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Call Vignettes- A Series of Surrenders 6

Not all surrenders happen in a moment.  Some surrenders have come over time, as Jesus continues to invite me into a deeper relationship with him.  The notion that God interacts with his people directly has fascinated me since I was little.  I couldn’t understand what adults meant when they talked about God speaking to them.  How did you know it was God and not your own crazy thoughts?  What did you have to do for him to talk to you?  Should you talk back?  I had so many questions about the interaction.  In Junior High School I would lie in bed at night and practice hearing from God.  I would lie on my back and look up at the ceiling and say, “Lord, I want to hear your voice like adults say you speak to them.”  And then I would lie quietly.  I would examine each thought that came into my head, “Nope, that was my thought.” “Nope, that was definitely me.”  And on and on until I fell asleep. 

In those moments looking up at the ceiling my mind often wandered to the events of my Jr. high day- school and soccer practice and time with friends.  I remember weeping for my friends, crying out to God for them.  I was overwhelmed by a physical pain in my chest, like my heart would burst as I prayed for them. I don’t think I ever heard from God in those moments, but He was forming a love and compassion for my friends, a couple of girlfriends in particular whose families’ lives were really difficult.  I came to understand this as a burden for my friends.  God gave me a love and care for them that, as a 12 year old, were not in my capacity.  I invited them to youth group and camps and prayed with great fervor for these friends.  Looking back, I can see now that although the Lord didn’t speak to me directly, he was putting his heart in me, guiding and shaping my life as I sought him. 

Like most preteens I was a complete mess of good intentions, attitude and self centeredness.  I was so sincere in my desire to know God and so sincere in insisting I knew better than my mother.  My already healthy ego was egged on by the youth leaders and family friends who affirmed by abilities as a leader, as a student, and as one with a call of God on her life.

I was everybody’s go to girl.  If you needed to welcome a new kid to youth group, ask Crissy. If you needed a camp counselor, ask Crissy.  If you needed someone to speak to represent the youth, ask Crissy.  Bible study leader, Crissy.  I began to think there was nothing I couldn’t do.  I began to think they thought there was nothing I couldn’t do so I had better keep at it.  I believed them when they said I was capable and I tried it all - all with a sneaking suspicion that all the praise would end if I misstepped.  So I didn’t misstep.  I did everything right:  Took the right classes; had the right friends; did the right activities; listened to the right music; went on the right trips.  It was fun and I was a shining star.  Then I met Marguerite who was the first person to tell me that I couldn’t do it all.. 

When our church started early morning prayer gatherings at 6am, Marguerite, the pastor and I were the only ones who showed up.  That’s when Marguerite told me there was something I couldn’t do. Marguerite was a wiry old lady who knew how to pray like no one I’d ever met.  She told me that I couldn’t go on a mission trip without the Holy Spirit.  “You can’t do it.  You need the power!  We’ve got to pray right now that you get the Holy Spirit before you go to minister.  You just can’t do it without the power of the Holy Spirit in you.”  I was nervous.  And I was worried about the time.  It was finals week and I couldn’t be late for school.  But in that moment I didn’t know what was worse, telling Marguerite to stop praying or telling my teacher why I was late. 

There was no getting out. Marguerite put her hands on me and started praying.  “Speak it out,” she’d say.  Speak it out.  And I began praying, telling the Lord that I wanted all he had for me.  I recognized my own inability to minister in power, acknowledging my frailties and desire to see him work miracles.  And Marguerite prayed over me.  She prayed loud.  She prayed in tongues.  She prayed earnestly. And she coached me, “lift your hands, speak praise to God, speak out what comes to you.”  And I did, quietly at first, I started to speak words I didn’t know but they kept coming and Marguerite’s coaching gave me a boldness to keep on.  And then she stopped praying and looked me in the eye, “now you’re ready to go on your trip,” she said. 

As I left the church she was still calling out after me, “pray in the car, pray all the time, tell the Lord how much you need him.  He will show you what to do.  He will give you power.  Speak it out…”  I prayed with Marguerite for 19 years until she passed away last year.  Every time I was with her I was reminded that I am frail and needy, yet God fills me with His Spirit and uses me to do His work in this world.  Marguerite lived this truth every day.  She was a woman fully surrendered to Jesus and her life continues to compel me to obedience and surrender.  Who are the people who have shown you the way of surrender?

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It was unforgettable and tossed out all previously conceived notions I had of Muslims at the time.-Douglas Andrew

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I love our world- the sights, noises, and flavors of it all. I've found the best way for me to make a difference globally is to be rooted and engaged in my community. Every day is 1 more adventure in loving God and loving my neighbor.


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