Oh my word. Wow. That's all I can say. I finished reading this book last night that shook me. It rocked my world in such a way that I can never go back to who I was before. Though it's about to be placed on the shelf, it goes with me today. Perhaps every day.
You see, this book made me remember.
A few years ago, I acted in a... trail... of some sort. It was a room called the "No Hope" room. The characters inside depicted various people in the throes of desperation and hopelessness: homeless and begging for money, addicted to drugs, abusive relationships, cutting, etc. My character was "low self esteem girl". They put me in front of a mirror with some make up and a candle. The room was hot and putrid, the air tasted like rotten trash. It was dark, loud, full of weeping and screaming as we all went into character. Angry music blared from the speakers. In every way, it was uncomfortable.
I settled into character, begging God to give me the strength to go all out for this persona. My hair was mussed out of its normal style and my face made up with dark shadows and messy mascara. I grabbed the tube of lipstick and wrote on the mirror. Over my image the blood-red "UGLY" judged my reflection.
I guess I should stop right now and say that there was a point to this room. We see people like this every day. Maybe we don't know who they are because they aren't physically screaming in our faces, but they are right in front of us. Or maybe we do, but we're so uncomfortable that we don't know what to do. Maybe that person is--or was at some point--us. Maybe we understand exactly where they are and haven't dealt with it yet. Or maybe we just need our hearts broken with compassion.
As people walked into the room and watched us locked in heartwrenching pain, they froze, unsure of what to do. It was too much sensory detail to take in at once, too much horror. I kept acting, staring into that mirror and weeping as my character demanded. I was so caught up in that I didn't see or hear anything else in the room.
Out of the darkness, a hand touched my back. Someone knelt beside me and smeared the "name" on the mirror. So lost in character, I panicked. Screaming "NO!!!" I lunged for the lipstick and tried to rewrite it. She fought me until the lipstick broke and just held me. I kept acting, praying inwardly to see what she would do. And she started praying--loudly--for her friends that she knew who struggled with this. She prayed for people whose names she didn't know. She even prayed for me.
After it was all over I saw something. When my character panicked and fought to rewrite that horrible word on the mirror, even I was surprised. I expected relief. God, where did that reaction come from? I asked him. Mentally, I replayed the scene over and over, each time feeling my heart jump, afraid, when she smeared the word. Then I felt something else: loss. When the girl erased the word, she took my character's identity. "She" didn't know who she was after that.
Then I saw a new name on the mirror: "Beauty".
The moment stunned me, much like now, when writing a character's story and seeing how God works in that person's life. Suddenly, I had to know. God, what name has been written on my mirror? And what is your name for me?
The answer to that, is between me and God. He gave me a new name that day. And with that name came a calling. It's the reason I'm in missions. I'm not called to a certain people group. My people are broken. They are in every land, every nation, in the church and not. They are in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, and elementary schools. They need Jesus to come and heal them in some way, whether that be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. This is my calling. It is also why I write. I was a writer before that day. I finished my fourth novel not long after it, actually. But it was the first time I was able to put into words the ministry writing is to me.
This book brought me back to that day, when I saw the new name on the mirror for my character and for myself. It moved me in such a way that I had to tell you about it. Because I think we all know books like this. They are different for each of us and the best part is when they come from out of nowhere. I didn't expect this book. And yes, I will tell you what it is--on Friday. It just had such an impact on me that I wanted to dedicate a week of blog posts to it.
Because, you see, I read this book and it made me remember why I write.
What is your reason?
Do you need to remember?
See y'all Wednesday!
8 hours ago