Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Story, Part 1.

Have you ever sat down and thought, "What if I had done this?" "What if this was done differently?" "What would have happened if I would have only changed this, thought this, wore this, said this?" Everyone has. It's a part of life, a common human trait that makes us all stop and think, "What if?" What if I wore the clothes they're wearing, would they like me? What if I lifted more, would I make the team? What if I stood up for myself, would the bullying stop? What if I told someone this secret, would it make me feel better?
To us, these questions may be important. After all, it's part of being human to want to fit in, to want to be well-liked and accepted. Popularity never hurt anyone, either, and so these questions make us think of what we could have done in the past to better our future.
We shouldn't think like that. I have, I'll be the first to admit it - and it sucks, to put it simply. Only, my "What if?" was a different sort.
What if I hadn't played the part of a Christian? What if I had lived what I believed? What would have happened then?
One of my favorite worship songs is Matthew West's "Going Through the Motions." The lyrics of the chorus are the best part:
"I don't wanna go through the motions, I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me, I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, "'What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?'"
That was my "What if?" question.  What if I had lived so that Christ was reflected in me, instead of living so I reflected the world?
Imagine middle school. Do you remember how that went? Everyone meets new people, and there you are again, the bottom of the totem pole. In elementary school, by 5th grade, you were the boss of the school. You could do what you want (hypothetically; in retrospect, there wasn't anything that was that great about being the oldest at the Ridge.) and you earned the respect of the younger kids (once again, not really, they hardly seemed to realize that fifth graders should obviously get first dibs on the swings and when it was their turn for recess, your kickball games stopped for the older kids.), plus you were excited about moving up to the middle  school the next year. In my district at the time, there were 2 different elementary schools - one for the kids in town, and one for the country hicks. I fell into the latter category. In elementary school, I believed in Jesus - sang the songs, went to church, and had a Bible somewhere in my room buried under the Barbies and games and other toys. Then I moved up to middle school. Time for a change. There were new friends to make, popularity ladders to climb, and cute boys - lots and lots of cute boys. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't care about my faith at this time - I was sick of church, I wasn't yet in youth because I was a young kid (youngest in the grade, just about) and so I had no support system to get me through it all. I put God on the back burner. 
I lived life like I wanted throughout middle school. I won't go into all the details yet - another post, I'm sure, I hear ya, God - but pretty much, for now, know that I wasn't living the  Christian life. I wasn't doing drugs, or having sex, or any of that stuff - I just didn't live with God's light shining through me. I was going through the motions.
Enter J. J was a kid who I had grown up with - he went to the same elementary school as I did, and once in a while he would come to my church when we were old enough to be in youth. My best friend dated him in seventh grade, and boy, were they cute. For a while, starting in the middle of seventh grade probably, I had felt like God was trying to tell me something, to share Him with others, like J. I wasn't listening to Him then, obviously - going through the motions, remember - so I brushed it off. J came to my church before anyways, he knew who God was. It was his choice whether or not to believe in Him. He didn't need me to live as an example and try to help anyone, let alone J.
It was almost the last day of school, and the day was gorgeous. The next day was a day off for some reason, and then the last day of school was right after that. J and I rode the bus together, and we sat next to each other. We were talking and J said how he was going to go home and relax, then sleep all of the next day. I said how I had my brother's baseball game that night and all I had was youth the night after. I didn't push the youth thing; J wasn't one to talk about God, I had learned that after he had had a discussion with another kid on the bus one day. As we pulled up to my house, I got up and turned to J, saying I hope he had fun sleeping his day away the next day and  that I would see him on the last day of school. He smiled, saying, "Almost eighth graders, yeah buddy! Top dogs!" I laughed and gave him a thumbs up, getting off and walking to my house.
It was the last time I saw him.
That day, about an hour after I said goodbye to him, J got on his bike to get the mail at the post office across the street. The road was empty; it was only about 3:30 or so and not many people were on the road in the small country town he lived in. He started to drive across - and was hit by a car. The woman was, apparently, drunk and hit him. I don't know if that's true. I don't know how J didn't see her. I don't know if she stayed or if she ran. All I know is, J died that day in the street. He didn't get to sleep in the next day, he didn't get to see what was in the mail, he didn't get to be a "top dog" eighth grader.
I didn't get to tell him about Jesus.
My "what if?" has always, always, always been about J. What would have happened if I had told J about God? He may have shut me down, and I would have had to drop it for a while. But what if he had, instead, shut up and listened? What if he had wanted that? What would have happened if I had had the guts to tell him, to share what I believed, to have lived how God wanted me to so that I was shining with His light?
What if.
This has been a pretty negative first post. It's been a pretty crappy first post, really. I haven't included a Bible verse like usual, I haven't included some witty tie-in to something that relates like I have previously. I just have this. This story, my "What if?", and the song.
This is your NR challenge for this, the first part of my life. Don't go through the motions. Don't spend another day without God's passion and light shining through you. Tell others about God, and what He's done for you. I didn't, and now I think, "What if I had?" 
Share with someone. Share without being scared. Share. You may not get another chance too.
Are you in?


The Kimber Saga.

A peek into my life, coming soon.

I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately, about future posts and what I could say and how to word posts I have drafted. I kept having a little idea, but I kept pushing it off as soon as I thought of it. "Share your testimony," my brain said. "Someone may need to hear it." No, I thought, no one needs to hear it. I'm just thinking that myself. So I dropped the idea. Then, today, my English prof. asked about my blog - of all things to ask about! Wild! He asked if anyone followed it, saying, "I'm sure everyone wants to follow the life of Kimber. It seems to be entertaining." I told him what my blog is really about - not me at all, more like mini youth lessons or things like that, that are focused towards my age and younger. I don't ever talk about myself - heck, it's in the sidebar description of the blog: I'm not talking about myself. But still, when he said that, it was pretty weird. It was like the little voice came back and said, "See, stupid? About your life - THAT'S what you need to write about. YOUR story."
So, long story short, that's what these next few posts will be about - me. My testimony. My story. Some of it isn't pretty, a lot of it is boring, but hopefully, there will be that one person out there who wants to hear it and needs to hear it. Hopefully God guides them to this page and lets them read what I have to say about what I've gone through and think, hey. Maybe I'm not alone. So, my story will be told in short bursts of whatever I can think of. Stories from my life, hopefully set to something that makes sense.
Your NR challenge for this ridiculously short quickie post is only this - if you'd like, read the up and coming posts. They're going to be tough to write, because what person wants their life displayed, especially on the internet? It'll be coming soon, though. I can only pray that you possibly may get something out of it.
Oh, and as a second mini challenge, I would appreciate some prayer. God needs to back me up on this, and I need the guts to tell it. Thanks, guys.
Are you in?



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Real Winner?

A Real Winner for Christ.
When you think of American Idol, what contestant comes to mind? The ones they have on now with whatever season it is ( I don't watch it anymore, sorry.) or a favorite previous Idol, like Carrie, Clay, or Taylor? More than likely, one of the first names that comes to mind is Kelly Clarkson - the "ultimate Idol," according to many people. Out of all of the winners on the show, Kelly has had the most success, closely followed by Carrie Underwood. 
Kelly seems to have it all these days - she has an extremely successful career still going strong, with her latest single with Jason Aldean topping the charts; she has probably all of the money she ever needs or wants; she is on a first-name basis with tons of stars; and of course she is known as the most successful Idol.
If someone would ask me, however, who the most successful Idol is, I would probably blow your mind a little. My pick would be Mandisa. Mandisa wasn't a winner on American Idol, and she wasn't even a runner up. She took ninth place in season five. For some people, this wouldn't qualify as being a winner. To everyone that is saying that, I say - don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Mandisa has recorded with TobyMac numerous times, each time landing a huge hit amongst the Christian music scene. While Kelly and the rest are off earning millions of dollars and doing who-knows-what with their lives, Mandisa is writing books about her life and attempting to use her struggles with food addiction and other things to reach and help people. While Kelly and rest are recording their songs about relationships that fizzle out, cheat, or end badly, Mandisa is singing about the only relationship that really matters - her relationship with Christ. 
My favorite song right now is one off of Mandisa's new album. The song is titled "Stronger," and boy, does it pack a punch. The lyrics of this are too good to keep to myself. Here's the chorus, which is my favorite part:

"When the waves are taking you underHold on just a little bit longerHe knows that this is gonna make you stronger, strongerThe pain ain't gonna last foreverAnd things can only get betterBelieve meThis is gonna make you strongerGonna make you stronger, stronger, strongerBelieve me, this is gonna make you stronger."
To me, being a real winner isn't the fame, the fortune, the relationships with guys or girls, or anything like that - nothing materialistic. Check this verse out, found in Matthew:
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21
You can earn all the money you want, buy all the things you could ever ask for, and still not be getting the point. You may think you're happy, but consider this - you can't take it with you. 
When I was younger, I had this joke book for kids that I got from church. One of my favorites in it went like this: A wealthy man has a dream, where he sees Peter at the gates of Heaven. "It's almost time for you to die and come to Heaven," Peter says, scaring the man. "Can I bring anything with me?" The man asks. Peter looks puzzled. "This is Heaven, where you won't need anything...but sure. You can bring one thing with you." The man wakes up afterwards, and writes a note telling his family he wants to be buried with a briefcase of his solid gold bars. A strange request, right? He wanted them though. Soon, the man dies, just like Peter had said. He reaches the gates of Heaven, where he sees Peter. "So, what did you bring with you?" Peter asks. Smiling, the man shows Peter his briefcase of solid gold bars, and Peter looks puzzled. "Why," Peter asks, laughing, "did you bring pavement?"
It's a silly joke, but it shows a clear point - you can't take it with you. Nothing from this earth is able to come with you to Heaven. Like the verse in Matthew says, don't store things up and save things on earth, because they aren't worth anything in the long run. Instead, store up your treasures and possessions in Heaven, because no one can touch them there. These treasures aren't money, or shoes, or other wealth - these treasures are your relationship with God, and the gifts you can give to others, which is telling them about God so they, too, can reach Heaven one day.
Mandisa may not have won American Idol, but she's doing what this verse and story tells - she's storing up her treasures in Heaven, rather than earning all of the money, fame, and fortune that she can on earth. In the years to come, people may not remember her name like they remember Kelly Clarkson. But I can guarantee you that in Heaven, there will be people thanking her for helping them discover Christ and the real treasures that He has.
So, here's your NR challenge for this post - think about the treasures you're building up. Is it your relationship with God that you're building up? How about your relationships with others to help lead them to Christ? Or, are you earning money, fame, fortune, friends, and other worldly things? Remember what the Bible says - these things don't stay with you forever. So take a look. You may reconsider what you consider real winning and treasure.
Are you in?