Armpit people wanted? What.the.heck?! What kind of want ad is this anyway?
I’m gonna get to that in a minute…
First, I should preface this with my husband fully believes that I view the story of God and how God weaves truths into my life completely bizarre. And, I pretty much say, “yep, it’s the inner artist coming out”. And I first share this publicly, we laugh hysterically together, and I write a blog.
So..for your reading enjoyment: a completely bizarre relation between the story of God and Ashley’s everyday life.
Recently, my husband went on a 10 day rest and renewal excursion. (And by excursion, I mean a death-defying crazy person suicide mission. How this is rest and renewal is mind-boggling, but it is to him, so whatev folks. I’m just tryin’ to be encouraging.) His friend Todd and himself were to backpack the remaining 2/3 (61/93 miles) of the Wonderland trail around Mt. Rainier. He had no showers, 30+ lbs on his back trekking almost 10 miles most days. Again, he cray.
Let me tell you…when that man entered the stoop of my front door…he was quickly kissed and then asked to take his grimy self and leap into the shower. He didn’t just stink, he stank, like an “oh dear god”, eyes watering, hold your breath sort of way. I mean I love him, but dang Gina. (total 90’s reference, look it up).
I imagine that this is how people in the Bible smelled, every. last. one. Like, ain’t no way I’m touchin’ your stinky feet. Wash ’em yourself. I’m guessing there maybe a reason I wasn’t born back then. And a reason why Ashley wasn’t called the Son of God or anyting like that. (smile with me here people, I’m trying to be sarcastic)
In the Bible, there’s this beautiful little gem hidden in the book of Exodus. God’s people, the Israelites had left their lives of slavery in Egypt and were heading out into the wilderness towards the promised land. They stopped in a place called Rephidim (no idea how to pronounce that so in your head just read “rephi-something-or-other”) to complain about the lack of water in their life. Basically, God told Moses to strike his walkin’ stick on a big rock and water came spewing out. Well…wouldn’t you know it…while they were there some Amalek’s came to fight.
btw, that was the Ashley paraphrased version.
Here’s what happened next:
Exodus 17: 10 So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. (NLT)
While you may picture a beautiful fight scene, Mel Gibson with a painted blue face screaming and hundreds following into battle.
I’m over here picturing a group of extremely stanky men within smell-your-breath distance. Aaron, Hur (what kind of name is that?), and Joshua (although he was leading the fight) were armpit people. They dwelled in the armpit of Moses.
Holding their breath, they labored for love of a people whom they served. It was hard. It was sweaty. The muscles ached, it was backbreaking, it was time-consuming, it required more of all of them than any one of them were capable. Loving each other enough to be present and active in the middle of a battle in the very specific way God had asked of them. And yet, they still stunk. But, even in the midst of their stinkiness-they did it.
As I type this, I’m reminded of a verse:
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. (Rom. 5:8)
Oh you guys, Christ loved us in our stank. He died for the stanky. And he wants the stanky to go find more stanky to learn of that love.
And he wants them to be stanky together, in a weird smell your breath sort-of-way. And he wants them to labor for love, together. And it’s time-consuming, and it requires more of them than any one of them are capable. Loving each other to be present and active in the middle of a battle in the very specific way God has asked them. And yet, they stink. And in the midst of their stinkiness, they do it.
And it doesn’t look perfect, and it sometimes isn’t pretty. And it is oftentimes unconventional, and it’s probably going to be more worth it than they’ll ever know. And it’s probably not going to be results driven-but life and hope driven. And it’s probably going to be more than beautiful, because its honest and authentic. It’ll be exhausting from being real, and not from “doing” stuff. There will be no pretense and no production or need to put your best foot forward. It’ll be okay to be them, the way God made them. It’ll celebrate creativity and uniqueness and it will cultivate a deep sense of community and real family. And they’ll show tenacity and perseverance. And they’ll eat together. And they’ll be sad together. And they’ll be happy together. And they’ll tackle tough life stuff together. And they’ll celebrate the good stuff together. And they’ll find their place in the story of God together.
And they’ll be called Grit City Church. And they’ll be located in the “armpit” of the South Puget Sound in the beautiful city of Tacoma. And they’ll be known because they stand together as armpit people serving the armpit.
And they’ll want more stinkies to join them and pray for them, and advocate for them and become financial partners with them.
Because they’ll need Aaron’s and Joshua’s and Hur’s. And Johns. And Martins. And DeMarcus’. And Bobs. And Jorges. And Janes. And Jills. And Marias. And Kamarias. And Ashleys. And Coles. And Gingers. And Stephens.
They’ll need extra armpit people. Because they can’t do it alone.
So, consider this your wanted ad, the BEST thing is happening and we don’t want other armpit people to miss out.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or Cole email@example.com. We’re stinky, but we will respond and if you’re local we’ll take you to coffee. If you’re far, we’ll share coffee over the phone or google what-ever it’s called (so no technology savvy, that’s Coles department and until he starts writing this blog…), or skype, or something like that. Because frankly we like coffee, and we will probably like you too.