Last week our church (CMC
) began a new serious called Just Walk Across the Room
. We were supposed to begin the series the week before that but the Pastor and staff felt called to spend a week seeking Christ’s vision for our church. Most of you reading this know how I’ve struggled lately so I wanted to share with you what’s happened over the last 2 weeks. Following is a letter that I sent to my pastor this week. You will see that there have been some changes in the right direction. I still struggle every single day (sometimes every hour) but Psalms 121:1-2 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
I’m putting this here in hopes that it may help someone else who is struggling.
Almost 4 years ago I joined a message board for expecting mothers. The board is located at iVillage and the membership is worldwide though specified for mothers of babies due in March 2003. After getting to know the women on-line it was suggested that we see if there was someone in our area that could let the board know when our babies arrived. I was put in a group with 3 other women from north Georgia. Out of all of them I was the most timid about giving personal information. It was very hard to get to know new people and even harder to imagine meeting them. This began my walk across the room (maybe we should call it the walk across the mall). After talking through email several weeks we decided to meet at Discover Mills mall for baby shopping. That day I discovered that Jessica lived just a couple miles down the road from me. We laughed that we had driven 20+ miles for “safety” but it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. We exchanged phone numbers and within a few weeks had become good friends. She says that I talked about church constantly (I had only been at CMC for a couple of months at that point though saved for just over 5 years) and we soon had serious conversations about religion, faith, Jesus, what it means to be a Christian. Jessica shared with me the very little she knew about the Bible and her upbringing in the Catholic church. I shared with her the wonderful relationship I was experiencing with Jesus and how, regardless of our daily struggles, joy was my constant strength. She and I spent a couple of mornings a week walking the mall (just to get out of the house) even though between us we had 5 kids under 4. What a sight we must have been. I invited her to church several times and she did finally come….BUT….Ken Freeman happened to give the message that day. Now, I had NO idea that our guest speaker would be so on-fire and sitting next to my VERY frightened friend I prayed that she’d make it through the service and come back another day. It took me a couple of weeks to convince her that our normal services were not quite so convicting. She did eventually come back. At some point in our deep conversations I think we both realized that Jessica was not saved. I prayed for her daily and also prayed that God would use me if she needed any help. She became a faithful church attender with her children (even though the baby screamed the whole service every.single.sunday!) and I started noticing changes in her. I found out much later that she asked Christ into her heart about a year later. I wasn’t there when she did it and never really considered that I “took part”. Honestly, the benefit of having such a dear and true friend has been a wonderful blessing.
This week, in our small group, Jessica shared that I had been the one that walked across the room for her. I did nothing. Christ did everything. And it hit me….Christ is still doing everything. The last 6 months of my life have been almost unbearable. Each small “crisis” has built upon the last one leading up to the last month in which I fully intended to walk away from the church and Christ. Every day was torture and misery – of my own choosing I am certain – but still I couldn’t see any hope. I was blinded by selfishness and pride and the walls that I had chosen to build. Yet, all along, my faith-filled friend would call or email about how GREAT is OUR GOD. Her phone plays that song when it rings. Her life, though filled with many of my same struggles, is full of joy and peace.
The Sunday the church took “off” from regular programing and the week that followed were a turning point for me. Sitting in church that week I could see light. My circumstances somehow seemed small in the vast expanse of God’s love. The candles, each and every one, danced and drew me in. Nothing changed that day, nothing is better (even now there are new and stressful things) but I can still feel the warmth of the glow. I was ashamed to even show up for a prayer service, I haven’t been able to pray for weeks, but I came anyway. Sure enough, my dear friend Jessica held my hand and I was able to join my heart with hers and the others in our group and humbly pray. I heard her pray out loud – something I know she still struggles with. I know the sincerity of her heart. I smile as I think….hey – I want what she has. Lord, I’m Amazed by YOU. That song says it all for me right now…..You dance over me, while I am unaware, You sing all around but I never hear a sound. Lord I’m amazed by You. How You love me. How wide, how deep, how great is His love for me.
I can look back now and see that the walk across any room is really just the first step in the circle of this abundant life. Thank you for the new series, thank you for the one Sunday of renewal, thank you for following God.