Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
My hubby and I saw “I Can Only Imagine” on opening night at our local theater. We reserved our seats online, so all we had to do was check in at a kiosk, get our drinks, and recline back in the cushy theater seats to enjoy the movie. We were pleasantly surprised that the theater was packed with people to see a Christian movie.
I will avoid the spoilers because maybe you haven’t seen the movie. What I would rather focus on is how God worked in the life of Bart Millard and his dad. The beginning was very unsettling for me because I grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional home. Some of the scenes brought back painful memories of yelling, hitting, and breaking glass. The crazy temper of his dad and how he ridiculed Bart shaped his need for approval later when he started out in the band, “Mercy Me”. Bart was one of two people his dad took his anger out on. The other one was his mom. What we never really got a glimpse of was what drove his dad to such a rage in the first place. That rage was familiar because it happened in my home, too. A furious drunken rage. I could only feel sympathy, wanting to protect Bart and help him leave for a better life.
Bart showed the potential to be like his dad. He hurt his girlfriend to protect his own emotions. If she had not shut him out when she did for as long as she did, he probably would have abused her. He went back to his Dad’s house when he was told by major recording people that he was not ready. He could have turned the tables around and beaten his dad with the baseball bat when he had the chance. Thankfully, he didn’t. That was a major turning point in Bart’s life. Both men were changed. It wasn’t until after his dad’s death that he was ready to return to Mercy Me with the upright heart he needed to minister through music.
No one is ready for what God calls them to do when they first begin. He uses our experiences, our gifts, and talents in their raw form, at first. Then He takes away anything that gets in the way of His plans and purposes to work through us. A type of pruning process, as I see it.
I thought about my own life during this movie. Although that time was a perilous, painful adventure for my young age, it was the training ground God used to prepare me for the ministry of writing God called me to do for Him. We all have the potential to be horrible, cruel people or to be people of forgiveness and compassion. While many repeat the cycle of abuse, there are those of us who choose a different way. We can only do it because of the presence of Christ in our lives.
Do you relate to the characters in the movie? Do you see God’s hand in those memories? How is God using your experiences from your past to make a difference in the lives of others?