“So, you’re a pastor’s wife,” snarled the young woman sitting across the table from me. “Let me tell you about church,” she continued. “Churches are filled with nothing but hypocrites!”
“Oh, boy, here we go, God,” I thought as I surveyed the young woman named Elizabeth whom I had only met twenty-five minutes earlier at a parishioner’s birthday party. Blondish hair was scraped back from her face, brown eyes looking intently for a reaction from me. I replied, “You’re absolutely right – churches are filled with hypocrites.” A look of surprise appeared across the face of Elizabeth as I countered, “However, I don’t go to church for them – I go to find out what Jesus has in store for me that week.”
“You don’t understand – I don’t fit in with that whole ‘God-thing,’” Elizabeth continued. “How can God be there when I’m bi-polar, I’ve been raped, I’ve been addicted to drugs and alcohol?”
I wanted to step in, but kept hearing the small voice in my spirit say, “Just listen to her. Just listen.”
I argued within myself as Elizabeth continued for over twenty minutes with her life story. “But God – I’ve GOT to tell her about You! Why won’t You let me say anything?”
“Just listen to her,” came the gentle reply.
Finally, as Elizabeth was taking the last drag on her cigarette, she related about how her father was never a part of her life, and how she was never truly wanted: “Did you know that my own mother stated that if abortion would have been legal at the time she conceived me, that she would have aborted me?! HOW can a person say that to their own child?” Anguish wrapped itself around that last heart-breaking sentence.
“NOW - tell her about YOUR life,” the Spirit commanded. Even though I didn’t know this young woman, the Spirit impressed it upon me that I needed to be drop-dead honest with this person about my own journey to Him. I took her hand, swallowed hard, and proceeded to let the Spirit relate to me what I should say to this lost soul in need of an understanding touch that day.
“Trust me – I understand. My mother used to tell me, ‘I don’t know HOW you ever got to be born – I was on the PILL when I conceived you. Mom used to tell me how special I was by telling me this every chance she could, ‘You poor thing – you look just like your ugly mother.” I continued, “Oh, it hurts so badly, and you wonder why you were ever born. But in Psalm 139, it says that I am ‘wonderfully and fearfully made.’ I always felt like an odd-ball – even in my own church growing up. You see, life isn’t easy in a small town for the granddaughter of the town Jezebel, even if you have no desires being that way, yourself. Going to school, or even going to church can be a very painful experience when you don’t get accepted for who you are, but are judged for the actions of those who have come before you.” I related how my father was the image of his mother, how he physically abused my mother in front of my siblings and myself, how I ran from God after my other, Godly grandmother fell ill, and what brought me to ask Him back into my life, which all brought tears to Elizabeth’s eyes.
“How did you survive?” she beseeched me.
I answered, “The only entity that has kept me going strong throughout all of the heartaches of my life is Jesus Christ, Himself. Funny thing is, even though I have Christ in my heart,” I continued, “I was frightened to marry my husband, because I knew he wanted to be a pastor, or an evangelist, and I felt I was not good enough to be a pastor’s wife. I questioned how I could be used in that capacity.”
Elizabeth rushed over to me, embraced me, and sobbed, “I know how God can use you in that capacity – He just did. Tell me - what time does your church meet on Sunday?”
“Thank you, Lord, for impressing upon me to wait until the time was right,” I inwardly prayed, as I let Elizabeth cry in my arms that sunny, summer day.
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