My neighbor M has depended on me and my vehicle (the caddy not the jazzy, lol) for his rides to Tuesday - probation officer and Wednesday - therapist, for some time.
He is a person who has made some poor choices and is changing those areas of his life. 6-8 months ago his wife died and when that happened he took off and got DRUNK, then drove his car and was busted by the police. He loved her dearly and loved his drink too.
Yes I'm going somewhere with this, to the heart.
While being given the opportunity to be "burdened" with this task of transporting him we have become pretty close and have found many things in common, our pasts.
It helps him to be engaged in conversation with someone who has been down that road a time or two their self and that would be me. I never, never imagined that having such a tawdry past would be so fruitful for God. I having made it out of that life gives me an insight, not mechanical preachy words but a real life insight.
For a number of years felt a lot of salty tears and a lot of shame and whoed-a-thunk that those dealings would one day be a blessing instead of a shameful burden, not me!
I knew in my mind that God could use those experiences and I kept waiting, waiting and waiting and like all tiny steps I have taken God finally thumped me on my noggin and said, "why are you waiting on Me dummy, uh-uh! it's the other way around, I'M WAITING ON YOU".
So as usual I take my tiny step, fall flat on my face, get picked up and dusted off and go on.
So I had to be ready every day, every day knowing and believing that He was going to give me the opportunity to use even my useless and wasteful past. As I got up every day saying OK, today Lord, I'm ready, He slowly gave me others to sort of test my feet in the water on. And I knew by then what was going on. Each step got bigger, slowly but bigger and I have been led all the way to M.
We never take a ride and have a conversation that the name of the Lord doesn't enter into it, I make sure of it, I set my heart on it and wait for the opportunity to be handed me. We talk freely about his (my) drinking, his (my) past, his (my) stopping drinking, his (my) life sitting on a bar stool and his (my) loss of a spouse and on and on. It's easy for him to talk to me and he feels, purposeful because I admit openly that "I done been there, done that" and that makes it comfortable for him and he values my feelings because I experienced the same choices, struggles - and only by the grace of God made it.
I sometimes answer my phone "trashy trailer park taxi" can I help you? It's a joke because I give so many people rides. A year ago I didn't have a car and God has seen fit to put that car in my hands, I believe, for that very reason. I didn't have a car until I was ready to use it for God. Another tiny step...
I encourage M all the time, I listen, I speak, I share His name.
I finally figured out a while ago that my place in God's plan for the moment, was to take what I had once been ashamed of and make it positive by sharing it, not running from it. I can talk and share God with people that most wouldn't even notice because they wouldn't be a part of a lot of peoples lives a lot of times just because they need a ride. I hope I said that right.
God is truly amazing and powerful, not just that He can convert someone like me, but that He can use someone like me and you know what all this means? It means my whole life, that past, was NOT A WASTE AT ALL, because now it's a tool.
Don't give up on yourself, God doesn't. Every one of us, no matter what your choices or trials is a light for God just waiting to shine, hey! let God flick your switch today.
I have nothing and I have everything, make sense?