Read His Words Before Ours!
She set her coffee mug down on the table and rested her chin in her hand. The last few weeks of her life had been challenging and throughout the time we’d been sitting in the corner of the coffee shop, she had poured out the highs, lows, and everything in between of those days. I sipped my coffee and listened, occasionally asking clarifying questions to help her process all she desired to share.
I was not her counselor, but I did fill a role in her life. For this season, she had honored me with her willingness and desire to be discipled. Discipleship is defined as one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. While the word can be applied to a range of scenarios, we were focused on growing in our relationships with the Lord and becoming more like Him.
Our meetings typically did not last more than an hour or two, but they were still integral in making progress in our spiritual growth. This specific evening was critical in her journey. Decisions she had made and circumstances beyond her control had challenged her belief in God’s goodness and grace. The temptation to give up on His presence in her life lingered in her words.
She stared out the nearby window for a few moments, seemingly captivated by the breeze moving through the tree limbs outside. As I watched her process, I maintained a peaceful countenance; inwardly, I prayed fervently for the Lord’s words and wisdom.
Oh Lord, you have provided this connection for Your glory. You know the plans and purposes You have for her. You have not left her or forsaken her. Regardless of the choices she has made recently, You have promised not to despise a broken and contrite heart.
Lord, help me point her to You. Give me the words to honor You and bless my dear sister in Christ. My choices may be different, but my sin is no less profound in Your eyes. Grant me the humility to lead with honor and grace.
Dwell in the midst of us, Lord Jesus. Move as only You can. I surrender myself to You. Lead me and use me for Your glory.
No immediate Bible verses sprang to mind. No sudden ray of light shined through the window, directed toward my friend’s hurting heart. Peace filled the space, however, and I found myself breaking the silence.
“I’m proud of you.”
As the unexpected words tumbled from my lips, her expression echoed my own surprise. She dropped her hand from her chin and grasped her mug once again. Her knuckles went white with the tightness of her grip.
“You’re proud of me? After I just shared everything I’ve done wrong in the last few weeks and my struggle to believe He would still want me?” Tears filled her eyes with those last words.
“Yes. I am proud of you because you are still running to Jesus. You may be struggling to believe He wants You and has plans for You and desires to walk through this life with you, but there’s fight left in you. You have not given up.
“You’re acknowledging your choices and how they disregard God’s will for your life. You’re bringing your sin into the light, so it cannot be used against you. Do you believe Jesus died for your sins and is capable of washing you clean in this moment? Do you believe you can leave this coffee shop wholly forgiven?”
She continued to stare at her mug for several moments. She slowly raised her head. Tears still glistened in her eyes, but a fierceness now joined them. “Yes.” Her words were shakier than the resolve in her tone, but she had made a decision regardless.
“Make 1 John 1:9 a reality for your life. Acknowledge the ways you’ve fallen short and trust Him to forgive you. Do you have any ideas on how to avoid being in the same scenarios this coming week?”
With that, our conversation turned to the Word and digging for ways to hold on to and apply the truths the Lord poured out in its pages. We brainstormed practical ways for her to honor Him in her walk and I encouraged her with examples where I had found victory, too. Our time in the coffee shop ended with a quick prayer and the next meeting confirmed on the calendar.
As I walked to my car and pressed the button to unlock the door, I prayed for continued wisdom in my role in her life and for her to cling to Jesus in deeper ways this coming week.
The Lord placed this neighbor in my world to help spur her along in her journey with Him. In order to hear His voice lead me as I guide and encourage her, I knew my own journey must be one of steadfast pursuit as I anchored in truth that would hold me fast to Jesus.
Oh Lord, lead us on.
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