I’ve known you for a long time. Years ago when we first met, you seemed so young. You were so full of life and so excited to learn new things and make new friends. Excited to become my friend.
I didn’t realize back then how much you looked up to me. I admit, I probably wasted opportunities to share truth with you or encourage you, and for that I make my first apology. People who knew us both told me how much I could impact you, and I didn’t always believe them. Sometimes I just didn’t want to because I didn’t want that pressure. But it is a gift to encourage a woman who is younger than me in both age and faith. And I’m sorry I missed some of those opportunities.
I’m thankful that God doesn’t throw us away when we make mistakes. I’m thankful, as the old song says, that He didn’t throw the clay away. He didn’t deem me useless as a Christian, counselor, or mentor. He grew me, He put me in uncomfortable situations, He let me make dumb decisions so I could learn how to make good ones. That’s what He does. He doesn’t leave us to our own devices; but He does let us make our own decisions. We have to let Him teach us through the circumstances of our life: circumstances that happen whether by outside influences or fault of our own.
He let me counsel you. I got to share truth with you so many times. I’m so THANKFUL for every opportunity to stand before you and teach, every opportunity to sit next to you and pray with you. I’m thankful you listened with an open heart and allowed the Word of God to saturate your life. Although you may have lost your way, that truth was still planted. It is still there in the deepest parts of your heart that you keep locked away because the truth hurts. It is stored with the memories of who you used to be: innocent, optimistic, trusting the promises of the God Who made you.
I want to pretend like I don’t know why you left, but I do. It’s the same reason anyone leaves church, their family, friends that truly care about them, the things of God, scriptural truth, the Creator Who loves them more than any earthly person.
It started with a little lie. You didn’t realize it was there at first, because it was so small. But that’s why we have to stay in truth, stay in the Word, stay surrounded by strong, godly influences! The little lie planted roots in your heart, and little by little it spread, so that after a while it affected every facet of your life. I wish I had done something sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t call you out and tell you the hard truth when I saw the lie taking over the core of who you were.
I still remember the last serious conversation we had, when you really opened up to me before you ran away from everything you knew. I was grateful you were honest with me, but I saw bitterness that hadn’t been dealt with. And that bitterness has taken you from me. You let it steal your heart away from God. You let it turn you into someone you wouldn’t have recognized years ago.
You won’t talk to me anymore. You call long-time friends and family your enemies. You don’t want to hear what I have to say. You scoff when I take out my Bible. You tell me you don’t know things that used to be second nature to you. Everything you used to believe you now mistrust and call fake. And it absolutely breaks me.
Though truthfully I do want to fix you, I know I can’t. I couldn’t years ago, and I certainly can’t now. Only God can bring you back since you have run so far. You’re on my mind so often, and I pray for you constantly. I will do everything I can to help you. I will not stop beseeching God on your behalf. Even if you ignore me, know that I am always here for you. I’ve preached to you enough. I am here to listen.
God isn’t done with you. I know you brag about the things you’ve done and how you live and talk now; but I have to believe that deep down in that dark, locked-away part of your heart, you know that God still loves you. You think that the choices you’ve made have shut you out of church and away from God forever, but you’re wrong. Jesus didn’t just die for the the sins of the good people who stay in church. He died for YOU, for YOUR mistakes: past, present, and future. I know you heard us say that all the time, but it’s true. He knew you would fail, but He still loves you. He knew you would rebel against everyone who truly loves you including Him, but He has not for one moment stopped loving you.
I’m still here for you. More importantly, God is still here for you. He promises to draw near to you if you draw near to Him. But He loves you too much to let you stay this way. Please come back. You’re too young to throw away your life like this.
God loves you, and so do I.