(Note: this is slightly more dramatized than it actually was. Also, I meant to write it yesterday, but circumstances. And for the first part to make sense, you should read this first.)
She found me this morning, sitting in the rain, moisture dripping down my cheeks, muttering angry things at God as I stared at the altar where my dream was impaled with the knife, hope dribbling down the sides of the altar and pooling on the dirt below.
She sat with me a while. “Should I still pray?” I asked her, “It’s dead, it’s gone. What’s the point in praying?”
“Anessa, do you think God would ever tell you to stop praying?”
“No. Do I keep praying what I’ve been praying?”
“Has God answered that prayer or given you a new prayer?”
“No. I don’t know what else I should pray. And He hasn’t answered that prayer.”
“Then keep praying it.”
We sat for a while longer. Thunder rumbled.
“Come on, Anessa. You can’t stay here. You can’t just sit and stare at this dream, hoping for God to resurrect it. He can do it, no doubt about that. But are you really letting go if you just sit here and stare?” She prods me, tugging on my arm to get me to move.
I’m mad as I stand up. “I know God will provide. So here’s exactly what I want. Whoever God brings me has to be perfect. No hesitation on my part, no feeling of “run away!” when he talks to me, like I usually feel with every eligible man who talks to me. I’m going to be looking for red flags or issues with a fine-tooth comb, and if I find any that’s it, he’s out. And God better bring him quick, because I did that when God told me to.” I gesture back toward the altar.
“Anessa, do you hear what you’re saying? That’s old covenant kind of talk. God doesn’t have to do anything for you because you sacrificed your dream when He told you to. He’s God. He is good. He will provide. In His way and in His time. Come on, let’s go. Have you thought about going to see your very good, very wise friend who has also had a really rough summer (and is on your quest list)?”
She pulls me away from the mountaintop (side note: if you don’t have a mentor/accountability partner GET ONE. I cannot recommend one strongly enough. No, you can’t have mine.). I head down into the valley, go to work. I start going down down, into the lie pit. “What’s the point of a quest?” I think, “The quest is over, the dream is dead. Why go talk to my friend. Fine, I’ll go talk to her, but about her, not me. Focus on somebody else’s issues for a while. Nobody wants to hear about mine anyway.”
God pokes me, reminds me to pray. Alright, fine God, I’ll pray. I flippantly pray the prayer I’ve been praying for months: “Whatever it takes, God.”
He answers “I am.”
“I’m answering that prayer. How do you know but that your actions yesterday weren’t part of that?”
“Oh wow. You mean, you’re using my pain for a purpose? There was a reason I did what I did and then sat on a rock and cried for hours? My heart (and my butt) still really hurts from that. But God, if You’re working, no matter what You’re doing, then it was all worth it. Thank you God, thank you for giving me a glimpse of how You’re working. You didn’t have to do that God, You didn’t have to tell me. Wow. You are so gracious to me, Father God. So gracious and good, no matter what happens. Thank you.”
My joy bubbles up and overflows into an enigmatic Facebook post.
I go and surprise my friend in the nursing home after work. Her eyes get big and her face lights up as I plop down into the chair next to her. We have a wonderful three hour visit, mostly about what God’s been doing with me this summer. She can’t get over how good I apparently look. “Your hair is gorgeous!” she exclaims (I brushed it this morning!), “there’s just something different about you, so beautiful!” When she prays for me at the end of the evening, when we’re both tired and needing to go to bed, she says “God, I can see Your grace on her face.”
His grace is the best makeup.