Sunday, October 24, 2010

Window of Your Heart

The Window of Your Heart

…to the Brides of Christ…

You sit there, against that Wailing Wall of your room, wondering if you are ever going to make it though this mess they call Life. Everywhere you turn someone puts you down, and the tears that stain your heart mark the pain and the burden of your rejection. Love… you are yearning for love.

But wait! Hope is coming like the Spring’s beauty after Winter’s frost. You have not been abandoned, you are not alone. There is a Lover who pursues you, and longs for you to notice Him. He is waiting.

He loves you so much that he knocks at the door of your heart, and stands in line patiently with the others. He longs for you to pick him; invite Him into your heart, and His heart shatters each time you choose someone or something else to be the love of your life.

He loves you so much He puts His strongest, fastest angels to take care of you, and watches your every move. Tears spring to His eyes when you don’t accept His angel’s help and protection, and instead accept the strength of some mortal protector, who, in the end, cannot shield you from the Enemy’s attacks.

He loves you so much He wants to give you the whole world and He does. He gives you the moon, and the stars, and lies in the grass with you, pointing out every little point of light, His heart soaring because you like it. He took so long to paint the sky so it would be beautiful for you, hoping, knowing, that it would touch your heart.

Flowers? He loves you so much He brings you flowers, millions of flowers, and shows you his sense of humor by bringing them even in the form of dandelions or ragweed. He beautifully packages His flowers in colors of green and yellow and red and purple, orange, pink, blue, white… all the colors of the rainbow. He knows you love them, and they are labeled “From your Secret Admirer.”

You’ve always longed for a Secret Admirer, someone who pursued you because you were beautiful, alluring, lovely… well, you do.

He is so much in love with you that he doesn’t care about your past. He gets down on His knees and begs you: “I love you, I have loved you for as long as I remember. Please tell me that you love me,” He pleads.

He is valiant. He fights the demons that hold you, the addictions, the obsessions, the sin that has you in chains, a phantom of fear cast around your heart. He hears your screams to be rescued, loves you so much to throw Himself at the dragon and fight for you. He could have left you to die, there are other girls who are easier to come by, who would love it if He even gave them a glance. But no… He gave them up for you. He loves you, and will go to all lengths, all risks, to get you, to prove to you His love.

He is close, and sensitive, embracing us when your heart weeps, when your life breaks apart into a million pieces. He carries you when you get scared in the storm, and comes looking for you, crying out your name, when the hurricane of your thinking separates you. He tears up about your pain when you open up to him, and with gentle hands He heals you.

He is thoughtful. In the morning He wakes you softly with the rays of the sun and the melodious songs of birds. He whispers you good morning and kisses you with the soft breeze coming in through the open window. Even on a gloomy day he has a special surprise only for your heart to know and understand. He tells you of His plans, of His purpose, about His struggles and how much He desires to be with you within the pages of His love letters to you, and is downcast and so dejected when you pass up reading His words to you for some other book or method of leisure. You allow someone or something else to romance and allure your heart, and it brings tears to His eyes and pain to His heart. He knows how weak that someone or something is, and how weak you are.

He cries out to you, longs for you to look at Him. But your gaze is fixed on someone else. The Enemy. The Enemy has captured the gaze of His beloved.

He loves you so much that He waits, even though you left Him. When you realize that the Enemy’s tune-less murmur in your ear is taking you away from He who cherishes you, you will cry out to Him. He will valiantly rescue you again. He loves you so much He will throw thousands of angels up against the Enemy, only to get you back. And he loves you so much, he will rescue you again, and again; and again, and again. Nothing you can do will make Him get angry with you enough to leave you. And He will never let the Enemy harm you. He will not leave you, He will not desert you. Although you might reject Him, He will wait patiently, pursuing your heart until you return to his arms, safe once more.

But He does not wait motionless; no. Every single moment you are away, in the Enemy’s lair, he is resless. He calls for you, runs to you, trying to make yu notice Him. He does not rest until you are rescued, safe. He pleads with you, begs you, trying to gently tell you that the way you are going leads to destruction, and heartache. His heart breaks when you let the Enemy plug your ears. He screams in anguish when you let the Enemy lead you, knowing it is towards Destruction.

“Take anything else!” He cries. “Take anything else! My home, my creation, my crown, even myself, if only you would spare my beloved! Take me instead, not her! Please!”

He loves you so much He ran into the land of Shadow to bring you out. The Enemy tied Him up with the chains destined for you. He was blamed for your addictions; He felt the pain of your abuse; He cried out when the burden of your sin was thrown upon him, wrung around His throat. He looked at you, His starry eyes tearing, as His Enemy pushed Him into the abyss, instead of you.

He loves you so much he took your past from you- your impurity, your abuse, your pain, your ugliness, your infliction, your depression, your loss, your disability, your weakness, your arrogance, your ignorance, your poverty, your nakedness, your embarrassment, your unloveableness, your scorn, your hurt, and ultimately, ultimately… your brokenness.

But… He is powerful. He is strong. So powerful, He defeated the Enemy. He defeated your sin! No longer does the Enemy’s lairs have power over you. Your addictions have been taken away from you… you are free!
Your anger has been vanquished… smile- you are free!
You are whole, perfect, pure- the scars of abuse have been taken away… you are free!
The traces of darkness, ugliness and depression have been washed away… He is victorious; rejoice! You are free!
The loss, the wounds of that which was ripped away from you by Death, by Poverty… by the forces of the Enemy, are restored… You are free!

And He runs, galliantly, towards you, arms open wide, ready to accept you into them. Tears streaming joyfully down His face, the light and beauty of His Kingdom filling the defeated darkness of the Enemy, He throws you up into the air, and catches you, embracing you. Finally you are together, free.

And when you are with Him, you are who you were made to be. He completes you.

Hand in hand He walks you down a glorious path in the woods. Butterflies, wild flowers, a shimmering brook rushing over smooth rocks and stones and cascading over them into a deliciously cool pond… Rabbits scamper as you swim and bask in the sunlight.

Then He pulls you up, out of the Valleys and into the Clouds. Up over the trees and into the mountains. The sunset sets the rocks afire. A warm, crackling campfire, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs and talking softly… You lean your head against His chest and even the chill of the starry night air cant get to you, because He is holding you.

With Him, you are whole. You are free He shows you many things, talks to you. And He wants you to talk to Him, about everything. He wants you to let Him know you.

When you feel alone, head in your hands, back against a wall, He comes walking up the aisle with His hands shoved in His pockets. He gives you a small smile and squats next to you, eyes searching, asking you to tell Him what is wrong.

When you are happy, rejoicing over an accomplishment, He throws you a party. He breaks out a grin and invites all of your friends. “Look how fantastic she is… I don’t know what I’d do without her!” He exclaims.

When you are stressed, and cant seem to get anything right, His arms embrace your world and your heart, and just holds you. In His hands, you will be safe, and your heart will be healed. Your pain will soon go away, and in His hands you will be healed.

When the end seems to come too soon…
When you feel as if life is not worth living…
When you cant cope…
When you feel sick, or alone, or ugly…
When you cant do anything right…

He’s waiting. He’s longing for your voice. Restless He waits. In His hands He can heal. In His hands he can free.

When life is going right…
When you are encouraged…
When you are victorious…
When you look in the mirror and you are beautiful, and radiant…

He wants to know. He is waiting to rejoice with you. He’s the first one to pop open a bottle of champagne. He’s the first one with the party hat on. He dances with you.

You see, He wants you. Just like you want Him. He could do it without you, of course, but He loves you so much, there’s a special ache in His heart for you, that only you can fill.

He would look awkward dancing by Himself. You make the dance glorious, beautiful, graceful, and purposeful. He loves you, and you love Him. You are one.

He would look strong paddling a canoe in the rapids alone. But with you… it looks like an adventure. A team. A fight between fear and valor. You help Him. He could do it alone, but together… ah, He would only do it with you.

He shows you the sights, the smells, the sounds… together… you are one.

He loves you so much. He longs for you to love Him back. He throws pebbles at the window of your heart.

Wake up and let Him in…


Friday, October 22, 2010

Enduring a Media Fast


If you haven't already heard, I was doing a media fast this past week, just trying to cut back on some things that seem to take over my life. With all of the ministries and work and school and THINGS I am doing throughout the week, a good friend of mine urged me to let something "GO". I protested at first- Ill admit it here and now, I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO. I don't like saying "No" to people, most of all me. I don't like causing myself more uncomfortability than I am already in... I'm a normal human being when it comes to that kinds of stuff.

But something about what he said, about how I was doing too much, and that I just needed to let some things GO tugged at my heart. I was convicted, and reluctantly but definitively, started my Media fast on Monday. I didn't expect many results. I didn't expect anything but a little inconvenience. FALSE STATEMENT.

Let me just tell you, starting a media fast was the hardest thing Ive done in a while. I love being on the computer, I love facebook, I love watching my shows. I watch WAY TOO MANY shows. House, Burn Notice, Castle, Bones, White Collar, NCIS... the list goes on and on and on... I didn't want to see how much garbage tv shows I watch instead of living real life. Who am I?

At first I found things to do. I'm not a crafty person, but since I had the time, I made some creative, crafty things- a prayer guide out of an old Harriet Tubman book, a couple Sunshine Jars (Ill explain those in a different post. :) ) and even a sign holder made out of a book that hangs next to our door in the hall. But as soon as I ran out of ideas of things to do, the temptations set in.

"Oh, Ill just LOOK, see if someone posted on my wall, but I wont do anything else, Ill just LOOK." Laugh all you want, it was a real thought. I thought I could handle five days without a computer easily... and here I am grovelling for just a PEEK?! Who am I?!

And here I am, at 102 am, after counting down the hours I could get back on the computer, I feel stupid, childish, almost immature here in my seat. The forefront of my mind isn't "What have I learned" but "What have I MISSED?!". When have I been so shallow that living simply minute by minute isn't enough, that I have to constantly be in the world and mind of others in order to be important, and that my significance comes from the amount of notifications on my facebook profile instead of the quality of my relationship with God. When did reading the Bible come to a last-resort activity to consume time because I can't watch movies or House, instead of the inseparable life-source of my world? Where can I go where I roll out of bed and land on my knees instead of squinting over a laptop and checking messages? Where is that person? When can I meet her? Will I ever BE HER?

Yes, my Media fast was a pain in the BUTT. But LORD, I praise you every single day because of it! It has not only convicted me of so many of my warped, sinful priorities, it's also reminded me of how powerful you are! SO MANY miracles have been performed right in front of my eyes this week that I wouldn't have seen if I had been fixed to my computer screen. So many awesome opportunites I would have missed, so many people I would have never met, so many things I wouldn't have learned... How is that possible? And yet it is!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You are worth MORE than that! (or, Learning Lessons)

I stood cold against the wind, though I tried to hide it. My navy blue and golden-rod yellow University of Michigan sweatshirt was the warmest non-coat item I had in my closet, and it still didn't suffice. Katie Koopmann, my right-hand girl it seems at times, stood beside me, laughing at some random joke that I had just retorted, or some random dance I had just danced. I was hyper, perhaps from the cold, and restless. The concrete ground reached out from the tips of our shoed toes out and around us. A couple of other girls completed our circle, but beyond us stood more circles and squares and lines and oblong shapes of people.

Josh, the tall, blonde, one-who-jumps-and-claps, was making his way through the groups of people towards us. His face bore a worried, frusterated, intense look, and when he reached us, he looked at me and said "Can I talk to you for a second?"

My heart stopped. Whenever I heard those words, from anybody, it usually means I was in trouble. What had I done this time, that I merited a talking-to? Josh was the proclaimed (or self-proclaimed) leader of the Biblestudy we put on in our homeless ministry called Chicago's Beloved. Today we had been a little late from our routes, where every week we walk down a street, handing out sandwiches and just hanging out with the homeless brothers and sisters who live there, so biblestudy was cut short. After Biblestudy, we cross the street to this little stretch of concrete under a great, stadium-dome looking building called the Thompson Center where another ministry serves chili. People from all over come to have some chili and some conversation. As my heart raced through my mind, in search of anything that I might have said or done that merited Josh's face and tone, the laughing and dialogue of the people standing around us rang in my ears. "Sure." I said.

"I want you to talk to someone..." He then went on to say that he had witnessed a guy from our Biblestudy being abusive to his girlfriend just a few moments before. Although he didn't want to confront him directly, for fear of antagonizing the guy into a fight, he was frusterated and worried about the girl. He asked me if I would talk to her discreetly; let her know that she was worth more than how her boyfriend was treating her, and that she was not bound to him. That she was valuable, and didnt have to deal with that abuse anymore. And that perhaps my own story's relevance would cause her to listen.

As I nodded in mock confidence, my fingers felt numb. Why me? I was scared. I didn't think I could do it. I wasn't ready. As he walked away, those doubting, scared thoughts sifted through my mind. I prayed to God, turned to Katie and asked for her to pray for me, too, and dove in.

Walking over to them casually seemed like the most awkward, obvious thing I had ever done in my life. Every second I anticipated for them to turn to me and say "I know what you're up to and we won't have any of it!" But that never came. I asked them how their week was and the answer was "Not that good." Subject of conversation, okay I can do this. Taking a breath to ask why, the guy interrupted me. "Do you have some change? We gotta get on the train, I gotta job interview tomorrow."

I shook my head. GOD what are you doing? I screamed in my head. Will she listen to me if I give her money? Are you asking me to buy them a train ticket? I dont know what to do!

"I just need some change. I gotta get on the train..."

How will I get the chance to talk to her alone if he's right there practically hanging on to her, his arm wrapped protectively around her? LORD I need help! I shook my head again. "Sorry, I dont-"

"Do you have a phone I could borrow, then?" He asked again. I nodded, pulling out my trusty purple phone and handing it to him. "Use it as long as you need. I have unlimited everything." (Praise the Lord for Metro PCS!)

He smiled slightly, grabbed the phone and walked away to sit down, leaving his girlfriend behind. I swallowed. What now?

"Y-you wanna get in line for chili?" I asked.

She shrugged and nodded. Anthony, a friend of her boyfriend's, walked over with us, picking up a conversation with her. My heart sank. LORD, I dont know what to DO!

In line, Anthony turned to me. "So, what's your story?"

NO. NO. What do you want me to do, Lord? Tell the truth? This wasn't supposed to be personal. I can't relate with these people... their stories are probably worse than mine. They probably think I'm just this white chick that has had everything alright with her life. They'll never take me seriously. Say something SAY SOMETHING.

So I blurted out whatever my mind could think of. With each word my heart grew heavier and heavier, and my throat grew tighter and tighter. The truth wasn't shocking enough, I needed more shocking. The truth wasn't painful enough... I needed more pain. The reality isn't drastic enough... I need more drastic. How was she going to listen to the things I needed to say to her if I didn't relate with her? I've only tasted the pain she's gone through. I'm inadequate, Lord, IM INADEQUATE!

After I stopped talking, Anthony gave me a hug. "Yeah, God is good." He said. "You keep it up. God loves us no matter where we are."

I swallowed and averted my eyes. I was supposed to be helping this girl, and I was lying to her. How is that helping? I just wanted to walk away, my guilt almost heavier than the words that slipped into my ears "How can God use someone like me? I'm a liar. In the process of trying to help someone, I've lied to them. Who am I to do that?!"

Anthony patted me on the back once more before walking away. It was just her and I. I swallowed again.

"What's your name again?" I asked.

"Brandy." She answered. "BABE! BABE! Come over here!" She yelled at her boyfriend. My heart sank lower. I had missed my chance. "Babe!"

"WHAT?!" He yelled back. He scowled at her and started yelling at her, calling her names and telling her to leave him alone, my phone still pressed against his ear.

She closed her mouth. "Why does he gotta be so mean?" she whispered under her breath.

"You know you dont have to stay with him. You're worth more than that." I said quietly. "I've been there. It's not worth it, it's not worth it."

She didnt say anything at first. Then she pursed her lips. "We just been together for so long..."

"I know, I been there. It doesn't matter if you're with them for four years, four months, or four days, you dont have to put up with that."

"He's got good days and then he's got bad days..."

"Why dont you want all good days though?" I trailed off. Maybe I had said too much, too quickly. She didn't respond, and moved down the line alittle more, quiet. We stood there for a split-second, saying nothing, and then she looked away and walked back towards her boyfriend. They left a couple moments later.

Looking back, I rejoice that the Lord gave me the opportunity to speak into Brandy's life, if for a second, but I grieve because of my sin. I realize that stretching the truth was not distrusting God's power to move her spirit, instead of the power my own story. And even though I eventually had the chance to say the words I was to say, I could not fully rejoice in the Lord's providence and miracles, from getting the boyfriend away for awhile, to giving me a moment to say the words "You are worth more than that." It hurt me. Lord, I need help with this telling the truth thing. Honesty... why do I hate it? Why do I think the story you've written for me is not as good as the one I've written for myself?

This post started out as a "Praise the Lord for His miracles", and turned into a "I confess, Lord, my sins." I am struggling with this, not because I love to lie, but because I hate the truth of my life. My pain- I dont want to feel it. My experiences- I dont want to admit. My sin- I pretend it doesnt exist. And although I am not a compulsive liar who says whatever anyone wants to hear just to get ahead, I am NOT a compulsive truth-teller. I WANT to be! LORD I WANT to be!

Would you guys pray for both Brandy and I, one for her abusive relationship with her boyfriend, the other for her abusive relationship with herself? Why dont I just let myself be free? Why dont I just walk away? Why do I have to lie- I dont have to! It hurts me, causes me so much pain, ruins my friendships and builds walls in my relationship with God. It hinders me from being all of myself, it turns me into a cowering, angry, scared, little girl. I need to pull myself aside and tell myself those words "YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THAT!"

I am worth more than that!

:) PTL

Friday, October 1, 2010

Revised- Meeting Me

I was afraid to ask what I knew I should ask. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but they were stalled by the fear that God would actually give me what I was asking for, and I was scared of that. I stood there a moment, and looked at my feet. What did the words "break my heart" mean to the Lord? How would that feel? Did I want to know?

I was already straining myself by going to this ministry every week- seeking out the faces of people I could relate to was different for me; my first instinct is to flee. My mouth kept captive the words of the still-born prayer, and I searched my heart for some strength. Every week I am faced with the same thoughts and feelings- of dread, of pain, of protest... why did I go? Why didn't I just stay at home? Why didn't I just say no for this week... said "Ill catch you guys next week"... what was so significant, so powerful about this week, every week, that Satan was going to such lengths to keep me from wanting this?

"This" was the homeless ministry I partook in every Saturday afternoon. Every week I stood alone out in the little courtyard in the middle of campus, sometimes a half-hour, even an hour early, wondering if I should go. The others usually filter in around three thirty, and every second before that time I battle with the desire to just slip away and go back upstairs to my apartment, like I was never there.

The breeze pushed the trees around a little as I mounted some strength, and let the words "Lord, break my heart for these people" fall out of my mouth and into the air. As soon as they were free I felt drained. I wondered what great thing God was preparing for me- I almost hoped that the wind had swept my prayer out of his hearing, or perhaps he was occupied on some other, greater task, and won't notice the little prayer that I had let up.

People were scarce, inevitably working on papers or homework or something- not even aware of the little me standing out amongst the island of grass and trees in the sea of concrete between the buildings. I liked it that way, and hated it that way- but I was used to it, my heart had been so hard for so long. I walked around life like a brick wall, too afraid to absorb love or fear or anything remotely emotional... I didn't know if I had the strength, or I knew I didn't and was afraid to admit it. I was terrified of being invisible, yet longed for it, and in that moment, I felt like I was.

The chill was growing as the others approached. I put on my best happy face and tried to match eveyone's mounting anticipation and excitement. A couple holding hands walked past, oblivious to the motley group that left campus in the middle of the Saturday afternoon to partake in another world... hopping on the Brown Line like it was the vortex to another dimension. And as I readied myself to enter that world again, I couldn't help but feel a little fear- fear of the unknown, fear of the known... afraid that it would be as intense as last week, and afraid of my prayer for a broken heart. Who prays for a broken heart? I trembled.

Linked arms with the only other girl in the group, named Sarah, I pushed the fear aside. I tried not to think about anything in particular, and went along with the conversation, keeping my legs moving in time and in step with hers. I found myself standing amongst a score of people, all joined hands and bowing their heads, some from other campuses around the city, some from high schools and some too old or too young for either. The glass windows and doors of the entrance of Oglivie, the train station that graciously accommodated nearly thirty boisterous, laughing, praying, random Christians brought a weird glow onto the tops of our heads. Security guards looked on silently, and uniformed soldiers stood outside, waiting for loved ones, or a taxi, their suitcases leaning against their legs.

Josh, the leader of the group, raised his hand above the heads and we quieted. He was tall and hard to miss, eclectic and smiling lopsidedly, he announced the routes and asked for group leaders. Grocery bags and garbage bags of sandwiches stood against the display window of the expensive clothing store, the well-dressed mannequins posing idly before bottles of water and backpacks, and college students preparing themselves for the long walk. I stood silent on the outskirts of the circle, waiting for the group to Lower Wacker to assemble.

I had gone down Lower Wacker the week before, and the sights hit me like a ton of bricks. It dipped down, steady orange lights illuminating the road before us, cement columns holding the concrete ceiling in place. The rustle of the plastic bags and the footsteps of our shoes across the concrete tunnel's floor echoed eerily against the walls. The occasional rush past of a car or a truck or a semi pushed a sheet of air against us, and even the air bounced against the wall and came careening back.

We hop one of the barriers and walk around another. Behind lies two men, their blankets pulled closely to their neck and ears, their bodies thin and shivering. The stench is unbearable at first, but we push through it and set the brown paper bag that holds the sandwich and a bag of chips, and a bottled water next to them. One of them, named Roc, glares at us and yells at us to get on our way, but the other is silent, smiling and nodding slightly. A little further lies a family, their cardboard box wall separating their little make-shift home from the dirty ground. Their shoes sat neatly on the border of their area, and she gives us a smile, recognizing us from last week.

As we moved on to the next, and the next, the little piles of clothing and blankets moving to reveal a different, new face, each one unique from the last. I couldn't help but be silent, my usual boisterous, out-loud self quieted as I was shown again and again the reality of life. Any where else I wouldn't have stopped to think that these were real people... real people. And my hard heart, void of emotion, couldn't handle that reality.

I held some sort of hidden pride inside. I remember wondering where I would be able to sleep, when I would eat, where would I be able to take a shower so I would look like a normal person. I never pushed a grocery cart around, never carried my things in a garbage bag, never slept in an alley... a back pack is no garbage bag, under the overhang of Target is no alley. Inside... inside I felt empty. I was only given a small taste of homelessness a year and a half ago, far away in Michigan. Here, on the streets of Chicago, it was different. I was different. I've eaten, I'm warm, I have people who care about me, I have some place to sleep. And as I walked before the dim lighting of Lower Wacker, the bag of sandwiches hitting against my leg at every step, I told myself that I couldn't relate with these people. They were real people, yes, but some form of destitute that required emotions and understanding still too far out of reach.

We took the stairs up out of Lower Wacker and hour or so later, a little late for the biblestudy we attended every week and had invited some of the people to. I was breathing a sigh of relief, happy somewhat, that it was over. We walked down the street, just talking and laughing, exchanging stories, when we passed her.

She was standing on the corner of Randolf and Michigan, her big brown eyes filled with unspilt tears, a little paper sign in her hands, her lips pursed shut. "I left my abusive boyfriend for a battered women's shelter that was scarier. Help me get home." was what it basically said. She wore a green shirt that did no damage against the wind, and her brown hair was pulled back into a half pony-tail. She looked... normal. I looked at her, and my heart broke. In her eyes, I saw me.

There stood me, a mere year and a half ago- maybe not holding a sign, maybe not standing on the corner of Randolf and Michigan, but there I was, no where to go, no where to stay, no one to love me. There was me, standing cold against the wind, and wishing there were people in the world who cared enough to send me somewhere I could call home.

As the members of our group listened to her story, I could hardly hear her words over the cracking of my heart in my ears. She was normal- I was normal. She was normal. I pulled off my sweatshirt and handed it to her. She was normal... why was this so hard to understand? Why does it keep running through my mind? When someone hears homeless, they think of the residents of Lower Wacker, not this girl, not me. They think garbage bags and alleys... not backpacks and Target. They think dirty and smelly, not clean and done up. They think sitting on the side of the street, not a normal girl with make-up on, holding onto a sheet of paper with dear life, hoping and praying that someone, somewhere would understand that just because she wasn't dirty or smelly doesn't mean her story isn't validated.

Over the screams of the city I laid my hand on her and cried out to God for her- keep her safe, Lord, keep her warm... give her not a doubt in her mind that you love her. Take care of her, Lord, take care of Kelly.

I didn't have to wonder what she was thinking- I didn't have to wonder what she was praying for. I remember screaming those same words, asking him "LORD, why don't you love me? Lord! Why don't you care? I'm out here cold and unhappy and broken and bleeding and homeless, why aren't you taking care of me?! Where are you Lord?! Why don't you love me?" And as I remembered those words, and I gave her a hug, walking away was almost too hard to bear. The few dollars we had on us seemed so small compared to the pain and the need she had. I walked across the intersection holding my head, remembering that place, the wind pushing the chill around my now-bare arms. I went faster, hoping that the group following behind me wouldn't see my bitter tears as I wept. I wept. I never cry... I never feel. And yet I wept.

Lord! Lord! I didn't ask to be faced by my brokenness. I didn't ask to be given a mirror- I didn't want to see my own pain. But yet, that's what happened. I had spent so much time and effort and heart ache trying to forget who I was, what i had come from, what I was feeling... I didn't want to know. I didn't want to feel it. I was afraid to. And yet here I was, faced with another me... Kelly... Kelly.

As I wept, my group caught up with me and one of the girls, named Anilysa, put her hand on me and cried with me. A complete stranger, we had only known eachother for the short time I have been here, walking with me in silence. And when she asked me what was wrong, I had nothing else to say but "I just met me!" The reality was so sharp, so vivid, so close, that I could grasp it, and it cut me.