Last night I didn’t get to do my Bible Study.
When I say “I didn’t get to” I mean that I was bummed that I didn’t do it. That I missed that time in the word. That I felt jealous towards the things that took up my time.
What I did not feel as a result of last night was guilt.
I used to rake myself over the coals in guilt for missing out on “quiet time” or Bible study, for not praying as often as I “should,” for not yearning to be in his presence more.
But all my guilt has been washed away, and now when a day goes by, or a few days, or (gulp) a week or so, I don’t feel guilt, but I yearn for that time, as I know He yearns for time with me.
Friends have asked me how I did away with my guilt, they yearn for the same security. I lived with that guilt for sixteen years, and came out of it in Fall 2014. I’m going to attempt to decipher what happened at some point, but for right now, here is what I wrote during that year’s advent season:
I’m not even sure what the catalyst was. There was a hardening of the heart for greater glory, of that I am sure. There was an evaluation of what I believed to be truth, to be historic fact, to be scientifically acceptable or not and whether that mattered. There was two, maybe three years of wrestling with motherhood, service to the church, taking care of myself, being who I was or who I wanted to be. There was dialogue, sporadic dialogue, trite dialogue, hate filled dialogue, pleading dialogue, honest dialogue. There was mum’s group, keeping my buoyancy up with words, welcome and the souls of other women. There was Husband, keeping his foot in the door and his hand in mine. There was a rejection of so many things being put forth, for so many now insignificant reasons. There was a hardening of the heart for greater glory, of that I am sure.
There was a book, read daily, with strength in the mornings not to snooze on the couch and spill my tea. An awakening to joy in the trivial, joy in the minute, joy in the everyday moment. There was a mum’s group, where I started talking and couldn’t stop and finally voiced the long internalized and repressed thought that I was blaming God for everything that I perceived of as bad in my life. There was email, lots of email, with a dear friend who holds me accountable as more than a mother or woman, but as a child of God. There was a sermon, a sermon that resonated with all these different things inside me, that reached to two years of thoughts and wonderings, that vanquished those insignificant arguments. There was a meeting, that spelled out God’s plan, that showed me a path, that rejected previous notions and excited me. There was a device, a Kindle, that let me explore so many different things at once, at the touch of the button and drop of a hat. There was this device that provided options, no longer getting tied up in which translation, but downloading all of them and reading all of them. There was The Message, rediscovering Petersen’s soft rendering of God’s word in a way that I can read while standing in line at the store, or while dozing off at night. There was this thirst to be constantly in the Word. This supernatural thirst for his Word, for the church’s commentary, for ideas and instruction and advice and knowledge. There was this sudden realization that everything familiar was fresh and had new meaning. Had different meaning this side of a 16 year old’s testimony. There was a rediscovery of God’s Word as God’s Word and not some doorstop to be climbed like a mountain.
There are these boys who call me mom, who ask questions with words and eyes. Who seek answers about this world. Who seek answers about who they are, and who I am, and who God is and how the three fit together. And scripture, always scripture, showing an answer, that was always there but never seen.
There was a hardening of the heart for greater glory, of that I am sure. And her heart grew three sizes that day. But one event, one day, two months ago? There are years leading up to this sudden blossoming of faith. Something skirted for so long. Gazed at with longing. Wondering how others seem to come by it. How that faith infused everything, and I would say it did, and I believe it did, and I would keep God out of “the box” but put him in a bigger one, so it didn’t feel like a box. A box the size of Texas is still a box. And the faith that moved anthills and spoke volumes, now doesn’t need to move mountains, just my own heart, and those boys, those sweet boys. For if God moves this heart, the rest just comes. If God breathes into my life, then that’s what I’m breathing out. And there’s no trying, no “how do I say this” or “how do I speak God’s love” because it just pours out. It comes in, it goes out. It comes in, it goes out. And three simple words spoken at 16 “I am here” no longer even matter, because what matters is “I AM” and I AM is all that matters.
And there are no words and all words to describe a 16 year old faith that suddenly leaves puberty and realizes that she was wearing black and moaning, even though she thought she was the most pleasant teenager. She felt so much better off in comparison to the world around her, but she was still wearing black with a frown the relaxed face she wore. The smile was there and the smile was real, but now the smile is deeper within and there are no words and all words and trite words and cheesy words and glorious words and every word to describe the blossoming of faith and the realization of what has been there all along.
And at Advent as we wait for the coming of the Christ child, I wait with bated breath, God with us Emmanuel, and I wait in stillness and silence no longer.