Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just like You

I have told this story before to some close friends, and distant strangers before. But I have halted for some reason in telling in to the world. I don't know if that is because of the vulnerability that it draws out of my heart. Or if its a reflection of the ache that still lies there. But for some time now I've been feeling like its important for me to tell this story of one day, a few years ago in my life. This will forever be on the top ten list of memories. I think some days you need to testify of the faithfulness of the Father in your life to remember that He's been there all along. And that He never leaves.. Sometimes its easy to think that He's not there.. But I've come to realize that most of the time He's only hiding, waiting to be found.. It's probably the main promise from God that has kept me and carried me through my walk... "I will never leave you, nor will I forsake you." If we could only consistently believe this simple truth, it would break the power of the orphan spirit off of our lives, and cause us to walk out our lives as sons and daughters of promise. But so often we clothe ourselves in the garment of shame, instead of the garment of praise, which promises to defeat the spirit of heaviness in our lives... I am writing this to everyone... For believers, I am writing this to remind you that you are a son of God.. Or a daughter of God.. I write this to the unbeliever as a sign that God doesn't really have to prove Himself to us... but loves to.. And for you to know that you have never been forgotten.. that you are loved.. And all you have to do is believe and receive..
To give you some backroundso that this story will make more sense, you need to know that I grew up with an incredible father. He was this amazing business man that always came home in these way too expensive italian suits, and leased expensive cars.. Some of my earliest memories of my dad were of his Mercedes Benz that we had when I was 3.. I called it the "sit sit car" because the loud diesel engine on the thing was so loud, that I could tell he was coming home from work when he was like a mile away. My dad was serious and very meticulous, but he had this incredible streak of dry, quirky smart ass in him (inheritance, ah em...) He was passionate and loved to take us out to wine and dine (without the wine) to these sweet restaurants. We went rollerskating at Skateworld every saturday until I was 13 and got "too cool" to hold his hand during the moonlight skate anymore. He took me to gymnastics every weeknight from the time I was like 10, because he knew how badly I wanted to make it to the Olympics (I think he thought I could do it) He taught me the art of microwave dinners before going to the gym, and after we got home, we would lay in our family room/his weight equipment room, against pillows that we would prop up against his treadmill, and watch Star Trek the next Generation with one of our 2 cats on my stomach, one on his. I actually hated watching Star Trek, but I loved being next to my dad, and I hated going to bed on time. (Some things never change) Now don't get me wrong. He still was a pain in my butt at times. I can remember him trying to get me to "get" my math homework in 6th grade.. Well, I wasn't getting it and kept falling asleep.. So what did he do? Poured water all over my head.. He didn't let me get away with anything. He protected me against boys off all kinds.. He even told me that if any guy ever messed with me, he would get a gun and shoot him. He didn't care about jailtime. (I'm still pretty convinced that he would have gone through with it)
I never grew up wondering if I was loved by my dad. I was loved, and I knew it. He told me over and over how much he loved me.. He signed every card I got my entire life with "All my love, Dad." And I knew he meant it with his entire heart. I was so blessed.
When I was 14, my dad was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. I was completely devastated. My heart was so broken, I didn't think I'd ever recover. I became so filled with rage, that I decided to smash any remains of my already barely tangible knowledge of God.. In fact, I decided that no good God would kill my father.. So I decided that He didn't exist at all.. I'll spare you most of the details of the next 2 1/2 years, but I can tell you they weren't fun. I was on so many drugs by the time my dad died, and I was so numb that I hardly even reacted. I spent the 3 1/2 months following his death on more drugs (and in more shady situations) than most 17 years olds should ever see. That summer my mom (lovingly;) had me court ordered to boot camp (Christian boot camp at that!) in the beautiful, sunny, Dominican Republic.. Ha ha.. Thats another story (that I will gladly tell in detail if you're interested) but basically I spent the next 2 years with absolutely no say in my life whatsoever. I couldn't even enter another room without permission. After much pain and trying to have my own will, God apprehended me (this is the only way to explain it) I don't know if I had a choice in the matter.. He just came and breathed love in to every fiber of my being one night, and said with the kindest voice of a father I had ever heard, "will you just trust me?" This was the beginning of new life.. So now I'm going to jump ahead like 5 years to tell the real story I've been trying to tell from the blog title.
A few years ago, I was getting ready for work one day. I had been singing this song, "just like you" as I was getting ready for work. I had sang and heard this song thousands of times it seems, but for some reason, something was coming out of the depths of my heart as I was singing it that day. I started to pray the words of the song "I desire to be like you.. Like any son or daighter, I want to be like my father.. Cause I desire to be like you. You promised to never forsake me, so I'll risk it all if you make me like you..." Then it goes on to say, "Father make me just like you.. Daddy make me just like you, I wanna be just like you." I couldn't put my finger on why those words were so powerful as they were coming out of my mouth that day, but something was being stirred inside of me..
Later that night at work (I was waiting tables at a hotel in Charlotte) I had a million tables.. And not only that, but they were scattered all over the restaurant. I was literally at the point that I couldn't take any more tables, or I would have lost my mind.. But then our hostess (my friend) was talking to this couple at the host stand, and found out that they were from Ohio, and they DEMANDED to sit in my section because they found out that I was also from Ohio. I was less than thrilled to have any more people in my section, friendly Ohioans or not. I was swamped. So nevertheless, they sit down at my table. They were old and had such a look of kindness on their faces. They were not your typical table that would come in.. They began the conversation with, "So, were from Ohio also..." And I was like, "oh sweet, me too." And for some reason, I had to know where they were from in Ohio.. So I said, "Where are you from in Ohio?" And they were like, "Oh, you've probably never heard of it... its a little town called Centerville." So then I'm like, "No way, thats where I just moved from in Ohio...Where in Centerville do you live?" And the husband goes, "Oh, right by Bills Donuts." And I'm like "no freaking way, thats right where I was living right before I moved here." And then the man asked me my last name... I said, "um, I'm sure you've never heard of it, its Marderosian." Then the man looked up at me with this look in his eyes of both sadness and surprise and said, "Not as in Chip Marderosian is it?" And at this point I'm in shock. I'm living in Charlotte and these people are coming from like flipping Florida for some winter vacation... demand to sit in my section because they know I'm from Ohio, and now they know my dad.. I said, "You knew my dad?" He then said, "Oh yes, he was our realtor.. He sold us both of our houses." He had known that my dad had died, and him and his wife looked at me with sadness in their eyes, and told me how much they had liked him, and how deeply sorry they were." At this point, I was practically undone, while trying to wait on my other tables.. My heart was so stirred and unraveled at the same time, that I could hardly do my job at all.. And the one question that I wanted to know all of a sudden, was "I wonder if they think I look like my dad." It had been so many years that had passed since I had seen my dad. I had this flood of pain, and loss, and joy, and faith, and that feeling again of being apprehended come all over me. These "random" people who were 500 miles from where I live where I come from, knew part of the most intimate, painful part of my life to an extent, right then and there. I continued to run plates of food back and forth from the kitchen, with only one question running through my mind.... Do they think I look like him? I ached to know.. As I was finally able to get back to their table to bring them their check, the man grabbed my arm firmly and looked me dead in the eye, and said, "I want you to know you look just like your Father." I don't have any idea how I finished the rest of my night at the restaurant. I was so completely undone in the goodness of the Lord, I was useless. I remember getting in to my car, and just crying tears (I don't know if weeping even covers what those tears were) It made my whole life. It made all the moments in my life of doubt and pain worth it. One sentence changed my entire life.
I have my speculations about that couple from Ohio. Sometimes I think of the verse about "Entertaining Angels." And then sometimes I think that they were just ordinary people on an ordinary day, driving back from retirement to get some dinner. I still have no idea.
After spending much time reflecting on the true goodness of God on that "ordinary day," this is what He showed me. Most of our asking to be made like him, is really asking for what is already our DNA. When we ask Him to come and take up residence in us, our rebirth is for real. We get "God DNA" and everything else that comes with being born. So the prayer that I had been praying that day before work had already come to pass. It came down to believing about what God says I am.. Its about believing that He already calls us lovely. That we look like Him just the way that I look like my dad. How cool is that? What measures that He takes just to show us how much He cares.. He knew how important that moment was going to be for me... I'm so thankful.. My conclusion to this blog, is never underestimate ordinary days. You just never know what He might do.. It could be once sentence that will change your entire life forever.

1 comment:

Lora said...

that was so good, tess! thanks so much for sharing your heart. what an encouragement! lora