What is the ultimate goal, the goal beyond all others?
Is it money to buy pleasures galore or saving for things unknown?
Is it marriage and a perfect family, to show on Christmas cards?
Is it business and work to climb the corporate ladder?
Is it God and Church and Purification and verse memorization or is it giving and sharing all that you have to those with less than you?
Is it loving and caring each life in the world, many far from home?
Which is more important to you?
Ranking in money, worth, and value, things the public sees or ranking in hearts, and souls, and minds, the things the people see?
What is your ultimate goal, your goal beyond all others?

Am I giving and sharing all that I have with those who have less than me? Am I loving and caring for each life in the world, many far from home? These are questions I ask myself every day. To be seen by people, not by the public. To have people be proud of me, rather than simply admire what I do. This transformation has been a daily journey. So far I’ve traveled eight years on this path since I wrote this poem. Each day includes its own adventures. Like the morning I counted smiling at 36 people, and receiving only two in return, or my first glimpse of New York City its building stretching upwards and people, so many more people than I had ever imagined existing passing by me, or seeing that people I admire and nearly idolize want to be loved and cared for just as much as someone I think of as poor. Here are a few of the lessons of transformation that I’ve received.

1. Be Bold! Be Strong! For the Lord your God is with you! (Joshua 1:9)

The first friend I made after writing this poem was a stranger that I watched in a hotel lobby. She seemed sweet and nice and beautiful. So I started talking to Trisha, she was there for a conference about life-change and such mumbo jumbo. I told her “you’re the friend Jesus gave me.” She was my pen-pal and encourager for several years. As a slightly more worldly-wise person, I wonder if I’d have the courage to approach someone and tell them that today. “You’re the friend I’ve been praying to meet, a gift from God.” It isn’t politically correct to tell someone that they were put in your life by Jesus Christ. They might not believe in him. They might think poorly of you. They might be offended. But it might me the words that start a life-changing friendship. It might be true.

2. In the beginning, the lord created the heavens and the Earth – in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them (Genesis 1:1, 27)

We serve a creative God, and we are also formed to be creative beings. We were never designed to fit some image of perfect or ideal. Each person has thoughts and feelings and ideas that are uniquely their own. That is the point. I once asked God, “why am I not normal?” and got an auditory answer of “because I never made you ‘normal.'” To study is to learn about the ways other people have understood the world. As I respect and honor people for their individuality, I begin to minister to them on a deeper, more personal level – the words I say to them acknowledge their need to be loved for who they are, rather than the mask they show to the world.

3. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10)

This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. I am supposed to ask for this. I am supposed to want God’s Kingdom to enter my life and the world around me. I am choked up. I am still learning this lesson. It seems like such a simple prayer, such a good thing to ask for. But it doesn’t mean, come make this world perfect for me and give me every treasure I could ask for. It doesn’t mean come fix the problems in my life, but let my enemy suffer. Part of God’s will in my life is that he decided that I needed the gift of Wisdom. One of the ways that he has done this is to grant me an answer to every prayer, and a “yes” to a lot of selfish requests for things I don’t need. Now, on the surface this seems like an excellent deal. I’ve gotten a boyfriend, a new-used car, as much candy as I can eat, fashionable clothes – and the list goes on. But I’ve learned, like Solomon, that these are “meaningless, a chase after the wind.” The boyfriend was possessive, so I dumped him after two weeks, the car’s tie-rod broke and flipped it a month after I got it, the candy gave me another cavity, and the clothes wore out quickly.

So I learned to ask God what I was to ask for. This has changed me so much. I feel like saying that is cliche. Perhaps it is. But more it is a short way of telling a long story of daily struggles. I have learned to ask for “the fruit of the Spirit,” – “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Each of these has a story I could tell, but all of them have taught me that learning these things is hard. Love means to put another in front of oneself, peace exists only in the middle of turmoil, patience in the KJV is translated “long-suffering,” goodness and faithfulness are taught where badness and faithlessness prevail, gentleness and self-control grow in situations where it is easier to lose one’s temper.

Along with my gift, I have received prophetic wisdom. For anyone who has never had a dream or vision, please don’t envy me. I very much dislike this “gift.” When someone asked me to prophesy over her, I answered no, because it is an invasion of your privacy. We put up walls between us, hide parts of ourselves and try to let no one see our pain. We also don’t want to see others pain and expect them to fake it for us. In God’s kingdom, we are all one body that flows freely from one to another. Part of my gift is to see though these walls. When I am willing to love someone, I share in both their pain and joy. This is teaching me to accept my own failings and those of others. This is teaching me to love and care for others in deeper more meaningful ways as I accept them and share in their struggles and experiences. This gift transforms me into an individual who strives every day to seek ranking in hearts, souls and minds of others.