I grew up as a Christian. I love it. I love the church I go to. I love the people, and the way they recognize me and show me grace. I love the winks from the moms who knew me in pink and white sundresses talking into a gourd as if it was a phone, and have watched me grow into the person I am now. But as I head out into the world, as college ends, I wonder how to stay with this. I guess from reading your blog that you are a Christian, and that you love the Lord. How do you stay with Jesus, Hilary?
A bit adrift
Dear “A bit adrift”,
I wrote on this here blog once about my quiet story. A story about grace, and obedience, and the long hard road of walking towards Christ. I wrote that story because I wanted to remind myself how I’m in love with God. I wrote it so that when I wanted to stray most, I would stay near to Him.
I write to stay near to God. I get on my knees in strange spontaneous moments in my room at 6:30 in the evening and clench my fists hard as I pray. I lie in bed, trying to fall asleep, and ask God all sorts of questions about my day, about the people who have touched my life, about the things I love most. I talk to the ceiling and then to the wall, and then to the inside of my pillow. I ramble. I listen to music.
And I think you must lean hard into the wind and the rain of your life, instead of away from it. When you sit through difficult conversations – the ones where people are hurting and angry and your words don’t really heal them – and say, “Where is God?” I think you are asking a good question. When you look around you at the pain of the people you love, the pain in your own heart, and ask God, "Why?" it's a good question. When you're tired and frustrated and angry, and you ask God, "Who are you?" you are asking a good question. But when you ask, love, lean towards an answer, not away from one. Ask, “Where are you, God?” and believe that He is going to answer you.
I don’t think there is anything really miraculous about staying with Jesus as you leave old places and enter new ones. It’s always and ever only a story about grace, in the end. How He gives you the privilege of knowing His people, and journeying with them. How He comes close to you in the agonizing moments of disappointment and the fullest moments of joy. How you know His name because He called yours first.
As we head out towards the world, sweetheart, I think we stay with Jesus by letting His grace keep us close. I think we stay with Jesus by falling a little in love. This is a story about wind, and rain, about strange new things and beautiful hard things. This life of yours is gorgeous and full of grace.
We stay with Jesus by leaning closer.