There’s something about the first encounter with the crisp autumn air that flings me back to memories in the prayer room, 9 years ago. It was walking through those cold winds while sipping one too many pumpkin lattes in that transformative season that I first learned how to grieve, mourn, and release. How I first learned what Christ yearning for our brokenness actually, deeply meant. How I first learned that I didn’t need to serve and minister to try to find my place at His table, but His presence had always surrounded the table I found myself already in. How I first learned that, as I say over and over, we aren’t just loved by God but liked. How I was not a casualty into heaven because He died for humanity and I somehow got thrown in, but that I was chosen, wanted, pursued and as one friend declared with a pointing finger – set aside. How I prayed 2 of the hardest words in my prayer life – enjoy me. How I discovered the leap from religion and behavior modification to intimacy and the yearning to honor the One my heart thirsts for. How I went from loving God to falling deeply in love with Him, so much so that the term lovesick suddenly absolutely made sense and yet could not even begin to describe.
And though I say it was that particular autumn season that saved my life, I find myself time and time again scratching at His door asking if I’m allowed in; asking if His silence equates to forgotten-ness. I find myself questioning again my worth and then in turn trying to prove it. The voices of the shadow that look for every opportunity to whisper that I don’t belong and soon everyone will know it. The anxieties that overanalyze every inflection in the voices of others to search for that sinister whisper even in the light of day. Seminary, theophostic ministry, inner healing prayer, therapy, prophetic utterances helped me discover tools to carve my way out of these cavern, but so easily in my feeble hands do I lose the strengths to lift any of those tools up. No one is exempt from the dark valleys that can only be freed from a staff and a comforting rod.
And yet in this past week, I’ve had two of my most soul-full friends reach out to me spontaneously and say that the Lord has compelled them to pray for me these past few weeks. These past few weeks I’ve found those anxious voices that suffocate my mind louder than usual. I’ve found myself questioning my role as a wife, as a mother, as a ministry leader… as a beloved. Those voices that love to chant the words since I was just a child – failure, abandoned, not good enough, not wanted. I’ve tried to silence those voices by plowing through in my tasks which has only caused more of a physical toll on my body leaning to a vulnerability that allow those voices to chant even louder. And yet though I responded to those texts with a simple thank you, I found myself prostrate before the heavens asking God, “why are you so mindful of me?”.
Why in the world – why in all of heaven – would the King of the galaxies ever consider being mindful of me? Me, who time and time and TIME again is unintentionally so un-very-mindful of Him in my religious acts. I mask my seasons of indifference towards Him by reading scripture and mumbling prayers out of routine rather than songs of hope. I strut in arrogance at the memories of the miracles He allowed me to witness as if they are sufficient tickets into the knowing of a God too vast for human knowing. I mentally determine in my mind tiers of earning and proving, my pathetic Achilles heel.
And just like that He sends a crisp Autumn wind with the scent of those pumpkin lattes at midnight and His scarred hands reach out to my own and leads me back to the garden. Just like that I find myself transported back to the Secret Place where I’m unable to speak as my lips are burned with coal, and yet my soul sings freely. And just like that I’m back where I belong.
“I called, You answered. And you came to my rescue and I… wanna be where you are.”