years following Him, I’d have that one wired, but I’m still in process. Like the children’s song says, “God’s still working on me.”

In Matthew 5 Jesus turns to his disciples and tells them, “You are the light of the world…”  He doesn’t say, “If you hang with me long enough, there are hopes for you to become the light of the world.”  Nor does he say, “If you try really, really hard you might be a glimmer of light for the world.” Nope, to these four newly called fishermen he says, “You are the light of the world.” They’d arrived because of their relationship with Him.  That was the single requirement.  The most surprising thing here to me is that these guys don’t respond at all, perhaps that old “deer in the headlights” thing, but they do not say a word.  And on the part of Jesus, what this might have told them is what Jesus thought of them. How much He believed in them. “You are the light of the world,” right now, “let your light so shine…”

After the conversation with Grace last night, and with how God is encouraging me to live in this day, I know,  God has brought me onto a new path. I remember one morning two weeks ago journaling just how low I felt, and the phone rang and it was our daughter Gabrielle calling in.  We had this magnificent conversation and “love lifted me,” literally, from my pit to the glory of the gift that comes through relationship.

img_2990

img_2981

Chapel of the Upper Room, Nashville

Last weekend I had the privilege of traveling to Nashville as part of the Board of Directors for the International Christian Ashram Movement, with which I have been involved since 1982.  I did not expect the board meaning to be great after all “board” is a homonym with “bored” and I truly thought it would be boring.  As I took the flights there, I sought to clean up my attitude.  I sat at the PDX airport and wrote:   “Show me what is good about Ashram.  Display what you are doing.  Help me to discover what You are accomplishing.”  And returned these prayers fully answered, not only regarding the Ashram but in regards to what God is doing in my heart and life.  What happened there was a renewal like I didn’t know I needed.

I arrived at 9 pm and connected with an old friend from California, Donna Sanders, who like me had just arrived.  Tom Albin met us at the airport and offered to take us to dinner, but I said, “Actually, thank you, but what I need more than food is a bed,” so he relented and took us to our rooms. We were staying at the Scarritt Bennet campus, what was a college of worship and evangelism.  Some of the buildings still have that sense of God’s presence in them from the praying, singing, and praising and preaching that happened within those walls.  The next day, Donna and I met up for breakfast and had this conversation that rang with such joy and depth, I was shaking my head in wonder thinking, “Jesus, what do you have planned?”

After breakfast she took me to meet Dr. Sam Kamaleson at his room, who would be preaching at the three times of worship we held over our days together.  img_2988Sam is in his 80s, and Donna wanted me to meet him so that I could come back and escort him to lunch.  We sat with him in his room for a few minutes, and I immediately felt like I was sitting in the presence of Jesus.  Sam is self-effacing, deeply in love with Jesus, and shines with that love.  He drips grace and mercy.  With that meeting, I realized that there is much more in this time than a Board meeting, there were opportunities to connect with people who had been in Christ so many more years than I have, and people from whom I can grow.  img_2987

At 3 pm that afternoon, before the meeting opened, I got to meet some of the others seated near me and saw there was something special at this time for me.  In the evening we had a worship time after dinner and began with one of the pillars of the Ashram model, the Open Heart.  It is an opportunity to say, “Why have I come? What do I want? What do I need?” They were wrapping the meeting in the fabric of meaning, allowing the Holy Spirit to move into our time and begin to work on our hearts.  What God prompted me to speak about what I wanted and needed, surprised me, for I had not previously said it aloud to anyone except within the family. I sat there, knowing it, but afraid of it, with my stomach flipping inside of me. How was it possible that YOU God showed up at a board meeting.  Forget boring.  The result of bringing that need and desire into the open was such support and huge answers to prayer in those couple days that by the end, I was overflowing with thanksgiving.

God had taken me to Nashville onto the board, in order to get to a place in me. With that start, the birthing of new friendships, the gift of prayer and conversation with some of the great leaders in the church, I returned home refreshed, renewed, challenged and empowered.  This one dear man, Gordon, struggling with Parkinson’s disease, looked at me before we left and said, “Thank you for what you spoke. Beautifully spoken. You have so many gifts. God is using you for great things.”

I realized the “story” I was telling myself about the Ashram was as incomplete and as untrue as some of the stories I “tell” about myself.  I had allowed my opinion to be colored by so many things.  And this opinion Jesus wanted me to clean up.  The experience there underlined the gift of this movement and reminded me of the gift that I am as well.  All in this weekend at a place I had not wanted to go!  Oh, silly me!

All this Jesus used to help me reclaim the light he had made me to be and to walk into that more fully.  May I do so.  And may you do so as well.img_3002

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
This entry was posted in camino, Encouragement, Faith, Fellowship, God speaks, God with us, hope, Jesus, Joy, light, Steps, Trust and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.