Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hope


Random pic of sweet Scout!


WOW! Tonight I saw Jesus in some people in my city. I saw what He had done, how He had restored their lives, taken the shattered remnant of a person and put them back together. I saw where life had been given when their was opportunity to take. It was awesome. Tears streaked my cheeks. I left eager to see my very own good and perfect gift (T). I left wanting to love Jesus more and to be a part of what these believers are doing.

The organization hosting the banquet began as a Sav-A-Life affiliate and grew into more than just crisis pregnancy counseling. They still have the crisis pregnancy counseling as well as a marriage and family and a women's counseling center. They seek to offer hope...and hope is found in one place and one place only...in the work that was done on the cross by Jesus Christ.

I got to hear a young mother, now married, share about finding out she was pregnant out of wedlock. She shared her struggle with choosing life. It was encouraging to hear her say her significant other made it clear that should she end that life, their relationship was over. Even knowing that, she confessed that the decision to keep her baby was a hard one. She shared the range of emotions she experienced. Finally she chose life. Since that time she's given birth to a healthy baby girl. Tonight she stood on that stage, a married woman, married to her baby girl's daddy. Yes, it has been hard. But, she chose life and can't imagine the world otherwise.

Then a married woman took the stage and shared about the baggage she'd brought into her second marriage, the decay and rot that had set into their relationship. She shared about stepping foot into the counselor's office and saying, "I'm here to save my marriage and to change my husband." The counselor just smiled and said, "let's talk about you for a little bit." She went on to share her journey and struggle to forgive herself for her own failures, to forgive her husband and so many others...but the big one...was realizing she'd been expecting her husband to meet all her needs...only God can do that. She learned to release her husband from the expectation to do something impossible, and to look to God to meet those needs. Oh the freedom in that!

Then a married man stepped behind the mic and shared about marrying for the second time...he shared about the death of both his and his now second wife's first spouses, both due to cancer. He had become a closet alcoholic. He and the now second wife were living together...in sin, obviously. He had plans to walk out on her...God did a mighty work in his heart and, according to him, literally "turned him around." God showed him the wonderful things he had with this woman...and also showed him his lifestyle was in disobedience to God. They got married. They are fighting the good fight. By the way, he's a nuclear physicist and she used to sort mail at the post office. Hmmm...pretty unique couple, both seeing the other as God's good and perfect gift.

If you haven't seen cardboard testimonies, check it out below. If you have, you'll follow when I say this organization had their own cardboard testimonies video...

There were:
• women who had seriously contemplated abortions...but because of God's work through WHG, had chosen life.
• couples on the brink of divorce...but because of God working through WHG, had reconciled.
• teens in rebellion against their parents...but because of God working through WHG, had humbled themselves
• families torn apart...but because of God working through WHG, they were united
• women broken hearted over miscarriages...but because of God working through WHG, had healed

I know I'm leaving several off. It was amazing. I had a personal connection to nearly every single experience written on the cardboard testimonies. Y'all, I bit my lip to keep from "hicky -snot" crying (that's an old family term used to describe that uncontrolled, can't hold it back, bend over and heave kind of cry...) I'm surprised I didn't bite my lips off trying to hold it in. Tears poured down my face and dripped off my chin.

I was so encouraged. Encouraged that mothers in unfavorable circumstances are chosing to keep their babies. Encouraged that marriages are being healed. Encouraged that rebellious teens are broken and are humbling themselves before their parents. Encouraged that families are being reunited and restored. Encouraged that broken hearts over the deaths of little unborn babes are being healed. What an encouraging night! I only wish T could've been there with me. He had to work.

Praise God for what He is doing in this city!

One of the counselors shared about choosing the word hope as part of their name. He mentioned that most people seem to have it all together, but if you just barely scratch the surface, there are marriages that are dying, relationships that are breaking, pain and hurt...an incredible lack of hope. We're a society that appears to have it all together, but on the inside, many of us are dying.

I once shared with T that I had this kind of vision of beautiful homes with perfectly manicured lawns and white picket fences. From the road, all looked more than good. Behind the walls, the people were broken and dying.

There's a beautiful brick home down the street from us. Last summer they held their daughter's wedding on the lawn. There was a HUGE white tent. It was picture perfect. The yard is always beautiful. There are usually two very fine automobiles parked in front of the home...recently their house went up for sale. I learned they're divorcing.

That's just it. From the outside looking in, they had it all together. On the inside, something was terribly wrong. I really think that there are FAR more dying people than we could ever imagine.

Tonight's testimonies are evidence of that. My own experiences in life are evidence of that.

There have been times when, had you driven by our house, you'd have thought all was well...had you looked in the windows, you'd have found a far different picture. You'd have seen deep wounds, bleeding profusely. You'd have seen brokenness and sorrow.

So seeing what I saw tonight, hearing what I heard tonight - it made me love God more. It made my heart beat faster to see how He is working in lives! And it made me want to run home and immerse myself in Him. It also made me want to embrace the friends I do know who are broken and hurting and bleeding profusely. Isn't that the gospel?

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