For two weeks she’s argued with God, telling Him she’s done. She refused to attend church at the recovery center the last few weeks, and she told Him she couldn’t feel His presence.
She was frustrated with God, arguing that He wasn’t showing Himself to her. That the walk to serve Him was too hard. She blamed him for her past, for her troubles, the ugly, the broken parts.
And yet, she wrote a letter to God every night, pouring out her heart, tossing Him her troubles, often writing down her questions, and sharing her doubt. Some words pressed with extra ink from the turmoil inside her soul. Even a few words became too ugly to share with anyone else.
Then, two days ago, she found herself weeping, found herself laying her doubt at the cross, and found herself on that sunrise “free” from her doubting questions, as they were all down on paper.
She knew most of what caused her troubles had fallen in on her. A sister murdered. Her parents were responsible. And she had gotten trapped as a teen at having a family broken by horrible sin. She was alone since her parents were in prison and her younger sister was dead.
She found herself pleading with God for forgiveness, and asking for help in her trust of Him. She found herself seeking the grace of Christ, longing for mercy and longing for healing. And yes, longing for peace.
She reached for Christ, and longed to live for Him, and to serve Him with a new-found desire and faith. When she gave up, Christ came in with Himself. He spoke to her heart. He stirred her soul. He took her doubt and brought hope to all of the sad and broken and ugly words she’d written down.
It’s like he replaced her ink with his “blood” and with more mercy than she had ever noticed before, as if Christ waited for her to surrender the pain, to gain Him.
So today she came to the service, testifying of what Christ had done. Nearly shouting. Nearly dancing. Nearly beside herself with joy.
I love how He left her alone with her thoughts, but not lonely. How He left her with the pen and paper, but not without writing new answers on her heart. How he took her old life and offered her a new one. With new desires. He moved quietly into her world with a whisper of love, and called to her once again, like the Good Shepherd he is, and He pursued her.
She would stand with me and others as I prayed for another distraught soul. One who wept and was sad. One who felt like her tears would drown out her breath. Like she was ready to bound from rehab like a deer set loose from a trap. Yes, my girls can misjudge their pain and get stuck, not realizing how healing is within reach. I can do this, too.
But when the distraught girl saw her friends standing with her in prayer, she sobbed and shook, and her head found its way to my shoulder. She prayed an unspoken request that only God knew, but that’s perfect because it mattered not that I knew — for I serve a mighty God who consoles, redeems, and answers straight to the one in need. (And He did just that … I’d learn.)
So two precious ones came to Christ with needs and He met them at their weakest point, and held them, calling them to rise up and to stand firm in Christ.
In the service, we spent time in John 10 with the “Good Shepherd” and in Psalm 23 with the “Shepherd,” where we called Him “My Shepherd.” I love how Christ is the Door, how He calls to us, knows our name, and how we can know His voice and then follow Him. I also love how Psalm 23 tells me that He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
What a picture of love, where in the valley of the shadow of death, I don’t have to fear. And I can sit at the table and feast with my Lord. After all, if my Shepherd prepares the table, I can sit and rest and trust Him for those calm waters and green pastures. With Him I have every thing I need, because I have Him.
Even if the storms rage and the world is filled with pain, I do not have to fear. With Him, I’m in His presence. With Him, I’m safe. With Him, I’m following mercy and grace.
And that’s beyond amazing to my heart, that Christ would leave the other sheep to find me, to call to me, to pursue me, and to save me. That He calls to my girls too. That He’s after them, one by one, to save them from their sin. To deliver their hearts from the lost world of living without Him.
I love how He called to my friend in her pod for the past two weeks, at a time when she was giving up on Him. I love how the Lord called to the other girl in service, too.
He’s the “Good Shepherd” calling to us, speaking to our hearts with words of salvation, with words of love, with hope in Him. And for that, I am grateful to be a mere sheep, for the Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall not want!