Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Rarely Cry .

I rarely cry. But when I do, it pours.

After my sister and I heard the news about the loss of my grandmother, Lois (Madre, Granny Weirdo, Marilyn), we had a good grieving cry. Naturally, I was the first one to regain my composure. Whatever that means. There were several moments during the first few weeks after her passing where I teared up, but never did I cry as intensely as the night of receiving the sorrowful news.

Just recently, I have been astonished to my lack of tears. Almost to the point where I was becoming concerned that maybe I was detached from the reality of my heart. I started feeling a bit odd when going to movies, sitting by friends that were bawling their eyes out, and yet, my eyes hadn't even begun the preparation for a few tears. Sure, connections are slightly there, but movies, especially, are hard for me to really connect with emotionally. But then again, I have shown this trait all throughout my life. As I've matured, I've found two subjects that have the greatest influence on my tears. More specifically, two people: Staci, my sister, and Jesus, my Saviour. 

God has been growing in me a heart for intercession. The more I know Him, the  more I see His desire for not just me, but for ALL His children. It's such a beautiful thing to see that He can love each and every one of us so much. He is able to love each and every one of us as if we were the only one to receive ALL of His love.

After hearing outstanding reviews and feedback on the newly released Christian film, "October Baby," I decided to go see it last night. The whole evening was perfect. I had never gone to the movie theater by myself prior to this so it was pretty exciting just in that aspect. Even better... I was the only one in the movie theater. I figure that Jesus and I had a date. It was pretty awesome. Yep. It was EPIC! 

The movie was heavy. For those of you who haven't seen it, it targets the issue of abortion. The young girl in the film finds out that she was adopted after being a survivor of a failed-attempt abortion. There were a few parts where I emotionally connected more so than other times, but not enough to initiate a heartfelt cry. However, there was a moment that startled the tear ducts. At one point, choosing to overcome her bitterness towards her biological mother with forgiveness, she leaves a note on the desk in the successful lawyer's office. Once leaving the note saying, "I forgive you," the daughter leaves and the mother comes into work to find it. In reading those words, the mother collapses to the floor and cries with a combination of grieving and healing. At one particular moment, when the actress was crying, I cried as well, joining in with all the women who had ever had an abortion as well as those who will have an abortion. It was the pain, sorrow, guilt, loss...just this utter heaviness that these women may and will feel after having an abortion that which felt so real to me. Although I have never experienced anything like it, I felt their pain. And tears came.

Interestingly enough, after the movie ended, I wasn't set on leaving as soon as possible. In my lolly-gagging ways, I sat and reflected. This is when the story gets better. At the end of the credits, the actress who played the role of the biological mother shares her testimony. Without even knowing, the directors of the film had given her a role that she had known all too well. She had had an abortion and had become a lawyer as well. She felt that God was giving her this opportunity to heal from her past and walk in the forgiveness that He has freely offered to her through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. She then continued to testify that that scene was not a scene. That scene was not her acting. That scene was truly an authentic capturing of the Lord healing her heart from her past abortion. 

I was in awe. The one moment that really struck my heart was the moment that the actress was not acting. My heart connected with the reality of this broken world. My heart ached and longed for healing by Jesus Christ. And yet, I'm in a world where the only thing it can offer me is a reality check of the brokenness in this world; a constant reminder of our desperate need for Him.

Safeway. Yep. Lately, God has been using Safeway to teach me. I could share a lot of stories of how God has blown my mind at Safeway, but for now, I'll only share two. Tonight, as I was walking in to do some late night grocery shopping, I ran into a girl from high school who was a few years younger than me. She openly shared with me about her eight-month old son, loving work, and living with her boyfriend's family. During our conversation, I could only think of how sweet she was, yet she looked so hungry for something more. 

A crazy part about this was that I had remembered her whole name from the very second that I saw her walking out of Safeway as I was walking in. I believe there's never coincidences with God. However, there are many divine appointments and many tasks that require obedience. So, after we said our good-byes, I may have left the conversation, but it didn't leave me. I just began to pray. I felt a brokenness, an emptiness, and her unknown desire to know Him and be fulfilled with His joy. My heart remained heavy, but I continued to go about my grocery shopping experience....YAY!!

No. That was not the case, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because what happened at the checkout line was something that probably changed my life and drew me closer to Him. As the cashier man was ringing up all my food, he had to use a box knife at one point to take off a sticker in order to see the bar code on an item since he didn't have long enough fingernails. He made a small comment to bring explanation to why he was using a box knife. He said he just "keeps chewing them when I get anxious." My heart instantly felt heavy and words in my mind were quickly moved out of my mouth. 

Clearly it is a blessing and not a curse, but when God is growing your heart for intercession, quite often, more than not, the Lord will tell you unknown things. I asked him when he started chewing his fingernails. "Seven." He replied with no hesitation. He didn't even have to think about it. That's when I knew what was up as he confirmed. He continued to ring up my groceries and as he shared just a snippet of his life, my heart broke for and with him. He had been sexually molested at the age of three and had said "no" when asked in court. He felt that he had no right to say yes. He felt that there was no freedom for him to say yes. Unfortunately, there was no freedom for him to say no.

This man, who I'd guess is about twenty-three, is still deeply hurt by something due to the fact that he hasn't encountered the ultimate Healer, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gave me words to encourage him and I confidently told him of God's truth. "Jesus wants to take your pain. Jesus is so sorry that the consequences of this broken world hurt you at such a young age. You are His beloved. He loves him." I looked him right in the eyes as I spoke to him. He didn't deny it. He kept focused on the words I had to say. He nodded. He listened. I don't think he even cared that other customers were gathering in a line to be checked out. It didn't matter because he was hungry. As I left, I assured him that I would be praying for him. I encouraged him to seek Jesus, to walk in a relationship with Him.

As soon as I got into my car, I couldn't drive away. All I could do was cry. My heart broke for this man. Oh how broken this world is. This world sucks without Jesus. There is no hope. No peace. No love. No faith. This world has nothing sustainable to offer. It was heavy for me due to seeing the reality of this broken world. Time doesn't heal. Time can only heal with the power that is found in Jesus Christ. 

Finally, I was able to wipe the tears away long enough to have a clear idea of the next step. Bible. I reached in the back of my car where I have stored a couple dozen of Bibles, anxiously awaiting for when God would place it on my heart to give it to someone. This would be #1, for Jason at Safeway. After writing his name in the small pocket Bible and John 10:10 on a bookmark, I went back into the store and gave it to him. I told him that after praying for him, I felt that he needed to have it. I strongly suggested that he read the gospel of John. He said he would read it tonight. His eyes were honest.

"Jesus wants you to know life and the fullness of life. The more I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the more I realize what the fullness of life is. I still haven't figured it all out, but I know that there's more. And as I'm learning, I know that I want others to know that fullness of life too. It's only found in Jesus. I want you to live in the fullness of life. I want everyone to. I'll continue to be praying for you."

And only by His grace was I able to partake in that. God gave me the place to be, at that time, with that person. I pray that I'll be able to see my friend from high school again very soon. Please pray that I'll be obedient to what He may ask of me when I see her next. God desires her heart and He is relentlessly pursuing her. I pray that Jason will be able to encounter God. Please pray for God to reveal Himself to Jason tonight in a sweet sweet dream. I trust that God will encounter him in a mighty way.

Tonight, I have been reminded of what it's like to cry a good, grieving cry.

I rarely cry. But when I do, He pours.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dig Deeper and Deeper

One of the hardest parts of this blog will probably be coming to a decision on what to title it. Although I don't usually have titles picked out prior to completing my blog, I usually have a theme or phrase that directs my thoughts which are then transfered into small, pathetic words that are comprehended as a title. Yet, all the words I choose never seem to accurately depict the excitement my heart experiences in moments such as these. But I'm sure, as is the case in most, that as I write, the title will come.

Shortly after coming home from my DTS, questioning all that I was doing in life, Ashley Kline shared with me some wise words of Rainer Maria Rilke. "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer."

And gradually, with patience, endurance, and grace, I am beginning to live and taste life and life abundantly. I am continuing to press into the verse John 10:10. It's the life abundantly that really stirs my heart to know Him more. God is slowly unraveling a mysterious masterpiece that is indeed what He is making to be my life. I'm learning so much. Revelations seem to be coming daily, sometimes hourly. I continue to stand in awe of Jesus Christ, my need for Him, and the transformation He is bringing to my life through His grace and truth.

As much as I would love to share every detail about all that the Lord is doing and stirring within my heart, there are two reasons that immediately come to mind to support my decision to not even attempt. First off, I am tired and want to go to bed. Secondly, by sharing His intimate love for me and His desire to know me and to be deeply known by me through all that He is teaching me would rob you from your own personal walk with the Lord. To try to explain my relationship with my best Friend in a way that you would completely understand it in the ways that I would want you to understand it is impossible.

Once again, I'm reminded by a revelation I had long ago....

Words cannot contain Him.

I hope you are encouraged to seek Him and have your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Life....hmm....Life and life abundantly. Yep. I'm still yearning for more...yep. And I know I will also be able to do that very thing for the rest of my life. I will always and forevermore be able to yearn for more of Him as I dig deeper and deeper.

And there it is...the title.

Beautiful words, Rilke. Perfect timing, Ashley. Thanks.