Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting Some Air

Two weeks ago Chad and I had the opportunity to meet an awesome young couple for lunch in Tulsa, OK. They are also stepping out in faith to minister in their apartment community. On our way back from Tulsa we received a call from some men who want to direct support our way. They asked to meet us up at the room for a tour of our facility.

My mom was in town for a short visit and had picked up the kids from school. She had already started dinner, so I headed down to the room to meet up with Chad who was already visiting with our guests.

I had just introduced myself when T.J. walked up. T.J. is in our youth group and has been under conviction for months. She’s made some poor decisions and is now fearful of the consequences.

The week before, while helping to set up for a babysitting class, T.J. began asking questions about the Bible. She actually opened a Bible and said, “I’m gonna see how much you really know, Miss Anna!”  She randomly landed her finger on the passage where Jesus was talking to the woman at the well. I explained the story to her and told her how Jesus wants her to have a new life in Him. She laughed and sarcastically responded, “I’ll do that later Miss Anna. I have plans for the weekend.”

When she showed up at the church again, I excused myself from Chad and our guests expecting to only be a few minutes. We stepped outside and I asked her how she was doing. She started to tear up and said, “I just needed some air.” She went on to say many of the same things I’ve heard her say before. She is a burdened young lady and the weight of her sin and fear get a little heavier every day.

We sat down at the patio table and after listening for a while I asked if she had thought any more about our earlier discussion. She said she’d been thinking about what it meant to have Jesus as Lord of her life. I asked her if she wanted to pray, confessing her sins and accepting Salvation through Jesus Christ. She said no, looked at her feet and confessed “I’m afraid it won’t work.”

God gave me the words to reassure her that her problems would not be solved over night, but as a child of God she will be able to hold on to what is promised in His word. She’ll receive forgiveness from the sin weighing her down. The Holy Spirit of God will come in and equip her to live a new life in Christ. “You’ll begin a new life with the Lord as your guide and He will bless you as His daughter.” I explained

I was determined to not ask her again if she was ready. We just sat in silence until she demanded, “I’m waiting for you to ask me one more time to pray. I’m ready! Let’s get this done!”  She prayed, honestly confessing her sin and humbly asking for forgiveness. She asked Jesus to be the Lord of her life and thanked Him for saving her.

We lifted our heads, and I shared how she can look back on May 14th 2012 as the day she gave her heart and life to Jesus and was born again. “You have and new birthday! A fresh start!” I said. Then she smiled. I haven’t seen this girl smile in weeks. She looked like a huge weight had been lifted.

The next day T.J. called. “What you doin’ miss Anna?!” She asked cheerfully.  I told her about spending time with my mom and asked her how her day had been. “Good! I talked to my mom about last night.” She said “I told her that I have a new birthday and it’s May 14th! That’s the day I’ve been born again.”    

T.J.’s struggles are not over. She had a court date today and could be facing three months in jail for truancy and shoplifting charges. Everyday she calls to update me on her progress as she negotiates with her probation officer. She reminds me every time we talk of her “new birthday”. She’s not afraid to face her life anymore, because she knows she’s not alone.

Born again. A new sister in Christ, redeemed and made new by the sacrifice of Jesus. I’m thankful The Holy Spirit directs our paths and allows us to participate in His life changing work.  

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