The end of the story, at least for that night, was that I got up from writing, got dressed, and told my husband I was going to go look for her. It was about 1 am and he looked at me trying to figure out if I was really serious. He believed me when I told him he might want to put some pants on . :-)
I left, drove around in the areas where I thought she might be, and never found her.
There's a part of me that wishes there was more to say, honestly. But the end of the story hasn't happened yet, I think. For me personally, the biggest thing that happened was to get up and go.
There are times that I have done something half heartedly, because I knew it "should" be done, but secretly hoping that whatever "it" was, it would be interrupted, so I could claim I "tried", but never really have to actually face my fears. When I finally made it out to the car that night, I wanted to look. I kept trying one more block, one more street over, just in case. For me, that was the hardest place to get to. I was actually disappointed to not find her.
My hope is that it won't take so long for my heart to get there next time. Because I really think there will be a next time. And I want to be just as passionate as I was that night.
I don't know why it took me so long, apart from fear. Sometimes I think I try so hard to distance myself from my own "proverbial street corner" that I lose touch with the part of my God that was confident to seek us "while we were yet enemies." I delude myself with thoughts of when I first sought God as if that completely overshadowed His coming to the street corner to find me years earlier. I over focus on what I have (or don't have) to offer and in the process completely forget this is all just a retelling of His story, of His greatness. I'm just a narrator. A witness. A recipient, too.
My failures don't negate God's truth or love, they just reveal all I have in common with the person I'm trying to share His love with. (Though Satan, and our own flesh would convince us otherwise.)
I believe He's capable of changing their life and their disappointments because He's changed mine. I believe a relationship with Him can turn a person's world upside down. Are there moments in my life that I haven't let Him? Many. And they only reveal my inadequacy, which we already took for granted. Not His.
You know what I have come to love about our God?
He's not afraid of all the days He didn't make a difference in our lives. He doesn't give up after a few tries. He lets us reject Him and lets us have days and years of apathy. And when our own tiredness with our self finally intersects with someone willing to tell us the truth about Him and His love for us one more time, and this time we're desperate enough to listen, He rejoices, without an ounce of resentment at how long it took us, and with no cynicism about the days to come when we might forget or regress.
That makes no sense to us. The vulnerability of it seems like suicide.
Which is why He stands out above us. Bigger than we will ever be. Worthy of our worship. Oh to connect to and be changed by the God who both rebukes us and embraces us; Who weeps over us and disciplines us. Who mercifully comforts us and gracefully doesn't compromise the truth for us.
Father, help each of us connect to that Wholeness in You.
And Chris - I don't know if I encouraged you, but you certainly encouraged me to let Him keep working on this in me. Thank you. Thank you as well, for not settling to let the wrong opinions define the worth of your life by your mistakes. They are sometimes loud voices to stand up against. Your witness to His ability to overcome ourselves may be the most reliable testimony your friend can hear.
"He who has been forgiven much, loves much. " Luke 7:47
"... these three remain, faith, hope and love... but the greatest of these is love. " 1 Cor. 13:13
"Perfect love drives out fear. " 1 John 4:18
My prayer is that your "forgiven much" is the catalyst for true Agape to spread to others as a hopeful reality you can genuinely testify to. And that all of us grow more, rather than less, in touch with our "forgiven much", for the same reasons.