Where we go doesn't matter. The crowd we're with seems to have no bearing on it as well. Wherever we manage to find ourselves, our family is an oddity. Wherever we go, whether in the world or the Church, we do not fit in with the folks around us. Two recent experiences have ingrained in me that there's only one place to call home, and that place isn't back on our farm.
On a recent trip, we had the opportunity to meet with a fellowship that is very careful to observe and obey all that the Lord has instructed. Many of them were farmers, most of them had large families. I was looking forward to making new friends and enjoying some fellowship. Since it is not everywhere we go that the kids can be with other kids who milk cows and share bedrooms, I was hoping they, too, would enjoy the chance to fellowship.
Unsure of what to expect as far as dress code, I was sure my tried-and-true conservative outfit would serve well. I wore my almost-to-the-ankles full black skirt, my bright pink sweater set, and my trusty black Mary Janes. I am pretty conservative about clothes ~ but apparently not conservative enough for this crowd. The combination of my uncovered head, eyeliner and lipstick must have screamed, "brazen Egyptian hussy" to them. I was road-blocked out of multiple conversations, apparently because anyone who looked like me, couldn't possibly know anything about what their life was like. "And what is someone as worldly as her doing with seven children, anyway?"
On the other hand, last night our family spent way too much money to go downtown in a major city for a "Christian" concert in a "Christian" church building. Again unsure of what to expect, I wore the same tried-and-true outfit. It didn't fit any better in this crowd. The country bumpkin surrounded by (Ick!) children was contrasted here with the tight pants, push-up undergarments, dyed hair and manicured nails of city life. The looks said, "I wonder if she's even wearing shoes". The actions said, "Let's not get close enough to find out".
It is pretty popular these days to claim we all worship the same God, but I believe that is blasphemy. We do, however carry the same book (don't get me started on translations). While actually reading it would be helpful , feeding on it would certainly be better. After all, He has exalted His Word above His name.
The same chick, in the same clothes, with the same children fared no differently in either place ~ too hootchie for one, too frumpy for another. In earlier days I would have been angry at the treatment we received. I would have been offended that someone would judge the book of my life by it's cover. Yet now, I am grateful for the reminder to love no matter what. Teach me, Father to have no respect to persons...no matter what they look like on the outside. Teach me that while fruit inspection is good, the packaging may look different. Ingrain this lesson in me while the wound is still tender.
And let me never forget this feeling...