Friday, September 11, 2009

Pray for her....love her

Tiffany had flaming red hair with very blond streaks dyed into it. She wore a nose ring, several ear rings, lots of bangles and charms. She had impeccable make-up, and was wearing all black covered by a blood read jacket. And she sat right in front of me in church on Sunday.

She was obviously a visitor, coming with a boyfriend, his mom and grandmother. Many people knew the grandmother...no one knew Tiffany. As she stumbled her way through the pew, she was facing me and my kids. She glared at George and then made eye contact with me. I smiled. She cringed. Then she plopped down, heavily, into the pew.

She was uncomfortable, and oh so angry. As the worship began, she and her boyfriend refused to stand up. They mocked the people who raised their hands in worship to our Lord. As we sang about an amazing love, questioning how a king would die for us, Tiffany pulled out her wallet and began looking at several tarot-like cards of various gods and goddesses. As the music swelled and more and more people raised hands to worship, her boyfriend formed his hands into "devil horns" (you know, that symbol seen at many rock concerts) and very sarcastically thrust his hand to the beat. They laughed.

I couldn't help but cry. Here I was, in my place of worship where I feel the presence of God so tangibly, and the enemy had sent in a soldier more than willing to laugh, mock and spit in the face of Jesus. My spirit in me wept...I felt it. And I also felt the presence of evil...it was a cloud around the two. Suddenly, I was thrust in the battle...do I watch them, focus on them, obsess about them...or do I turn my eyes upon Jesus and worship in truth and spirit? The battle was on!

It was a good message, one that I needed to hear. And my kids sat listening, as well. We were challenged to take every opportunity to strengthen our "core"; study, prayer, fellowship. But then, stretch out...reach out to our hurting world. Here was an example of that hurting world sitting right in front of me.

Tiffany was one of the most angry people I have ever seen. She scowled constantly, except when she and her boyfriend were laughing their heads off during Jayden's solo (which is a great Willie Nelson song, by the way). As the service went on, George started whimpering (I wrote about this a few days ago) and the boyfriend just stared and stared at us. I couldn't tell if he was just curious, disgusted or maybe, just maybe had a hint of compassion.

Once the service was over, I had an immediate choice. Do I turn around and greet the cute couple sitting behind us who I have been wanting to meet for months (he is obviously from Africa), or do I continue to face forward and wait for this woman to turn around? I chose the latter...even though I really didn't want to. Tiffany was trying so hard to get out of the pew, but Joe was talking to the grandmother. She was stuck...right in front of me.

So, I did it...I said good morning and held out my hand. She didn't shake it. I told her my name and then asked her what her name was. She didn't want to tell me. I then shook hands with her boyfriend and he told me his name (Dick). She decided to say, "I'm Tiffany." I wished them a good day and then rushed out to pick up Lincoln from the nursery.

But, before I got to his room, God told me to write their names in my Bible. What? My Bible is full of prayer requests of missionaries locked in Iranian jails, dear friends who have chronic issues, my children's life verses. God said, "Don't get your son until you write these names IN PEN in your Bible." So, I stopped at the information desk, asked for a pen and wrote DICK and TIFFANY in black ink in the front of my Bible. Then I wrote "Pray for her...love her...". God whispered to me, "I love her!"

Again, I am overwhelmed by the love of God. How arrogant of me to think that God has given up on her. Even though she was antagonistic and downright rude in His house of worship, He still longs to wrap her in His arms and love on her. God sent Jesus to die for her...does she know that? Has anyone every loved her with Christ's love?

I don't know if I will ever see Tiffany again...but I will pray for her. I will pray that someone would come into her life who would be Christ to her. Who knows? Maybe it is you!

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