Speak Life

My friend Rebecca starts her day by getting a diet soda at her a local 7-11. I tell her it is one addiction that continues to bear incredible fruit!

Here’s what occurred a few months ago:

An interruption of a loud explosion invades the sounds in her mind. She is a spiritually sensitive person and felt the sounds of fear, trauma, and intimidation which came to a hault as she realized “these aren’t my emotions!”

Here’s how she described the experience:

“My eyes cannot believe it. Standing before me is a large crowd of people who have just witnessed only feet away from them a rear-end accident of what looks like a Honda mini van trying to take on a full size Silverado truck!

The newer mini van had poured itself into a very dominating truck that didn’t take on much damage. However, the Honda exploded itself into a desperate mess of uselessness.

The engine was leaking and the steam looked dangerous. If the van could talk, it was certainly throwing a fit! It looked angry!!! 🤔

I’m standing across the parking lot and could barely see through the crowd of men standing around. These were the same people I saw in line at 7-11 that reminded me of The New Kids on the block band! Certainly they would be old enough to help out!

There had to be at least 10 people standing there, yet no one stepped into the scene?


Surely, “someone from the crowd will help,” I thought?

I glanced again and within seconds, the crowd was gone! They’d witnessed this accident and walked away. No one checked if anyone needed help?!?!

I thought “Where did everyone go??”

I walked toward the van. I can see that the airbag had deployed. But where was the driver? Then, I see her, a mom, heading towards the back of the van and I go running towards her.

Her car is smoking and leaking something gross, it doesn’t look safe to me. I’m not a mechanic, but I knew I could pray! How could I turn away? I couldn’t.

I tried to open the passenger door, but it was broken. It was jammed shut. My heart was racing, wondering, would this van explode?

Sure, I was over-thinking in that moment, but there was a huge panic upon touching the car. I was praying to Jesus, “please let her receive me!”

I started thinking what if she freaked out on me and I scared her? I was so thankful Jesus guided me and showed me her emotions.

I tried opening the sliding door, it wouldn’t open, so I gave it a harder shove.

There she was, the mom was inside the van, she looked shaken, disconnected by shock, yet frantically trying to get her kids out.

She had just been hit with the air bag! Can you imagine the trauma you might be feeling as thoughts invade and overwhelm your senses?

I got door open and said, “Hand me your babies. I am here to help.  Let’s get you all out safely.”

She had four kids with her. Those babies were terrified and all trembling with fear. The look on each face was heartbreaking. Snot was dripping by the buckets! They couldn’t stand. The ground was hot and their little bodies were riddled with emotions. The two girls I took from the van, grabbed ahold of me and didn’t let go. They held my hand as I rubbed their little fingers and just spoke peace back into their fragile souls.

I knew Jesus was with me because I felt an abundance of peace. I had enough to give away and always have laughter and comfort for the kids. The mom allowed me to sit in her space of confusion and just trust that I was safe. Truly I saw such beauty!

I really felt a strong presence of God with me to just give them all life and how to really remind them of how blessed they all were to be alive.

I know it’s hard to give glory to God when things go terribly tragic, trust me when I say I KNOW the wilderness well.

But, if you can spin it and view it from a completely different perspective, you’ll find God’s glory! To be a carrier of God’s glory is an honor, a privilege but it’s something earned through the wilderness of suffering.

I am humbled, amazed at the Glory of God and how it radiates over any circumstance of life regardless of the situation.

God is THAT big. We forget, don’t we.

To witness an accident and have the privilege of speaking trauma away was humbling.

I told the officer who sat with me that I wanted to frame him in this moment. He was holding the youngest child probably 18 months and helping her with a slurpee.

I framed him with compassion. I actually took my fingers and drew it in the air. I painted it with a timeless movement.

I couldn’t hold them all and the mom had to tend to towing.

I wondered if maybe the officer needed a reminder? Don’t we all?! Life is so precious.

I greeted the dad who came on the scene later who came with anger (the mom expressed concern) and I told him how blessed he was that his family was all okay and today was a good day!

He said nothing to me. It’s okay, I’m not offended.

I pray Jesus moves in his heart.

I told the little girls I held named Evie and Tabitha to speak peace to their hearts and tell their parents too.

A fireman told the girls the seatbelt marks they had would be hurting in the morning and they would awaken to pain.

They started crying again, saying, “I don’t want that pain!”

I said to them, “Me either, it won’t hurt in the morning, pain go away!”

It amazed me how many statements are spoken over people in an accident. So many “What if’s” that lead to paranoia and agreements with trauma.

You could clearly see trauma trying to take ahold and I wouldn’t let it. Jesus is teaching me how to speak against the spirits of trauma and fear.  It’s so interesting that we say “yes” to such things without knowing it.

I have learned that when Jesus shows up, he speaks life and life abundantly! John 10:10: “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give life and that abundantly.” Where Jesus is, the oppresser is trying to steal.

So be careful how you hear. I spoke away the trauma, because thankfully I had eyes to see and ears to hear the trauma. Thank You Jesus! Your counsel soothes my soul and soothes others through me.

The tow truck man came over and started telling me about his 15-year-old child and their estranged relationship. I told him to apologize for the hurt.

Sounds simple, but true. I had the chance to invest an hour in so many lives. And that all because I opened the door of a car, while many others refused.

Truly, there were many witnesses who saw what happened but I believe Jesus wanted a witness of him who’d sit and speak life to his children, not one who had seen the accident.”

Rebecca concluded:

“I came to speak life and hold babies.”

And what a gift she brought!

Today, take the opportunity to speak life wherever you are.

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.
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