One week til Christmas. One week til we celebrate God being with us.  

For some people, their lives are so full of family and friends, hot chocolate and Christmas Lights, that the darkness is just a shadow in the corner or a fading streetlight down the road.  For others, this is a time where the darkness threatens to swallow them whole.

Light flaunts its warm power in the life of one and barely flicks the skin of another covered instead in cold, dark loneliness. 

Advent is the waiting. The waiting 100s of years for God to come and make things right. Waiting generations for triumph and light and love to flood the world.  Waiting for God to be with us – really with us. We need God with us.  God, who says He is Light and Love, and yet seems to leave us lonely and scared in dark places. 

God, are you avoiding me?
    Where are you when I need you? Psalm 10:1-2

 

Advent is the waiting. We have no choice. Reminded of our powerlessness against the speed of time, we wait.  We cannot save ourselves or our friends from the pain of waiting on God to BE WITH US. 

With Christmas comes the promise of a future where we are whole and full. Christmas is the promise that while the pain is still here, God is doing a new thing. He came down to sit in the dark with us.  

And this is what He also asked us to do for each other too. While we wait, we wait together.  I will wait with you. 

The light breaks through dark’s hard shell at the exact points we meet each other.  At the loving touch of a friend, a spark ignites. 

The spark that says we are going to make it. 

Every day this week, I will be posting a story or an essay on advent and waiting and God with us. 

Today’s first story is written by Melissa Hawks.  A friend I met through adventure and spontaneity. She knows how to tell a story and she knows how to find God in the dark.

This is a story of sitting in the dark and waiting together – seeing the sparks of God’s great love in our small acts of faith. 

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Hookers, Heathens, and Me by Melissa Hawks 

I left early that dark morning, stopping to get gas on my way. It was freezing and rainy as I stood next to the gas pump, tears threatening to spill over and mix with the drizzle. Standing on tiptoe to keep my too long yoga pants from soaking in the puddles, I was so lost in my own painful thoughts I almost didn’t hear her.

I was jerked from my inner turmoil when an “Excuse me,” escaped her chattering teeth. She was beautiful and had a black eye. A leopard print chiffon shirt bared her stomach, a tiny skirt, and platform heels to rival the ones I tend to wear covered the rest of her. Her blonde fro curled wildly in all directions and her eye make-up was smeared from tears she had cried. At the moment, mine was a mirror image.

“Can I pay you $10 to give me a ride to my car in the parking garage over there? I just got beat up really bad by the last guy I was with. I don’t mind riding in the backseat.” The pain in her eyes.

“Get in the car, girl, and don’t worry about paying me. A girl’s got to help a girl out.” I didn’t really put any thought into it. She was shivering and in pain. “Of course, I’ll drive you. And no, you’re not sitting in the backseat. Get up here in front.” I tossed my bags in the backseat and made room for her.

She climbed up into my Jeep and began to cry. “This man. He just started slamming my head into the TV. Why am I still here? Why am I still doing this? I need to go home. Back to San Jose.”

I was empty. Beyond empty. I was at the bottom of the pit called empty, broken open. All I could offer was this “Our choices, baby, we make them all by ourselves and we have to remember we are in control of our destiny. We have to choose better.”

Sitting in my car with a prostitute/hooker/call girl who had just been beaten up by a john, I’ve never felt more broken. There were no words to her about God. There was just an understanding about her brokenness because I was experiencing it myself.

I think that’s what love does in the face of broken. It doesn’t look away. It holds the face of pain in its hands and says “you’re not too much for me.”

She must have seen that deep pain in me too, because right before climbing out of the car she leaned over. In a cloud of perfume she hugged me and kissed my cheek. “We’re gonna make it, girl. We’re gonna be okay,” she whispered in my ear.

Some days we can only make one good choice in the midst of a dozen awful ones. Some days we can’t rescue someone else. Some days we can not even rescue ourselves. Instead redemption comes from the most unlikely of sources.

No promises that we’ll be unscathed or that we’ll come out whole on the other side. No false illusion covering the a fact that it’s a brutal and ugly process. Not even a pledge of some small beauty that awaits at the end.  Only one simple truth.

“We’re gonna make it.”

God speaks to me through hookers and heathens. Maybe because I am one.

 

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Melissa Hawks

Melissa Hawks is a curator of brand and story at Hawks & Rock. She is discovering what it means to write her own story and how God lives in the detours.For her personal brand of awkward, space geekyness, and inspiration follow her @melissahawks account  Branding wisdom can be found at her company’s twitter @hawksandrock and the Hawks & Rock website and blog can be found at hawksandrock.com.