Last night, I was waiting to meet a student to prepare him for his first class beginning today. As I'm waiting, I decide to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Not too long after I've been sitting there, another man, in his late 40's or so, asks me if I will watch his bag while he runs inside. "Sure, not a problem" I tell him. I notice he's reading a Christian book. I always look at what other people are reading, helps me get an idea of possibly what kind of person they might just be. You know, judging a person by their book cover :)
After he comes back out, he notices my papers and ask if I'm a teacher. I smile and say no, but I work with a lot of them. Then I proceed to explain to him where I work and what I do. The conversation leads into a high level conversation. He was a very nice man. He explained to me why he is now in Indiana and what his life has been like up to this point.
Apparently, he has worked with a lot of battered women and helped people figure our their life in sorts. I never fully understood some of what he was talking about, but a couple things he said sort of struck me. First, he apologized to me for all of the "bad" things that some men have done to women. Not a specific situation, just in general. He said to me "there are probably some things that some men have done that hurt you, and I'm sorry for that."
I thought to myself..."I've never been hit by someone, but yeah I could say I've been hurt."
We've all be hurt by other people, but it's nice to have those feelings validated. Which led me to think about how God has brought a great great man into my life to show me what real love means. He has give me someone who goes above and beyond what I could ever ask for, who loves and gives of himself so greatly. I don't think I will ever be able to full give Jake the credit he deserves for the truly wonderful man that he is. God really knew what he was doing when he made Jake and when He patiently waited for me to allow him into my life.
Next, the man, who's name is Rob by the way, looked at me and asked...so "what makes you who you are? You seem mature and well spoken for someone your age." I smile and politely say thank you and I begin to think of my answer. The first thing I thought to say was "Oh boy, I don't know you that well and that's a really long story to tell. There is a whole lot of stuff that makes me who I am." But that's not what I told him.
I simply replied, "I come from a really great family, I'm well support and grew up with small town values." Albeit, true -- that was my safe answer. My student soon arrived and I carried on with my work. I said good bye to the man as I left and that was about the end of the story.
Until, this morning when I read this verse...
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
~1 Peter 3:15
Then it struck me. Duh, Shana! Even though I have a truly wonderful family, the real answer to why I am the way I am is because of grace. I have hope because of Jesus. I have been saved and redeemed by God the Father in Heave and that is the real reason why I am the way that I am.
I felt very convicted this morning as I thought about how my answer yesterday was not what I really should have said. I went the safe route...not the faithful route.
So, why am I the way that I am...because I am a child of the Almighty who has so lovely poured his grace and mercy over my life. I don't deserve it, but I can live in the freedom of knowing who I am in Christ.
That is the true reason.