14 Nov
Broken Beauty - Week 37 & 38

 I don’t know where to begin in sharing these past two weeks with you. The days have moved quick and I feel disorganized trying to arrange all that has happened. Since my last article, the Lord has been faithfully responding to the cries of my heart. He has shown me the choice I have in daily submission, the decision I have to enjoy it, and the opportunities I get to share it. God has been wonderfully kind to me and as I gather my thoughts for what words will come next I’m reminded of more our Savior has done.

 Starting last Sunday, God presented me with two invitations I normally wouldn’t accept. Reluctant to spend time with people I casually know and unsure of how to hold it together, I engaged in these events and saw the openings Christ was giving me to strengthen connections. Sure my mind wanted to be at home in bed, isolated and lazy, in the comforts of my own home, but thankfully my spirit spoke louder and I got to partake in the bonding of community.

Later in the week I took my clothes to a local laundry mat. I’ve done this once or twice since living in Los Angeles but it certainly isn’t my norm and I ran into someone that helped me learn a little more about purpose. After I loaded my clothes into the washers, I sat down to read a book that was required for school. Only a few sentences in, a homeless man (we’ll call him Taft) started up a conversation with me. He was hard to understand, drooling at the mouth, dirty, and quite incoherent. I engaged with him for about five minutes as he talked of prostitutes and the mob that he and his friend were trying to stay away from, then he excused himself and went outside for who knows what. I asked the laundry attendant if I could go sit on the washers as to move away from Taft, probably in his late 50’s, whom I knew would be back. Thankfully the attendant gave me allowance but when Taft came back he returned to me, asking if I could help untie the knot his clothes had spun. Giving assistance, another man came over and struck up a conversation with us. In doing so, Taft asked this newcomer to tighten up his pants with the string that was hanging from his front belt loops. I think it took the new guy a second to register what Taft had just asked him and my first thought was “wow, what a question!” Though Taft was everything I described earlier, he had started to sober up and seemed pretty capable to do this on his own. However, after a beat, I witnessed Taft have a complete stranger lift up his pants and tighten them up good. Oh wow-

I had undone all Taft’s clothes by this point (2 mismatched shoes, a pair of jeans, and some raggedy socks), he thanked me and told me he’d give me a hug but he understood why he shouldn’t. I nodded my head but extended the hug anyway and it only got a little uncomfortable. Taft and the man came and went for the next 45 minutes or so, while I finished my clothes and continued reading. During one of their quick visits, engaging in brief conversations about different things, Taft asked me what was wrong with him. He told me how he felt gullible and taken advantage of. How he kept giving to his friend who continually got him into trouble and asked what he was to do. Luckily the second gentleman had come back by then and was quick to answer his questions in a supportive yet disregarding way. The two wandered away again and Taft left the mat. Turning back to my book, the next few sentences spoke to me. They talked about Jesus and how He freely gave for us. How our Lord continues to give and why we should give like Him. I felt as if Taft needed to hear these words but he had gone and I really didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of sharing this with him anyway. Finishing my laundry, gathering my things, I headed for the door as Taft walked back in. He didn’t see me and I had all the intention to just walk out that door but… I didn’t. I walked back to Taft, put down my basket, and asked if I could read him something. He agreed and I read to Him about Jesus. I was shaky and the laundry mat was surprisingly busy now, as if all these people had came out of nowhere. I finished the sentences, put my hand on Taft’s heart, and told him he was loved. He didn’t say much after that, but I tell you he looked like a completely different person. His eyes were clear, his face was composed, and he had just brushed his hair. I said goodbye to him and the man who had tightened up Taft’s pants was there as well. I shook his hand and thanked him for what he had done. He didn’t pay no mind to what I had said, but I thanked him again by saying I didn’t think many people would do what he did. I felt privileged to be there that night.

 In asking God to help me and bring me to places where He can be glorified, He certainly provided all that was asked, and if that’s not clear to how powerful Christ is, He did it again this past week.

  It’s been a little rough at work lately and things were in a really sour place for my boss, who was stressed to the max. I stepped outside, early in the day mid week and asked the Lord to mightily intervene. I told him I didn’t know how He was going to do it but asked if He could just make the next call the call my boss was waiting on. Well, 15 minutes later, my boss didn’t get a call, but he got an email. Halleluiah indeed! I got to share that story with my boss walking to lunch that day, but he didn’t seem too impressed because the email wasn’t exactly what he wanted. However, I did get a slight smile out of him and another co-worker walking with us said she thought it was pretty cool too. Praise God!

 In the midst of answering these prayers (among others) and giving me insight to different things I’m talking with Him about, my soul has been peaceful and He’s maintained my joy. I’d love to continue to write that everything’s been sunshine and rainbows since pouring my heart out to Jesus a couple weeks ago, and in the grand scheme of things, I guess it has been. But my surroundings pressure to take that away.

Since I last made time to write out this journey, I’ve encountered several situations that not only irritated me but others that sadden my heart. My patience was tried and I felt the selfishness of others. There’s been a lack of professional communication in both my work and school life. I was blatantly ignored in person by one friend and got into a rather heated conversation with another. I’ve had my theological views questioned in a cheapened way, listened to others that seem rationally questionable, and made some decisions that could be questioned the same.  Life’s been difficult, I can’t say it’s been easy, but something about these two weeks has been wonderfully beautiful.

The Lord has been faithfully by my side and I’m learning how to acknowledge more of His presence. How to worship Jesus throughout the day and find peace in His strength. Still how to communicate and listen or watch for His response. How to wait. How to stay in His Word. While He continues to teach me and bring joy to the world, I have to daily make that choice to press into His greatness. I have to balance the outlets of relieving world stressors and run the risk of being called preachy. I have to live in a way that resembles God’s love and continue to be judged by calling His name. Having to do these things, I have to make it clear, I choose to.

I choose to because He makes the chaos wonderfully beautiful. I choose to because being apart of His power is thrillingly mind blowing. I choose to because I know that there’s nothing better and I choose to because I know He’s the Truth. Jesus, may Your kingdom continue to come! Restore this broken image. God may you illuminate the lives of Your creation and soften our hearts to the wonder of Your majesty. Let us draw close Lord, so You can draw close to us. For Yours is the power and glory forever. Hallelujah, Amen-

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