I Was Blind but Now I See
- 2005 13 Jan
It all began as we waited outside the huge mahogany door nervously wringing our hands. We began to chat, both nervous about the same thing. In five minutes, I would be meeting with the Senior Director of Acquisitions for Focus on the Family Publishing to pitch my beloved book. When my appointment was over, she would pitch hers.
"So, what's your book about, Lisa?" I probed. "Well, I haven't exactly written anything yet but I would like to write a book about my life story," she replied as she glanced down at her hand written notes on a small piece of paper. "Next," I heard the appointments director call. I stood and began making my way towards the meeting that I had been dreaming of for as long as I can remember but not before I smiled sweetly at my new acquaintance to say, "It was nice meeting you and good luck today."
As I clutched my neatly-typed manuscript and well-thought-out proposal to my chest, I thought to myself, "That'll never fly, lady! I've spent eighteen months studying what publishers are looking for and, believe me, it's not an unknown woman's life story!"
The next day was Sunday, the last day of speakers / writers conference. All of the ladies entered the ballroom for a time of praise and worship. Lisa sat behind me. Now, raising your hands or closing your eyes as you worship the Lord is one thing, but hollering out things is another. At least it is in my book. You know, the Ginger Plowman Book of Proper Worship Etiquette.
Lisa was breaking all the rules. Phrases such as, "Praise you, Jesus," "I love you, Jesus," and "Bless you, Jesus" kept springing from her lips and interrupting my own state of worship. I turned around and looked toward the entrance door in the back of the room and pretended to look for someone in particular (a woman's way of inconspicuously checking someone out). Just as I suspected, Lisa's hands were up as high as they would go, her body swayed, her eyes were closed, and it was obvious that the hollering out wasn't going to stop anytime soon. "Whatever," I thought.
You see, in my sinful, judgmental way of thinking, I always assumed that people who worshipped in this way did it for attention.
After the praise and worship time was over, Lisa was introduced and invited to the stage to share her testimony. My life will never be the same again. I sat in utter amazement as she shared the story of her life. As she testified to the things that Jesus has brought her through, I became aware that she had encountered God in a way that I never have.
"Thirteen years ago I was a homeless drug addict living on the streets of Washington, DC. Today, I am a wife, mother, and anointed woman of God," she said. Although her story involved such things as severe beatings (that she thought she deserved), prostitution, and several other horrible situations, that is not what Lisa focused on as she spoke. Her focus was on the forgiveness, the grace and the awesome power of God.
She described her Heavenly Father as reaching down with His mighty arm and rescuing her from the very depths of hell. She stretched out her arms and her face twisted in a mixture of pain and love as she described her Savior, Jesus Christ, hollering out from a cruel cross with labored breath, "Lisa, I love you this much." She exalted our Holy God in a way that I have never witnessed before. The Holy Spirit overflowed from her mouth and consumed every lady in that room. Never have I seen His power so evident in a person's life.
As I listened to her praise Jesus for the mighty work He had done in her life, God changed my heart. I knew right then and there, that if God had brought me through the things that He had brought this woman through, I would probably not just raise my hands and holler out praises to Him, but I would swing from the chandelier and do cart wheels down the isle as well.
Am I saying that Lisa's sins required more forgiveness than my own, making her more thankful? Not at all. Sins do not come in pink, purple, green, or yellow. They are all black in the eyes of God. But the color of gratefulness is expressed in worship. Our songs, our praises and our prayers paint a glorious picture of worship in which our Lord delights.
Shame, shame, shame on me for questioning someone else's love for God and the way they express that love.
If Lisa ever actually writes that book, you can bet your Lifesavers, I'll be the first one in line to buy it. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me borrow your eyes to see Jesus in a new way. For I was blind but now I see.
Ginger Plowman, author of Don't Make Me Count to Three, is the founder of Preparing the Way Ministries for which she speaks at women's events, parenting conferences, and home school conventions across the country. For more information visit her website at www.gingerplowman.com