Friday, May 27, 2011

Penny for your thoughts...

I hear that comments are not working and I don’t know why but I am looking into it.  That hasn’t stopped many of you from sending me comments or messages via text, facebook, or email, or just plain up giving me a phone call.  I am so grateful for so many wonderful friends and readers.
I just got off the phone with the President of Liberty Bank Joplin, and he said that I could get access to the bank on Tuesday, but that it won’t be open until the 13th and that is still left to be seen.  He said the bank didn’t experience as much physical damage as it did water damage.  He said there was 3-4 inches standing water in parts of the bank that had leaked through the damaged ceiling and walls, but our old gal (the bank) is in pretty good shape considering.  I have seen pictures of the businesses surrounding Liberty and all I can say is wow.
I know of three other ladies, LaDonna, Mrs. Judy (Pastor’s wife) and my good friend Danielle who were all away like me when the tornado struck.  As I follow them on facebook I prepare myself for the shock I will experience when I see the devastation first hand.
I feel very grateful.  The reason I feel grateful is because I prayed that God would not give me more than I could handle.  So He got me a cheap plane ticket to Washington, he protected my husband and my little boy, and he bolstered me with family and friends.  I think He knew that if I had been there I might have not wanted to be there anymore, but that is where He has called me.
I have wanted to write about a special friend of mine for quite a while, and I think today is the perfect day.  This is the story of Pernicious Penny and her journey to becoming my Precious Penny.
My lovely sister Robin and our Precious Penny!
Once upon a time back in 2006, I was blessed with the opportunity to lead the Junior High Youth Group at Machias Community Church.  Some would call this blessing a burden, but it brought immeasurable joy and growth to my life that is beyond anything I could have imagined and I am so grateful to each and every little stinker…eh hem…correction…little blessing that crossed my path during those few years.
I remember the first time I was getting gradually introduced to the group.  We met at the current youth pastor’s house Pastor Chris and Tammy Immer, who were getting ready to go to pastor a church up in Lummi Island (they didn’t know this yet, but it was in the works).  That first night I met Penny.  Her name is actually Persephanie, but she likes to be called Penny, and Sam to bug her calls her Percy, which she definitely doesn’t like.  Ah Penny, she hit me like a freight train that night with her ENERGY (yes, all caps is appropriate) and the speed with which words flew out of her mouth was truly remarkable.
At first Penny was very nice, maybe because I was new, but the tides quickly turned when she learned I was going to be leading the JH group.  Whew, did it ever turn.  She was nasty, biting, a gossip, harsh, cold, pressing…she did everything she could to push me away and was very loud about it.   Other girls in the youth group would say, “You know, Persephanie doesn’t like you.”   Well, duh!  She would push me away until I would stop reaching out and then would reach out until I reached in…It was an exhausting vicious cycle.
In 2007 we had our winter camp up in the mountains at Camp Jubilee, and for me it was anything but a jubilee, at least at the beginning.  I remember this moment so clearly.  I was by a little hill while Persephanie, Emily, Emma, and Lindsay were sledding (at least I think that is who was there, ok, so I guess I don’t remember it THAT clearly).  I do remember that at the very least Persephanie was definitely there.  I remember that she said something hateful to me and stomped away…this was the straw that broke my silence.
“Are you a Christian?” I called after her.
She swung around and with eyes narrowed she replied “Yes!” in the most non-Christian, snot faced tone you could imagine.  It was laced with anger and hurt and was spat out of her mouth instead of spoke out.
“You don’t act like it.” I said.  I didn’t want to say this to her, but I couldn’t think of anything else.  I told her that she was making things very difficult and was being mean to me for no reason.
She didn’t say a word and turned, stomping away through the snow.  I remember thinking, ‘well, at least you tried.’
From that moment forward I experienced a different person.  She is a bundle of barely bridled energy that will knock you over with huge hugs and rib crunching squeezes, but she is a young woman who has blessed my life beyond anything I could have thought possible.  She reads all my blogs, she calls me weekly, she encourages me and loves me even when I don’t have time to give her.  She prays for me, and she holds me close, even when we are apart.
God was working in her life and he is perfecting the good work in her that he started.  He is faithful and he is her source of joy and hope and she spreads it to others around her.
When I think about Persephanie I think about a verse that back when she was one of my youth groupies I made her memorize…because they were being little stinkers and prank calling me while I was pregnant at 3am in the morning.  Don’t mess with a pregnant woman trying to get her zzz’s…she will call all your mother’s and make you memorize scripture.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage for you. Hebrews 13:17.
Be wise when you put yourself under a leadership, but then don’t be a big whiner.  Pray for them and bless them so that they can continue to be a blessing to you.  God taught me so much through Persephanie.  I am so grateful for my Penny.  I hope more of you will be a Penny to someone and bless them with care and consideration.  Call them, encourage them; build them up! Be the blessing that they need so they can keep on keeping on.
Penny and my sister-in-law Dawn at the family cookout
Oh God, let me be a blessing, not a burden!

1 comment:

  1. Her hugs ARE rib-crunching - that is no exaggeration. And even though I 'don't like hugs' I will 'secretly' admit here that Penny's hugs make me smile. God Bless you, Penny!