When I pray, I usually begin with a famous line from a book title I read years earlier as a child: Are you there God? It’s me, Lisa.
The day was pitiful, my mind was lonely and my heart desired anger as my honored guest. The adversary, true to his nature, comforted my humanity. It was the most terrifying, humbling and–as our man cub likes to say–“love’ish” moment of my life. A place where time stood still, it was the moment of my own transformation. These are the days in which seeing the fire within being ignited are most prevalent, that is, when we look back. Some folks have valley times, you know those times in our lives where we walk through a given path either by our own doing or by another’s action. I’ll attempt to describe the day in particular when God called my name, loudly.
That day the adversary gave authority to my anger, he, the host of my pity-party, glorified and pampered the contempt I held in my heart. It was a day that, for all intensive purposes, would be my last, my body willingly yielding to my weak mind. I sat a willing victim in a seemingly dark room with light all around my being. It was then that, somewhere within the depths of me, verses, which I had heard and read in the bible, came to the forefront of my mind. They were like shooting arrows landing squarely on its target. Zech. 1:3, “Return to me declares the Lord Almighty, and I will return to you;” Matt. 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart;” John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
It was the small still voice that I heard within… “Why?” “God does not want to punish you” “Just take it one second at a time.” Not wanting to stop for my world, I was now truly alone. Yet, something inside touched me. Gods spirit embraced me that day. More verses came forth: “And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees… ” Ezek 36:27.
I stood at the crossroads of life itself, “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” Matt. 6:13. Ready to confront my maker, I stood at the very core of my humanity, seemingly no skin and no outside world, only my spirit in stillness within the chaos of my mind. That is where God’s Holy Spirit rested fully in the midst of my being, surrounded by the inner chaos, He called me, truly, for the first time in my life.
Although I had thought many a day before that I was a Christian, I now see I was merely a Pharisee who finally had the grace of being unblinded, much like Paul. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Phil. 3:14. It was upon that verse in Philippians that I finally broke and asked the Lord to truly forgive me for all things past, to finally break the chains of the good religion that I had believed was what made me a follower and what had led me to pursue a strict “seem good” religion.
I found Him true to His nature. That day, God called my name in a soft voice (albeit loudly through circumstance) offering abundant love and complete grace; I simply opened the door. Those things which He has given freely, I now, in turn, offer others in the form of words spoken or words written, which I hope offer in them the same love and grace that was once shown to me. It’s this knowledge that allows me to continue on towards the goal with tarnished feathers in tow.
Written By: Lisa Wooldridge,
Cypress UMC Member & Volunteer