Monday, July 12, 2010

Stories over a Sushi Bar...

World Cup 2010 "Spain versus Netherlands" put us at a Sushi Bar in Frisco hanging out with our friend David. Little did I know that God had other plans for me being there.
Most people thought Steven had to drag me to go watch the game and eat sushi. I actually ENJOY watching soccer... I think it comes from being forced to watch it in Ecuador. Anyway, as the game began a woman sat down at the bar next to me and we started making small talk. Its started with the normal, "What's good here?" and "Who's playing?" but before you know it we started digging into deeper things. Come to find out she has a 4 year old son and a set of 2 year old twins! (yikes!) The reason for the outing was just that, to get OUT. Her gracious husband allowed her a "Mommy Day" where she could do whatever she wanted to relax. She randomly chose this sushi place to sit down for a bite and a couple beers.
The more we talked, the more connected we became. The more I listened, the more I realized that there was something different about this woman. Through a series of comments, I ended up asking, "Do you go to church around here?" and she came back with, "Yeah, I go to The Village." By this time the game had started and the guys were engrossed in the television.
I flippantly asked her how she became a Christian and she got that "do you really want to know" look on her face and said, "That's a really long story." I told her stories were the one thing I could never hear too many of.
She started her story with growing up in an Episcopal church and knowing all the "right answers" but not knowing what any of them meant. That was the best life got because by age 11 she was dabbling in drinking, drugs, sex, you name it. By the age of 19 she had moved out of her house and in with her boyfriend. Together they did more drugs and and opened more doors for Satan to rear his ugly head.
His mom was a Christian and always talked to her about Jesus and his salvation but she blew it off thinking the mom was a bit crazy.
Through a series of events, she came to the end of her rope. She sat in her car gripping her steering wheel. As she closed her eyes, she decided she wanted to die. When she opened her eyes again, she was sitting in front of her mom's house, not knowing how she had gotten there.
Her mom helped her check into a psychiatric hospital and so began God calling her to Himself. One night as she cried on her bed, her roommate (who had not said much before) came over to her and began to say the Lord's prayer. After that she began to tell her about Jesus' love and salvation.
The next day her boyfriend called her and said that he had come to know Jesus and was now a believer. He said he wanted her to know Jesus too. She called her mom to pick her up and the three of them went to the Episcopal church to talk to the pastor.
He explained the Gospel of Jesus and asked her to repeat some of the things he was saying. She told me, "I couldn't say the words. I couldn't even comprehend them. There was a block in my mind that was keeping me from understanding." As she struggled within herself, they began to pray over her. She closed her eyes and said it was as if something was reaching its hand deep into her stomach and puling apart something connected to her soul. As it was pulled out of her body, she saw a bring light, more beautiful than she could ever begin to describe. Suddenly she opened her eyes and it was 3 hours later. They told her that over the last three hours, voices had spoken through her that weren't her, she had yelled and screamed and then suddenly she opened her eyes and it was done.
At this point in the story, I was sitting with mouth agape, having no clue what was going on in the game and not caring. She said for the next 2 years she had a hightened sense of awareness of the spiritual realm. People who had done drugs and been with them before were now afraid to sit next to her. They said that when they were near her it was like sitting next to a fire.
I sat in awe at what the Lord had done in her life. As I looked at the woman before me, I saw a normal, beautiful, wife and mother... but she had at one point experienced hell and then had walked into the arms of a loving Father.
I thought of the passage where the immoral woman brings a bottle of expensive perfume to pour on Jesus' feet and everyone rebukes her, but Jesus says, " I tell you, her sins -- and they are many -- have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." Then Jesus said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
Whether your sins are great or small; whether your story raises the hair on my arm or only gets a smile and a "Oh, that's nice;" whether you have been forgiven much or litte, we are all in the same boat... dying in desperate need of a Savior. It is only by the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven! Isn't it time we rejoice in the grace we have been given?!

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