“Joy. I Need That.”
I prayed as I walked through an Asian fair….
“Lord, show me who to talk to…..give me Your words…”
We walked through a sea of people as we looked at booths of merchandise for sale and foods stands that sold some of the most interesting food I have ever seen. This is one of the most international cities I have ever been to! I was told to try the fried squid, so when we saw where they sold it, I decided to give it a try! No part of me thought I would like it, but I decided that you only live once! After one stretchy bite, I knew I was more of a cheeseburger kind of girl!
We started to walk off and for some reason, I turned to my right and randomly offered the first person I saw a bite. She lit up and gladly accepted! Her friend spoke up that she had been wanting fried squid all night. After I heard that, I offered her the entire barely touched bowl of stretchy goodness and the whole group of girls were excited to dig in!
Before we parted ways, I handed her one of my Joyful Sorrow cards….
As I started to walk off, something caught my attention. The girls huddled around my card and read it out loud. “Joyful Sorrow. Finding His joy in all circumstances.” After they read it in unison, I heard the most beautiful sound to my ears….
“Joy. I need that.”
The next thing I know, I am in front of her telling her about Jesus. I literally have no idea what came over me! This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life….I heard a cry for help and the Holy Spirit moved me to action and gave me the words. I told her that I was the most depressed person you would have ever met and then I met Jesus and He changed my whole life. As I was talking and describing the old me – the me before Jesus – I kept hearing people in the group of friends say “yep, that’s her.” I told her how both of my parents had died and she told me both of her parents had died, both in the same week. My heart was racing and the words just kept coming out of my mouth about Jesus. I was in shock at this boldness that was so uncharacteristic of me and I was on fire that the Lord had allowed me to meet a girl around my age who connected on so many levels with me!
As a child I was extremely shy. I can still remember hiding behind my mom, or running to the bathroom at my great-grandma’s house to hide. I have learned to act outgoing and to walk in a room and strike up a conversation with a stranger, but on the inside I always feel shy. I always want to just be quiet and not talk to people I don’t know yet. This is the power of the Holy Spirit…I have an unshakable HOPE in Jesus and so HE makes me bold…
“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” ~2 Corinthians 3:12
Yes, I have a hope that anchors my soul and breathes joyful life into my heart, and when I heard a girl say that she needed that too, the Holy Spirit made me bold. Divine boldness trumps my natural shyness. I walked away from that conversation a new person. In that very moment not having an air conditioner, missing my friends, wishing I could go to my home church, and missing having a car didn’t matter.
I sat on the train home, still smiling from the ultimate high of sharing the Good News, and I started to look around for who the Lord would have me talk to next. The conversation with the girl at the fair was a gamer changer for me. I realized I could do this. As I looked around, I noticed a couple sitting across the aisle from me and on his arm was a cross tattoo with what looked like a scripture reference below it. I asked him what his tattoo meant and he said it was his mom’s favorite verse. He could recite the verse from the book of Timothy, but he didn’t know what it meant or who Timothy even was. The next thing I know, I start Bible storying with him. I told this guy and his girlfriend (well and everyone else sitting around us) about the Apostle Paul’s testimony and how Paul mentored Timothy and that this verse was Paul instructing Timothy. I tied the whole story back to how Jesus had changed Paul’s life! After I finished talking to them, I again couldn’t believe all of that had just come out of my mouth! The Lord has been giving me amazing opportunities and the opportunities aren’t random. He has been giving me opportunities to share with people about areas that He has equipped me in! I often write about the profound impact being discipled has made on my life. It’s the reason I’m here! It’s taking what I have been taught and teaching someone else. It’s God’s Church multiplying one person at a time. I love the model that Timothy and Paul give us and as I sat on this train around 10 pm in another country, the Lord gave me someone to share this story with – a story that I am so passionate about.
As I walked away from sharing about Paul and Timothy, the sister in Christ who pours into me was on my heart. But this time it was different. This time the overwhelming homesickness I have felt over the past couple of months wasn’t there. This time I saw the fruit of her labor and fruit of my obedience and I felt His healing flooding my heart. He used my obedient sharing because of the hope-induced boldness He had given me to heal the homesick wounds that had been painful and raw. My wavering gaze – a gaze that is always tempted to look back – was firmly fixed on Jesus and eternity. Someday, He will come back and all that is temporal will pass away. It’s hard to be so far from friends and family, but realizing this earth is not our home is something I understand on an entirely new level now!
With eyes fixed on Jesus, I will continue on this race that He has set before me. I’m praying for eyes to see who I am supposed to talk to and that His supernatural boldness will drive me to engage those around me! Longing for the day that the perfect comes and things like long-distance relationships will pass away! But, until then, we keep working to add to this precious body of believers that I call family.
“but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” ~1 Corinthians 13:10