Donovan and Erin Harper
I have been in therapy for the last four months. It has been invaluable to me in that my therapist has helped me to slow down and sit in my emotions while retelling stories rather than race past them, because who has time for emotions? Turns out Jesus does.
We were chatting one week about something I can't remember at the moment and I was giving myself a hard time for not inviting Jesus into the mess at hand.
"Can I stop you right there," she asked. I agreed and, after sitting for a few seconds in the heavy emotions of the moment, she continued, "Jesus is already with you. He is God with us and he is sitting in this moment with you right now. You don't have to invite him." And he was.
Jesus was sitting there next to me and had been in every moment. I imagine an understanding smile on his face and an arm around me as he sat with me in the heavy silence. I imagine it's how the woman who had been suffering a 12 year period must have felt when Jesus recognised her, called her "daughter". Vulnerable. Comforted. Tears of relief about to spill over onto her cheeks. Tattered pieces of her heart starting to mend.
Like her, I hadn't wanted to bother Jesus with my emotions. He had other things to worry about.
Like her, I was afraid of Jesus' response; afraid that Jesus would confirm my greatest fears.
Like her, I recognised with whom I sat that day and felt the healing power of his presence.
Like her, I needed to realise that Jesus was already there with me, waiting for me to look up and take notice of his presence.
And he is already with you, too. My prayer is that you, like myself and the no-longer-bleeding-woman, take comfort in knowing that Jesus sees you to your core and loves you.
A quick look into our virtual semester so far: movie or game nights over the weekends over Zoom (top left), a student favorite - Cafe English - is back in our event rotation (top right), supporting local businesses by playing Bingo with students for gift cards (bottom left) and delivering mini-versions of apple and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving (bottom right).
We are currently under a light version of lockdown, so ministry is happening one-on-one or over Zoom. Erin has been enjoying grabbing a coffee with someone and going on walks together through different neighbourhoods. Donovan started a book club last week with three alumni and is excited about the future conversations about "God Has a Name" by John Mark Comer.
Our student leadership group is called "Verbunden" (or "connected") and the two students who committed are excited to put their faith into practice this way. Because our events are currently all virtual, our focus for Verbunden is to gift the feeling of being at home like Jesus did for so many. This could look like delivering cookies to someone's doorstep or reaching out to a fellow classmate who seems like they're having a rough week. We're excited to see how God works through these students!