The first time we met, he sat tall and quiet in our living room. Our initial hello was cloaked in smiles and a warm hug. I liked him instantly. He was soft-spoken, yet eager to connect. We covered the usual topics of conversation common to first encounters.
I wasn't prepared for what happened next. I can only say it felt like I was tiptoeing on rugged, holy ground.
Images ~ ugly visuals and tormenting vitriol ~ began to bombard my thoughts. I heard a man's voice scream cruel and injurious words. Not knowing what was happening, I took a deep breath and tried to push the painful thoughts away.
But they persisted, relentlessly screaming the same cutting words over and over. And somehow I knew. These horrible messages had been spoken over this young man. And now, they clung to him like an extra layer of skin.
My thoughts quieted down after he left. But there was much to process. And I wrestled. What did all of this mean? I had felt an instant connection with him. But those painful images haunted me. Try as I might, I couldn't shake them.
The next time I saw him, the same images and screaming words came rushing in. And I began to realize the long history of wounds this young man carried.
Write it down! I felt such a strong urge to put pen to paper. Eager to release all the toxic words and visuals, I did just that. Little did I know I'd be given the privilege to introduce him to my God. Or that I'd feel the pressing need to give him the paper littered with those ugly words tucked inside a card, and the domino effect it would have.
How did you know? Those were the exact words my dad used. Followed by gut-wrenching sobs and the release of emotions pent up far too long.
Because, along with the screaming words of a broken father, there were whispers from another. Bathed in agape love. And though it came from a gentle and quiet whisper, I knew it had to be God. I want him. I want to heal him.
How I marvel at the ways of God! Somehow, hearing and sharing what I heard with this young man, opened his heart and mind. And new words ~ affirming, loving, beautiful messages began to seep in and take root.
There's a long road of healing ahead for him. But I'm confident that God will not abandon the work of His hands. And this young man's heart? It will slowly heal, one loving whisper at a time.
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." ~Psalm 138:7,8 ESV