Sunday, July 5, 2009

wandering. and wondering.


i have been wandering. and wondering. and wondering about my wandering... for so very long. i am tired from the wandering. i am weary from the wondering. it has been a vicious cycle for half of my life. i was fifteen the night i met Jesus Christ, sobbing face down at the altar of a tiny little church in rural alabama. conviction - although i hadn't yet identified it as such - had rankled me to my core that night and when an invitation was given, i was surprised at how fast i bolted down the aisle and into His arms.

i was not raised "in church" and yet this Jesus seemingly knew me, called me unto Himself and that night, although i had invited him into my heart, i didn't fully surrender my heart to Him. i wanted Him to have part of it. a corner of it, maybe. i wanted Him to be a part of my life. i couldn't comprehend that He wanted to be my life and my life be in Him. and thus, His pursuit of me was not over. it was only beginning.

for sixteen years, i would run. and rebel. and hide. wandering. wondering. each time, until i came to the end of myself and it was there, He would be. still. still calling me. still faithful to me. at times, His relentless pursuit of my heart was annoying. i was so undeserving of such. but most of the time, this expression of faithfulness was simply overwhelming. i would repent and return and after a time, inevitably run. again. until His calling and my conviction were unbearable. brennan manning calls this "the furious longing of God". and it is also the furious loving of God, calling by God and pursuing of God...

each time, i would have to wonder how long i would have to wander before i could walk the narrow path home with firmness in each step. how long would i tarry in my stubbornness and selfishness before i allowed God to transform my heart into one of patience and perseverence. patience. perseverance. among the many life lessons - and traits - i've needed and still have yet to learn, these are among the two greatest. even as my fingers type the letters of the words on the keyboard and my eyes see them as words on a screen, there is the longing in my heart to know them as reality in my life and even in this instant, i know that is His desire and His purpose in all of this cycling through wandering and wondering.

how much would i have to lose before i repent and return and walk, not in begrudging obedience, but with firm steps of faith, with longing to get closer to Him with each step, with the same furious love that He has displayed for me? everything. the answer is everything. i would have to lose everything. that was the depth of my stubbornness and my selfishness and of my sin. i am no longer a fifteen year old girl sobbing face down at the altar of a church. but oh, how i wish that i were. instead, i am thirty two year old woman, sobbing face down on the floor of her bedroom. but the fifteen year old me, she is still there. aching for the love of a father and desperately wanting to go home, wherever home really is.

i, like innumerable others through the ages, have tried to fill the gaping void in my heart and in my soul with everything else. refusing the love of the heavenly Father, refusing to abide in Him and despite the knowledge of Him, the intermittent loving of Him and consistent loving from Him, we wander. and wonder. and somewhere along the way, we believe the lie that we can really do this thing called life on our own. and we try. and fail. and try. and fail. until we find ourselves too tired to try anymore.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Mt 11:28 NIV

i have played the role of prodigal daughter more times than i can count. seventy times seven, at least. never returning under the same circumstances, but each time, full of hope that i am returning to Him for the last time... never to wander - or wonder - again. and this time is no different, perhaps because i am no different. but this time, oh, this time... when i turned around, i didn't feel the need to go back simply because i had to or only because He was [still] calling me to... it was - it is - because i am longing to and after so many years of searching, i know - i really, really know - and believe with all my heart that in Him is where i belong, to Him is to whom I belong and with Him is where i long to be.

"Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love." JN 15:9-10 MSG

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