My dad was a pastor. When I was in Middle and High school we were at a small church where things had pretty much been the same for the century of it’s existence. it was a fine church, but the “we’ve always done it this way” attitude made me a little crazy as a young teen.
There was this woman there that let our Sunday School class and any social gatherings of the kids my age. She was fantastic. she was always looking for ways to make church an experience we valued each week. Over the 9 or so years I was there she really began to invest in me. No one else my age really cared to hang out with any adults, much less those with kids an annoying number of years younger than us. But for me it was different.
I’d always been around adults. We moved around so much prior to my 3rd grade year that it sometimes felt like one giant revolving door of churches, and people and places…So when we finally stopped for more than a couple of years I was excited.
So, I really liked this woman. And she chose to invest in me. We would talk. she would take me for coffee. She opened her home when I needed to get away from my own for a bit. it was great…until it wasn’t.
My freshman year of college i was dating this guy. His family and her family were great friends. that’s actually how we met. We decide to break up (another story for another day) around Christmas of that first semester. Around the same time, my father was approached about working for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association full time.
Between the break up (which was a bit ugly) and my father no longer being the pastor at the church, there was a lot going on. Somewhere in the process the woman who had been so very involved in my life disappeared. It was the most bizarre experience. She was still at our church, but she would not speak to me. She would not return my calls. I no longer saw her…ever. The person I had confided everything remotely personal for almost 10 years had fallen off the map. it was more than I could handle.
I realize now, that was in part because my focus had shifted. You see…I had only shared and confided in her, and in her absence a chasm was created in my life. Mentors are great and friends and others who invest in you are too, but anytime you prioritize that relationship over that of Jesus…bad things happen. For me it was the flesh and blood of it all. She was an “actual person.” I had come to rely on that more than I did on Christ. It was easier. During all the uncertainty, I clung to what was easy. Not a great move on my part…and something I struggle with to this day.
By the end of my freshman year we were settled in a new church in my same hometown, and I never saw her again. That was the beginning of a very difficult and dark time in my life…a time when I did not seek after God and I slipped farther and farther away from Him.
But today is not about that time. Today is about the redemption of that time. The story is necessary to understand how truly remarkable Jesus is in my life. You see…He has strategically placed me in the life of others with the same opportunity to invest and bless. Ironic, right? And so, as I’m in the midst of the busyness of the day, I pray.
I pray for discernment, for myself and those in my life. That I may always rest comfortably in my place under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Doing the work He has called me to do without trying to take His place. I pray for wisdom. I’ve made an enormous amount of mistakes for my years. I pray that I will use them to point out the goodness and grace of my Savior, sending those around me straight to the cross. And…the most difficult of all…I pray for intimacy. Intimacy with Jesus, whom I long to be closer to than ever before. And intimacy in those relationships He’s bringing me to where that is the point. My training ground, if you will. Where I test the waters and see that…the wounds do heal.