Meeting Jon Wayne at the Thrift Shop

Thrift StoreNot John Wayne Gacy. Not John Wayne Bobbitt. Not John Wayne the movie star, but just Jon Wayne.

I received word from a friend who was praying for me that she heard I need to excrete something and I need to be poor in spirit. So, I’ve been praying about this all week. What do I need to excrete (ew, btw) and how do I become more poor in spirit? I know I can’t do anything without Jesus, everything I do and have comes from the power of the Holy Spirit within me.

So today I was browsing in the books at Good Willl, and some older dude with a do-rag asked me where he could find a Bible. Stuff like this never happens to me, so I tried to hide my enthusiasm while helping him find a Bible, and making sure he would be comfortable with the King James Version. It turned out, Jon Wayne was going to help me, after I helped him.

As often happens with us story tellers, Jon told me a ton of stories in the book aisle at Good Will, and a lot of them were a little hard to follow, since he’d start one story and jump to another story as an aside to the original story. I was delighted to listen and absorb what I could, though. But there was one conversation that really stuck with me, and I think that’s how He intended.

Jon asked me what I’m going to tell Jesus when He asks me why I should be with Him when I’m done here on Earth. I said, “Jesus, I tried to live my life like You lived Yours.” Jon said that was a really nice answer but Jesus wasn’t going to accept it, so I should try again. I thought about it for a little bit, then I said “There’s so many facets to trying to live your life like Jesus, though.” Thinking, well, I lived faithfully, I tried not to sin, I tried to help people understand Jesus. And Jon said, “No, that’s probably not what He’s looking for either, try again.”

And so I thought about it for a while and Jon waited patiently, but did point out that I probably shouldn’t have to think about it for this long. Finally, I said, “Jesus, I should be with You because You died so I can be with You.” Jon said, “It took you a while, but you got it.”

Sometimes, it takes a random stranger in the thrift store to remind us what we already know in our hearts.

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By the Mercy of God, I survived

Through the DSCN4932provision of God, I thrived.

Last week I spent five days in the Canadian wilderness with 13 of my sisters in Christ. Crazy? Yep. Amazing? More than you could ever imagine.

My wilderness experience last year was intense. I was focused solely on survival and making it home alive. This year, God showed me I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. But I’m only as strong as I allow God to make me.

For me, being in the wilderness again was my way of showing God I am capable of putting myself in His hands, even after last year’s trials. It was my way of showing God that I won’t back down from hard times, and they will only make me seek Him more.

And now, I have redeemed myself from last year. Instead of feeling defeated by the wilderness, I am the defeater. Instead of feeling abandoned by God, I am embraced. Instead of feeling weak and unsure, I am strong and certain in my faith.

Not only have I emerged from the wilderness strong and confident, but I also had a blast with a group of the most inspiring, strong women I’ve ever met. That alone is worth sacrificing a flushing toilet for a week.