Posted by: JennyRain | January 7, 2010

Poptarts and Sunrises

I have learned a lot from Pop-Tarts in my life.

There seems to be a sweet Pop-Tart theme that has woven itself through various experiences I have had – so consequently I find myself learning a lot through these “Pop-Tart Encounters.”

My first recollection of a Pop-Tart Encounter was on mission in Guatemala in Juuly of 2003.

My good friend AnnieLaurie and I would meet each morning at five a.m. on the rooftop of our Guatemalan cabana. Wrapped in blankets, donning winter hats, and carrying our devotional materials, we would split a strawberry poptart and read the word of God together as the sun rose over the mountains.

AnnieLaurie and I bonded over Pop-Tarts, sun-rises, and the Word of God.

Every time I eat a Pop-Tart now, I think of that time in Guatemala. I think of the beautiful sunrise over the mountains of Santa Clara, Guatemala and wonder at its faithful emergence each morning. I smell the burning wood fires and hear the caw-cawing of the crows and the squaking of the chickens, and I feel the warmth of the sun on my face melt away the evening chill.

But mostly, I think of sweet friendship and how I got to know my friend as we shared Pop-Tarts and shared our devotional time.

That encounter with Pop-Tarts, Sunrises, and my buddy ALW was foundational to my understanding of how Christian community was supposed to work.

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
   It’s like costly anointing oil
      flowing down head and beard,
   Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
      flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
   It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
      flowing down the slopes of Zion.
   Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
      ordains eternal life. Psalm 133 (MSG)

My second Pop-Tart encounter was in a seminary class.

Mentoring with Dr. Gannon still reigns as one of my most transformational classes. It is impossible to sit under the teaching of Dr. Gannon and not experience some type of growth – he is very affirming of each of our individual journeys, and as a result, we find the freedom to try new things.

Even if we bump into a few walls, Dr. Gannon will reassure us that our insights and experiences are “Valid and Wholesome” and as a result, we all find the courage to get up, dust ourselves off, and try again.

I had the pleasure of sharing one of my classes with a young woman named Veronica.

Veronica and I shared only this one class, but her impact on me has been significant.

Veronica is one of those people who does not enter a class, she floats. Her sense of humor is so engaging and her interest in other people is genuine. When Veronica asks you a question, she is one of the rare individuals who will pause, look you directly in the eye, and listen.

Veronica takes risks and she trusts God. She is authentic in person and authentic in the pulpit. The short intersection of our paths has left an indelible impression on me.

One day, Veronica was running extremely late for class.

I had made my usual last minute stop at the vending machine. As I stared at the myriad of choices before me, my mind waffled between choosing something “healthy” and something “good.” I knew I should pick the healthy choice – it was better for my body – but I desired the unhealthy Pop-Tarts.

My desires won out, I chose the Pop-Tarts, and then denied the guilt that was threatening to make its voice heard.

I walked into class and sat next to Veronica. About half-way through my first Pop-Tart I realized there was no way I was going to finish both Pop-Tarts. It would have been very bad for the class for me to have that much sugar flowing through my system at one time (Can someone say Hammy?!?)

I offered my second Pop-Tart to Veronica. She looked at me as if I had given her a pot of gold. As we sat munching on our Pop-Tarts with goofy grins on our faces, Veronica proceeded to write me a note.

“I was running late to class today so I did not have a chance to stop for dinner. God very clearly said to me to trust Him for provision and to be on time for class, so I obeyed, even though I was really hungry! Then you sat down next to me and offered me a Pop-Tart for dinner. You didn’t even know how much I love Pop-Tarts, and you didn’t know that God had told me He would provide dinner for me. Thank you!” 

Veronica gave me a sticker as a thank you for the Pop-Tart.

I placed the sticker below the keyboard on my laptop. Each time I see the sticker I think about that experience, and Veronica, and how God used my simple desire to meet the needs of another person.

That encounter also taught me that sometimes our desires are very valid. Sometimes God may use our desires to help another person. Sometimes those very desires we are trying to hard to squealch may be the very thing God is using to motivate us into a position to bless someone else.

You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah (Ps 21.2)

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed (Ps 20.4)

What is a simple toaster pastry to many has become a sweet metaphor for learning in my life.

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  1. […] Read the rest here: Poptarts and Sunrises « Rainmakers and Stormchasers […]


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