Montana skies hold claim to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, showing off the splendor of the Creator while giving us a glimpse into His heart. He is an artist that is pursuing us and is in love with us. I love looking into the eyes of people. They radiate beauty as well, and give us a window into their precious souls, much like looking at creation gives us a glimpse into who God is.
Her name was Montana. Ironically she wasn’t from Montana. I met her after a school assembly program where she had waited in line for over 15 minutes to talk with me. As I glanced into her eyes, I noticed that instead of peaceful beauty there was a raging storm. Tears stained her shirt, causing the shades of the colors from her high school team to darken like oncoming storm clouds over the mountains.
She waited patiently as Carrie, the girl in front of her in line, shared about being bullied because of her weight, and how her friend had attempted suicide, and how her home life was abusive. Montana was there as I listened to this girl’s story, and was close enough to hear the struggles she faced.
I gave Carrie words of comfort, connected her with places where she could get some help and invited her back for the evening rally where I could share the true hope of the gospel. I wanted so badly to give her a big bear hug like I would with one of my kids. But I needed to be appropriate, so I gave her a side hug around the shoulders. I felt so limited with what I was able to share in the public school setting, and limited in the hope and love I wanted her to feel and experience. I said a quick silent prayer inside my soul that she would return that evening.
As Carrie walked away still crying, it was finally Montana’s turn. But instead of talking with me, she turned and left the line. I watched as she approached Carrie and gave her a big hug, so tight, and they both cried big healing sobs together. But at least they were not alone now. It showed that it was ok to share, to hurt, and through it all, to care, to love. From it came hope.
Montana came back in line after she was done comforting Carrie and we did get a chance to talk. It was then that I finally learned about the storms in her own life and the reason behind the tears. She talked about the sexual abuse from her grandfather (for which she got help) and the mocking laughter from others over her speech impediment. “Just like you, Bob,” she said.
Her tears showed a compassionate heart and love for others that I felt compelled to affirm. “Because of your tears you showed that you can understand others and show them love,” I said. “In your pain, you offered hope to Carrie.”
Her eyes, though still filled with tears, suddenly seemed brighter. I saw purpose overtaking the pain as she began to realize that the bad pain inside her was now being used to give hope to someone else.
I noticed a bunch of wristbands and bracelets on her arm. One of them had a cross on it. I reached for it to point out the cross as a silent gesture to show her where hope truly comes from. But as I held her wrist it revealed the cuts on her arms. It was the reason she had so many bracelets on – to conceal the cutting. I could tell some of them were recent. As I looked at her with concern and understanding the tears really flowed. “A friend that goes to church gave that bracelet to me,” she said.
Later, I was able to share with her about the tears Jesus shed when his friends turned on him. He also shed tears when they bullied him, not just with words, but with beatings to the point of bloodshed. He did this as a sign of his love for her. I got to pray with her and share about the only One who could heal her scars and bring purpose to her pain.
“I can’t change your past, but please don’t waste these beautiful Montana tears,” I said. “Let them fertilize the ground of character in your life so you become the person that you are meant to be. The person who gave you that bracelet with the cross on wanted to point to the one person who does not change, who can take all this bad and turn it into good. Montana, those eyes that now have tears can show hope like you did to Carrie. You can give hope to others by sharing about this everlasting love that is not just for the next life, but for this life. Here. Now.”
In that, hope was born. That’s why I do what I do. It’s because of Montana’s tears, and those of countless others like her who are searching for purpose and meaning. We can’t stop every hurt and pain these kids go through, but we will continue to help them see the beauty in the storm, and the only One who can calm those storms and bring peace.
I hope that’s why you stay with us in giving and praying for this ministry. And I hope it is what fuels you to continue sharing the love you’ve found in Him.
Founder & President
Life Promotions, Inc.
WAYS TO GIVE
Web: CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE
Mail: Life Promotions | 4 N Systems Dr Suite C | Appleton, WI 54914
July 11-14, 2013 • Oshkosh, WI
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