I work out most of my life’s problems when I take a walk with Jesus each morning. While the humidity hugs my skin and the song of the birds fills my ears, I talk about my problems with Jesus.
On this day, I was preparing to write a message called “Hold on to Hope.” But the problem was that I felt totally unequipped and unqualified to teach anyone about hope. I had not been a stellar example of holding on to hope myself. I needed someone to teach ME how to do it!
As I poured out my fears and concerns to Jesus, I pleaded for Him to help me, to show up, and to supernaturally give me the words. I entreated Him not to abandon me now.
“Jesus,” I begged, “please don’t leave me standing at the altar.”
Photo by Shardayyy Photography on Unsplash
I was minding my own business, sitting in my Bible study chair and reading through my journal. God and I were talking about my leadership of my churches ladies’ ministry. I fiercely love the women that I lead, but I struggle with the confrontation that is involved with leadership. I’ve been growing as a leader in this area, but working through conflict is still extremely hard for my sensitive tender-hearted self.
I was reading back through my journal and seeing where God had sent people to encourage me in my leadership journey. I was reading the kind and sweet things they had said when I suddenly burst out in tears. A deep, agonizing prayer came from within me: “GOD, I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.”
“I AM A WRITER!” The words came flying out of my mouth and took me by surprise. I was taking my morning walk and talking with God in the cool of the day and bloop! Out popped those words. “Me? A writer?” I questioned. I might as well have said that I was a fireman or a fisherman or a pro basketball player.
Well, why not a writer? I write, don’t I?
But the thing is, I’ve always said that I wasn’t good at writing. I am more the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) girl. In high school, I excelled in Calculus and Physics and Chemistry but struggled in English. Like, the worst grade that I made in high school was in English. The math and science concepts gelled in my mind like flies to flypaper but words and grammar and poetry always alluded me. They still do. Seriously.
Don’t ask me to analyze a poem. I’d rather have five root canals without novocaine.
I’ve been a follower of Jesus for almost 25 years. From the early days of my salvation, I have loved God’s word. One of the passages that has always alluded me is Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. Philippians 1:21-26 NASB
I hung up the phone and hung my head between my shoulders. I stumbled my way through the kitchen sobbing uncontrollably. My daughter came up to me and embraced me in a hug. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
My father had just called to tell me that my beloved grandmother had died. This was a women that I spent many, many weekends with when I was growing up. She lived on a farm and I have many happy memories of being with her there.
I released my daughter from the hug and trudged along to tell my husband the bad news. I walked past my daughter’s 18 year old boyfriend, who was sitting on the couch. He looked up into my puffy, red eyes and spoke four powerful words that scream, “I love you.”