Thursday, December 17, 2009

Looking through God Glasses

Who Inspires You?
by Debra E. Marvin

This week, the Inkies have been talking about people who inspire us. I'm going to bring this down to a micro-level, because I've chosen someone most of you won't know. I want you to think of someone in your everyday life that could be your "ink-spiration"!

This past week our church lost a man who was an inspiration to everyone who knew him because of his intense love for Jesus and the deep, unbiased love he had for others. He desperately wanted everyone to know the life changing, life saving love of Christ. Though I could write about Pastor Tim Kirkey, my heart was made up months ago when this theme came up. One person came to mind immediately.

I’ve had a group of close friends that goes back to elementary school. Imagine the kind of history that comes along with it. There’s nothing we haven’t been through together. We are true sisters.

One of my friends, Linda Marie, is the type of person who loves to meet people. Now, I can say a friendly hello and chat for a moment or two, and then I’m ready to go. I love solitude. I could travel across country, smile and say hello to 100 people along the way. Linda could talk 100 minutes with each of those people. She genuinely finds them interesting and worth her time.
On a "girls" trip a few years back, we were sitting in our rental van waiting for Linda Marie to come out of the gas station (no doubt with a pepsi, a chocolate bar and a lottery ticket!). She came out the door and proceeded to converse with a man who looked____________(fill in the blank). One of us said, “There goes Lin, talking to anyone!”

I was so convicted right then it has never left me. Our Linda WILL talk to anyone-- with a caring voice, a smile, an attitude that they are worth her time and are no worse or better than she is.

What is your FILL IN THE BLANK? Do you judge people by their looks, clothing, possessions, attitude? How I wish I could say I don’t. I can blame the ‘don’t like to talk’ part on my extreme introvertedness, but I can’t blame the judging on it.

Mind you, Linda is not perfect. I have four red-headed best friends. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT’S LIKE? I’m judging redheads here. Passionate in their feelings and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Once, when I was serving communion, I had a glimpse of what God sees when He looks at us. I felt so overwhelmed by the love He has for each person that came up to take their cracker and juice, I could hardly breathe. For one blessed moment, I saw each of them with His eyes--through God glasses! Another moment I’ll never forget.
We are all judged by our looks, our actions, our history through the eyes of others. Except for one. THE ONE who sees us as the valuable, irreplaceable, special creation He made despite what we’ve done with ourselves.

My inspiration is my friend Linda Marie Bridget Nagel Serenka, who takes the time to give value to others in a way I only hope to attempt. I’m blessed to have known her for over forty five years.

Do you have a Linda in your life?
Perhaps a Tim Kirkey? I hope so.

Who inspires you? Do they know how you feel?
Tell them.
Share with us if you will.

Luke 18: 9-14 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


  1. Like you, I once had a moment of profound awe as I watched members of my church approach the altar for communion. Each one receiving the bread and wine is acknowledging their need for grace. And God loves each one so much that he poured out his blood to atone for our sins.

    Awesome and humbling.

    Thank you for reminding me of that moment, and for wise admonition that we can blame our personality for how we approach (or don't) approach others, but we can't blame it for being judgemental. A gem!

  2. Deb, I totally agree with you! Lin IS one of the most inspiring people I know. How she faces life and all it throws at her, she amazes me with her upbeat attitude. She's never afraid to try anything, and with a smile - and always an interesting tale to tell! Thanks for sharing.

    (And come on, it's not THAT bad having redheads for friends! LOL)

  3. Wenda, I'm glad this called to memory a "God glasses" moment for you -very similar to mine. Thanks for the support. I've been thinking of you and Anita through this onset of winter cold. Nice to know you enjoyed those frigid temps before sending them out my way...

    Sharon. One of the red heads. Yes.
    We do share a very special friend in Linda. Tenacity, thy name is Linda. Love you both! I am rich as a king with friendship in this world!

  4. I've been accused of looking through "rose-colored glasses." I so like "God glasses" better.

    Years ago I had a young friend with young children who was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She openly shared her struggle, but she continued to give and give until she couldn't give any more. Her funeral was a celebration. We all stood and sang "This is the Day" and clapped along as we did in Sunday School. A black women's gospel choir sang like only they can. (She used to play piano for them.) People streamed to the altar afterwards. I've never forgotten. And when things get tough, I remember Linda who poured herself out until the end. She viewed life through "God glasses." I want my life to be an offering where I, too, view every situation and person through "God glasses."

  5. This reminds me of a line in "The Shack." Almost every time God talks about someone, God says the same line. "I'm especially fond of him/her." I like that, because God has a special, unique sort of love for each of us. Fondness seems to go even further than love though. He doesn't just love us, he likes all those special quirky little things he placed in us.

    I was very inspired by a whole group of Christians in England that I worked with on a mission trip. I've never seen people who sacrificed to spread the gospel like they did. Many of them worked only part time so they could do outreach and evangelistic work and community service projects the other half of their day. They genuinely cared about "the least of these."

    Because of that, they didn't have much money and would often end up sharing homes, etc... They would also wake up early every morning to pray as a group for an hour.

    But they could really party too. They were so much fun. It's like they totally embraced life and all the opportunities God gave them.

  6. I'm guilty of judging on sight. I'm guilty of thinking myself superior for whatever silly reason. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the optometrist. Think they'll have some God glasses? I definitely needs some. Maybe it's like that. We see through the glass darkly, but one day He'll remove all the flaws in our perception and open the eyes of our understanding. I need more of those moments!

  7. Very cool post!

    If I begin to judge someone for ____, the Holy Spirit taps me on the noggin and reminds me of where I've been, what I've done, what I think!!!!

    Tuesday night, the Ladies of Grace gathered here for the second annual potluck and I praised God all night and the next morning for Soulmates of the Linda kind. It sure eases us through the burdens of this world!!!

    ALWAYS love your posts, Debra!


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  9. I visited this site after Patti Lay commented on my blog. A wonderful site! This entry made me realize that deep down, I'm a snob. I may try to act non-judgmental on the outside but deep down, I may cringe at someone's appearance.

  10. Beautiful post! Your friend sounds like an amazing person. I def. have people I look at and think, wow. They're awesome. Thanks for the reminder for me to look at people the way God does.;-)

  11. Sandra, I can feel the love in your comment. What a celebration your friend's funeral must have been!

    We probably all know someone who goes through the toughest of things life throws at us and amazes us with their strength and spirit. Sometimes we are afraid to get close, in case our weaknesses show up in the light!

    I'm glad you shared "your" Linda with us! I'm thinking of her family now, and imagine the love she shared is being brought back to them.

  12. Deb, this post brought tears! I've been so blessed to have good friends (yes, some from elementary school still!) who have inspired and encouraged me. Even those people who have challenged me (personality conflicts) have taught me valuable lessons. We are surrounded by inspiration every day, if we will just take the time to look.
    Love the "God glasses"!

  13. Schmologna. (love your name but it's making me think of lunch for some reaason--sorry I'm easily distracted.)

    Oh please don't think you're alone in snob ville. We're all there. Well, a lot of us. I admit it, and you've seen others too. It's all part of our journey here, and making a choice to let God use our experiences to make us reflect Him more than ourselves.
    Omigosh. It is our nature to judge and I thank God everytime I get 'the shoulder tap', as Patti called it.

    Thank you for your commment and willingness to share. You've probably said some things that others are thinking, so you've blessed us with your humility!

  14. Dina, I have yet to read the Shack. I know there is controversy but I think we need to open up our eyes and stop trying to put a supernatural God in our limited natural frame.
    I love the idea of "I'm fond of him"!

    Amazing huh?

    Lisa - let me know how it goes with the God glasses. I'll make my appt with that eye dr, right away. Oh, I sure wish I had more of those moments. I am probably 'the limiting factor' there. Looking out through my COOL shades, instead.

    Patti dear. I heard about your party. Apples to Apples! love that game. And the food. You Normal gals really know how to party.

  15. Jessica, thanks for stopping by. Yes, my friend Linda Marie is amazing. We like to think she's one of a kind, cos, the world couldn't handle two of her!
    She might get mad at me for this, but she was very sick last year at this time--maybe 6 wks in the hospital?-- and I was sick in my soul that I might lose her. Think I already mentioned her tenacity. Oh yeah. big time.

  16. Niki!
    Tears are good huh?! I need them to wash the crud out of my eyes and my life. I tend to be too much of stiff-upper-lipper, know what I mean?

    My prayer last night was that my words would be used to touch someone's heart right where it needed a poke. It's true of all our posts, isn't it? We don't know where our words go but God does. I cried when I wrote it too.

  17. You picked the best inspirational person I can think of too, Deb, Linda truly does find joy in meeting every person she comes across! She has left a trail of happy faces marking her path from one side of the country to the other and back again, and those of us who have been so Blessed to be touched by her joie de vivre and grace can never forget. God is so amazing as He puts these truly beautiful people in our lives, sometimes for just a moment but wonderfully for others a very long time. I pray for those God glasses everyday, my $9.99 readers just don't cut it. Thanks for this post, Deb, from yet another redhead (although getting blonder everyday to hide the gray). Mari

  18. In order to enjoy "The Shack" you just have to look at it as one person's interpretation and appreciate the new insight. I think the controversy comes from people reading it and thinking it must be "Truth" with a capital "T". I'm certain everyone will find something they disagree with, but if read with an open mind, it inspires a lot of awe.

    I've been thinking about this post more today. I do judge people in some ways. I appreciate people for who they are and their uniqueness...but...I'm guarded towards people who I think will suck my time and emotions. I don't give people a chance if they seem too needy, and I judge too quickly who that will be.


  19. Oh my, another of the red heads. I like to think of that new color in my hair as 'silver' to go with my 'gold'!

    Well put, Mari, we both know God doesn't make mistakes and He knew what He was doing when Linda came into our lives.
    And you too!

    Linda has made at least two round trips from east to west. She's even got the Elvis PJs to prove it. If anyone is looking for a 'driver' let us know.

    Thanks for commenting. Looky looky, I got you and Sharon out of lurkdom!
    (PS My cheater glasses are from the dollar store, so I can have a pair in every room.)

  20. Wonderful post, Deb. It made me take a few minutes to dab my eyes and thank God for the precious people He's placed in my life.

    Putting on God Glasses. Like the armor of God. I'm going to have to add these glasses as my final accessory each morning. I know I'm guilty of judging others, resenting, and seething...One thing we tell our kids is that So and so (who's on their nerves, etc) is God's favorite person. I'm trying to live it out too. I'm sure I'll get cut off in traffic later today but now, thanks to Dina's comment, I'll say, "Oh! God is especially fond of that lady!" and maybe change my attitude a bit.

  21. HI Debbie,

    Loved your tribute to your friend Linda...I think one of the greatest gifts that God gives us is the gift of friendship...



  22. Hey Susie!
    this idea of God Glasses seems to be a popular one. Maybe we can have prescription coverage added into the health care bill.

    I like your idea of "one of God's favorite people". I'd still have to work on not saying it sarcastically though... I like the sandpaper analogy. If someone rubs me the wrong way, I figure I have a rough spot that needs some work.

    KAREN K is in the house! Always nice to see your name, Miss Anonymous! thanks for the encouragement. I can't say enough about my friends. and we don't take this gift for granted, either. We celebrate it!

  23. Hi Deb and Inkies and all you visitors,

    Dina said:
    This reminds me of a line in "The Shack." Almost every time God talks about someone, God says the same line. "I'm especially fond of him/her." I like that, because God has a special, unique sort of love for each of us.

    I admire so many people, but volunteers really inspire me. It's always hard for me to give up my time. I'm pretty selfish that way. So I decided to leave my comfort zone for a few hours today and volunteer.

    I volunteered at a Food Bank with a few friends from work. This was one of the big distribution warehouses where the folks who distribute to those in need come to stock up the food pantrys. It was an amazing place and very well organized, but it's the volunteers that make a huge difference.

    Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, big feet and small feet, big smiles and big hearts. Volunteers give behind the scenes most of the time and don't get much credit. So I'm picking those people who volunteer and do so much to help others. Tis the season, all year long.

    Thanks for making us think about those who inspire us, Deb.

  24. Hi Jill,
    thanks for stopping in today. You're right about the volunteers. Some of us do the occasional day at the soup kitchen--especially at the holidays, but there are those who do it every day or every week and take the time to get to know some of the regulars. That takes a giving spirit for sure.

    It's probably too late to catch anyone but come back tomorrow for one more Inkspiration from D'Ann Mateer (whom I'm jealous of today as I'm thinking living down south sounds so much warmer than up north right now.)

    Okay, Anita, I know... it's still a lot warmer than where you are!


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