“Everyone knows,” Amy said with a heavy sigh. “I can’t go back to that church and have those women stare at me and judge me. I can’t handle that right now.”
Sarah scooted in closer to her friend and gave her a sideways hug. She’d felt a splinter pierce her thigh as she’d moved across the wood surface of the bench but ignored the sting of pain. She said a silent prayer for the Lord to use her to help her friend; to give her the right words.
“I understand,” Sarah rubbed Amy’s back. “You’re not going for those women, are you?”
“No.” Amy swiped at her face, smearing streaks of black mascara under her eyes. Tears continued to roll down her cheeks.
“Who do you go to church for, Amy?” Sarah spoke in a quiet voice hoping her friend understood her intention to help. She knew saying the wrong thing could send her friend running further from the Lord.
“What? What do you mean, who do I go to church for?” Amy twisted a white tissue in her hands.
“Well,” Sarah took a deep breath and plunged forward. “If you don’t go to church for those women, do you go for you? Or do you go to be closer to God?”
Understanding spread across Amy’s features. “Oh, I guess I go to be closer to God.” She wiped her runny nose with the tissue. “But sometimes I go for myself. Sometimes I go because I just feel so empty and lost and I need that time to worship and hear His words.”
A smile crept into Sarah’s freckled cheeks.”That’s right. Do you feel God telling you not to return to church?”
“No, of course not.” Amy tucked a lock of blond hair behind her ear and looked out across the park. “I don’t feel that way at all. If anything, that’s where He would want me to. . . Oh–” She turned to her friend and smiled. “Oh, you’re good. It should only matter what God wants me to do. Not what those snooty women think. I’m not going for them. I’m going for God — and I’m going for me.” Amy wrapped Sarah in a giant hug. “Thank you. Thank you for listening and helping me look at my situation from another perspective.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad to help. But God gave me the words. I just spoke them out loud.” Sarah stood, grabbed her friend by the hand, and pulled her to her feet. “Let’s go get some ice cream. We can work on your responses if anyone is rude enough to bring up your situation.”
Have you ever felt like Amy? Do you have a friend like Sarah or perhaps you’ve been Sarah? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments.