I am excited to introduce you to my friend Holly. She has graciously shared her broken heart and passion for Jesus on the blog today. She is one of those friends whom I never really get to spend time with, but when we do get some extended time to talk, I am always challenged by her passion for Jesus.
I pray that you would be encouraged and challenged as well.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Who in the world came up with that load of crap? Words. They can be loud and obnoxious, soft or silent. They can be beautiful, eloquent, weave together a lovely sonnet or form a hymn that causes tears to well up involuntarily. They can also be so hurtful that surely death by vocabulary is plausible. Words CAN break you, but brokenness can mold you into something new.
When I was 12 years old I accepted Christ at a little camp in Marietta, SC. I went home, made my decision public and the night of my baptism I told my mother with tears in my eyes that I thought God wanted me to be a missionary. As time passed, I simply forgot those words clearly spoken to a tender 12 year old heart…….and life moved on.
Have you ever had words cut so deep that time stopped and you thought your inner soul would just spill out? The fall of my senior year in college a friend of mine had just come back from a summer mission and her zeal was undeniable. After talking with her and hearing her story, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was to go on mission.
A few months later I confided in a fairly new friend that I applied but was having second thoughts. Without batting an eye she said “Really? Wow that’s great, I didn’t even know you were a Christian.” I stopped and it took me a minute to breathe again. Then, absolute PANIC. Here I had just applied to go on a mission for the summer and someone that I knew had no idea that I was a believer. That was a BIG problem.
Although I loved God, I was coasting. I was lukewarm and God does NOT like lukewarm. Her words broke me that day. It’s been 21 years and they still roll around in my head. I have never forgotten them…….honestly, I never want to. I think of what Peter must have felt when he denied Jesus. The sound of the rooster crowing must have pierced his soul, and broke him. Peter walked and talked with the Messiah in the flesh. He saw miracles……he even walked on water. He also got scared, was weak and denied knowing Jesus at all…..he was BROKEN. BUT brokenness spawned a paradigm shift, and he was never ever the same. I was changed with those simple yet devastating words. I never wanted anyone to have reason to say those words to me again.
Weeks later I checked my college mailbox and I received a package from the Mission Board. I was certain, that I would be issued a well written “thanks, but no thanks” letter. Surely God had a lot more work to do in me and I was the last person He would send out at that point in time. I walked through the student center with hundreds of loud people milling around, but I was encased in silence. I heard nothing as I read the words that changed the course of my whole life. I had been accepted and would be sent to Tasmania, Australia for the summer. Then the words that had been completely forgotten and erased from my mind came flooding back in a still small voice “Mom, I think God wants me to be a missionary.” God planned it years in advance. I was a broken 22 year old but God did not relent and did not let go. He held me close even when my life denied Him. I went to Tasmania that summer and came home new and changed. Three months later I received another letter from the Mission Board, this letter sent me back to Tasmania for 2 more years. My life has never been the same.
God speaks to children. His beautiful words spoke truth, but it took the most heartbreaking words to make His path clear.