Monthly Archives: November 2012

At the Car Wash

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It was March 4, 1999 and I was living in Jacksonville, Florida going to Trinity Baptist College.   I left my dorm one afternoon and sought out a car wash to clean my Chevy Blazer, better known as “The Blaze of Glory!”  I came upon the Sonshine Car Wash and thought it was as good as any!  Now, when I clean my car, I do it right.  I washed and dried the outside and made the tires all shiny then drove forward to the vacuums to clean out the inside, all the while not noticing that the sun had gone down and it was dark.  I was on the driver’s side of the car vacuuming out the floorboard and had just put the quarters into the vacuum when all of a sudden someone grabbed my arm and turned me around.  I was pinned up against the open car door & I dropped the vacuum.  This man who grabbed my arm demanded that I give him the keys to my car.  Now, I know that I should have just given him the keys, but my Texas stubbornness kicked in and I told him “No”.  I actually whispered it because I couldn’t seem to make the words make noise.  At that moment the vacuum shut off; this was either a cheap car wash or God shut off that vacuum, I believe the later.  The man then asked me again and was more forceful this time, I saw another car pulling up to see what was going on so I started to scream and yelled as loud as I could, “No, I’m not giving you the keys to my car!”  He saw the other car and he took off running into a field that was behind the car wash but before he did he took a box cutter and cut a 6”-7” cut on my right arm.

I grabbed my sweet, purple, Nokia and called my best friend, Kristi who was close by at a friend’s apartment and they came and picked me up and took me to the hospital.  While we were there, I spoke with a police officer and the doctor stitched & bandaged my arm.  My sweet khaki cargo shorts & my blue Old Navy fleece were covered in blood.  The doctor gave me a scrub shirt to put on.  Confession: I also wanted the doctor to give me some different pants to put on because when I was first grabbed at the car wash, I peed my pants.  Ok, moving on.

I have been asked several times about the scar on the inside of my right arm.  It’s a pretty easy story for me to tell, now.  After it first happened, I was terrified for a very long time.  I never went anywhere alone, I had a lot of nightmares and I hated the fact that it happened.  However, now I can see how God worked through that terrible situation.

We’ve all had terrible things happen in our lives and we all have scars from them.  Some of the scars are visible and some remain unseen, however God can and wants to work through those scars.  A few years ago at Youth Alive (the youth camp that I’m the coordinator of) I was talking with a girl who was 17 years old and she had been through a similar situation like I had been through at the car wash.  When we started talking, I had no idea about her situation and she did not know about mine, but God knew and he put the two of us together for that very reason.  He knew that I could relate to what she was going through and that I would be able to give her some of the same advice that other people had given me!

Some advice that I was given:

-“We can get a new car, we can’t get a new you.” – my Mom

– “That man took just a few minutes of your life, it’s up to you to decide how much more time he gets.” – Patti Appleby

I’ve thought about those two pieces of advice a lot!  First, No one can ever get a new me.  I am one of a kind and so are you!  God made you to be you and not anyone else!

Second, it was up to me decide if I was going to allow this situation to make me bitter or better.  It was up to me to decide if I was going to give it to God and let him work through it.  It was up to me to decide how much power this continued to have over me.

What happened at the car wash came out of nowhere, which is often the case with difficult things in life.  However, we must remember that nothing surprises God and hard aches do not change who God is.  He is sovereign, holy and good!

The cut on my right arm went deeper than skin level and it took more time to fully heal than was evident on my arm.  This is what happens with our “life scars”.  They take time and attention to heal.  We cannot simply just forget about them.  If I would have forgotten about my arm and never gone to the hospital or any follow up doctors visits, my arm would have gotten infected or worse.  When we try and just cover up our hurts and our wounds instead of learning from them and allowing God to heal them, we end up spiritually infected.

What scars do you have?  Are you allowing God to work on them so that they can heal, or are you trying to sweep them under the rug as if God doesn’t know that they’re there?

The day after the car wash incident, I was at school and I had people coming up to me saying things like, “We heard that he stabbed you seven times in the stomach.”  I was like “Yeah, that happened and I’m hear in chapel today with my arm bandaged.” HA

Romans 8:38-39

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 43:1-4
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

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The Wall of Unachievability

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This past March for Spring Break, my family talked about going to Disney World.  We soon discovered that Disney World wasn’t going to work out, so we talked about taking a day trip to Six Flags just across town, however that didn’t work out either.  My parents, and I ended up taking my six nieces and nephews twenty minutes down the road for an afternoon at Adventure Landing (that de-escaladed quickly!)  We went outside and rode go carts, hit some baseballs and played a little putt-putt, then it was time to go inside and spend “millions” playing video games.  I am a self-proclaimed skee-ball champion, so that is where I spent most of my time.  When it was time to go, which at these kind of places is always when no one has even one more token to drop into a slot because you don’t want to be a chump and get home and have that one more token, we headed to the ticket counter so the kids could spend their tickets.  Emma, the oldest, gave her tickets to her cousins and sisters and the older kids started spending them.  I was helping Sara and Case, my youngest niece and nephew who were 7 and 5 at the time.  Back in my day, you went to the counter and started pulling all the tickets out of your pockets, shoes, bags, hats, and wherever else they might be and you handed them to the person behind the counter.  Nowadays, they’ve turned counting your tickets into a game as well.  We put all of Sara and Case’s tickets into the counter machine.  They had played a lot of their games together and had decided to split their tickets evenly.  I handed each of them a receipt and we turned toward the counter to spend like high rollers.

Right away I could tell that Case knew what he wanted.  He was looking at something that was hanging on what I like to call, “The Wall of Unachievability”. I said, “Hey buddy, what do you want?” and he pointed up at the wall and said, “I want that helicopter.”  I then had to try and explain to a 5 year old who had just done what he thought was a lot of work to gain all these tickets, why he couldn’t get the helicopter.  I said, “Case, you don’t have enough tickets for that that helicopter.”  The follow up question, “How many do I have, Aunt Ber?”  I answered, “You have 60 tickets.”  I am sure to him 60 tickets seemed like a lot!  He said, “How much is the helicopter?”  I think he asked this actually thinking that maybe if he could just get his hands on a few more tokens and play a few more games, he might be able to get it.  I said, “Case, that remote control helicopter costs 17,000 tickets.”  I then went on to try and explain to him that if we went to Adventure Landing every day for the rest of our lives and every day we spent $4876 on tokens, we would never have enough tickets to get that helicopter and that is why it hangs on the “Wall of Unachievability!”  He did not see the logic in my argument and he was dead set on walking out of there with that helicopter.  I showed him the glass counter of junk, trying to talk it up by saying things like “Hey, look at that eraser!” or “What about this pencil, or bouncy ball, oooooo that looks nice!”  Case wasn’t having any of it, he wanted the helicopter!

I then had to pull him aside and give him a little lecture (this was a lecture from his favorite aunt, so believe me when I say that it wasn’t too harsh) about being grateful for what we have and that if he couldn’t quit complaining we would just give all of his tickets to Sara.  Well, Sara overheard this and loved that idea!  Case said, “Fine, give the tickets to Sara, the helicopter is what I really want.”  So, I did just that and I gave the tickets to Sara.  Case was standing back by the counter of junk with his little face pressed against the glass.  Reid, Ally, Andy and Sara had all finished spending their tickets and they had bags full of candy, army men with parachutes, plastic spiders, rings and candy necklaces.  We were getting ready to go when the lady behind the counter leaned forward and with a few words threw my lecture completely out the window.  She looked at Case and asked, “Hey buddy, do you want something?”  Case of course shook his head as he stared into the counter of junk!  She then took a few steps back and opened up her arms and said, “What do you want?  You can have anything you want!” 

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that she heard Case talking about the helicopter, I am sure that a lot of people did, so when she made this offer she had to be thinking of what he was going to ask for.  In that moment, she was the only one who could give Case what he wanted!  However, Case had been standing and staring at the counter of junk for too long.  He had seen his brothers and his cousins with the bags of their junk and he had not focused on the helicopter for a while.  He reached his little 5-year-old finger and pointed into the counter of junk and said “I want that!” Within seconds the lady stepped forward and gave Case exactly what he asked for, a piece of Laffy Taffy, which by the way served as an appetizer in my car on the way to Chili’s.

I couldn’t believe it.  Case had been begging for the helicopter and after all, it was his dream to have it for all of 5 minutes or so.  Then when the only person who could give him what he wanted told him that he could have it all, he stared at the junk and asked for Laffy Taffy.

How often do we do this with God?  He desires to give us our dreams and meanwhile we are staring at junk!  He is stepping back with arms opened wide saying, “What do you want?” and all this time He already knows what’s best for us and so many times we end up leaving with junk that satisfies us for just a few short, fleeting moments.  Many times the junk looks good and it may not be bad for us, but God can see what is best for us!  God sees the big picture, God not only knows about tomorrow, he is already living in tomorrow.  While we are focusing on junk, he wants us to come to him with our biggest dreams and desires so that he can make them a reality.  With God, all things are possible and there is never a “Wall of Unachievability!”  

Matthew 19:26 “ But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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Reid, Andy, Sara, Aunt Ber, Case, Emma & Ally

My body…My Choice? by Amy Pierson

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I know many people, including Christians, are frustrated that Christians are very vocal about being pro-life. I had a dear friend sit on my couch a few weeks ago expressing her frustration with people even making abortion one of the primary issues they consider when choosing how to vote. I deleted the first paragraph I originally typed… And I repented of being unkind. Nothing less than love will influence people. I know you do not know me. Please read this with empathy and an open mind. I’m writing as a mom who loves her kid more than I ever knew I was capable of loving.

I often hear the argument, “Well, it is my body, so it is my choice.” I don’t hit my husband when we have a fight. I didn’t steal from my roommates in college. I didn’t show up naked to work. I respected others around me. I chose to use my thoughts, words, actions to try to bless people. I’m not perfect, so I didn’t always bless them. But, I did not harm them…which is the least I could do. “It is my body” is an incomplete argument; We don’t do whatever our body wants in ANY other relationship. Dear women: it stopped being “your body” when another person started living in you. Why are we allowed to end any life with our actions- no matter the age?

Maybe, you are not for life because the timing isn’t right. I cannot tell you how many high school girls I knew that had 3-4 abortions before they met me. Several of them had abortions, because they knew they couldn’t cheer and be pregnant. It quit being your body when a life took up residence in your body.

Maybe you are not for life because you’ve bought into the lie of overpopulation. We live in Harlem. Did you know that if Texas was as densely populated as New York City, the entire world could fit in Texas? In Texas! There is plenty of room to be fruitful and multiply.

Maybe you are not for life, because you aren’t sure about adoption. One of my best friends has tried for 11 years with her husband to have a baby. She is also actively trying to adopt. They are spending all their savings on fertility treatments and this adoption that will take about 3 years. If you are considering an abortion, she will be a great mom. Please consider adoption. My grandfather was an orphan. Praise God he survived and was adopted. He is a pastor in the South and fought against racism in the 30’s and 40’s. He is a good husband, father, grandfather, and now great grandad. You don’t end a life… you end a lineage and a Legacy. Also, 9-10 months isn’t that long… When I’m old, gray and in a retirement home I will probably not care too much about my accomplishments. But I know I’ll love seeing my kids and grand kids come visit!

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Amy & Eva

About the Author:
I want to tell you a little bit about Amy because I think she’s great!  I am honored and blessed to call Amy Pierson my friend!  Follow Amy on Twitter @amykpierson and follow her blog at www.teampierson.com

Amy Pierson was raised in Mississippi  and El Salvador.  She grew up as a missionary kid and came to know Christ as a child.  After graduating from Mississippi College, she received her Masters Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She and her husband Kyle were married in 2008 and in 2012 they welcomed their sweet little daughter, Eva Jewel.  Amy served on staff at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas in the student ministry for five years.  Amy, Kyle and Eva currently live in Harlem and they are telling people about Jesus.  Together  ”Team Pierson” desires that the name of Jesus be proclaimed and His Gospel preached to all peoples. In this season, God has called them to New York to work with International Students at both NYU and Columbia University. These students are the brightest, wealthiest, and truly the social elite from their countries. The majority have never seen a Bible or heard of Jesus. Many are from countries where Christianity is illegal. These 3-4 years in college may be the only years in their lives they can hear the Gospel clearly.