this is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite stories, les miserables.
i can’t really think of a better way to describe the condition of my heart today. but let me back up a month or two. or eight?
last summer, i began discipling my friend kelly after a fairly lengthy pursuit. it was awesome though because once kelly realised she wanted to be discipled, she REALLY–wanted to BE a disciple and she asked for accountability. the whole ‘asking for it’ part doesn’t happen very often. when it does, it creates space for some real life-on-life to happen.
days pushed into weeks, that pushed into months, of really digging in, giving up old habits, picking back up old habits, laying down old habits, learning to make good choices, unlearning the old way of living. it has been a literal roller coaster…that i wouldn’t trade for anything. God has pushed me and challenged me through kelly in not just knowing Him, but believing Him.
in about december of ’09, things progressed in a less than ideal direction, and about six weeks ago we had to check her husband into a mental health clinic in dallas for treatment. kelly came to live with me, and our church community just raised up around us coming forward doing and saying things like, ‘i’ll help you with your bills!’ ‘i’ll drive your husband to the clinic!’ ‘ i will buy you a plane ticket to see him while he’s away!’ it was like a little village of awesomeness appeared out of nowhere to be the hands and feet of our Jesus, loving and serving this family unconditionally. indescribable.
her hubs has made, so far, an incredible recovery. he’s on great meds now and is just blossoming in our community. of course there have been road bumps along the way, and with mine and kelly’s relationship some real joy and some real heartache. dying to everything that you have known for the past 30 years is a lot of work that can not be expected to happen overnight.
in the past week, we have chosen to also enroll kelly in the clinic her husband went to, starting this wednesday. as a community we believe this will help both kelly’s condition and their marriage as a whole.
we know this is only the beginning to the road for recovery, for both, and i want to share what i’ve been learning personally through this process.
first of all, God has shown me His beauty. we ALL…and i mean ALL of us, have ugly junk that we choose over Life. we just do. we are a depraved people. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, so that we could be made pure and blameless before God. this is real life for me right now. it is overwhelming to think that a love that deep exists. but it does, and it is life giving.
the second thing comes from a prayer. a man in my small group prayed over me one particular thursday, when i showed up to group in pieces. he prayed that i would be weak. little did he know that that’s exactly what God had worn me down to. i don’t know if i have a beautiful enough word to describe what it’s like to be in a place, so desparate for someone, that all you can rely on is the fact that God is who He says He is. mighty. merciful. one who extends grace. healer. lover. creator. majestic.
thirdly, God has shown me His great power through truly having a heart for someone. i hear a lot of missionaries talk about how they have a heart for a people group. this is not by mistake. i sincerely believe and have now witnessed in my own life, what it looks like when you intentionally talk to God about something every. single. day. you do things, you extend compassion, you have energy, you have love that is supernatural. if God didn’t love me first, i would never be able to love kelly the way i do.
love. now we come to number four. a few months ago i attended a conference with the austin stone called, ‘verge.’ the major thing i walked away with, besides just loving Jesus more, is that perhaps there is no 6-step process on how to love someone. there’s no devotional or sermon series podcast that’s a fix-all for our problems. we need to go back to the Word. God left us this amazing love letter, on how to live and how to have life, bring life and be life to others. love has become probably the most complex word in my vocabulary. i had no idea what it meant to love someone, and after this experience, i feel even now i’m only on the cusp. i can not wait to see what’s next.
i can’t complete this blog without talking about my so-called partner in crime during this process; my friend, dan. dan has been co-ministering with me to kelly and her husband since the end of january. it’s funny because preceeding these events, God began to minister to me in a really powerful way about being led in ministry and life by the men in my church, and used dan as a major catalyst for this. dan will tell you that for a long time, i bowed up to him, fought him, pushed back on advice he tried to give, and by the grace of God and thankfulness in obedience, i began to choose to let dan lead me. it’s funny how we push back and push back on something God is being very clear on and when we finally give in, it’s way more awesome than we ever could have imagined and then you ask yourself, ‘why did that take so long??’ dan has been there to talk me down, to be the calm in the storm and just point me back to the gospel. watching him pursue Jesus in this, has changed me. and so explains my fifth and final (for now) lesson.
i’m just praying that these ‘lessons’ (for lack of a better word) are something i continue to learn and grown in. and that it doesn’t stop—ever. you can never grow too much. the gospel and truth of God is infinite. i am so grateful and humble to those who have been a part of this process–that’s really just beginning.
there’s something very rich and meaningful in pursuing Jesus with someone…and not to mention LIVING with someone! kelly has become such a dear, dear friend to me. God is so good to me through this gift of friendship.
thanks for reading.