Sunday, July 06, 2008

When I Look at You I See . . .

So many times we brush against people in life and make hasty judgments. We assume their outward appearance tells us so much about them. Maybe they seem to be crabby all the time or mean. Maybe you believe them to be happy go lucky and they don’t have a care in the world. Maybe the way they are dressed makes us believe they are one way or another. The outward appearance can be deceiving. Some people mask their troubles, while others don’t. What if we could look deeper beyond the physical? What if we look with different eyes?

One of the things our church does when we do an outreach is an exercise called, “When I Look at You I See.” Even though we do this during our outreaches, you can do this all the time. You meet someone and pray quietly to yourself. Ask God to speak to you something positive and encouraging about this person. I’ve been out to dinner or Starbucks and I feel God tug on my heart. He has me walk up to a stranger and say, “Hi, sometimes God speaks to me and He told something I believe He would like me to share with you. It’s not bad. Would it be okay?” Every time it’s been a curious yes.

Speaking life, encouragement or hope to someone changes their expression. The looked that said, “Ok, I’ll humor the crazy person.” Changes to “How did you know that?” or “Wow, thank you, I really needed to hear that.”

My husband stumbled up on the following video. It so demonstrates what I’m talking about.

© Nadine Z. 2008


Elle*Bee said...

I haven't actually shared my thoughts with others, but sometimes I'll just people-watch and try to think of one positive thing about each person I see. It really does help one's perpective.

Keshi said...

Inspirational post Nadine!


eph2810 said..., Nadine - how convicting - tears are rolling down my face right now...thank you so much for sharing....

You are such a blessing to me and I am sure to so many others in bloggyland and in real life!!!!

palmtreefanatic said...

wow! This is amazingly true! I think it is wonderful you have that holy boldness to go up to someone to pray or Talk about god to them! There needs to be more compassionate people like you out there Nadine!

This video says it all! Thanks for posting this and have a wonderful day!

Sharon - Mom Generations said...

Your post and the poignant video are so beautiful... so often we rush around in our own worlds, taking care of our own needs... when to just pause and look and listen would reveal so much about fellow man.

I am happy that I came to you this morning... you have set the tone for my day, my week, my life.


Cheri said...

An amazing video. It made me cry.

Kellan said...

Great video - great post!

Have a good day - Kellan

It's All Good! said...

That's so true, Nadine. And this was very similar to what our Pastor spoke about yesterday. I let an opportunity slip by me on Sat. in the grocery store pk. lot with a man in need. I'm normally against men (especially drunk men) approaching women for money, which stopped me from helping. But the Lord helped me to see how I can be cautious while still being able to help in the future.
My point, is that I passed judgement BEFORE even allowing the Lord to give me the Yes or No in my spirit about this man. I hope this makes sense.
Thanks for sharing.

Strider said...

What a fantastic video. Thanks for sharing really tells the story doesn't it?

Scarlet said...

Beautiful post. It reminds me of the guy on the bus with all those unruly kids that just returned from his wife's/mother's funeral. If the other passengers only knew...

Anyway, thanks for the wake-up call. I think one of my kids needs a hug. ;)

Dawn said...

I've been doing this to strangers for years. And sometimes the Spirit even urges me to anonymously pay for meals for people, too. My hubby thought I was a little nutso when we were first married (especially since we could barely feed ourselves that first year!) but he's used to it now and even encourages me. We'll be at dinner and he'll say to me, "You and God haven't bought anyone's dinner in quite awhile. Maybe you should look around and pray about it."

Demara said...

I just got all maudlin over watching that video. :'(

Damselfly said...

I'd love to be able to do that!

Madison Richards said...

When I look at you I see a woman who is full of love and life, doing her best to encourage those God brings into her life...

Keep it up!!


Dawn said...

I love that piece - we saw it at church one morning - very thought-provoking!

jennifer said...

As always Nadine, you make me think. Your post are always so good. When is the Daily Devotional Book coming out cause YOU COULD WRITE IT!

I came by earlier today and my computer completely locked up on me. Let's hope this comment publishes! :)

Be blessed and thank you so much for your recent support through your presence. You make me feel so.... calm? Does that make sense? God is good and He knows when to send the calming presence of friends! Really. Thank you.


amydeanne said...

wahhhhhhhh you've got me bawling! lol great video!

jane - mom generations said...

You are so right. Sometimes we are incredibly quick to judge others when we could be focusing on so many positives. Gosh, you always have such wonderful, thought-provoking things to say, Nadine!!


A Woman Who is: said...

I am so glad I finally got over here to your blog...that was a really great video! It makes me sad we are not doing our outreach this year...but maybe it is time to step out of my comfort zone and look around, and really see what is going on out there!

Thanks for sharing and tell Tom good find!

Tom Zawacki said...

Awesome post and great comments... I think you have found your calling with this blog.

I love you and I believe in you!

Alene said...

Beautiful! Just beautiful.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Powerful video. "Just needs a hug", "Works two jobs to feed kids", "Just needs someone to care".

I am guilty of making hasty judgements (its developed over a lifetime of living in a very big city!) at times...and I have been proven wrong many a time.

Recently at a bus stop a woman edged nearer to me, I looked at her, she was missing a few teeth, her clothes were shabby, she looked 'hard done by'. But she spoke to me and we actually had a very nice conversation....And when we parted, she extended her hand to shake mine. I was humbled...she was a very nice person....

Thank you so much for posting this.

Shionge said...

What a lovely video and indeed when we put on a different lens there is always a story behind it.

Like they say, don't judge a book by its cover :)

Thank you for sharing :D

Debz said...

Sitting here tears streaming down my face. All I can say is thanks. Needed that today.

Toby Parsons said...

"Okay, I'll humor the crazy person." LOL Been there. My kids have told me it embarasses them. LOL Yes, follow God. I'm so glad you posted this Nadine. :)

God sees the hidden person / the heart.

A friend of mine recently shared this 'forward' via email & it reminds me of what you are saying here:


For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding speaker and Bible teacher, and the author of several excellent

Bible studies. She and her husband of a number of years live in Texas and have two grown daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville , waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones.

The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him.

Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.

I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. 'Oh, no, God, please, no.' I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, 'Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!'

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, 'Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane.' Then I heard it... 'I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.'

The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, 'God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man.

I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.'

Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. 'That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.'

I looked up at God and quipped, 'I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?' God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: 'I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.' (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, 'Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

He looked back at me and said, 'What did you say?'

'May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

To which he responded in volume ten, 'Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that.'

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, 'SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?'

At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, 'If you really want to.' Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, 'Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush.' 'I have one in my bag, 'he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.

A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees and said, 'Sir, do you know my Jesus?'

He said, 'Yes, I do.' Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, 'I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior.' He said, 'You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.'

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, 'That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?'

I said, 'Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!'

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way. . . all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 'The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We Have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.'

Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, 'Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!'

Don't tell God how big your troubles are - tell your troubles HOW BIG your GOD is!