April 4, 2011

Sunday Unwrapped

We knew that we would not be going to church today. The boys have these lingering coughs and some congestion. When my boys are sick I try to quarantine them. We try and stay home until the germies pass.
Greg and I actually slept in until almost 9 am today. It felt so good.

We pulled ourselves  bounced out of bed, made breakfast and coffee and started some housework. I handed Greg the new dishwasher liguid and he went to town filling the dishwasher. Only thing was....it wasn't diswasher liguid. Silly me...it was dishwashing liguid. Big difference. At one point the whole floor was coveed in bubbles.....very I Love Lucy.

We literally felt like we had worked out hard after cleaning up all the water and foam....over and over again. I decided to throw on some sweats and head out for errands. My first stop was TJ Maxx. I love to browse around that store. I've actually been really good lately.....only looking, not purchasing. I've been purging my closets. I really think hard before I make any new purchases. While browsing the bra section I noticed 2 very distinguished looking men. Somehow {only in Mimi land} we started chatting as we pondered a backless & strapless bra hanging in front of us.

Y'know how you can just tell about someone? Well these 2 men just seemed so nice from the start. I know, it's not very common to be chatting with 2 strangers.....men....in the bra department of TJ Maxx. Like me, they wore their hearts on their sleeve....I quickly learned much about them. By day they were typical business men. One of the men was first generation from India. They were friends, one had a husband. By night, they were an Indian Princess and Ms Fox .....cross dressers who entertained with a well known NYC troup. I guess you could say they were the first celebrities that I met while living here. All their night work was performed for charity. A charity that supports the huge homeless population in NYC/NJ. They shared stories about homeless children and how Americans don't realize how bad the situation really is. They see it first hand all the time.....they shared how there are children sleeping on the streets{in NYC}. They spend their spare time trying to make a difference....all the proceeds from their events go to the homeless.

Not only that, but one of my new friends shared how one night there was a knock on his door {in Brooklyn}. A man in his 80's was outside....."I'm so cold. Could I please sleep on your couch tonight? I will leave tomorrow".   What would you have done? What would I have done??  The man sharing this story {my new shopping buddy} let the elderly man in.....3 years later he is still living with him {a sort of adopted uncle}. Hearts of gold these men seem to have.

I have to tell you.....I became a Christian shortly after I turned 30. The first few years of my walk brought some things that I am now healing from. Some wrong teaching, some legalism, some personal stuff. I'm currently trying to understand my personal relationship with the Lord. So many times I let man pleasing {Christian pleasing} get in the way of my walk. I know that some people may be thinking that I should not have been talking to these men....in the bra section for goodness sake. But I am glad that I did meet them and that I got to know them, if only a little bit. For one thing, it may be a door for our family to help and volunteer with the homeless community. That is something we have been wanting to do. I'll tell you.....in those men I saw love, joy, patience, kindness.... They were doing and not just talking.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say......I just know that I want to get to a place where what man thinks about me doesn't matter. Where only what God thinks of me matters. Where I look to Him and say "Ok?" instead of asking my peers for their approval. I have a feeling it may be a bumpy road.


Tiffanie said...

Girl, you are crazy...and I love you for it! LOL Only in "Mimi land"..too funny! I totally get what you are saying. I'm proud of you. It IS so easy for us to judge, and to reject. But how would THAT be like Jesus. Perhaps you may have been the only "christian" to show these two what Jesus looks like. You'll never know until the other side of heaven.

And to answer your question about the homeless man coming to my door. That IS a tough question because I'm thinking about from the lens of being 1. a female and 2. a mom with two boys in my home. For those two reasons alone I would not be able to have a stranger stay on my couch. If I was a single male, PERHAPS, that would be different. But I could offer to get him a room at a local motel. :)

Tara said...

First...I have poured so much JetDry in my dishwasher that I had a huge puddle on the floor and where I washed it off the d'washer door - ruined it with permanent streaks.

Loved your story. At first, I was confused until I kept reading. We just never know what situations we will find ourselves in. God is always working though.

My post is kind of like yours today. I need to keep focused on knowing I am valuable to Him and worry about that - not all of my mess ups in my eyes or the eyes of others. Blessed...very!

Darcie said...

Deep...thought provoking post! Gives one a lot to think about, and ponder. It does speak loud and clear about "faith without works is dead"...wanting to make sure there is actions behind my faith, and behind my words. Thanks for the post Mimi!

Ruth said...

Actually... that bra department thing happens in 'Ruthy land' sometimes, and I wouldn't worry about it. I call them divine appointments. ;)

The more I read your posts, the more I love ya!


P.S. From experience, I can tell you it's a bumpy road indeed, but the peace of mind is soooo worth it! God's approval is way more important. ;-)

carole said...

So funny! Truly only in Mimi Land. Were they shopping for bras too? :) Your friendliness is such a great quality. Loving people is what Jesus was about, wasn't it? So I don't think you're off course at all.

really.truly said...

You guys are awesome. Always so encouraging. Thanks for taking this bumpy road with me.

Yes indeed....they were bra shopping! They buy their gowns in Manhattan-told me all about it. :)

Polly said...

Oh, I've missed reading your lovely blog! Looking forward to catching up. And I absolutely adore TJ Maxx! My all time favorite store,and a good thing since it is the only store in a 60 mile radius ;) Your story of your new friends was beautiful, good for you for stepping out in faith to share life with strangers.

RV Puzzled said...

Oh, I miss you so much!! I hope the boys get to feeling better soon. They are so cute all snuggled up on the couch. Big hugs to everyone xoxo

Wendy said...

Mimi, wow! You are so right about what people think of you (me)....we really shouldn't worry or concern ourselves as long as we can measure ourselves against God's word and know that we are doing just as He says. You know what I think of you? YOU ARE AMAZING! Those men are doing great work for the homeless, but they would never have gotten to tell their story to many 'Christians' because we couldn't have gotten past the cross-dressing, ya know? You gave them a true picture of what it is to be a Christian...something I'm trying to teach my kids and trying to continue to put into practice myself. And it's hard! jesus loves all of us. When He walked the earth he spent time with the lowly, the diseased, prostitutes. Not becoming like them but loving them, showing them that He loves them right where they are. I am so proud of you for showing love to those men, no matter how strange the story or circumstance. I agree that it was a 'divine appointment' and I will not be surprised later when you tell us all about how your family is helping the homeless of NYC. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

What you seemed to be telling us is that THEY showed YOU what Jesus looked like. It's funny how that gets twisted around because of judgement - isn't it? It is possible that a cross-dressing gay man can reflect the heart of Christ simply by considering "the least of these" - because it is quite possible that they consider themself to not be anything special.

So instead of sitting in judgment, those men are able to show real love. It's just a clear picture of law vs. love.

Clearly you have eyes that see and ears that hear because you have an open heart.

Thanks for sharing that - what an amazing reminder.

StacyB said...

Hmmm - am I the lone dissenter here? :S
What would you have said/done if your boys had been there with you? How would you explain it all to them?

I think our world is one where lots and lots of people do good things, but that still doesn't get them eternal life.

I probably would not have gotten into that conversation. And it would have been for my own wrong reasons. I would have avoided it because I know that such an encounter SHOULD provoke me to share the Gospel, but that I would have been afraid to. Maybe. And so I wouldn't have engaged them.

Wendy said...

Oh, I agree Stacy. I'm sure I would have had the same fears and would not have gotten involved. It would be tough to explain to children, partly because at least some of them haven't the slightest idea about all that stuff. But, since she was alone in the store, she was able to chat and I thought it gave a great picture of how she was being like Christ. He loved on all the people that 'His' people thought He shouldn't. They were the ones he was here for, the lost. The sad part was that the Pharisees were lost too, they were just too caught up in their dead religion and law to see it and hear Him. So, even though I am fairly certain I would have avoided or at least cut the conversation short due to my own fears, I am impressed that Mimi listened. No matter how surprised she may have been by the story she stayed there, engaged in conversation, and may even have a 'contact' later to begin volunteering. Who knows what impact she and her family could have on those men or others that they come to know through them? I wish I was less inhibited and able to have more 'appointments' like that. I completely understand where you're coming from....you are exactly right that good deeds do not get us eternal life. That is one of the things I would say to my children if we had all encountered those men. We would have discussed how their lifestyle is sinful and how no matter how great their acts are, no matter how many people they are helping, that they are still not going to have eternal life if they do not repent and follow Jesus. But that conversation was the starting point for Mimi. There may come a time when she can speak to them of Christ, His word, His love.....but for now she SHOWED them with her ready smile, conversation, and lack of judgement.

Ruth said...

This situation is a tad bit complex as it concerns eternal life, because we would first have to determine that:
1. They were taught the truth of gospel,
2. convinced of its truth, and then
3. in spite of that conviction rejected that truth.

"...to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."(James 4:17)

God does not address sins of ignorance (Acts 17:30) in the same way He addresses presumption... and I would rather not be caught sitting in judgement about two men for whom I have no knowledge of their upbringing.

Just my humble take on the matter. I've been on the other side of that coin (though I'm neither gay nor a cross-dresser), and it's not a fun place to be.

really.truly said...

I have really appreciated all your input! Stacy-I understand your concerns. Wendy did a great job of sharing her thoughts in her reply-proably better than I could have. If my boys were with me we wouldn't have been in the bra department(LOL-they never would have wanted to step foot in there). But if we had encountered these men in another place I still would have chatted with them. Living in our area we encounter many unusual and interesting things-we try and teach our boys through those things. We believe in sheltering, but part of that(to us) is walking beside them, guiding them, and explaining things to them. For the record, the boys great aunt is a lesbian-they adore her, we all do. Most of my family has different beliefs and lifestyles. It reminds me of this...our boys play video games,but have learned to recognize the games they shouldn't play(instead of hiding those games from them) We want to teach them how to stay true to their faith while in the real world. Many years ago, I was told to stop all relationships with my unbelieving friends/family-and I did. I regret that now. It showed a wrong view of how Jesus wants us to be. They saw me being critical and were turned off by my faith. It has taken a long time to restore those relationships. I don't believe that good works brings salvation. But I did see love, joy, peace, kindness in those men. I was not saying that their fruit would bring them salvation. Just sharing how sweet and giving they were. What is cool is that the old me would have thought it was wrong to chat with them, but now I am trying to care more about what the Lord thinks than what would my friend at church (etc) think of me. I love you guys-this discussion has really made me think. Remember that bumpy road I mentioned? {HUGS}

really.truly said...

Ruth-Yes,thank you for sharing. xxoo!

StacyB said...

I appreciate all the responses, as well. My concern [if it really is the right word.. I think it is too strong, but I only have a minute] is that if my conversation with them was TOO friendly, and seemingly TOO accepting, then it might suggest that their lifestyle is okay. Jesus didn't do that. When He saw a sinner, He called them a sinner. Tax collector Pharisee. :) AND He shared the Truth.

My conundrum is that I think that my own hesitation to share the Gospel would have kept me from that conversation just as much as my desire not to seemingly pass on approval would have. I can't pretend sin is okay, but I am often afraid to share the Truth, too.

But for me, NOT talking to them wouldn't be because other Christians might not approve, but because I wouldn't want them to think I endorsed their actions. Like last night, part of me was thinking what it would be like to be in that situation and how I would IDEALLY like to handle it. [Heh] Part of me would love to challenge them and ask why they have to cross-dress to help the homeless. Surely there are lots of other ways to do that. But I know I really should move more gently and ask about their faith, etc.
And all of that is why I would most likely have walked to another department and thanked God that my kids were not with me!

Joshua said...

Our job is to love and not to judge. I did not realize there are different degrees to how much you are supposed to love - is that even possible to love just a little bit? I only remember Jesus saying, "love one another". God's kindness leads to repentance, not his judgement.

And FWIW, I'm sure there are many Christians who would not have opened up their door to a freezing cold homeless man. I hardly doubt that man cared at all about the sin condition of those that showed him love.

As far as kids are concerned - well - Jesus told us to be like them. Children have far more capactity to show love because they are not busy judging and sin-sniffing.

As far as cross-dressing - what on earth does that have to do with helping the homeless? Do the homeless people care where or who they get their meal from? Love is love. Period.

From what I've read, the ONLY people Jesus really had a problem with were the Pharisees.

Life with Kaishon said...

I think that God sent them to you for a special lesson.
I love what they do. Making a difference is always beautiful to me...even if it is unconventional.

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