Friday, June 7, 2013

The Living, Breathing, Church.

I spent the night at my folks house as it is half way between here and a wedding hubs and I attended over the weekend.  My brother, our foreign exchange student, and Phil always have so much fun together.  They decided to walk to the park for some basketball.  As a wrestler, I objected, but it was better than staying home watching survival shows with my dad, so I joined.  We played some two-on-two for awhile, but I quickly grew tired.  As it turns out I am WAY out of shape.  It doesn't help that I don't really like basketball--I could play soccer for hours, and not notice the fatigue.  I sat in the grass watching as they spent the remainder of the time playing a game of 21.

Across the park I spotted someone I knew.  Not uncommon in a tiny town like the one I grew up in.  It was one of those moments when you see someone you haven't talked to in awhile and kind of avoid them because you're not sure if they remember you.  Maybe I'm the only awkward one that does things like that.  I flashed back to the last time I really remembered us spending together:  I had invited her to have  a picnic lunch with me at this very park.  I was  involved with Cru and freshly gung ho about discipleship and evangelism.  The usual drill was to ask someone out to coffee, but this was as good as it was going to get in li'l ol' Warden.  She was a few grades behind me.  I knew she was a Christian and I wanted to ask her about her experience with God.  A small part of me hoped to ignite in her the enthusiasm I had just found myself.  Looking back on it, I regretted that meeting with her.  "That was probably a little over-zealous," I told myself.

"Hi Chelsea!" she approached me cheerily.  She began asking me questions about my life, my relationship with God, my marriage.  She shared her journey with me and asked my advice.  But then she said, "You know, I was just telling my mom the other night that talking with you about how relationship with God is more about what we do outside of church and youth group was a pivotal moment for me.  That was a real turning point in my life."  It encouraged my heart to hear that I'd played a small part in helping someone who now walks with the Lord.  As we chatted more I took a risk and became vulnerable with her.  It was tempting to hide my current condition and remain that mentor hero in her eyes.  But I shared that I had been struggling this year--during my intense Master's Program--to spend time with God like I used to.

She boldly told me that God doesn't see me as a failure.  That I am not far from him because he lives inside me.  And that she believes that a new season is coming for me.  I felt the same way.  Then, she prayed for me in English while her mom prayed for me in Spanish.  It was beautiful.  Tears streamed down my face as I basked in the spirit of the Lord.  Truly, where two or more are gathered he is present.  It felt like the Lord orchestrated this meeting to give me the encouragement that I needed, as I transition into this new season of my life.  Those tender moments gave me much hope.  And, like me after the picnic we had years earlier, she probably has no idea how much it meant to me.  It's a beautiful thing when God's people take care of one another.  I believe that this is what the church was designed to be like.

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