Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

I was killing time waiting to pick Caroline up from school. I did not have enough time to go home and I didn't have enough time to accomplish anything productive. So I sat in the front seat of my car throwing Chick-fil-a nuggets to Thomas in the back seat; waiting for him to finish his lunch before walking into one of my favorite boutiques. A store where I never buy, I just browse and wonder why my family room doesn't look this orderly and quaint. While waiting, I happened to glance up and notice a Planned Parenthood on the same strip mall where I was parked. It wasn't surprising to me that it was there, I knew it was there, I just really never gave it much notice. I do not know much about this organization, though I have seen people picoting with anti-abortion signs on the streets near their building, so one can only assume what is sometimes practiced behind those doors. I suddenly felt God's presence sitting right next to me in the car, and my heart started pounding. I had no idea what was going on, but I literally began to break a sweat, and I started asking God what He wanted while knowing deep down that I really didn't want to hear it. I was beginning to feel an urge to witness to someone, but I can't say that I clearly heard that command from God....I just knew something was happening that He was very present for.

I began justifying to myself that no one was even there, there was nothing to be done, no one to talk to or witness to and I certainly couldn't just walk into the office. As I was mentally uttering all of this nonsense, a car pulled right up to the front of the building. "Well that's just great", I thought. My heart kicked up its patter, and I continued with my excuses...."maybe she is going into the bank, please God let her go into that bank that is right next store, I would feel so much better Lord, please". I sat watching this woman from across the parking lot sit in her car with her head down for about 2 minutes. It felt like 2 hours to me while I watched her car and pressed on with my excuses for God. Then her door opened, she got out of her car with a piece of paper in her hand and walked straight into Planned Parenthood. My heart sank, and I sat in disbelief.

I decided to pull up next to her car and wait, still with no plan and no strong sense of what I was supposed to be doing anyway. Thomas was growing restless, but I couldn't stop praying for her, and I couldn't bring myself to leave. Several, much longer minutes passed and while my head was down in prayer I heard her car start and my head shot up. I watched her quickly pull back out of her parking space and drive away. We never made eye contact, but her face has been burned into my retina. She was young and tall and had straight, silky, dark brown hair. The beautiful kind of hair that doesn't require a flat iron. I wonder why she was there, I wish I knew. I wish my mind wasn't left to wonder, and now I will never know. I haven't the slightest idea, except a nudge from the Father telling me she needed something. I sat deflated in my car wondering what that girl could possibly need that the maker of the universe thought I could share with her? He could in an instant reveal Himself in all his King of Kings glory, and we would all be on our knees. He is truth and life and needs nothing from any man. He is the I AM, the first and the last. Why wouldn't He stop time for just a moment and mentor to that girl right in the parking lot? She would have believed Him, she wouldn't have been able to resist Him.

My evening tonight has been an unusually quiet one, and I have been able to reflect and pray. I have realized something that I already knew, and now I sit ashamed at my ignorance over the past 8 hours while my eyes have been wide shut. None of this is about me. Not even the part where He redeemed my sorry, pit dwelling's still just about Him. It is His story of suffering and redemption. It is His story of holiness and love. It is his story of faithful, undeserving, forgiveness. Just like when Abraham carried his son up the mountain to offer him as a sacrifice out of obedience to God, it wasn't about Isaac, it was about Christ. It always has been and always will be about Christ. It's about the radical fact that God carried His Son up the mountain and offered Him as a sacrifice to cover our sin, my sin. It is all about Jesus. So why in the world would I think my experience today had anything to do with me?

Out of God's grace, He allows us to be a part of His story. We are not worthy of it, and He doesn't need us as characters to make it more compelling. However, He is overflowing with grace and He desires us to walk alongside of Him, to draw near to Life itself. What an opportunity I missed today. I was being handed a chance to witness God do something miraculous and I choose the lesser path. How sad. And because I know that no part of this encounter today was about me, I know that God is working it out with her, whatever the circumstances, big or small. Because I choose not to move, doesn't mean that God isn't moving. In fact, He already has. It is finished and He is already on His throne.



Nikki said...

I have been there myself and you are so right it isn't about me and God is always moving. :)


Sarah said...

I just LOVE this post! You may feel like you didn't do anything, but maybe all God wanted you to do was pray for this woman.
After enduring infertility, I learned A LOT about God's grace. When I was finally blessed with my daughter, I was even more aware of God's grace. I do NOT deserve such a blessing, but I pray that her life will be all for His glory. This is why her middle name is Grace.
I was thinking a lot about this today as well (before I read your blog...and I don't believe this is a coincidence!!) God was really reminding me how this world is not my home. My only purpose on earth is glorify Him and let Him use me to bring people to Him. It's not about me...not about me having better things, getting ahead in, it's ONLY about worshipping Him.
Thank you for this beautiful post!
Your sister in Christ,
Sarah (ella's mommy)

Melissa Stover said...

maybe you just needed to pray for her. sometimes we think of prayer as a last resort instead of the powerful thing it is. when i was in a doctor's office once waiting for my turn a woman walked out visibly upset. we made eye contact and i felt, like you, grabbed by something bigger than myself. i had no idea what, if anything i needed to say and i spent that time waiting just praying for her.

Gina said...

How often we forget it's not about us...and when we forget that it's about Christ...that's when we let the fear of man overcome us and keep us from doing what's He's called us to do.

I love that you were reminded, and used this opportunity to witness to all blog-o-sphere, that Christ's purposes will be accomplished. That when we fail to act we are the only ones missing out on something. God is supreme and sovereign as Psalm's says, "The Lord is in heaven and does whatever He pleases."

Thanks for being so honest and such a good witness!

Deborah Ann said...

I had a similar experience. I kicked myself for a long time afterwards. But I used that as a springboard for the next opportunity. God is so full of grace and understanding. He understands our weaknesses. But be encouraged because you heard Him that day, and you will hear Him again, and next time you'll have the courage to move. Isn't God awesome?

emily said...

I love that you say just because you didn't move doesn't mean God hasn't already. And I agree with the other ladies: sometimes we are to speak, and sometimes we are to pray. I wouldn't be so quick to assume you missed an opportunity. If we really believe prayer makes a difference, then perhaps you sat just where you should have. Thanks for sharing this. Loved it.

Richella said...

Oh, Amy. Did you take off your shoes there in the car? You should have. You were on holy ground.

Thank you so much for this post. Thank you for the reminder that God grants us such a privilege in letting us be involved in His work. And for the reminder that it really is HIS work, not ours.

It blesses me to think of the image of this young woman being burned on your retinas. I have a feeling that you are still praying for her. And God is still at work.

Bless you.

Jennifer said...

Love this. Love your heart for God and his daughters.

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