they used to call me the “friend stalker”
I’m going to take us back today and introduce you to someone very dear to my heart.
It was summer in the valley… so naturally it felt like we were baking in an oven and it was only the beginning of June. It was VBS week at church, and I was a young little kiddo (I think 4 or 5). There were hundreds of screaming kids with popsicle stains on their smiling faces. The theme was “Amazon Outfitters” and I still could probably sing almost every word to the theme song to this day.
There was a drama, as there always is with VBS. And I, being the lucky daughter of the VBS director that I was, got the privilege of playing the part of the beautiful, blue morpho Amazon butterfly. I got to wear ballet slippers, and blue glittery wings. And every night, I got to prance around the stage in my outfit and I was so proud of myself.
But the point of this story, is not about how much I loved playing the part of that butterfly. The point of this story, is how I lived with open hands at the ripe age of five.
I remember, after that VBS, during clean up every single night I would talk to everyone. Mindless chatter, but I made them all my friends. I even named someone “friend”, and called him “friend” for about three more years of my life (sorry Nic!). I didn’t care who I talked to, what they looked like or where they came from. I just poured out as much love as my little five year old self could give.
Somewhere along the way, I grew up a little and that sweet five year old girl who was fondly referred to as “friend stalker” by her family was no longer there (though I might say that friend stalker is still a good phrase to describe me with, because I still have the deep desire to make everyone my friend. I just call them friend crushes nowadays).
Somewhere in the middle of growing up and putting makeup on and choosing what me I allowed others to see… my fists closed up. I didn’t want to give as much to those around me, I didn’t want to share what I had in my life with them, and I didn’t want to invite anyone in. I closed my fists so tightly, it would’ve taken an army to drill them open.
But that’s not the way to live life, and it’s not the way to live a life for Christ.
“…go live with your hands open wide, baby girl. So, that you can let God’s love pour into you freely and you can freely return it out to everyone else by the bucketful.”
These are the words I am choosing to live by this school year. And I want to urge everyone to bring back the five year old in them, the one that freely loved everyone with her hands open so big that she could grab the whole world with them and pull them into a great big bear hug. This world is lacking sorely in the department of love, and so we should freely offer it up as it has been freely given to us through Jesus Christ.
I want this so badly. I want to openly take what the world throws at me, and take every opportunity as God gives it to me. I want to latch onto those and say “okay, let’s do it!” and bring friends along with me on the journey. I want to keep myself open to receive the beautiful love of Christ, and I want to do my best to give that same sort of love to everyone I come in contact with. I want to talk deeply and honestly with those I love, and being transparent with those I am just becoming friends with.
It will be a challenge, but I think I am called to live this way for Christ.
So here’s to being five with popsicle stains on big smiling faces. And most importantly, here is to living with open hands and loving with an open heart. Go live, the way God calls you to babe, with more love than you know what to do with.