Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—Psalm 107:2
When I was five years old, I had a deep love for Jesus. My parents had a mattress store where I would get dropped off from the school bus. I was in morning kindergarten and arrived just before lunch. Some days I would have to stay a bit longer than a five year old would like. I also wished my dad had gone into the candy store business (much more lucrative to a child).
One particular afternoon, I sat spinning round & around in a swivel rocking chair. In my hands lie a tape recorder. The old school kind that you'd be sure to find in an 80s has been electronic store. Inside was a red tape that I would play over & over again. Psalty the Singing Songbook. He was pretty much soaring on the kids' pop charts at the time. He had all the right moves, blue songbook, mission to tell kids about Jesus and he liked to sing (2 of the three just sound a bit eerie present day). Although I can see some theological differences in the Psalty of my youth, it allowed me to love Jesus all the more.
So there I was, spinning, hitting rewind, singing, listening, and then something caught my eye outside. Beyond the parking lot lay a big vacant, dirt lot. Inside that dirt lot was a huge fenced playground. And inside that fenced playground were kids (there was a daycare in the same complex). As far as I knew, there were no kids around me and they looked interesting. I heard Psalty say over & over, "My pages are full of songs. I teach kids to worship Jesus." Well, those kids might have never heard of Jesus and Psalty seemed the best avenue to share.
I stopped spinning and grabbed my recorder with red tape and set out. I trudged through the piercing sun, but knew nothing could get in my way of sharing Jesus. I didn't know what my actual plan would be, I figured it would come once I got there (I was a "go with the flow" type of evangelist). The kids were running, chasing & yelling all about. Yet, once they saw me, it was as if someone said, "I give ice cream to kids who can be silent!" There I was in my coolness, my nifty recorder and me, the only child on the outside looking in. I kept my cool, kind of shrugged my shoulders in that "you know you want to be my friend" sort of shrug. They believed it and ran right over. Little did I know it was only because whenever a group of caged children see another child on the outside--they instantly gravitate to their possible freedom.
I said..."Hi!" They responded with similar niceties. We exchanged names, what I was doing on the "outside" and asked if there was an escape route planned.
Then, one kid asked me, "whatcha got there?"
"Oh, this?" I replied, "it's my tape recorder, ya wanna listen? (as I say this with a bit of leering tone).
They all chimed in, "YES!"
I press play. I think they're hooked.
Someone asks, "what is that?"
Me in my usual five year old sauveness and very nonchalantly reply, "Oh, it's Psalty the Singing Songbook, he teaches kids to worship Jesus and out comes the music."
What ensued was me testifying of the wonderful love of Jesus and how Jesus loved them too. All of this before the teacher saw what was happening and didn't try to corral me in with the rest of the kids. I told them I'd be back if I could.
Unfortunately, when I would return the teachers made it evident that I should probably stay away, because I was a little distracting. But, I harbored no bitterness. I look back on that day with such sweet fondness. There are people who tell stories of their wretched childhoods, bad relationships with their parents and how they began to see God like their failed parents. I have some real wretchedness in my childhood & youth. I have had some real pain in my relationship with my parents as well. But, one thing I have always been thankful for is Jesus' grace he gave me that day.
That day marked for me how much he was who he said he was. He was good to the core. He wouldn't fail me. He never intended for me to grow up with such hostility & brokenness. He has showed me that he would spring up water even in the desert. Like that day, in the middle of the dirt lot under the blazing Arizona sun, he would grow a garden and continue to plant seeds of redemption along the way.
A Year Ago: Homemade Oreos