Mary Poppins

So, I don’t know all that was involved. But here is what I do know. The movie Mary Poppins which might have simply been some kind of fun adventure, the placing of the book on the screen by Disney, God used in my life. That’s what I know.

I cannot tell you HOW that is possible. But it falls under the category for me that nothing is wasted in God’s economy; that God uses everything for the good of those called according to His purpose. The idea that God can and does use EVERYTHING to speak. So even a movie, made perhaps to make money, or for whatever other reasons, could be timed and used for the purpose of taking a little boy suffering sexual and emotional abuse and begin to work into him a call into ministry in the local church.

I mean God has to be pretty large to do this.

It was not until 1987 when in a prayer meeting at a church in Louisiana that a pastor in that friend’s prayer group prayed over me and said, He heard the Lord saying that my call began when I was 5 years old. That shocked me since I thought my call had begun when I was 23.

That day, hearing that pastor say this, I couldn’t remember what had happened when I was five, at all. My early childhood was just a blank.

There were virtually no concrete memories of much of anything. I remembered serving my mom breakfast in bed at 4, but that was mostly because of how many times that event had been retold. Really — scrambled eggs, toast, coffee, juice, and fruit. But that was about it.

Then I remembered going backpacking with my family as an 8-year-old before my sister left for college that year. But nothing else. Now I know that such a lapse of memory is a red flag that trauma had been experienced. But no one knew nor talked about that back then. For more description of what had begun five months before the release of Mary Poppins check out #metoo.

Here’s what I know: Jesus met me in that theater. When I went back to the memory, He showed me that I was sitting on His lap in the theater. My mom had taken me and my then good friend Bruce to the movies — my first ever movie. I don’t know what prompted the trip for my mom, we never spent money like that. She complained afterward about the crick in her neck from staring nearly straight up at the screen. We had gotten the last three seats in the place, which placed us in the very front row.

For me, I was sitting on Jesus’ lap. And he whispered into my ear that there were safe adults, adults with love and beauty, and songs and healing. What I saw in that movie was hope for me and other kids who are being hurt and yelled at.

“You child will bring hope and joy to this world and lead many to discover just how big and good I am.”

I encountered a call to be a person who would protect and rescue, who would guide and bring healing to others. It was there with Jesus that any animosity I might have held toward church leaders or the church was washed from me and what remained was Jesus — the hope of any child, any adult.

That day that little boy found hope and the real Person of Jesus who was bigger and better than anyone else. And that day began my call out of hurt and abuse and into the ministry in which I find myself — a place of care, delight in loving and protecting kids and helping everyone meet this guy Jesus who is incredible.

But what remains of the movie is incredible. I cannot watch Mary Poppins without crying. Seriously. Looking in from an adult perspective this does not make any sense. Who cries watching Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke? I do. This past year, 54 years after I’d first seen the movie, I was watching it with my grandson, 3, who was seated on my lap as we watched, his head just below mine. And the picture returned of Jesus with me sitting as Theo was sitting then. Tears came.

In December my wife, Karen, and I went to see Mary Poppins Returns on opening day, and as the music started which incorporates strains of the original movie, I started to cry and the tears flowed throughout as this story continued about adults who have forgotten to be kids, and who have dismissed childhood adventures as if they had never happened. Being childlike is really important to Jesus!

Now others view it and come away without such sentiment.

A friend said, “I didn’t like the music at all!” I was shocked. How could anyone say that? I realized that from my kid-perspective within, that was anathema! But, no fear, I didn’t slug her! Aren’t you proud of me? I’ll give her credit that she did say she cried when Dick Van Dyke danced! Okay, then.

I found the new story marvelous, a story of hope and redemption, as was the first, with great music, acting and hope and joy throughout. That’s what Mary Poppins has always offered. Of course, I’m biased.

I don’t mean to trivialize the hurts and hopeless conditions of many around us, nor of events in this world, but do mean to say that hope and life and Jesus still are realities. He can work through things as simple as Mary Poppins so is therefore able to use anything, even and especially you and me as we live our lives.

Much like Mary Poppins brought magic into the lives of the Banks’ family, so we with Jesus bring such life and hope into the lives of those around us and as we do so, His embrace works wonders.

Yesterday, talking with a guy who had been without housing since getting out of prison some months ago, I was struck by the light that shone from him. He had met Jesus and Jesus was making a huge impact upon him. Indeed, after we had chatted a few minutes, he grabbed my shoulder and said, “Man, I just have to pray,” and started praying “Jesus…” It was a powerful prayer. Then, as I was reaching out to other folks without housing later that same day, I met up with this guy again. Here he was virtually houseless himself but was taking his time to share his faith in Jesus with some youth hanging out around that transit center. It was beautiful. That’s the hope of the gospel, and I first encountered that gospel in a movie.

That’s Jesus. Thanks for listening.

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.
Gallery | This entry was posted in camino, Encouragement, Faith, favorite things, Fellowship, follow, Friendship, God speaks, hope, Jesus, Joy, light, meaning, Presence, sexual abuse, Steps, Thanksgiving, Trust and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mary Poppins

  1. pastorcourt says:

    When I was in the states, I went to see Mary Poppins returns with Ana, a few friends and their kiddos. I sat next to the 5 year old and giggled when he giggled and we danced in our seats. Ana and I thought it was pretty magical. On the way home, I asked the 5 year old what he thought. I said, “Jack, I really loved that movie. Especially when they fell in the tub.” He looked at me with all the seriousness he could muster and said, “Oh Courtney, but it’s not real.” Ha! Anyway, I thought it was a magical view of hope and finding ourselves again. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Camino Way 2016 Shimer says:

      Court! It’s not real?? 😭😱🤨
      Who tells kids these things! ♥️
      Thanks for your response. Love to you and Ana!


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