Sitting in a local café in London, I was talking with a lady from Romania (that we will call “Valerie”). Before I even met her I could tell she was hurting and broken. By her facial expressions, body language, etc, I could tell that she carried a heavy weight of pain in her life.
Valerie already knew on of my Korean friend whom was also a part of the conversation in the café. In fact, my Korean friend talked to her all day and I was only able to talk to her for two hours, as I was committed to be at our book table and couldn’t stay the whole time.
During the two hours I spent with Valerie I couldn’t help but notice how my heart ached for her obvious pain and hopelessness.
If you read my last blog entry, you know that my goal and prayer was to be able to use my testimony while out on the streets meeting people. Truthfully? In the first month or two I don’t think I was quite ready to share my story with a complete stranger. My wounds were still raw and stinging with pain. In fact, I struggled enough sharing my story with people I had known for month (or longer) without starting to cry. But now? Now I was ready.
While talking with Valerie, God prepared and opened a way for me to share what He has been doing in my life throughout the last year. (My Korean friend also got to share her testimony as well!) As she spoke, Valerie said something such as, “I shouldn’t be angry at God.”
I don’t know the cause of her pain nor do I know what past action she is trying to forgive herself. What I do know, and what I can relate to is anger. I know what it is to be angry with God. (I’m human…what can I say?)
Once she finished speaking, I spoke up saying, “I know what it’s like to be angry with God. This I year went through at least two months where I literally woke up and went to bed angry. There were days when, while I still believed in God, I really just didn’t even want to talk to Him.”
Giving me a curious look, I continued. As I told her my story I told her everything in the order that each event took place. But in summary, I shared with her about the heartaches of 2011. I shared of my dad’s three illnesses that lead to three hospitalizations, nearly taking his life each time. Recalling back to my year, I also told her of my niece, Ashley, and how she died while I was in Japan, but was able to hold her for the first and last time before we buried her. Then I told her of my grandmother’s second round of cancer, as well as other family cancer scares…Not to mention my own ankle injury and surgery, and other family illnesses/emergencies. If you’ve followed my blog, you know most of my story as I wrote as it all took place. (Although, my blog doesn't cover my whole story...so if you ever want to know the full edition, feel free to ask.)
After I told her of all the heartaches I went through, I also told her, “I was angry about my life, my situation, and eventually realized that ultimately, I was just angry at God. I was angry for what seemed like a lack of protection and for Him not healing my baby niece in a way that would let her live. Once I realized I was angry and admitted to God of my pain and emotions, God was able to start repairing my brokenness, pain, and fears. But even now, just four months after everything took place, I am still learning from God about this issue.
“I’m learning that I can’t always change the ways of my own heart as much as I attempt to do so…I have to pray for God to change what I can’t change on my own – like my anger I held towards Him, as well some of the bitterness that is still stored in my heart…And sometimes, that’s a daily prayer. It’s not always a prayer we pray only one time in our lives. It’s not always that simple. We have to remember to continually go to Him and rely on Him, not ourselves.
“No matter how we feel – God knows. If we’re angry with Him – He knows. We might as well tell Him and start repairing the cracks in our relationship with Him that our anger and bitterness causes.”
Throughout telling her my story and all that I had to say, she seemed like she was focused. In the end she asked me many questions. Granted, there is the fact that she’s from Romania. English isn’t her first language and there were some miscommunications through some of what was said. (For example: I was telling her of my “baby niece”. The first time I said that she said, “You’re baby??” Since I have no children of my own, I quickly explained that it was not my own child but my sister’s.)
I’m praying that God was able to use my imperfect words and testimony for His glory regardless of communication barriers caused from our two very different languages.
I told Valerie that she could always start by praying to God to help her find a way to love herself and to forgive herself for whatever she has done in her past…To change her heart in a way she can’t change on her own. She told me that she couldn’t and wouldn't do that. In reply, I asked, “Can we pray for you? Can we pray that God will show you a way to forgive and love yourself – even if you can’t?” She told me that we could.
I told her, “If our Great and Might God can still love you and forgive you, then it’s okay for you to do the same. You might not be able to forget your past, but that’s okay. God can help you learn through your story and use to help other people who can relate one day in the future.”
As we ended our conversation (at least, the first two hours that I was apart of...My dear Korean friend stayed with her to talk for a few hours more) I shared with her Jeremiah 29:11, and how it reminds us that God has a plan for our future. Just before leaving the table, I told her, “I just can’t help but imagine God looking down on you, His child, His daughter, thinking to Himself, ‘My precious Valerie, I love you more than you will ever know, and I have forgiven you.’” I also told her of how God must ache for His own hurting daughter. (Knowing how much my heart aches for her, I can't even begin to imagine how God must feel when He sees how much she is hurting.)
If Valerie comes to your mind, please pray for her...
- Pray that she can love and forgive herself.
- Pray for God to change her heart in a way she cannot change on her own.
- Pray that she finds peace and joy through our one and only God.
- Please pray that regardless of my imperfections and our language barrier, that the important parts that God wanted her to hear she not only heard, but also listened to them as well.
The Travelin' Chick,