Thursday, March 4, 2010

"IF ANY MAN ASKS FOR WISDOM..."

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5


The news of late has been filled with Amber Alerts. Every time I hear of one, I say a prayer for the child, for the abductor (who REALLY needs Jesus!), the family (who also need Jesus for comfort and solace) and a prayer of thanks for my mother.

In my life, I can look back and count 3 distinct episodes where I could have been one of those missing children, all before I turned 12. My natural disposition was outgoing, eager to chat and the truth is, it terrified my parents. I "never met a stranger". I was one of THOSE kids. How does a parent keep their children innocent while making them wise to the ways of the world? Well, read on and hopefully glean a few answers from my life.

The first incident was our newspaper boy. He was a pre-teen and would tease me and call me his girlfriend. I was 6. One day when he took me around the corner to show me a surprise (he did that sometimes and it was usually a flower of some kind) it became obvious he'd given this "relationship" a lot of thought and planning. His actions don't bear describing except to say that I found myself remembering my mother telling me I can always talk to God and get answers. Even at the age of 6, my mother had already revealed a truth to me that the Holy Spirit was able to bring to mind and I asked God for help to get away. I noticed that he kept looking around nervously so I suggested a different location for his special suggestion. It worked, and he went up the "secret way" I had pointed out to him while I took the path by the house...'so Mom can see me still in the yard'. Of course I went straight into the house and I refused to play outside for an entire week. No one knew why. In fact, I don't think I ever told my parents--but Dad got fed up and called the parents of the newspaper boy because he wasn't getting his paper and a week without a paid for paper was unacceptable. It was also a suspicious coincidence. The boy was drug to our front door by his angry father. The boy tried desperately to get me to come to the door so he could apologize to me...but I was having none of it. Betrayed was betrayed and ugly was ugly! I think my parents suspect but since I went back to my normal routine (because I knew the paperboy was in fear and would do anything to avoid any further repercussions) it was never brought up again. My conclusion at the time? Teen boys were ugly. My parents weren't going to argue the point.


The next episode happened when I was 11. I was an early bloomer and it started to show, even then. It was the Bicentennial celebration of the birth of our nation and on an Army post, that was a huge deal. My nature was still very outgoing and chatty--everyone was my friend whether they'd met me before or not. My parents had made a rule for me after my mother prayed and asked for wisdom. They sat down together (rare) in order to impart how important this new rule was. Here was the rule: "Alice, They are NOT your friend until your mother or I have met them and agree with you that they are your friend. There are no exceptions!" Well, this was huge because Dad, as busy as he was, sat with Mom and made sure to have me repeat this. BOTH of my parents were having this serious talk with me. There was a second rule. It made life easy, having only two rules. The second rule was: "Alice, You can only spend time with your friends." My parents also made sure that my best friend knew I had these two rules.

1976. Independence Day celebrations were held beside the Post Lake, which just happened to be the backyard of the Post Chapel. This scruffy looking man, kinda short but with a nice smile, asked if he could be my friend. Well, I knew my Mom was around so I told the man, "Sure!" while I started searching the crowds for her. He took me by the hand and said, " I have something special I only show my friends. Come see!" I told him, "Before I can go, we have to do something very important." You see, I was looking around everywhere for my Mom so he could meet her and we could be friends! I was driven with a sense of urgency to find her. He said "Well, we're friends aren't we? It can wait. This is really special, I don't want you to miss it." I told him, "Well we can't be real friends until we do this thing so you have to come with me." Right about then (I'd been dragging this man all over the place since he had hold of my hand) my best friend spotted me and shrieked at the top of her lungs "ALICE! Let go of that man's hand. HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!" I was so annoyed with her for spoiling my surprise. I yelled back at her, "I know that, why do you think I'm trying to find MOM!" Well mister nice man heard this, noticed everyone staring at him because we both had really been loud and suddenly "forgot" something and "had to go". I was so upset that he wouldn't be meeting my Mom that I started to cry. He promised me he'd meet my Mom another day. This made me stop crying since I had a brilliant idea. I turned and pointed at our church and told him "You can come to church, it's great! And then you can meet Mom AND Dad. He's too busy today, he's in charge." (I didn't understand his commanding the band that provided the music didn't mean he was in charge of everything. ) This man practically begged me to let him go (people were watching) and promised me he'd be at church. He swore. I made him repeat what time the service was and the whole time Vicki was glaring at me. When the man finally disappeared, Vicki grabbed my arm and drug me to find my Mom so she could tell her I had met a "bad man." I was so sure he'd show up for church the following Sunday and prove her wrong that I told everyone what he looked like...including the Military Police that my Dad had called to attend church with us. Yes, I really did think people were all good, all the time.


The third episode was just a few months later, in our own front yard. There was a stop sign on the corner of the court and street that we lived on and it was well lit. I could hunt fire-flies as long as I was in sight of the kitchen window, which had a view of the whole front lawn and the stop sign. This way I could see when Mom was done with the dishes and signal me to come in the house. A man was passing by, long hair in a ponytail, t-shirt and vest and jeans. He stopped to lean on the street lamp pole and chat with me. Mom was washing dishes, I could see her in the window and I smiled at her and continued trying to catch a fire-fly while he chatted with me. After a few jokes he asked me to walk with him if I wanted to continue chatting. I wanted a fire-fly. So he leaned against the pole again, lit a cigarette and looked around. He mentioned it was dark out and I was awful friendly. Didn't I know it wasn't smart to talk to strangers? I scoffed. He got chummy about how I must be "pretty smart", and I must know how to take care of myself when I'm all alone. After all, he reasoned, most folks thought he was scary. I just shrugged. Whatever. He wondered why I wasn't scared of him and I got impatient because clearly this man wasn't very bright. And he was distracting me from my fire-fly hunt. I pointed out the obvious. "Mister, I'm right where my Mom can see me. See? There in the kitchen window? She's been there washing dishes all this time." About that time Mom was glaring at us both and she very clearly signaled me into the house. He saw, he straightened and he said good bye as he walked on his merry way.

Later that week, a body was found in the woods half a mile down the way. A girl. Nuff said? That was when my parents let me know not everyone had good intentions. They asked me how I thought that girl had ended up dead. It opened a whole new world for me. I was nearly twelve and looking older. It was time for me to be aware of the not so nice intentions of people in the world.


I write this to show that God answers prayers for wisdom. Think of the kind of child I was. I was adventurous, outgoing, trusting and willing to believe the best of anyone. Anyone at all. None of these are qualities that are bad...except in a world where not everyone is good. I think back to these times in my life and I have to tell you, I marvel at the simplicity of God's wisdom and I am grateful my parents were God-believing parents. My mother poured the Word into me at breakfast and Dad poured it into us at night for Bible reading and prayer time. I had a visible demonstration of talking to God morning, noon and night. We talked to God while driving in a parking lot looking for a place to park, asking for favor while shopping (and getting it!) and asking for wisdom and insight about a military discipline issue or of health issues. We talked to Him for literally any wee thing. Because I'd seen it consistently, even by the age of 6, knowing God to be ever present and having His word in me saved me a harrowing experience. His wisdom works out in ways you just can't imagine. I'm living proof.

I want to give my thanks to Cherie and Leanne for an opportunity to guest blog here at SALT ministries. It's a true blessing for me.

1 Comment:

  1. SALT Ministry said...
    Thanks Alice for being willing to be apart of SALT, woot woot, ~Leanne

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