Dear Annie Ruth,
I remember the first time I saw you. You were buying a coffee at the local coffee shop. I was right behind you. It was a Friday morning.
I was meeting up with my prayer girls. We meet there every Friday to talk, read God's Word, and pray.
You had the biggest smile on your face as you were talking with the lady at the register. You turned around and just gave me the biggest welcoming warm smile.
I knew immediately that you were a Jesus girl. I could see it a mile away. Your face was literally shining. Psalm 34:5 came to my mind, "Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed."
We began chatting. Somehow or another I invited you to come to our little prayer group table.
Our group has not been the same since.
You shared your story. Addiction, divorce, fornication, homelessness.....decades of it.
You told us that you fell to your knees on a concrete ground and asked God to heal you.
And, He did.
Annie, I wasn't sure what to think of you at first. You were so bold. And loud. And you talked so much. We never could get a word in. You talked and talked and talked.
For a while, I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do to ask you to join our group. You made us all feel uncomfortable.
Your words pierced us.
They still do.
You prayed loud and made us stand up and hold hands to pray, because you said, "God always stands up for us."
You challenged me, Annie.
You opened my eyes to something that I did not even know I needed.
Your words resonate with me. They are not your words, they are God's Words.
They literally slice me.
I began to see something about you. Something I saw all along, but I could not quite understand at first.
You remind me of Jesus.
Jesus made everyone uncomfortable. Jesus spoke Truth. Not just pretty words.
He revealed the inner workings of the Pharisees hearts....He called them "white washed tombs."
Oh, Annie. How could you know that we needed you?
You tell us that we are your only friends. You tell us that everyone else says that you talk too much.
Well, it's true. You do.
But, Annie, we need your words. We need your stories. The world needs your words. The world needs your stories.
You speak Jesus.
You speak what you have read, and lived, and what you believe with all of your heart.
You have challenged my faith in ways that I never knew I was weak.
I have begun to write down the things that you say.
Like, "Parents pray for their kids to be doctors, lawyers, business men and women. Instead, what we need to be praying is for our kids to be like Jesus!"
Or, when you said that when people tell you that you talk too much about Jesus you tell them, "Well, what else is there to talk about?"
Or, when your friend asked you why you went to church every day and night and that it was just too much. You replied back to her, "I need all of it. And then some."
You are like Jesus, Annie Ruth. More like Him than anyone I have ever met.
When your friend surprised you with a new grill, you began saving and collecting money and food to have a hot dog cookout for all of the neighborhood children.
You love all people. You take every dime of what God has given you and you give it right back out to a hurting world.
You remind me of the poor widow in the bible that gave, "all she had to Jesus."
Your example put a mirror to my heart and I did not like what I saw.
Thank you for coming to our table.
Thank you for not being afraid to be exactly who you are.
Thank you for showing me that even with an 8th grade education, you can be a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. And you can make a difference.
You are making a difference, Annie Ruth.
I hope Jesus will show you one day in Heaven the impact that you have made on so many of us.
I will never be the same.
keep talking, Annie,