She wept. She sang. She hugged me. She came. She stood. She sat. She listened. She wept some more.
Her countenance changed. Her demeanor appeared to improve. Weeks went by. Sundays came and went. She smiled. She moved with grace. She reached for more.
And then, she’d weep. And sing. And hug me again. What did she long for? What did she keep hanging onto that caused her struggle?
I know of one thing to share when I teach at the recovery center — and it is Christ, crucified. I share the gospel, same message each Sunday, just told in different ways. Every Sunday. I share Him. Christ saves. He is my hope, always. He is her hope.
My friend’s inner life was in turmoil. She longed for change. We spoke of this often. She loved her dad. She wanted more. Again. More of what?
She struggled to change. She struggled to live within boundaries. She tried to do this on her own. And on her own, she loses.
Was she unwilling to surrender. Was she drifting and unable to find the shore?
I saw her. I felt for her. I longed to fix her. I longed to hold her. Longed to be with her and guide her to the Savior who could rescue her deep hurts. Who could save her from herself and from her sin and from her old ways, to a new life.
I believe in some fashion she pursued Christ. And I believe He called to her heart and wooed her to church services in recovery.
You ask, how do I know? I say, because she came to church and reached for Him. She didn’t have to come to the service. She didn’t.
But I firmly believe He called her heart, and He was searching for His own. For her to become His child. I do. But until God does a work in her heart, the struggle will be fierce, and she will run back and forth and waver and wonder and worry.
I know that she longed for meaning. She wanted God to take her pain. She wanted strength. She longed to breathe with ease. To not feel so heavy and burdened. She carried a past haunting, untold things, possibly unimaginable things.
She stood on the road. She stood on the path. She saw the sign posts. She wanted to hear from God. But the noise of her past and that surrounding her mind and heart echoed alongside the gentle whisper of Christ.
In church, she opened her bible. She loved to sing Christian songs. She loved the lyrics and who they pointed to, which was our need for a Savior.
She loved to show me pictures of her children. She cried out many times. She did. But what was she saying to the Lord? What was she receiving? What did He expect from her? What did she expect Him to do?
There are days when I serve in the recovery center, when girls come my way, when I share laughter and so many tears with them. There are days when I see the redemption of Christ at hand, when lives are changed, when surrender and new hearts are born into the Kingdom of God.
And then there are days when it all comes crashing in, when girls run, when they leave recovery, when the burst like a deer running wild. They jump from the safety of Christ calling to their hearts, and leave the center.
A few weeks ago, I came church and she was gone. A lingering image of where she stood, where she sat, where she wept etched on my heart forever.
And I stand firm, that the gospel, God’s word does not return void. And that she (or you), will surrender to the redeeming, blood-bought life Christ gave for her that day he was nailed to the cross.
I pray to see her again … maybe it will come down the road, far ahead, and I’ll see her heaven. This is what I pray. I do.
Until then, I share the gospel again and again. I go forward. I search for hearts to hear, and eyes to see the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. And yet, I weep at those who run away. It always breaks my heart.