AAWC Challenge 2016
She slides into the wooden pew carefully and pulls a thin, white sweater around her frail shoulders. A shallow, tired breathe escapes her lips as she glances up at the screen projecting the familiar lyrics. She mouths the words along with the rest of the congregation, although her lips don’t emit a sound. She knows that if she lets any words out, the tears will come out with them.
The song ends, and she sits down just like everyone else. The pastor walks up to the pulpit with a look of determination in his eyes.
“God has strongly pressed on my heart to open up the alter this morning. If your heart is hurting, if you need healing, if your body is broken, wrecked by fear, God is here. His arms are wide open, waiting for you.”
The pastor leaves the pulpit, and people start pouring out of the aisles.
“I will not be broken.” She thinks angrily. “I don’t need help. I can handle this.”
More and more people flock towards the front until she is left alone in her pew. She knows that what the pastor said applies to her. Her body is broken by illness, her mind is filled with fear. But neither of those pains compare to the pain in her heart. Bitterness and anger consume, every day. She just wants relief. She needs Love.
Her heart fills with bitterness and fear until it feels like it’s going to burst. One desperate word escapes her lips in the form of a prayer:
“Help.” She whispers.
Something inside of her softens. She feels the chains of anger breaking within her, and the tears streaming down her sunken cheeks as she lets out the breath that she has been holding way too long.
Her feet begin to move, one after the other, obedient to the calling that is ringing in her heart. She kneels down at the alter and weeps. She feels God’s love replace her bitterness. The voices inside of her that say she is hopeless and worthless vanish without a trace. The Voice of Truth tells her that she is priceless and worthy.
She feels a strong hand on her shoulder, sending another wave of sobs throughout her frame. Another hand gently touches her head and a voice begins to pray for her. She hears people whispering prayers of peace and healing over her. Their voices overlap until she can no longer decipher the words, but she knows their meaning. Gradually, all grows silent, and she is left with the question that God has placed on her heart.
“Why won’t you surrender your brokenness?”
She knows the answer. It’s pride. She doesn’t want to admit that she’s broken. Pride is drowning her, anger is choking her, and everyday she battles with her self-worth. But here and now, she has the chance to trade in all her pain for an everlasting Love. All she has to do is lay down her pride, her anger, and her fear.
“I surrender.” She cries aloud. She doesn’t care who hears her; in fact she wants them to hear her.
“I surrender!” She repeats with conviction.
A peace fills her soul to the brim with a new strength that she can’t explain. A deep, full healing takes place within her shattered heart. She shakily stands to her feet, knowing that her soul has been completely restored. She is a new person, covered in God’s grace.
As she wipes the tears from her face and walks back to the pew, she knows that she is still human. She is still broken and wretched. But at the same time, she is healed.
She straightens her shoulders and pulls the thin, white sweater around herself once more. Yes, she is still broken. But she has been given the gift of a perfect Love. A Love so perfect, that its very presence casts out fear and heals brokenness.
So let the fear try and come, for she has Love on her side.