Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alabaster Boxes and Mantles

Around 1993, a church I was attending had a resident prophet, Bro. C.L. Moore. That term always turns heads, because not everyone buys into modern day prophecy. But this was an evangelical, non-denom. He had an amazing gift.

We had a young adults meeting once, and he came. At the time I was about 21, and he was in his 80’s. He talked about how being single was our chance to really allow God to be our mate.

Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t want to hear that, when I wanted someone to share my bills, take out the trash, change my flat tires, and cook me dinner.

But then he started telling us , one by one, about ourselves. When he came to me he said, “You have a mantle of a missionary on you.”

( Insert cascading violins.)

My sister was always the pretty one, the smart one, the future minister, the one who would travel the world and who would do great things for God. I was the red-headed step child, so to speak. I was younger and was skipped over (at least in my own mind). But here, someone told me that God had a call for me that was wonderful. My heart immediately filled with joy at the thought of God bestowing such a title to me. I had grand visions of Africa, India, feeding the poor, sacrificing in the name of Jesus, martyring my life away. (All of these thoughts occurred within about a 3 second period). Tina wasn’t the only one God cared about after all!

He continued: “But, not all missionaries go overseas you know. We have plenty of people who need our help in our own back yards.”

(Insert the sound of the needle ripping across the LP and killing all music.)

“You will be as a gentle, quiet stream that flows through peoples’ lives. They won’t even realize you are there, affecting them as you do.”

Say what? I'm going to be a missionary to the Christian nation of the United States of America? Who ever heard of that?

At least I had a mantle on me, right? At least God acknowledged me, right? Another time a lady told me that I was an alabaster box that God would break open, and the perfume of my spirit would fill those around me with God’s aroma. Hmm. That sounded cooler. I can handle the fancy box of perfume better than being a stream.

Oh, how I completely missed the point!

I always secretly held onto that dream of being a missionary overseas. Until the reality of life slapped me in the face. You know the drill---marriage, debt, student loans, dogs, mortgages, insurance. And the desire to be a traveling missionary faded. It just wasn’t in the cards. But a local missionary? Not me. I don’t like people enough.

And now, I’m 36, and looking back at my life. Maybe there was truth in those prophecies. I know I have affected people. I know I’ve managed to touch some lives. But I also know that I’m not amazing enough to affect anyone myself. I’m snide, I’m sarcastic, I’m moody, I’m easily offended, I’m messy, I’m impatient, and I’m very, very guarded. Does that sound like a person who has a positive effect on people? Maybe that’s why God has chosen to give me this “mantle.” There’s no way I’ve been able to help people with my charm. It’s been God’s charm. God’s love. God’s lure. There’s no real doubt here that it’s God, because I couldn’t do it on my own


Jeff said...

Wow! WOW! That's exactly what you are! And it's only beginning. We have no idea what is ahead, but there is no doubt. You are the manifestation of those prophecies.

Naida Lee said...

i think they were both very VERY right!

luke said...

I have to agree with Jeff and Naida. From the time Tiffany and I first came to Agora, I got that "quiet stream" vibe from you - someone next to whom you can peacefully sit and relax. I think your guardedness is actually what creates that aura you seem to have. If you had a big boisterous personality all the time, others would have to put up *their* guard when they're around you, y'know?