I swayed gently, soaking up the presence of the Holy Spirit. I sang to God, asked questions, declared His goodness and promises, yielded to His heart and word, stretching my soul before Him. I noticed the sun shining through the stained glass windows, bearing witness to our intimate fellowship. The cool stillness, and soft lighting, refreshed my weary spirit.
I felt the door open behind me, and heard the gentle creak of someone sitting on a wooden pew. I didn’t want to turn around, but I had never before shared this prayer chapel with a stranger. Who was finding respite inside these walls with me? I supposed I was finished anyways.
I genuflected, turned around and saw an older woman. I acknowledged her, but did not want to interrupt her personal time of prayer. She seemed distressed, but the neck of God was where her burdens belonged. What did I have to offer?
I began experiencing goose bumps crawl up from my toes to my scalp, and my heart rate picked up, accompanied by a slightly nauseous feeling in my gut. I knew this phenomenon; God had something to say. How could I quench His spirit rising up in me?
I turned back to the woman, smiled awkwardly, and told her “I feel like God wants me to pray for you. Would that be okay? Is there anything I can ask on your behalf?”
She looked at me surprised, but said “Yes, actually, I’m having some relationship problems. I am worried that my girlfriend is going to break up with me. I love her, and don’t want to lose her.”
Excuse me while my evangelical upbringing rocks vigorously in a corner, manually shutting down, and self-combusting…
WHAT????!!!!! I am supposed to pray to You, bringing a request before You, that I believe goes against Your ordained order? Doesn’t this woman’s ‘sin’ make you mad?
His voice quiets me with a very simple question.
God: “Kelsi, do you love me?”
Me: “You know I do.”
God: “Then feed my sheep.”
Me: *ALL the crickets*
I sat down next to her and asked if I could hold her hand. I cried out before God, asking that He would lend a gracious ear, see this woman’s heart, and hold it completely. That she would know who she belongs to and how His love makes her whole. That He would guide their relationship kindly, and gently. That wisdom and peace would mark her path moving forward.
She thanked me for my prayer and we had a nice conversation about music afterwards, realizing we were both involved in the local music scene in San Antonio, Texas. We exchanged information and blessings, and I walked out the door, perplexed, shocked, and somehow renewed. I was walking on new waters.
Too many have suffered rejection at the very hands that should have welcomed. Too often we are content to distance ourselves from the complexities of humanity, rather than exercise the patience and presence necessary to walk through valleys with humans. Fear overrides compassion because what does it mean about us if we aren’t barraging these “lost” people with scripture, tossing impersonal barbs at their identity. Jesus says “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” How do we think He does that?
If we are not offering respite to ALL those who are weary giving them literal living water, then what are we doing?
As we enter the Christmas season, may we remember we are the manifestation of theology. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the word continuing to become flesh generation after generation. Jesus chose our bodies to be His new temple, His habitation on planet earth to see the good work He began in us unto completion. We are to love and serve all the sheep, we don’t get to choose. Regardless of a person’s beliefs, background, orientation, culture, etc. we are called to usher souls to welcome, worthiness, and unconditional love. When this truth puts on flesh, it is beautiful, profound and transformative.
Kelsi Folsom holds a B.M. in Voice Performance and has traveled all over the world participating in operas, musicals, jazz bands, and choirs. Now a mom to “three under three”, she currently resides in Saba, Dutch Caribbean while her husband attends medical school. When she is not putting on her best Cherubino while changing dirty diapers, you can find her perfecting gluten-free recipes, snorkeling, *gasp* reading, enjoying a nap, or trying to make sense of her life over french press. Kelsi writes here, and is also a regular contributor to the island website Women Who Live On Rocks.