This blog is really a journal entry from me to the Lord, me hashing things out with Daddy God and Jesus. It refers to several different points last year, at least some of which will have their individual blogs. This is very personal and intimate to me and I don’t know who it will resonate with, but I publish it because I feel it will resonate positively with somebody. Thank you.
There’s a popular Christian song with lyrics about going where our trust is without borders. I loved that song and I sang that song many times with great devotion and fervor.
I now honestly believe that somewhere in singing that song I actually was praying that prayer and asking God to take me to a point past the borders of my trust.
Coming to the places past the borders of my prior trust, I can say that I try to be brave and strong and grown up, but lots of days on this journey into the new and the unknown, I become so very cognizant of how much I really still feel very much a little girl, how much I simply want to run back into Daddy God’s arms and be held again and I don’t want to be grown up anymore. I don’t want to be strong and brave anymore. I just want to curl up in his fortress and never talk about coming out again. I don’t want to see anymore places I need to grow up in Christ cuz I just see how inadequate and insufficient I am and at times in my weakness I don’t remember anymore how to tap into his strength. I don’t know if this is teenager time in Christ where I’ve relented from being the forever child without responsibility or accountability, and I feel frightened of the big, wild world out there with its lions and giants.
It feels very real and very grown up right now, but I feel that for where I think I will be going in the future that what I am dealing with now isn’t even the very scary stuff, but I want to go back to wooden swords and wooden shields inside the castle walls with my bestest bestie Jesus. I just want to be me with Jesus. Me with Jesus before I gushed about his wonder to people who, it felt, tarnished my beautiful Jesus moments with the fear and disgust and distrust they expressed. I want to grab back my beautiful, precious praise and delight moments to a restored innocence of intent and purity.
But those are the hard moments we learn we cannot trust our intimate places with people we thought trust worthy. Those treasured spaces in the innermost intimacies of our heart that we open up to individuals to have it stomped on by big, obtuse clown feet, because to experience the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ in relationship means also to taste of the betrayal and rejection he has known as well.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore, God. Of anything ever. I want comfort. I do. I don’t want to feel like a sandpaper soul being dragged across the grater of life. Maybe being an insufferable know it all wasn’t so bad….I “dint” know how little I knew and how insufferable I wuz and that part wasn’t so very bad was it?
But perhaps I scare myself with being afraid of the stories of others, perhaps as I hear the stories of missionaries and folks that God calls beyond the seas and think that what I am going through isn’t as scary as that and I think that I have to be ready to take down the literal lions, but maybe those aren’t places he would take me, because, actually my friends seem pretty freaked out by my life and the risks and places I go – places that to the middle class suburban mind is plenty crazy and radical frightening.
So maybe my enormous leap of faith in walking out my apartment door with nothing but a packed car to not know where I would sleep that night as I trusted the leading God was leading me in to do this thing, and I went to McDonald’s drive through and the library for a grand total of I believe it was seven hours in my two year old car before landing in the swankiest house in the church, maybe that is as scary as I need it to be.
Maybe the deepest, scariest war wound I need to receive in my adventures with the Lord are the marred, scarred bleach-spattered pants from doing the laundry at the inn with the broken washers on Valentine’s Day weekend on the day I was determined that no matter what happened I would count it all joy and I had the adventure on the route home where I was chasing after holy spirit GPS and feathers in the downtown maze of streets to find the correct connecting bus, but more than finding the connecting bus, I think there was the purpose to connect to a conversation with a recovered-alcoholic-but-still-smoking-ganja-guy about the goodness of Jesus while the dude across the street twirling the sign for the spa place spewed expletives about his hoes and hookers and other crazy jazz that I just had to tune out as I glee’d it up with the dude at the convention center bus stop. Yes, maybe that is as dangerous as I need.
After all, God certainly knows I’ve survived plenty of internal soul-bleeding and it’s the healing of those wounds that has led me deeper into a love romance with my Lord Jesus to accept his crazy invitations into deeper, deeper terrain with Him. I so remember the day Jesus urged me off the beaten path literally. A day deep in sunshine and delight in a gorgeous wood, and how horrified I was that day to leave the rutted route traversed by many feet, to step onto the leaf covered wood to a place he led me, and how I said with a turned up nose ugh-and-ick attitude that did not see the beauty of nature in that moment, I said, “Only you Jesus could convince me to step out off the path to follow you here.” And it’s still the truth. Only he can persuade me onto so many of the paths I have followed and continue to pursue.
The other day, I thought, perhaps all my adventures on the bus around Albuquerque aren’t actually preparation for the wilds of the African desert and bustling throngs of immigrants pressing across some foreign check point as I sometimes imagine it might be….maybe the wilds of the San Mateo bus line, and yes, some days the Central route and the area around that major thoroughfare known as the “War Zone,” after the WWII GI’s who lived there after the war, but more than half a century later “War Zone” has a different connotation, and politicians rename it as the “International District” for its original intent, maybe that is as much of a war zone or an international district as I need to go into.
And I think maybe that’s just fine for me and I realize it can be plenty fine for God too, that maybe I don’t have to go to Mozambique and sinking ships and sleeping on fire ant hills, because maybe wrong buses and delayed buses and red ants at the bus stop and sudden downpours on my transfers and cars drenching me at the stop as I head to Celebrate Recovery Friday nights are as much trauma and drama as I need to experience trusting in and finding the pleasure of my Lord in the uncertain and uncomfortable spots for me and my life. And maybe the breakdowns I have on the buses in my weariness and fatigue and my discomfort in the delays and the waiting at the in between spots on my commutes and my frustration at it all, and my wonder in it all and my discovery of Jesus in it all is the point of it all.
Like the day that it was as I got off that bus on the way to that doctor who was not the doctor God told me to go to, but I was sure the Holy Spirit had to be mistaken because this doctor was closer geographically, what a fool I can be and pay the price for my foolery, blech. But still Lord, that day with that route that was completely indiscernible even on GPS on how to get from the bus stop to the clinic, you Lord, you pointed out the young man who got off the bus with me who didn’t look to my senses’ eyes like someone necessarily trustworthy, but you pointed to him as someone safe to follow and how thankful I am God that you did show me he was safe on that crazy indiscernible route of dirt trails and winding alley paths without street names that I would have never found that did indeed bring me through to the other side with the paved roads and the clinic. And even there on that crazy strange route in the midst of some part of town I yet do not know the name for, my unexpected guide and I shared the gospel – you do pick the craziest places for me to speak the gospel and to find Jesus indeed!!
And what about that other time on the new to me route on the Central 66 bus with construction that eliminated several of the regular bus stops, so that I had no idea where to get off of the packed, congested bus. Concerned that I would miss my stop, concerned that I would go far past my stop and not be able to find my way back to catch the last connecting bus to my work assignment, I jumped off the bus and walked fifteen minutes to the connecting stop through a sketchy stretch of the ghetto campus terrain passing vagrants and a strange stew of varied folk difficult to describe for all their assortments. And there are days and ways that I do like moving in that mix of variegated humanity, being the girl with the back pack on the go in the groove and the flow with the early morning air about me, especially with the earbuds pushing my beats into my soul as I feel a determination in my step.
But that day, that third day on that route, when the 66 bus was running far too late for me to walk the in-between construction part and I cried out to you Jesus to save me, to get me to the right stop, to the right connection, in the right amount of time, and although it was truly only my third day on the bus to a temporary assignment, it felt as if the fate of the world rested on that decision of getting off at the correct bus stop that day. And I needed you so that day, that moment Jesus, I needed you to be my right decision, I needed to cling tightly to your side for dear life. And you led the way as I watched the blocks pass to see where the bus would come to stop next as it lumbered through the construction and I saw that yes, the next stop was the right stop, and that for two days I had actually been prolonging my journey and even increasing my exposure to potential danger in getting off of the bus earlier to the best of my knowledge and leaning on my own understanding as I understood it – but how do we do it without knowing when we go on new ways and new paths with unexpected detours and obstacles?
How else do we do it when there isn’t time or understanding to discern or discover ahead of time, and there is no safe guide in the humans about us? Times when we have to adjust in the blink of an eye, in the space of a moment, where we have to make the major decisions without the luxury of waiting and weighing and there is so evidently only Jesus and His way.
Jesus’ way which is so simple, yet so seemingly scary to step into as we don’t know his way and it is not our way, times we learn to yield our will, yield our flesh and our life to be wielded as that weapon to drive a stake into the heart of our fleshly pressing desires, to turn it to the way of Jesus.
And that day, traversing down Central Avenue til I realized the next stop was indeed just catty-corner to my connecting bus stop, saying in awe and wonder in my heart, “Could it truly be that your way is that simple?” as I passed that corner on University and Central with the gorgeous brick University of New Mexico sign resting on the verdant green grass.
Can it be that simple Jesus? Too good to be true compared to the hard work and the hardness of the way of my flesh when I was still endeavoring to do right in the best way that I understood, but Jesus you do know all the short cuts we don’t know, yet you don’t always give them right away do you?
And I remember the gal on that route one day with no shoes on. On that route particularly it was usually wisest to avoid eye contact, so I was already generally staring at people’s feet and I can still so clearly see her grubby, chubby toes that she kept curling under as though she could hide the nakedness of her feet and belie their shoeless state. You love us all in all our states don’t you Jesus?
You are good God.
Just as I determined to know God is good as a reality in my own mind and not only my emotions that day in July when it felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest where I felt ravaged and raked over by rejection, uncomfortable in the heat and hating life, but determining that it did not matter if my emotions and flesh lined up to sense you as good, God. Your goodness is good. Your justice is just. And I choose to be in agreement with you. Regardless of my emotions, although, oh I do so love the days I align in agreement with the emotions too!
So it seems the ecstasy and the agony of knowing the fullness and the suffering of the Christ life don’t have to be on far off turfs, but on the simple landscapes of daily life God, you are quite able to craft the lessons you would have me learn for the places you would lead me, and it is enough Lord. It is enough.
We don’t all have to go to foreign hills across the sea to be in a place foreign to us – a place far beyond the borders of a life I lived all my life that I stepped far, far outside. I went way past the known landmarks. Way past the safe places for me, way into the land of the glorious and the very scary in discovery of who Jesus will be for me – though I know he will always be leading me in paths of goodness and righteousness all my days for greater and deeper discoveries than ever I knew before.
And I thank you Lord indeed for the beauty of this moment, the glory of this night, when all day I felt half off kilter and would hit a semi-stride for a few moments only to feel like I fell back into some state of disgrace and failure to end it with this beautiful tribute as some sort of beginning point or something past beginning, but some compilation of many things, many months, many moments captured in so many pages, but discovering you and your beauty again and some beginning bits of sense out of a multitude of moments across the last months and especially feeling a kernel of a real gem in the reality of HOW you have taken me so far beyond the borders of my trust in this place here, far, far away from the terrain of my spiritual safety in the only church I’d known as a child and an adult and the only church I ever wanted to know to allow you to lead me to a people and a place quite foreign indeed to my soul and my knowledge…and seeing again as I do time and time again at some pause point on the journey that really, it has only ever and always been about our relationship God. How delightful indeed.