Graffiti Touched My Soul

Crystal Ortmann

Tears ran down my face as I set the phone back on its cradle. I was seeking a Christian counselor and couldn't find one except for an in-hospital treatment center. I knew I didn't need that, but what was my alternative? My son's counselor advised me to seek some help, too. You're just a failure. You can't even find anyone to help you. You'll never get better. The self-loathing thoughts raced through my head, terrifying me.

graffitiI was living in Germany at that time with my German-born husband and son by my first marriage. It had been a hard pull for all of us. We had seriously underestimated the problems involved in living in a different country, dealing with my torn emotions from the earlier unwanted divorce, and my son's problems. I was at my wits' end. I wanted and needed some counsel, yet the doors kept closing.

As a Christian, I felt like a total failure. I listened to Satan's lies about me being a hopeless case. Crying and praying took up most of my days. How could I ever be a witness to the German people if I stayed such a mess?

After looking further for a counselor, I felt led to go to a certain one in another town. It necessitated taking a bus and a streetcar, then a walk of several blocks to get to her office. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement.

The counselor seemed nice. Since I did all of my talking in German, I feared that she might think I was crazy and send me to a mental hospital because I didn't express myself correctly.

"Our group therapy is full," she said, "but somehow I feel you should join us. I don't know why."

In my nervous state, the pile of tissues on my lap fluttered to the floor in a small snowstorm, as I stood to leave. She picked them up and handed them to me. Her gentle kindness soothed my frazzled nerves.

The Graffiti

I prayed constantly because I feared receiving ungodly advice that might harm me spiritually and emotionally. Every time, I prayed as I walked to her office. On one of my visits, about half a block from the streetcar tracks, I happened to look down at the sidewalk at some graffiti scrawled there. It was in English, even though I was in Germany. It said, "Jesus loves you."Jesus loves you

Peace flooded my soul. I felt like it was a sign from God telling me that He knew all about my situation. I could relax and let go of the fear. Nearly every time I went for counseling over the next several years, I read those precious words. No one washed them away. The words looked brand new each time.

Although expressing deep emotions in a foreign language brought some difficulties, it thrilled me to realize that I could do it. It proved to be a tremendous way of sharing my faith when questionable subjects arose.

I would never advise someone to seek secular counsel. I did it because of an emergency situation. However, it began some wonderful healing in my life. Graffiti helped change my life--it touched my soul.

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