We lived in a cute apartment in a sort of upscale community, my baby brother and I. Our apartment was above a retired couple.
Their comings and goings always together, I’d glance down at them from the kitchen window, he gently helping her from the car and carrying one or two bags of groceries.
Occasionally,he looked up, his expression a contrast in wisdom and frustration.
Yet, they never complained of our late hours, our trash piling up or our completely haphazard life.
Both of us single, both of us sowing wild and hapless oats.
Every Sunday, they went to church. Sharply dressed and contentedly methodical were their steps back home.
On one particular evening, we ended up close enough for words. I asked the gentleman, “How can I know God’s will for me?”
Surprised by what he must have seen as a lost and careless young woman, he just stood there. “I’m sorry if we are loud up there sometimes.” I said, ashamed I’d asked the question.
Still, no words as we stood together in the shade of stairwell. Do I wait, do I leave him be? Should I not have invited his sermon? Will he rightly point out my sins?
He answered with a book. I’d love to say it lives on my shelf; unfortunately, the patterns of my life were not abruptly changed that day.
But, a seed planted, oh my goodness and I’m so glad God allowed me time enough for it to grow.
There are many who will not believe there are big portions of my life not well-lived.
Who may think I talk of redemption and wonder how on earth do I really think I needed to be redeemed.
Last night, a text came. I was painting and cleaning my art room. I’d walked the dog in the mist and fog, praying hard and quietly demanding as I walked.
The old heavy and annoying albatross of anxiety had begun to linger above my head.
It’s such a dull and cumbersome feeling, the one that cooks up chaos, confusion and confoundedness in the heart and mind.
I decided, after listing all my anxious taking of responsibility for plans gone awry to God, to head home, be quiet and paint. “I’ll paint. I’ll listen to Alison Krauss and I’ll just paint.”
So, I’m painting in silence because the air has cleared, my mind unfurled and open.
My painting, not furious, but an easy comfort.
My prayer was heard, my heart was made free.
I needed to answer her text; a young woman, mother of precious girls and one little boy is worried and has been crying for days, she said.
I’d given her a reference for a job. She didn’t know. She desperately needs one.
“I’ll pray for you, that a breakthrough will be soon.” I said. She answered with something like you are so great, I really appreciate it. I wish I had your faith.
I told her that the things I say to her are the things I say to myself quite regularly.
I’m not who I was, still not all I should be. Closer every time I surrender, a thankful trusting heart at rest.
Told her I get the blues too. I have to pray, get quiet and trust.
I hope she knows it’s true, that the mess I am is not nearly as much a mess as before.
That, the will of God is for her a good and settled mind; but, we have to seek it.
That’s what he said back then twenty plus years or so, the kind and patient gentleman who gave me the book.
“You have to seek God’s will and keep seeking it in the quiet place of prayer. ”
This morning, I’m reading scripture from II Samuel. A devotional about setting goals for fruitful living, talks about spending time alone with God.
The passage is called “David’s Prayer of Gratitude”. It was written after he was the least likely to be chosen, after he defeated a giant with a stone and before he strayed haphazardly distracted again by lusts of life.
“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
2 Samuel 7:18
He’s the good shepherd; he kept his shepherd boy who he chose to be a king.
He keeps us too, reminds us where he found us and where he’d like to help us go.
Where we long to stay, reminded of our thus far.