Posted by: Lindsey Albertson | November 2, 2008

November Newsletter

I remember one day back in elementary school, at the end of the school day, finding a piece of gum in my hair. I was so mad. Questions of “Who would do this?” “How long had it been in there?”, and “How am I going to get this out?” were all running through my head. When I got home my mom told me that I could use peanut butter to get it out, so I was glad to find out that I would not have to cut a chunk of my hair off.

            That weekend my best friend Nikki spent the night with me. While she was over at my house, she told me she had something to tell me. I thought she was going to tell me about having a crush on a boy or something like that. But that wasn’t it. She confessed to me that she had been the one that put the gum in my hair. At first I didn’t believe her. Why would my best friend put gum in my hair? I laughed and said, “Yea, right!” But she didn’t laugh. She confessed that someone at school had dared her that day and even though she didn’t want to, she did.

            At first I was hurt that my best friend would do such a thing. But it took about five seconds; then being hurt turned into being mad. I don’t think I talked to her the rest of the night and I could not wait until her mom picked her up from my house the next day.

            I later talked to another friend about it. She couldn’t believe that Nikki had done that either, but she also told me that I should forgive her.

            What!? Forgive!?

            But she did it on purpose! She did nothing to deserve my forgiveness! She confessed, but never said she was sorry! I had the right to be mad!

 

            This past week at the shelter has been hard. One day especially, it seemed like every guest that came in was in a bad mood. Instead of asking for toiletry items, people were demanding them. “Give me shampoo.” “Give me a razor.” On top of this, people wanted to argue with me about rules and were getting mad at me about when it was their turn to do laundry. Their actions caused me to have a bad attitude and I caught myself getting angry with them.

            They did nothing to deserve anything that we were giving them. They had not paid for it or worked for it. It was free. They had no right to demand or complain. And on top of that, they had made me mad.

            I discussed my day with a friend and vented about my frustrations. I had a right to be mad. But then I was reminded of how we are the same way with God. We have done absolutely nothing to deserve anything that he has given us. He gives it freely at no cost. Yet we sit back and demand things from him. We argue and question his laws for our life. He has every right to be mad. But instead he shows us grace and loves us anyway.

            Grace and forgiveness do not come naturally for us. In fact they go against everything ingrained in us.

            For me, grace has involved forgiving people and loving them unconditionally. God is teaching me to love people regardless of what I receive back from them. I’m not going to lie, it is hard. Sometimes I wonder if God knows what he is asking of us. But I know that he does because Jesus came and lived out the exact thing that he is calling us to live out. It has opened my eyes to what God does for us. The other day my dad asked me if I had gotten over my frustrations with people. I told him that I had not gotten over them, but that I was working through them.

            Don’t get me wrong. There are people who come in who are extremely thankful for the services that we offer them. They tell us thank you all of the time. And I love these people. They are easy to love. But God has called us to love more than just those who are easy to love. This week has not been any easier for me. People still come in with bad attitudes and I still get frustrated and want to throw something at them. But God is using these situations to grow me.

            God has also used these situations in opening my eyes in another area. I never see what life outside the shelter is like for the guests who come in here everyday. I know that life is hard, but don’t realize how hard. If I barely got any sleep last night because I was freezing or was worried about someone robbing me in the middle of the night, I would probably come in cranky the next day too.

So that is where I am at right now. Being humbled in how little I know and how much more there is to learn.

I would like to ask for your prayers as I am beginning to do Bible study with a few women. There are 2 women who I have gotten to know well and have asked them if they would be interested in reading the Bible together. They have expressed interest in this so we are beginning to meet together. Please pray for these times and that God would give me direction on where to go and how to lead them. Also pray for their hearts as we begin to dig into what God is saying to us in the Bible. I am excited on what God can do in their lives if they will allow him. Thank you for your prayers and support.

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Responses

  1. Hi Lindsey, I can understand your frustration. I read a book by Charles Stanley on Forgiveness, which was really great. Sometimes, you look at the person that has angered you; but choose to forgive them no matter what, through Jesus Christ. Believe me, it works and you learn to have more patience by keeping Jesus words, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing”… I shall be praying for your success in this area. I think the Bible study is a great idea, too. Beth Moore & Kay Arthur have wonderful books that I am sure are in the library; possibly the church library. Good luck, dear.


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