I walked in the church for the first time, feeling scorned, ashamed, and worthless. I had made such a mess of my life. I knew I needed help. I was drawn to that church for some reason. I hoped I would find answers that day. I really didn't want to talk to any one; I just wanted to be un-noticed. I didn't want anyone to look at me. I just wanted to hide some place safe.
I quietly weaved my way through the crowded corridor into the sanctuary. I just wanted a seat where no one would see me. I found it in the corner. I thought that if I just sat there, I wouldn't have to feel anything. I could stay numb. There would be no accountability and no expectations of me. I wouldn't have to do anything. I wouldn't have to look into anyone's eyes, or wonder what they thought of me.
Everyone finally came in and sat down after what seemed like hours of talking and laughing with each other. Then here came the choir in their purple and ivory robes. There was a lady in the front row that I couldn't stop staring at. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her hair was perfect. Her make-up, flawless. I couldn't see what she was wearing underneath her choir robe, but I'm sure it was perfect too.
She was an attractive lady, maybe around fifty years old or so. Nothing about her made her stand out... until she raised her arms to God. There it was. No hand on her right arm. But yet, she had both arms raised as high as she could to praise God. I couldn't stop looking at her. Was it the disability I was stuck on? I thought to myself, "Am I really that shallow? Stop staring!"
I gazed at her for what seemed like hours. My eyes moved from her arm to her face. That beautiful face. That was what God wanted me to see. Her face illuminated with what seemed like a golden halo. With tears streaming down her face, she kept her arms held high to praise her God. Her wonderful God that she was so thankful for. Her God that she couldn't live without. Her God that made her just the way she was.
Here is this woman with a disability that I cannot begin to imagine. I can't imagine the obstacles she faces everyday. But she holds her arms high to praise her God for everything. She had joy. Joy that I didn't have. How is it she can have such joy in her situation? I wondered if God had something to do with it.
After the sermon, the pastor made the alter call. I was in so much pain and despair. The only thing I could think of was that lady in the choir. Maybe I should try what she does. I made my way down to the alter and found myself pouring my heart out to God. I felt a gentle and kind hand on my back. Someone started praying for me. I heard them say "Father, give her peace and joy." A quiet sense of peace came over me. A sense of calm peace. I turned around to see who this person was. It was her. With tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said "God loves you no matter what. Imperfection doesn't matter, He loves you anyway." The relief I felt was overwhelming.
If anyone could talk about imperfections, it was Brenda. She was living proof of God's love for imperfect people. God used her to touch my heart. To show me that he really does love me. She was a living testimony to me of God's unconditional love for us. God showed me that day that Brenda was not disabled, she was enabled by Him.