Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
~ Dr. Seuss
Thanks to my cousin’s wife, Jennifer, for sending me this silly poem 🙂
This afternoon I got a call from Paul who used to be the director of the summer camp, Island Lake, that I worked at. Seventeen years ago he met with me on campus while I was a student at the University of Washington. I was applying for a position at camp the coming summer and he stopped by for an interview. I didn’t get the job – I ended up a slobbery mess as I poured out my aching heart. In those days I was far, far from the Lord. I still believed in my mind that God was real but I just really didn’t want God. I was struggling big time with sin in my life and feeling totally defeated by it. Every time I sinned, I felt the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit. I would ask the Lord to help me but then I would sin again…and again and again. Eventually it was easier to walk away from God than to stay in the ring and keep fighting with my sin. I was exhausted and found myself in a world where no one could care less if I loved God. It was easy in that sense to walk away. I actually found myself occasionally thinking, “oh yeah, God,” and then walking on without Him. There is a moment that in all the days of my life I will never forget. I was showering – the only time I was quiet and not rushing around somewhere – and I essentially heard the Lord calling to me – asking me to return to Him. I did not hear His words with my ears but I can tell you that I knew with total certainty that God was speaking to me. I physically turned my body in the shower and in my heart rejected Him once again. So this is the state Paul found me in as I ironically applied for a position at a Christian camp. Over the course of the coming year there came a time when I could say to the Lord that I wanted to want Him but I still didn’t. My heart was dead to Him. But I was miserable, for I had tasted of the Lord. I knew what life was like being close to the Lord and I discovered that knowing Him but being far from Him is the most wretched state possible. I prayed that He would help me to desire Him again. And then, sitting in the window sill of our dorm lounge, months later, looking out to the east over Lake Washington with Mount Rainier looming up into the sky – all muted pinks and blues – I discovered that my heart had changed. In my feeble broken state I had a spark of desire to walk with my God again. It was a long, long road and need for a lot of healing in my heart. A year and half after that conversation with Paul, I came to camp to work. I came hurting and fragile. I needed desperately for people to deal gently with me – my spirit was tender – tender toward the Lord but also the sort of tender that comes with wounds – a painful sort of tender. In those miserable years apart from God, I learned two things that will stay with me and which I know as much as anyone can say they know anything. I know that only God can change a person’s heart. I know that God is a relentless pursuer of our hearts – He wants us and He will not stop – He will go to extraordinary lengths to draw us to Himself. He yearns for us – He loves us – He delights in us – even in our feeble, broken, unlovely state.
Today when Paul called, I found myself once again able to say what was in my heart, but I hadn’t the courage to say before now. I’m finding it very hard to ask God to heal Allistaire. That might seem completely bizarre. I’m her mom, surely I should be on my knees every day asking God for her healing. But I think that this prayer oozes from my pores all day long as I’m with her. I yearn like irresistible inertia thrusting me forward, to have my little love home again and have our family together again. I gave her the name Allistaire in part because I think it’ll look good on a resume – it is a strong name. I want to know her when she’s old. I want to hold a conversation with her. Somehow though I can’t seem to very often articulate with words this prayer for her healing. I think that perhaps being with her all day and night, I just can’t keep facing the possibility of her death over and over and over. I would come undone. There are many things I find myself praying for clearly to the Lord every day. But this prayer for her healing I need to leave, for the most part, in your hands. Speak the words for me I find so hard to pray.