June 7, 2014

Seeking God's Story


Sunset circa 1982

I have spent the last 5 years or so of my life trying to build a story. Not just any story…my story. I finished school early…high school & college…for the sake of the next adventures. I’ve traveled to foreign countries and I’ve lived in Central America. I left home at 18 and worked for a mouse. I ran races and sometimes I finished dead last, but I ran them nonetheless. I’ve jumped out of planes and I’m still itching to do it again. I met the man who was able to steal my cynical, guarded, skeptical heart…and it has never even crossed my mind to think that it might have been crazy to have married him. I’ve loved friends who haven’t loved me back and I’ve been loved by people whom I should have loved better. In the past 5 years of my life, I have been consciously trying to create “me”.  In a family filled with stories, tales that dive into world travels, interesting people, and raw reality…I have been desperate to have something to say for myself. I have wanted a story that is so obviously daring, courageous, and adventurous that people can’t help but say, “Wow. She’s done things.”

I want to be somebody. Somebody who is undeniably somebody. I want to smell like exotic Indian spices and have dirt behind my ears from crawling through Maya caves. I want to attend a ball in Austria and dance in the street in Spain (despite my lack of dancing feet.) I want to celebrate Christmas in Switzerland, nestled by a warm fire while the snow swirls outside. I want to eat real Italian food in Italy and maybe swing through the Middle East for a tour of the Holy Land. I want to be sunburned in Africa, serving alongside the people who are ingrained in my heritage and written across my heart. I want to be coated in dust, worn thin, tired, stretched to my limit, and so completely sure that I am where I am supposed to be.

I want to be somebody who doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody.

Over the past few weeks, an accumulation of events has led to me a desert ground. Not a dessert ground, as much as I love chocolate cake…but a dusty, dry, barren desert ground in my heart. On one hand, I have felt so sure that this where I am supposed to be. Right here, in Oklahoma…for the time being. Yet on the other hand, my heart has been weary, worn thin, and life has ceased to make sense.  I have questioned things that I have never questioned before and I have grown tired waiting for answers that I know I will never get.

Why do we have so many material things? How can a million people live in the same city and not feel the weight of humanity on their shoulders? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do parents have to bury their children and why do friends have to grapple with words like “cancer”?

Why? Why? WHY.

In the midst of my culture shock, life changes, and grief observed…I have prayed and yelled and screamed at God. But mostly, I’ve sat back and told Him, “This just doesn’t make sense right now. It doesn’t make sense.” I’ve said those words over and over again, hoping that maybe, if I say them enough, something will begin to make sense… and God has been gracious to me. He promised that he would be close to the broken hearted and, although I have struggled and groveled in desperateness…I have felt the full assurance that someday, things will make sense. Someday, if not on this world then in the next, the veil will be withdrawn and I will see clearly.

As I have questioned and begged and cried out to God, over and over again I have returned to the place where I have said, “I want to know You.” If I am going to choose to believe in something that cannot be anything less than my everything, I want to know God. My story, everything that I have ever wanted to be, has seemed more and more insignificant under the light of knowing God’s story. Knowing Him. All of my life, I have been wanting to build my story, as if it were mine to build. As if the puzzle pieces are moved around by me and I choose what the finished picture will look like. I have wanted everyone to see “me”, to see how good I am at putting together puzzles and to applaud my job well done. But that’s not how life works. My puzzle? I don’t know what the finished picture will be. Right now there are a million pieces all scrambled together that somehow don’t make sense. And still, I choose to believe that there will be a finished picture. I choose to believe that this small piece of life that I can see right now, filled with uncertainty, with new plans, with pain, and with joy…. I choose to believe that these are only the smallest images of what is and what is to come.

My story is insignificant compared to the greater story that is being told. There have been moments recently, in the midst of my questioning, when people on whom I have no claim have upheld me. They have reassured me without knowing they were doing so. They have affirmed me without knowing that I needed to affirmed. They have allowed me to catch the glimpses of heaven that I have so desperately longed to see. As I have struggled, I have equally been upheld. As I have cried, I have equally felt the joy of community. As I have questioned, I have been encouraged to find answers. The puzzle is being made with every breath I breathe and I have no idea what the finished picture will be, but I choose to believe that someday, I will be allowed to see it in all of its beauty.

My prayer, no my plea, remains the same, "Come quickly Jesus, please please please." As I stutter and stammer through this mystery of life, and as the "bigger picture" sometimes looks crystal clear but often looks so murky...I hold on to what I know to be true when I do not feel it to be true. I cannot wait for the story to be completed. For the painting to be revealed. For the purpose of pain to suddenly make so much sense. I cannot wait to have answers and to not feel the need for them any longer. I cannot wait until the day when Heaven meets earth. Unashamedly, I cannot wait. But I will wait, for however long I must, because I know that I know that I know...God is faithful. In the storms, in the sunshine, in times of action, and in moments of stillness...He is writing a story that is beautiful and beyond descriptions. A story that is worth waiting for. A story that will bring us to our knees as we can't help but exclaim, 
"Wow. He has done great things.


Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely. 
1 Corinthians 13:!2