Do you want to know what one of my fondest childhood memories is? Waiting. I remember lying under the sky, just waiting for something, anything. I never told anyone what I was waiting for; to be completely honest I can’t say I even knew. Still I’d lie there, day after day; soaking up the sun and everything this world had to offer me. Maybe I was waiting for an absolution, an answer. Whatever it was I was waiting for, it wasn’t coming.
For me, deciding to follow Christ wasn’t one life changing moment, it was a series of moments that have changed my life. God was a figure who was in and out of my life on a regular basis. Believing in Him and pursuing Him were two different things, and I failed to see that. I worshipped Him when it was appropriate, prayed when it was necessary, and lived my life the way it was convenient for me to live. I still felt incomplete, like there was an absence in my life. So I continued praying, asking Him to bless me with things that would make me feel better, to feel whole.
Let’s go back to October 2010 at Jesus Encounter, shall we? I didn’t go there to praise God. In fact, I went there irrevocably bitter. At that point in time I was feeling the worst I’d felt in a really long time. I was losing faith. I thought, “If there’s a God who loves me, where is He now?” I couldn’t fathom the idea that He would expose me to drug addictions, depression, alcoholism, abuse, and poverty. Or even just allow me to feel so worthless. I wasn’t telling anyone what was going on. The more my family fell apart, the more I tried to act like it wasn’t happening; it was much easier to ignore everything than face the pain that would come by acknowledging that it was real. I tried to handle everything myself.
But do you want to know one of the worst parts of all? Nobody noticed. I was entirely broken and no one knew to pick up the pieces. So I prayed for God to be there. I even asked Him to prove it. I wrote Him a letter as my prayer, talking about everything that was going on and tucked it away in my Bible. That night a youth leader came up to me with tears streaking her face. She said, “You are not worthless, you are beautiful. He loves you, He loves you so much!” We stood there, the two of us, in the midst of a hundred other people or so, who were facing their own dilemmas, or worshiping God with the band that was playing in the background. I had collapsed at her words, I broke down sobbing and she just held me, praying to God, mending me back together after I had fallen apart. I listened, opened my heart, and when I fully grasped what she was saying I felt a revival; my tears stopped instantly.
Months later the letter I’d written to God came slipped out from one of the pages in my Bible and landed near my feet. I reread it and was awestruck by the familiarity; the same words on that paper were words that my youth leader had recited back to me. I reconnected with her later to find out she could barely remember what she said. “It wasn’t me talking,” she informed me. “It was God.”
That was the first time He’d noticeably answered a prayer for me by speaking directly through someone else, and right into my heart. That was the night I was taught how valuable I am.
The second time He spoke into my heart was in December 2010 when I was stressing out about how to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life: college. I didn’t know what I wanted other than thinking it couldn’t be found here. I was completely against staying home for school, I wanted to travel the world and have fun and meet new people. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to live here any longer. But with all that searching, I couldn’t find a thing. So I went to God. I cried for hours that night asking Him to show me the way. I told Him that I trusted Him with it all and that I would be waiting for a word back. Thinking it might take days I began drifting off but when I started to fall asleep my mind began racing. Trying to shove the thoughts away was like attempting to push a semi-truck with my bare arms: impossible. My mind, for minutes, was filling with thoughts like “He knows what’s best for you,” but the line that stuck out most was “even if you don’t like it.” And that’s when He told me: I’m staying home.
Needless to say, I was slightly disturbed. I’m sure He may have found it a little amusing to watch me find out that what I want for me and what He has for me are two completely different things. However, sooner than later, it just felt right. After months of intense speculation, I’ve noticed that He has a reason for everything. That was the night I was taught to just listen.
They say third time’s a charm; He certainly proved it. In the various weeks leading up to youth convention my relationship with God was becoming stronger than ever. But somehow, among all the greatness, something was still missing. So the closer youth convention came the more I prayed that He would show me what He had planned for my life. When Easter weekend finally came He answered my prayers. Through a series of sermons, worship, and prophesying the truth I’d been running from finally caught up: this life isn’t even about me. It’s not even about what He can do for me; it’s about what I can do for Him. All that time I had been praying for Him to fill the void by blessing my life with earthly things when He the blessing all along. I fully understood at this point how selfish I’d been by living my life with Him instead of for Him.
I was created to serve Him and love Him and adore Him. Easter weekend was the weekend He taught me what this life is intended for, and the same weekend that I fell in love with His intentions.
Through all of these revelations, I’ve remained humble enough to know that I’m not perfect, and my life won’t be either. But I’m living each and every day the best that I can with what I have, and what I have is the most remarkable God. He is my strength, He is my song, and He is my refuge. Every day He teaches me something I never knew about myself before. I still don’t have everything figured out, but God is patient with me. This testimony doesn’t even begin to explain the work God has done in my life, or the ways that He has healed me; but know that with God on my side, I will never be the same.
So, all of that seeking and I finally found. What I found was that it was Him I was always waiting for. But He was there above me all along, dancing—reaching out with His holy hand asking “May I have this dance?” And I finally said yes. I reached out and let Him take control. I let Him take it all, so that I could become His.
I’m dancing under His sky, now, soaking up the Son and everything He has for me. He’s teaching me the rhythm; He’s singing me our song.
I’m only waiting now for the day He brings me Home.