Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls to deep
Have you guys ever had a preconceived idea shattered and turned upside down, dumped, shaken out, and then slowly reassembled?
I feel like that has been the journey of my understanding of Christ over the last several years.
Am I the only one who has had something so dark, so ugly, and heavy that they didn't know how to bring it to Jesus? Because Jesus is the polished, perfect Son of Holy God, right? I can surrender battles to him when I crack the code of offering them in a tidy, well-constructed prayer sprinkled with the right scriptures that "claim the promises" He has offered... right?
So what happens, one has to wonder, when we try so hard to surrender a broken part of ourselves, and it stays at least partially broken? What does that mean?
What if you find yourself coming to grips with the fact that God's plan is more about mobilizing people than strictly moving supernaturally? His plan to rescue foster children isn't a hallmark movie... it's just through the calling of flawed foster parents. Feeding the hungry may pull from our very own pantries. His plan for changing the world looks frighteningly like a plan to change... us.
What if the rescue He has for us is a hand in ours through every step of scary places? What if it is friends who show up at just the right moment, baskets of food on the doorstep, clothes for your kids shared by friends, an urge to check on a friend who is in a vulnerable and fragile place, a change of heart that causes us to be willing to educate ourselves about the special needs in our church/home/family/community? A new neighbor who somehow has experienced exactly what you are walking through?
The more I learn about Christ and His Body the more I understand that a faith community looks a lot more like a woven tapestry than an army or a club. Arms of need reaching out for help as arms of help reach out to give it - some of us being both needy and generous at once, in different ways.
In the past, this kind of talk seemed a lot like an attempt to offer God a free pass on all of the bad in the world. That's a cynical perspective, yet one that is common. But I have to tell you, it's hard to buy that after you have been on the receiving end of lavish grace and love from Christ's church at a time when no one but God could have known how badly you needed it.
Depression is my story. Life-long. Sometimes worse, sometimes better. Never gone. Fear of being misunderstood as a pathetic and sad person when really sometimes I just was more like a person who felt pain or nothing at all. The nothing only brought more pain because it felt so inhuman.
Go ahead and just imagine a long diatribe here about the stigma associated with chronic mental illness and we'll call it good. I'm going to fight the urge.
The miracle of God looked like me finally, after decades of struggle, sitting in a doctor's office with a handful of kleenex asking for help and receiving kindness and understanding. It looked like a load lifted when I left. It was found in understanding with the few people I shared it with (until now, hi, everyone else). It looked like no one assuming that I was dangerous because my brain was short on a crucial chemical.
Sometimes it looked like the right information coming across my path - an urge to try a new schedule or routine, understanding and love from my husband, saying no to some things and yes to others, the blessed freedom to know that rearranging your plans in order to get enough sleep was absolutely A-okay.
Sometimes the healing God offers is the freedom to start focusing on what is working and stop trying to look like you have it all together.
It's coming like a flood
I'm dancin' in the rain
I lift up my hands
Your love never changes
Christ is not the figure who is politely and semi-patiently waiting for you to have your act nailed down so that you can serve in the full expected capacity at the church. No. He values you as a member of His Body - and His Body is The Church. Your story is unique, but also blessedly, wonderfully common. This whole mobile, reaching, saving, feeding, clothing, sheltering Body is full of chronically broken people. Praise be to God for His kindness and for the unmatched diversity within His family.
You are uniquely and also not-so-uniquely called and qualified to be here. Your particular variety of brokenness may be chronic. It may never be fully healed like the cripple or the man with the withered hand, but it can be redeemed. There is no ill that does not give you a unique variety of empathy for another hurting soul or group of souls.
So my prayers have shifted and instead of begging for physical healing they sound more like this.
Jesus, You are welcome here.
God, use me.
I need you right now.
Please be near me, Lord.
Father, speak to me and help me help someone who needs You today.
Direct me, Lord, in this need that my child has.
Give me wisdom in all of my decisions.
Holy Spirit, you are welcome in my heart, my home, and my decisions.
And on the ugly days, a simple, "Father, I need your help" may be all that I can say. I treasure the presence that I have experienced in my days in moments that are so beautiful and lovely that I cannot help but see kisses from Heaven in the sunshine or the perfect patter of a soft rain. Just as blessed are those days that find a grown woman sitting on the floor seeking strength for the next moment and the next decision.
Christ is not afraid of your chronic brokenness. He is running toward you without waiting for a perfectly-phrased invitation. An open invitation is all it takes.