Closer to the Light

How many times have we talked about how Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted? 

Probably enough times that you’re sick of hearing about it….

But it’s true. One of Jesus’ primary purposes in coming to earth was to mend broken hearts. 

I bet you and I could each fill a notebook with the names of friends and families who fall into the brokenhearted category.

In my dream the other night a young homeless girl just needed to be comforted. The weight of the world was crushing her and she found herself all alone. 

Do you know where she was?

At the school library! (See, libraries and librarians are awesome!) 

The librarian knew something was off with the girl and reached out to her. When she did, the girl started to sob. The messy, uncontrollable kind of sobbing that comes from knowing you’re finally safe, someone will help you.

And that’s all the librarian said as she wiped away the girl’s tears: “It’s going to be okay. You’re safe now.”

How many times a day do I pass up an opportunity to comfort someone?

If Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, that means it’s my job to help the brokenhearted. 

This is where following Jesus gets real…

It’s also why the Lord gave me this dream. He only shows me stuff that paints a clear picture of where I’m headed in life. 

Friend, my heart is changing.

I think I finally understand why Jesus said lights aren’t meant to be hidden. 

Following Jesus will always take you straight into the darkest places, places where most people are afraid to go.

You will find the brokenhearted, the poor, the sick, and the oppressed in these dark places. 

Picture a light in the distance getting closer and closer to where you are. Bringing hope and light to the darkness is why Jesus came in the first place.

 

 

 

 

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The Color of Grace

The Color of Grace by Bethany Haley Williams is a great book. 

Be warned: It’s intense and some of the stories are tough. 

Bethany is the founder of Exile International. 

She works with former child soldiers to overcome their grief and trauma using art therapy. 

These kids, despite their pasts, are full of hope, a hope that what’s in front of them is better than anything in their pasts. 

These kids love God and thank Him everyday–even though many are orphans living in an impoverished area. 

I walked away from the book totally wrecked…

The redemptive power of Jesus Christ is much more powerful than what we see and hear about in the West. 

There is no difference between the Jesus of the developing world and the Jesus of the West. 

Only a difference in the mindsets of the people. 

 I encourage you to check out The Color of Grace. 

Just be prepared for your perspective to shift. 

The power of love

As a kid, I had a lot of questions.

Both my mom and my dad abandoned me. My dad left first and my mom followed several years later.

Psalm 139: 14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

I had to memorize this verse for Sunday School.

I won some candy, but the verse never made any sense to me.

I remember praying and asking God, “If I’m so fearfully and wonderfully made, how can you explain why my parents left? Did they not think so?”

Many of us come from a dark past. Things happened that shouldn’t have and people abused our trust.

And we had questions that no one could answer.

Me?

I didn’t trust God for a long time. I thought He was just like everyone else.

Sure, I gave him lip service, but inside I was hurting and angry at Him and everyone else.

The day I surrendered my life to Christ, do you know what He whispered in my ear?

You can trust me. I approve of you, Audra. I always have. All I have for you is love. 

When I opened up my heart to receive Christ’s love, everything changed. He was right. His love and acceptance was all I ever wanted.

And suddenly, verses like Psalm 139: 14 started to make sense.

The pain I experienced happened because of the poor choices of my parents–not because God’s Word and God’s purposes for my life weren’t true.

Don’t let past hurts hold you back from receiving Christ’s love.

No pain is so deep that Christ can’t heal your heart.

Take it from someone who ran away for far too long.

True freedom, true healing can only be found through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

Relational poker and icebergs

I would be a terrible professional poker player because my ability to bluff is nonexistent.

Within two hands I would be slap broke.

But emotionally? Now that’s a different story.

You will probably find it hard to believe, but I am a very private person. Yes, me, the girl who is posting a blog every day for an entire year. But, really and truly, it’s only about 300 words a day. That’s not a lot when you think about it.

If you’re familiar with the writings of Ernest Hemingway, you know about the Iceberg theory.

icebergtheoryHe only shows readers the tip of the iceberg while the rest is submerged underwater.

And maybe, if you’re like me, your first thought goes to the Titanic.

It’s dangerous to think that there’s this whole other level to relationships, a part that you can’t see by only hanging out with someone at work or church or school.

Relationships take a lot of time to build. It’s really not that far fetched to think that you have to navigate relationships like the Titanic should have navigated the waters–with caution.

You can’t stay surface level and expect to have deep, meaningful relationships.

I can’t play games of relational poker, always bluffing and keeping my cards close, and expect to find myself surrounded by a community of relationally minded people.

And you can’t either.

At some point we all need to share our stories–the good times and the bad times–because that’s where hope lives, the places where darkness turned to light.

Not everyone is like the person(s) who hurt you so deeply. Give others a chance to prove that to you.

No more poker face, okay?

You and I can’t exist outside of a community, so let people in.