Titles Really Just Aren't My Thing.
So I had decided to get up at the obscene hour of 5:15 AM and drive accross the bridge to prayer group (on an empty tank, as it turns out, since gas stations aren't open at 6). I had to work at 11:15, and I was planning on being home by 8, since the group usually only goes an hour from what I heard. So as I was driving my old clunker, with its loose rear view mirror and missing side mirror, praying that I wouldn't run out of gas in the middle of Gandy, I was sort of anxious about my decision to go. I had been meaning to ask one of the ladies in our care group if she went or if she would go with me, just as a way to check it out for the first time. But since I hadn't exactly been planning on it, I hadn't done that, and so here I was, about to walk in to the church office by myself... I could just envision myself in a room full of nobody but the pastors and church leaders, all of them looking at my little teenage-girl self... I shook off the nervous thoughts as I drove accross the bridge and turned on some music. I got there at 6:30 on the nose, and kinda sat there for a few minutes, trying to collect my thoughts. I picked up my bible and walked into the office.
Pause: I realize that I'm telling this simple happening rather dramatically. Sorry. I always hated that when I would read like fictional short stories in Brio magazine or like other books from the Christian Bookstore. Whatevs. Y'all can deal with it.
So I walked in to the church offices, where I had been only once before during our church membership interviews, and was surprised to see a room full of people. There were faces I recognized, and some that I didn't. Some parents of friends, my youth pastor, people I work with in Children's Ministry... Needless to say, I was the youngest by close to 10 years, but it sort of didn't matter anymore. The fact that I interact with many of these people on a regular basis just made it easier, I guess. And the good-natured atmosphere was so welcoming and refreshing in and of itself. These people were all engaged in such genuine fellowship, despite the hour. I was glad I had come, but I had no idea what kind of healing, fulfillment, and encouragement God was going to bring during the next few hours.
We began the prayer meeting shortly thereafter, and it was just amazing. You could totally tell how open everyone was being, and how sincere their thanksgiving and requests were. I don't know what I had expected, but the prayer time was so genuine and honest, and open. We were all united in a common purpose: to seek our Lord and Savior in prayer and petition, each of us sacrificing sleep and time in order to do so. People prayed for so many things, I couldn't even begin to name them. During the next hour, I noticed something about myself. My heart, slowly and surely, was beginning to soften. I thought, 'Wait a second! It's not like I'm opposed to the gospel or anything! I'm living my life for Christ, right? That's why I'm here! Why is this feeling of surrender coming? Haven't I already done that?' But with each prayer, each reading of scripture, it was these walls I had built up without realizing it were being broken down, brick by brick. Someone read a Psalm about God's comfort. Another blow. "Yes, but are you finding your comfort in Me?" Someone else thanked God for His grace and love, and that even though our hearts become cold and familiar with the Gospel, He never gives up on us. "Are you too familiar with My story? Do you recognize what I do for you daily?" Somebody read from 1 Peter 2, about how our purpose is to proclaim God's name and His excellencies to the world. "Do you remember daily that this is your purpose? Do you strive for it? Do you want it above all else?" After about an hour, we wrapped it up and people started to leave. I think I sat there for a few minutes, awestruck by the humbled state I had entered. It was all kind of a blur, and I can't explain it fully... but I remember thinking about how awesome it was that God had worked so much in such a small amount of time, when I didn't even realize I needed it. I chatted for a little bit, but I was kind of out of it... but somehow, I ended up staying with two of the younger adults from the group. We talked for at least two hours, about everything that was just going on in our lives, encouraging one another. I couldn't believe it. God still wasn't done, I guess :). I'm not going to recap everything we talked about, but one of the main things I walked away with was the fact that I really didn't have a choice not to go tell the world about Jesus. But it wasn't like in times past, where I was sort of guilted into admitting that I was supposed to wittness. It was like "Okay, this is the most joyful thing in my life, the most important thing, and it's available to everyone. I want people to know!" When something makes you happy, you talk about it. It's human nature. So why is it different with Christ? It shouldn't be. It should be quite the opposite, actually.
God is still working on my heart. He's still revealing things about myself to me. He's breaking down walls that I never knew were there. But I guess that just goes to show that He knows me far better than I know myself. So why would I not trust Him? That's another way my life is looking different. When you trust someone, and they tell you to do something, you don't ask why. You just do it. When you TRULY trust the person, that is. So when God tells me to do something, I'm just doing it. I'm not asking why, I'm not saying, "well okay but..." I'm just going full force, no looking back, because I know that He wants the best for my life. And, more importantly, I live for Him, so it really doesn't matter what's best for me.
And so that's the really long version of what's been happening. And I feel like I rambled kind of a lot. But that tends to happen when I sit down to write, but don't know exactly what I'm going to talk about. But I hope it makes sense. And I hope that through it, you get a glimpse of how wonderful and marvelous my God is.