Aside from my sisters, Eleana is the guest blogger I've known the longest. Thinking back on my elementary school years, I honestly can't remember a class Eleana wasn't in with me. We were always friends - only losing contact when I left the private school our sophomore year in high school. A couple years ago we reconnected, and I was amazed at the work God did in her life. I always knew there was something deeper going on with Eleana - I just had no idea the severity. Her story, and our rekindled friendship, reminds me of the grace God has for us - especially in moments of pain. I have never been an emotional person, a person who cries about everything, for everything. For most of my life, I refused to feel, I refused to cry because others could not see me as weak, and crying meant you were weak. I could not see myself cry, because then I was weak, and I could not be weak. I did not ask for help, I did not ask for direction, I did not ask for approval. Because if I did, then I would be weak. My life was full of weak people, some I loved some I hated. Those I loved, I had to protect, those I hated could not see me weak for fear they could gain power over me. I had to have the power, the control, the strength to survive.
The thing about life, is that we are not meant to live alone, we are not meant to just survive, and then die, we are meant to live, to live for so much more.
I got to a place where I believed I was strong, but it was just a mask - a mask fueled by pride, anger, and drugs. Pride, Anger, and Drugs are no respecter of persons, age, race or sex. I was young in age but my mind, my body, and my soul was wearing.
I fast forward to the time where I was on my way back to San Antonio from Victory Outreach in San Angelo. Where I had completed my court ordered sentence, and where I intended to just do my “time”, get out, and go back to the life I knew. Instead, God’s love drew me to Him, and I surrendered all, everything, all of me I gave to Him. In that moment, my burdens, everything that I had held on to was released, I was lighter. I was His. I remember driving home, and as we drove past the trees and grass, it was like it was the first time I had ever seen shrubbery before! It was so beautiful to me, the hills, (yes even the west Texas hills) were beautiful, the clouds and how they wisped across the sky were beautiful. The simplest of things awed me, I had never appreciated the art of life that surrounded me before salvation. Creation was amazing. God is amazing.
I am at a different place in my life that I would have never imagined. I cry now, in fact I cry a lot! Sometimes IT IS because I am weak, but in my weakness He [Jesus] is strong. Sometimes I cry because I am moved by the people who are a part of our church, but it is because my heart aches for them, or because I am overwhelmed with joy for them. I cry for those that are lost and in need of a savior, and it challenges me to be more, do more, give more, love more. I cry in my secret place, because I am overwhelmed at how much He [God] loves us. He loves us, messy and all! When we allow our messiness and our pain to draw us nearer to God, he gives us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, gladness instead of sorrow.
I can still hear the echoes of those who would tell me...."this passion for God is just a phase, it will die out". It has not died out, it won’t die out, and I refuse to let it die out. God is too good, too great for me to walk away from Him. Is my life painless? No, not at all, in fact I have experienced unbearable pain. There is pain in life, there is pain in ministry, and we may never know the answers to all the why’s in life, but we must continue to “play” in the pain. Why? Because His word says, Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning, and if we do not give up we will reap a harvest.