Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Gypsy Child Seeks Home in the Wrong Place

Part 4 of this story series …

My apartment.
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

I am 33.

I am totally disengaged from any sliver or semblance of a Christian community.

Immersed in my career as an Associated Press reporter covering the Pennsylvania Capitol, I have transformed into the mirror image of my colleagues. I am abrasive, rude, hostile, angry, mean.

On top of that, I am in the midst of a two-year relationship with someone who has everything in common with me save one thing: He’s Jewish.

But the voice of the One who loves me stays with me, day in, day out. My first love whispers to me in the darkest of nights, telling me He wants me to return to Him, to turn my back on these things that have pulled me so far from Him – even on the man I am dating.

Finally, one afternoon, the pressure between the two worlds collides. I am hit hard with the realization that I will have to choose between Jesus and my boyfriend. I sit on the edge of my bed and begin to cry, and soon, I find myself in a maelstrom of sadness.

Head in hands as I weep, I sink to the floor and crawl on my hands and knees to a corner in the room. I ball myself up and shake.

Then I cry out to God.

“I want to be the person I was before. But I don’t know what to do.” I tell Him.

And in my mind’s eye, He delivers an image to me. It’s as if I have been physically transformed into this place that He shows me:

Instead of my bedroom, I am sitting in a prison cell. I am surrounded by four walls made of stones, with no windows. But on the other side of the room … is a door.

It is wide open.

“See?” He tells me. “You are not trapped. You are in this prison of your own free will. You can walk out of that door any time you want. Walk out. Stand up and walk out of the prison.”

I shake my head no. “It will kill me,” I reply. “I don’t have the strength to let go of my boyfriend.”

“You have to choose,” He responds. “You have to choose between Me and him.”

“Please help me,” I beg. “I can’t do it alone. I want to choose You, but I need help.”

And He sends help.

The next day I’m having dinner with my boyfriend, and the conversation suddenly turns to any future children we might have.

“This is what I think,” my boyfriend tells me. “If we were ever to get married, you would have to agree to this: Our children cannot hear the name of Jesus. I want them raised in a house where all options are open to them. You will not take them to church. You will not mention Jesus’s name. You will not teach them that He is the Son of God. They are to choose for themselves.”

In that moment, it is all clear. “See?” Jesus says to my heart. “I told you that you would have to choose between Me and him.”

I finally have the reason I need to break off the relationship. I finally lean into Jesus as I deal with the heartbreak of letting it go. I realize that at this age, I will probably never find someone to marry, but I know that the alternative is to let go of everything I believe.

I choose Jesus, even if it means spending the rest of my life completely alone.

But He provides me with all of the strength of His power in the light of this harsh reality. Not only that, He leads me to a kind Christian couple who take me into their home regularly and give me the spiritual nourishment I need to regain my relationship with Him.

For the first time in my life, I see the vital importance of allowing other people to serve as His hands and feet, to trust them with my problems so that they can pray for me, to tell them my sins so that they can lead me back to Him, to respond in kind and develop the friendships that He wants the people of His church to have with each other.

It is the beginning of my journey back to Community.

Stay tuned … this story isn’t over yet. Check back tomorrow to discover what this has to do with a Christian safehouse ….

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