This week I had the privilege of being a part of something absolutely miraculous and gorgeous. Messy, painful, broken, agonizing, and so, so beautiful.
Along the way, I discovered that you can actually grieve and giggle at the same time.
An agnostic Muslim friend I’ve not seen in 26 years shared her heartbreak with me. A brutal, shattered story. One of long-term destructive circumstances. One of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual abuse. One of trying, and trying, and trying, and trying, and never being able to make it be better, never being able to find peace, safety, and sanity in her home and family. One of exhaustion, and depression, and desperation. We wept together as she shared how she sees strength in me and wants to be strong, too, and how she sees that I have God and she needs God in her life, too.
And I got to tell her I’m just a messy, broken person who knows and loves Jesus. He is the only reason I’m doing OK and even have JOY even though a lot about my circumstances stinks and my heart is still broken.
It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, what your history is, what mistakes you’ve made, what you know about God, or don’t know about Him. It doesn’t matter. He just wants YOU. He wants you to not be lost anymore. He’s everything you need. For real.
I got to share with her the words of one of my pastors,
“The world will say that because you’ve been abandoned that you have no value and nobody wants you. You are worthless in their sight. But that is a lie. The truth is that you have a loving Heavenly Father who will never leave you or forsake you. Who loves you so much and considers you so precious that He came to earth and He died for you. He sacrificed Himself so that you would know His love. And not only that, but He has given you a future of HOPE and of purpose!” — Laurie Beshore, Mariners Church
I got to pray for her, buy her a Bible and a copy of Streams in the Desert (an excellent devotional for seasons of trial), and invite her to church with me this weekend. Seriously, I feel like watching this redemptive, beautiful rescue unfold will go down in God’s Big Book of His Relentless Love as one of the most eternity-impacting moments of my life. See? Weeping and giggling at the same time!
God is so astounding! I saw Him reach down and grab this beautiful, crushed woman He’s clearly been wooing (with heartbreak, as He so often does) for decades and draw her to Himself because He loves her so much. He wove all the mess together, crafting it all into just the right circumstances, at just the right moment, and just the right place because He loves her!
God has been with her and chasing her all this time!
Just as He has been with you in your story and with me in my story and chasing you and me all this time!
How GREAT is our God?!
How incredible that He let me be a witness to her rescue! To the beginning of her learning who Jesus is and her soon-to-be salvation because she is craving Him!
We are all born craving Him. We just don’t know it.
Instead, we fill that God-void — with relationships, with ugly glorification of ourselves or of others, with position, or power, or money, or success, or food, or activities, or addictions, or some kind of identity for ourselves, sex, pleasure, shopping, TV. If it exists, we can make an idol of it. But, idols and substitutes will never, ever satisfy!
Nothing but Jesus Christ Himself, living in daily relationship with Him, relying on Him, being led and loved by Him, surrendering to His direction, and enjoying Him will ever satisfy that craving.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. — Ecclesiastes 3:11
“Something deep down inside us is made to live for a story bigger than ourselves — the story of the One who made us. Any other version of this story will consistently feel shallow and empty.” — Jennie Allen
This is what it’s all about! We were created for the purpose of giving Him glory! It’s not about me. It’s about God! My story is to be set inside His Great Story!
It’s so easy for it to turn into a story about ME, though, because we’re all basically Me-Monsters, aren’t we? Our study this week touched on this issue that we have to consistently fight — Arrogance (or the fear of appearing arrogant) — in order to be used for God’s purposes. Jennie and I also touched on arrogance and fear of appearing arrogant in our live-chat because it’s a handicap for all of us.
Man was made to rely on God and give Him glory. Instead man chose to rely on himself and seek his own glory — to make a name for himself. — John Piper
Which resonates with you? I think I struggle with both. I’m stained with sinful arrogance and also so stomach-turningly repulsed by pride that makes me fear appearing prideful. It’s both.
As Jennie wrote, “So we fight the desire to build our own towers. When we do the great things He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), but we do them in and through and for the Name and glory of God.”
Our hearts must be completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9) before we can start to dream. — Jennie Allen
This Week’s Questions… My Response
My answers to the questions Jennie poses on page 50 of the Restless Study Guide:
- How confident are you that the story of God is real? Very confident now. I struggled for a long time with a low-grade doubt, though. It’s only been in the last few years that my disbelief has waned.
- How confident are you that Jesus is your Savior? Very. I know it’s by His grace alone.
- How confident are you that God has specific purposes for you in His story? Ah. This is where the battle has raged for me. As my life went what felt like completely, terribly off-track, I felt less and less like God had purposes for me. I felt more and more like I had wrecked any chance of being usable by God (other than as the poster-girl for How to Be a Galactic Screw-Up), and definitely like I had wasted my life and it was ruined. That led to serious depression and hopelessness. After choosing to go after God with everything that’s in me, though, I’ve been eager to see how He’s going to use me for His glory and excited to play whatever role He has for me in His Story!
This Week: God’s Story (Chapter 1)
- Read Chapter 1 of the Restless Study Guide (pages 31-54)
- Write your responses in the Study Guide
- Watch Session 2 of this week’s Restless video either on DVD or on-demand at Vimeo ($2.99/session)
Remember to Join Us for our Online Live-Chat Study
Use this link to join us in the chat on Thursday nights 10pm EST/ 7 pm PST:
Did you see this week’s live-chat? If not, here’s the replay!
I’m excited to introduce you to my mother, Margie McClure, and dear friends — Jaime Guthals (whom you may already know from FaithGateway), Shawn Beese, and Tracy Marcus.
YOU can be in on the fun, too! If you contact us and let us know that you’d like to be a live-chat guest. We will be randomly choosing several of our FaithGateway Restless Study community to join us and will notify you by tomorrow, Tues. February 11 if your name is drawn! Enter your information here if you’re willing to be on camera for the chat!
If you tried to get into last week’s chat and experienced some problems, we’re so sorry. This is pretty experimental for us but we think we have those technical issues resolved. We appreciate your grace and understanding, and look forward to chatting with you on Thursday if you can make it. If not, we’ll have the replay for you next week.
Share Your Story
I’d love to hear from you! We’d love to have your story, what God is doing in your life, and your answers to Jennie’s questions. Leave your comments below! ~ Laurie
As you dig into the Restless study this week, know that I am praying for you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Crave Him! If you don’t feel that burning desire for Jesus yet, pray for Him to bless you with a deeper love and stronger desire for Him!