Dirt lifted and covered our feet as we walked down the road in Entebbe, Uganda. We were going door to door, sharing the gospel with the nearby neighbors of Cornerstone Church.
Sweat prickled on my forehead as we approached her. She sat outside her home, holding a baby. She seemed very reserved.
We introduced ourselves, asking if she knew Jesus or went to church anywhere nearby. She then began to open up to us. She had some issues with the church. The last time she went, she got frightened by a deliverance prayer.
“I don’t want to go to church! What if I have a demon?! I would be on the floor like that.” she said.
I kid you not. This woman’s main concern with attending church was her fear of having a demon and possibly needing a deliverance. I couldn’t help but giggle.
“Do you think you have a demon, [her name]?” I asked.
“No!” she responded.
“Then you don’t even have to worry about that!” I replied, “When you see the person on the ground, and the elevated voices, and even the resisting, know that the church members are not yelling at that person but at the demon inside, telling it to leave. The person feels better afterwards. I’ve seen it. You shouldn’t be afraid.”
My answer seemed to settle her concern, but she wasn’t done. She had one more bone to pick with church.
“I am my husband’s second wife. He has a wife and I am the other wife. If I come to church, they will tell me to leave my husband. I have four children with him. He is my first husband, but I am his second wife.” she confessed.
Oh… there it is. There was the reason why she wouldn’t come. She was afraid of how her life would change. She felt ashamed of her status, and even trapped in her situation. I honestly couldn’t pretend I knew the answer for her, because I didn’t.
I simply said “[Her name], you don’t have to predict how your life will or won’t change before you come to Jesus. Jesus wants your full heart, and whether or not you go to church does not change that. Jesus will make known to you what is right and what you should do. You shouldn’t be afraid, because He loves you and He promises to be with you.”
She nodded and pondered as the interpreter spoke my words to her in her language. Something seemed to click, but she wasn’t quite there. She didn’t really know about me, or why I was there. I figured it was time to share a little bit of my story.
Shock flashed in her eyes at first. Then I watched as her face softened, her heart connecting with mine, with my story. I told her that Jesus is the one who defines my status, that I am worthy and a daughter of God, and that she is too.
The interpreter asked her if she wanted to receive Jesus into her heart. She smiled and nodded.
I found myself kneeling on the ground, thanking God again and again for using my story. For using me. For letting me be at the right place at the right time to be part of His beautiful work, saving His children and bringing them to Himself.
He removes labels.
He removes shame.
He fills in with love.
He receives us with all of our questions, in the middle of our confusing situations.
And I trust that He will set everything right in His timing. He will redeem the confusion. He will restore what’s been broken. He will operate from within her heart, where He now dwells.
He will display His love to His daughter.
She now belongs to Him.