Invited to Intimacy – Encouragement for Today – December 18, 2019

Tracey Mitchell

December 18, 2019

Invited to Intimacy

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"He lifted me out of the pit of destruction, out of the sticky mud. He stood me on a rock and made my feet steady." Psalm 40:2 (NCV)

After a busy and exhausting travel day, I needed rest and wanted space. So, I prayed whoever reserved the seat next to mine would be a no-show.

Then, in walked a young woman wearing ripped jeans and a charcoal gray hoodie.

Down the aisle she came before stopping at my row. "Excuse me. I'm 15A."

She was tall, thin and looked like a model. Although she tried to get comfortable, her long legs didn't quite fit into the tiny space between seats. In fact, nothing about her seemed comfortable. Not just the limited room, but how she stared out the window, fingers fidgeting. There was something somber, almost dark, about her countenance.

Halfway into our travels, I noticed tears sliding down her cheeks. I could tell by how she flung them away they weren't just sad tears, but bitter ones. As hard as I'd prayed for her to be a no-show, I now prayed even harder for God to give me an opportunity to reach her wounded soul.

Her name was Amber. Before long, I knew her story, too. Amber was returning from visiting her father at NJSP. I asked about the acronym, and she spelled it out: New Jersey State Prison. He was an LWOP, she said, which she explained means life without possibility of parole. She told me his crime: murder. In fact, at age 8, Amber watched him murder her mother.

Family tried to convince Amber it was an accident, a drunken fight out of control, but she was still unsure how it all unraveled. What she did know was that after her mother's brutal death and father's incarceration, life didn't get any better. Her uncles sexually abused her for years. As a preteen, she was taken to hotels and sold for sexual favors.

Two hours into her story, Amber gently asked, "Why do I feel these horrible things are my fault? I try to push back the memories, but they keep replaying in my mind."

As we neared our destination, I began to share how God longed to knit her heart back together. I lovingly shared about a heavenly Father who would never leave, never abandon, never abuse His daughter. She seemed to relax. I could tell the Holy Spirit was setting her free, like a cork released from a bottle.

I shared how God didn't breathe life into us to let us be swallowed up by its tragedies. No, He gave us life because He loves us and has never stopped thinking about us.

We're reminded of this truth in today's key verse: "He lifted me out of the pit of destruction, out of the sticky mud. He stood me on a rock and made my feet steady" (Psalm 40:2).

As I continued sharing, her bitter tears turned into being-made-better tears. The Father was embracing His daughter, and she was responding to His love.

Have you ever felt like falling at Jesus' feet and blurting out your story? Every time I hear a story like Amber's, I want to stand up and shout, "I've got issues, too!"

In my own prayer times, I've blurted out things bothering me, hoping I didn't make God blush. I've asked Him for miracles while crossing my fingers, hoping He wouldn't bring up my mistakes. I've talked about dreams and droned on about my doubts. I'm sure I haven't been the easiest daughter to deal with, as in some ways we're all a little challenging.

But here's the beautiful thing: In all of our time together, I've never had my Father get up and walk out of the room. Not once. He stays around until my issues are resolved or until my feelings about them are replaced with His peace. (Philippians 4:7) For that, I'm incredibly grateful!

Heavenly Father, thank You that I'm no longer stuck in the pit of pain and heartache. Today is my day to walk away from grief and defeat - into a place of victory. I believe there are good things in my future. I trust You to replace discouragement with hope and heartache with joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Isaiah 41:10, "So don't worry, because I am with you. Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you." (NCV)

Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed." (NCV)

Living in a fast-forward culture, it's easy to feel overlooked, forgotten or uninvited. If you're like most people, you long to be recognized, hunger to be included and want to feel part of something greater than yourself. Don't go through life feeling overlooked and forgotten. Tracey Mitchell’s newest book, The Invitation to Intimacy with God, will help remind you of just how valuable you are!

Enter to WIN your very own copy of The Invitation to Intimacy by Tracey Mitchell. To celebrate, Thomas Nelson is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, December 23, 2019.}

Have you ever encountered someone who was clearly upset, broken or needed a listening ear? How did you respond? When you see such hurting people, how can you engage or help them? We want to hear from you! Stop by our comments.

Content Advisory: Today's devotion mentions some heavy topics (including sexual abuse and murder). Please know our prayer is that this devotion encourages and equips you with both spiritual and practical ways to address sensitive topics alongside biblical truth and your everyday realities.

© 2019 by Tracey Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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