He is jealous for me.

Loves like a hurricane

I am a tree

Bending beneath

The weight of His wind and mercy…

Those were the words I heard in an old, dark church when I met God…

I just didn’t know it at the time.

When I walked into the old church that day the only things I knew for sure were first that the circumstances of my life weren’t working for me anymore; and second, I was desperate to feel something different.

What that meant…? At the time I didn’t know.

I remember the long line of wooden pews, two columns side-by-side. And I remember my view from the back of the room as I sat in the last pew and watched the lights turn off and worship begin.

This was typical for me. Service after service I searched in the expressions, tears, and praise of those around me during worship for whatever it was I was missing…

After awhile that day I closed my eyes and wondered why I was even sitting in that pew. I thought about the stress of my day and I felt the heaviness of what I now recognize as shame on my entire body.

Shame? The girl sitting in that pew never would have identified it that way. She spent her whole life striving to be the best and the brightest. And most of the time she succeeded, she had it all together… At least that’s what she successfully convinced herself…

But the further removed version of myself knows better now. That girl carried the shame of each “failure.” Each lost opportunity was heavy, whether academic, professional, or personal… Especially personal. I held on to each relationship that didn’t play out the way I wanted it to…

The heaviness and pain of a lifetime of failure and mistakes felt too heavy to bear sitting in the old wooden pew that night…

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see.

 Those were the words I heard when I stood up in my pew and fell to my knees… It wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time I meant it…

I fell to my knees because I was lost, but I wanted to be found. And I knew I was blind, but that night I was so desperate to finally see…

See what? I didn’t know that night. But after watching those around me in church for so long, I was hungry for whatever it was that they had but I was somehow missing…

“Please God take it from me…”

 That’s what I repeated over and over in my mind and in my heart as I bowed both my physical body and my entire soul before the God I desperately wished I knew… My request I couldn’t articulate that night, but now I know I was just asking him to take the load that was becoming too heavy for me to carry on my own.

In that moment I felt a rare, and unfamiliar tear… And it felt good. And the more I continued to plead with the God I wished I knew, the more tears flowed from me.

He is jealous for me…

 Is what I heard when I felt someone’s hand pat my back… Loves like a hurricane…

 I realized someone had seen my tears of freedom and silently comforted me where I was in the back of the room for a minute… I am a tree… Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy…

 I continued my silent plea with steady tears, and my silent friend began to move on…

OH HOW HE LOVES US…

 Those were the words I heard as I felt one last pat on my back… And simultaneously an electric surge of chills ran through my whole body…

HE LOVES ME,

OH HOW HE LOVES ME…

 Those were the words I heard as on my knees I began to sob away the heaviness of a burden I had spent my whole life trying to carry on my own. In the midst of those tears, those words and that love pierced me deeper than any other experience I held on to…

And against my own plan, in the dark, on the floor of an old church, in the last wooden pew at the back of the room, the God I wished I knew became the God I’ll never forget…

 

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see– how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him…

Pslam 34:8 (MSG)

 

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