“No way on this verdant earth will I do that,” cried Lily. “You’ve obviously consumed a large amount of crazy flakes for breakfast.”
“I am telling you, Lil, they need to hear what you have to say,” fired Daria. “Just think about it will you? That’s all I’m asking.”
The co-eds continued to bundle up for the walk to their college campus. Snow wasn’t heavy this year, but the brisk wind was biting enough to warrant full snow gear for their trek. Lily and Daria had been friends since children’s church. Judging by their outward appearances, most people would assume the girls ran in completely different circles. Lily was the classic “All-American” girl with milky skin and smooth honey hair, while Daria was a rebel preferring to add avant-garde fashion to her olive skin and inky ringlets.
“We’ll talk about this later, ok,” panted Daria, as she ducked inside the lab. “Love you!”
This left Lily with time to think as she walked to the Communications building. Looking at the leafless branches she realized that if she were to do this, she would have to lay her soul as bare as the naked trees. The gentle nudging in her heart echoed Daria’s request. Lily was attuned to God’s voice, but frankly didn’t want to hear about this. Both girls had given their hearts to Him at an early age, but each had gone through vastly different experiences. It was Lily’s experience that both God and Daria wanted the rest of the world to hear.
“I know it’ll be hard,” Daria said softly. “I’ll be right there. This isn’t something I suggested just to fill time after Praise & Worship. We don’t know how many people have been through this. They may think they’re the only ones or there’s no hope!”
Both girls were curled on their couch sipping hot chocolate after an exhausting day. Lily looked into Daria’s piercing dark eyes and knew she was right. It was time to come clean to the world and she couldn’t do it alone. She would need both God and Daria at her side.
“What if this changes their view of me,” Lily asked. “Will parents still want me mentoring youth or leading mission trips or….
“Stop it right there, Lil,” Daria said firmly. “We know God wants you to share. So what if they don't? He’ll have something better waiting for you instead.”
Tears threatened to salt Lily’s cocoa. “I know, D. It’s time for everyone to know exactly what God has done for me. Not just my testimony of salvation, EVERYTHING, He has done. Tell Pastor I’ll do it.”
Forgetting the cocoa in their hands, the pseudo-sisters embraced. The sentimental hug was short lived, however, due to lukewarm chocolaty goodness now pooling on the hardwood floor. The tears were quickly replaced with raucous laughter as their beagles howled in appreciation of the treat now within their reach.
To Lily, the youth crowd seemed bigger than normal. Public speaking wasn’t an issue with her, it was the fact she was about to air her most personal experiences that caused raging butterflies. With a hug from Daria, Lily began.
“Hey. Most of you…um… know my testimony,” Lily began softer than usual. “I’ve loved God all my life. I’ve counseled and cried with you. I’m the “good girl” and parents dream. I’ve asked you to be totally honest with me, so I could help you, but I haven’t been totally honest with you.”
Lily’s voice began to find itself. “Frankly, I didn’t think I would ever make this public. I never thought I’d be bold enough to lay myself bare, but God has a purpose for this. It’s something that needs to be addressed.”
“Last year, I dealt with depression and tried to take my own life.”
The gasp wasn’t unexpected. Lily was the “perfect Christian” and to hear this from her was unthinkable. As she talked of the darkness that held her captive and attempt to escape the pain, the audience sat riveted. Tears of joy began to flow from both Lily and the crowd as she told of God’s supernatural deliverance from bondage and the hope that springs eternal.
There was no sermon that day. As Lily closed her speech with a prayer, she felt immediately led to have an altar call. Streams of teens and adults alike flooded the aisles joyful that they were no longer alone. God had answered each individual prayer with the same answer…one woman no longer ashamed.
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