angel tears

23 Oct

I’ll call her Angel.

Because that’s the last way she would think of herself.

Her face was lined with tears and desperation, with guilt and shame and seemingly endless self-doubt.

“I don’t know if I’m saved. I can’t escape the things I’ve done in my past, not even in my dreams. How do I know I haven’t committed the ‘sin unto death’? I know Hebrews chapter six – that it’s impossible for one who has known Christ and falls away to be brought back to repentance. How do I know that’s not me? I don’t know how to repent. I don’t know how to shed the guilt. I don’t know how to pray. I’ve talked to at least twenty pastors locally. Some tell me that as long as I believe the core doctrines of historic Christianity my salvation is not in doubt. Others tell me I’m obsessing on my guilt and just need to let it all go. Others tell me I’m a mental case and need professional help. I don’t know what to do! Why doesn’t God hear me!? How could he ever hear me?”

All this and more poured out of her through gut-wrenching tears and sobs in a thirty-minute flood of words that went on until she was exhausted.

I told her I had seldom heard such passionate prayer or witnessed such soulful repentance. In my mind, I thought, “Sometimes we just know too much Bible and it screws with us.”

I told her I felt Abba’s heart for her. I felt his heart, his love all over her.

And through my own tears, I prayed with Angel.

And considering how many churches and pastors she had been through, I couldn’t help but yell out in frustration after she left, “Is this the best we can do? Miserable comforters! Impotent pastors! If this is the product of all our programs and preaching and pulpits, please, for God’s sake, let us close the doors!”

Then I felt better. Sort of.

Maybe I’m being too hard on us clergy-types, I thought.

And then, getting past myself again, I saw her.

Then I saw that despised man, that tax-collector, that religious reject, that nobody standing far off from the religious crowd, from the glorious altar and temple, standing in the shadows, beating his chest, weeping out that prayer of despair, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

Jesus said he went home with God’s approval, with the Father’s smile, with a huge thumb’s up outshining Noah’s rainbow. But I’m pretty sure all the tax man could see was the clouds.

How many, like Angel, have the sun of God’s love shining off their faces but simply can’t see it?

How many of us beat up and berate ourselves for failing this or that set of internal or external expectations and requirements while Abba is practically screaming over us “I LOVE YOU.” Like Annie in What Dreams May Come, we can’t hear the voice passionately calling out our name, as we burrow ever more deeply into our own loneliness and despair.

We are all Annie. We are Angels, you and I.

If only we could see it.


Posted by on October 23, 2012 in musings



6 responses to “angel tears

  1. katcoe

    October 23, 2012 at 4:58 am

    You know I love your heart. And I know that you & I have had a similar discussion… but this post just reminds me how full of grace and compassion you are and how blessed I have been to have you as a friend for all these years. And OF COURSE you hit the nail on the head with the What Dreams May Come analogy. I saw myself in Annie for so very long… desperately self-loathing. The last year has had some of that resurfacing but, as usual, you have been a buoy and a balm (even when you’re being a brat). Loves.

  2. wordhaver

    October 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Kat you always bless me, even – especially – when you’re a brat back to me. Love yer guts – as always 🙂

  3. Lisa Gallegos

    October 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you Mike! I lived as Angel for too long as well. Every cold clergy shoulder, every rejection from a “friend” that I was toxic, every “hurting people, hurt people” comment only fueled me to press on! The funny, wonderful, and glorious discovery I made on my journey with Him is that He is still ahead of me lovingly, sweetly, and graciously encouraging my progress while all my naysayers are so far behind that I now only remember the sweet times with them. He wants me to pray for them and turn the mirror on myself that I too have hurt others. I am not a victim. The blinders have been lifted. I have heard this for as long as I have been a Christian but all the junk clogging my spiritual pipes has been washed away and I feel it in my heart. He has granted my rest this year!!! I am so grateful and thankful that I pressed on In Him. Every hurt by my fellow man has only soldified my seeking an audience of one. And He is more interested in how I treat my fellow man than in how I perceive they are treating me…………Thanks for listening my friend 🙂

  4. wordhaver

    October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Ahhh Lisa, what a marvelous journey we both share…

  5. Ann Brenton

    October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    This reminds me of the everything skit. She seems to be at that point where she is fighting off all those horrible things. In many ways so am I. The only difference between me and angel is that am at that dancing with Jesus part in so many other ways. It breaks my heart that she is struggling in this way and yet I anticipate the moment when Jesus breaks into her life and dances with her in this area. It will be such a good moment for her! in case you or someone who reads this hasn’t seen this skit here is the link:

  6. wordhaver

    October 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks Ann! And The Everything skit dovetails beautifully… 🙂


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