I found myself talking with a younger woman on her way to making an important decision once again. These are the times I really feel at peace with the universe and know that life experience is something to be shared. I found myself using the saying,” you can’t have a testimony without a test…..” and then I stopped myself. You see, although I meant it, it just sounded cliché coming out of my mouth.
One thing I really like about where I choose to be planted is that my pastors Philip and Holly Wagner are real people. They also are aware that not everyone speaks ‘church’ and at times it can be a bit campy to think that everyone knows it. In fact, it can leave some feeling like they don’t belong. Philip Wagner lately said, “Hey, instead of saying ‘…and all God’s people said Amen, why don’t we say and all God’s people said wassup? Because truly if you’ve never been to church you don’t know what all God’s people say.’ I of course took this to heart as I choose to listen to what a pastor is saying; as well as what God is trying to tell me through that person.
So I started thinking about times when life is hard. Often those ‘tests’ we talk about to give a testimony. Some people love tests, hmmm…. suspect. But often tests can be challenging and often not fun. Often they surprise you and those ‘pop quizzes’ can take you off guard. Referring to them as tests can at time give you a ‘life sucks and then you die’ mentality. Of course life is what you make of it. But I wonder if using the word ‘test’ is making it more difficult.
This is why I like the work stretch. The truth is that God is never going to give us more than what we can handle. If it comes from God we can handle it. But it can be more at times what we think we can handle. Are we handling something God never intended us to? Or are we being stretched? That is the key to determining it. Stretching can be a challenge, it can even hurt, but it is always good for you when you stretch properly. Our stretching can be someone else’s solution as well as we navigate it with integrity and character.
So I have decided to start calling it the stretch, or a ‘Stretchimony’. My interpretations of a test is from that mean Geometry teacher I had in high school with the scowl on her face (Lord love her!) It may be the same thing to some, but to me it is a stretch of the ultimate personal trainer that I look to for life solutions. So if you hear me (or someone else) say stretchimony, they are not being weird, just keeping it all in perspective.