He’s Important to Me

I volunteer at a teen residential facility, leading spiritual initiatives as a sort of a chaplain. Earlier this week I visited the thisismyprayerforyouedited-640x360students hoping to encourage them and inspire a walk with Christ in them. A father of one of the young ladies was visiting that day. She brought him to me and introduced us and told her dad that I was the spiritual guy. I explained to him what that meant so her father would understand the role of our Sunday Spiritual times. Then the young lady told her father that I was important to her and explained why. She self-harms and I encourage her not too. I basically told her I don’t like it when she it hurt, even if she is the one hurting herself and asked about how long she had gone since the last time without harming herself. She told me and added it had been four days this time. I encouraged her to go for the goal of one more day than the last time and then we set the goal of one more day each after.

I am important to her because I don’t want her to hurt herself. honestly, it hurts my heart to know that she would purposely  hurt herself. She wants to have a relationship that builds and holds her up. One that she can trust and rely on for support and help. Knowing her background, she has the love and support she needs, but a couple of things have blocked her understanding (besides the confusing messages our world, media and her friends give). One is her understanding about herself which got sidetracked at some point and another is her parents, though they love her, haven’t learned how best to make that understood in her life.

I am not casting blame here, I am citing reality.

One of the things that provided an open dialog between this young lady and myself is that I told here I have prayed for her. She had been struggling one day when I was visiting about 6 months ago and it took her back. She asked in surprise, “You pray prayfor me?” She was shocked. I told her that I do. I told her I prayed for every one of the students there and especially when I know she is struggling, I pray for her more. Apparently, that touched her. She responded, “No one ever prayed for except my mom.”

What she doesn’t realize is that there are others who pray for her besides her mother (and father) and me. There are coaches, who are saints (i.e. Christians) who pray for her as well. I’ll bet there is other family and maybe family friends praying for her.

What she is realizing and God seems to be using me to help bring this realization into her life, is that she is important, even extraordinary (thank you Aaron Chambers*). God loves her and cares for her. People love her and care about her. She is learning that when she feels safe, it is with people who are people of God. She understands that this God-thing is real and it is reaching deep into her life and bringing here hope and even joy, when she remains in her understanding of God’s love. She is realizing, “For God so loved the world,” that God loves her.

Due to confidentiality, I cannot tell you anymore, but I ask that you pray for her. God will know who you are praying for even if you do not know her name or where she is. He knows because he cares, because he loves her too.

bloggingthechurch

*Remember Who You Are, Unleashing the Power of an Identity Driven Life, by Aaron Chambers, Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2007, citing chapter 9; http://www.standardpub.com/Products/24324/remember-who-you-are.aspx

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I’m at a Loss at What to Do

A few years ago, I read about a family that suffered a loss. The mother’s father had died and they were rushing around packing and getting the family ready to travel several hundred miles for the funeral.  In the middle of their preparations, an old guy from their church that they didn’t know very well showed up at their door.

Not only didn’t they know him, they thought he was a bit odd and weren’t sure about him.  When he arrived on their doorstep, the mom answer and wondered what in the world he was doing there.

She asked him what she could do for him.  He told her that he was there to shine their shoes.  He had his shoe-shine kit and wanted to make their shoes look the best they can for such an important and solemn occasion.

He saw a need to help and share compassion and he offered to do the only thing that he could and so while they rushed to get ready to do, he polished the shoes they would wear at the funeral and made an impact on this family.  They were grateful and this simple act of kindness eased their grief and suffering.  He didn’t say a thing, he just served a need.

It is interesting, God seems to have gifted me with the ability to show his compassion to people who are hurting.  I spend a lot of time in hospitals, nursing homes, with grieving families, and other similar situations.  I have been there when people have breathed their last, when the family learns of their death, through surgeries, when they learned they had a debilitating illness.  I have preached a lot of funerals.  A good part of them were the result of tragic events.  Automobile accidents, murder victims, and I can’t remember all the types of tragic events I have done funerals for.

And in every case, I feel totally inadequate.  I never know what to say.  And I have another one of those situations.  this time is different from before too.

Last week, our oldest member died of cancer.  She was 90 years old.  The last few weeks were difficult on her and her family.  But difficulty has been multiplied.  Her 32-year-old grandson was killed in an auto accident this morning.

I know that the most important thing is to be there and be with them.  Let them vent, let them cry, and pray with them.  But like every other time, what in the world am I supposed to say?  It’s hard to accept that God is loving and caring at moments like these.  It’s difficult to express in words anyway, that there is comfort available to them.

I know of only one thing that I can do that is true, effective, and correct.  Point them to Jesus.  God cares for them.  God has help and hope for them.  But grief can blind hearts and minds to God’s care and compassion.  I guess that’s why he sends people like me to share his love and mercy.

I get to serve an incredible God.  He will get them through, regardless of my inadequacy.

bloggingthechurch