Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's about change

Of course, if can change God, it changes us more.  This was driven home to me again yesterday as I continued my 'walk' through my early journals. With the intention of weeding tossing out the earliest, most redundant and juvenile of them, I got sidetracked into actually reading them.

Again.

Came to chapter in my past I've purposely slammed the door on because to open it has never done me--or anyone else, I dare say--much good.  But in the light of being changed by God through prayer, though not exactly via the desired answer--it's worth a passing look today.  However, readers beware, this is one of those, 'oh my gosh, she's an open-book' kind of posts,' that might not appeal. Just sayin'.

My early life (and by that I mean my teenage and early twenty years) is nothing if not a repeated, sorry pattern of uneven romantic feelings, too strong on my part for the one on whom those feelings were bestowed.  Looking back at it from the wisdom of this aged-self, I can easily see that those feelings were sometimes taken advantage of by the boy. Perhaps often, even.  

The spring I was a sophomore in college was full--a  packed social life, the crazy schedule of a Young Life leader, a sprinkling of academics thrown in, somehow (I hardly know how I managed), but a GIANT heaping helping of this boy. He flooded my journal. Day after day (which is a esoteric pun that just made me chuckle).  The ups and downs and vicissitudes of whatever was going on between us pre-occupied me to such a degree I find it hard to imagine I had time for anything else.  Pulling away,  reassurances, great conversations, hard ones, over and over, ad nauseum. Reading it made me want to take that 19-year-old girl aside and say, "Run for your life!", along with the most clear-minded of her friends.

But then, I know what was coming.  And she surely did not.  In May, for example they had a conversation where she (sorry for using the third person about my young self, but it's really difficult not to in this context) told him her fears that he'd 'walk away for good.' And he not only assured her he NEVER would, but he told her he loved her.  I have to say, I was SHOCKED to read this.  You can't imagine.  Because a mere four weeks later, he did walk away for good.

But that's not quite the whole thing.  He actually disappeared without a word. I mean, he literally was in my life one June day then never spoke to me again.  NEVER.  Not a word of explanation.  We lived in the same small town that whole summer--until I packed my bags and transferred to another university in a different state--so our paths crossed a time or two, and he did no more than say hello.  That's it.  Indeed, to this day, he's never talked to me again.

But his disappearance wasn't even the hardest part to read in that journal.  I've been over that for thirty-five years now.  What breaks my heart today is that for the next three months, at least (and who knows how much longer after that--I just didn't read the next journal), I thought it was all my fault.  I blamed myself for his disappearance and his reported (by our ever-so-helpful friends) bitterness and resentment toward me.  He had every right to treat me as he had because I'd done something wrong--I knew it as surely as I knew my own name.  That comes through loud and clear in this journal.  And I twisted myself into knots trying to figure out how to 'be better', different, good enough, not a 'bitch', etc.  I just knew I wasn't worthy, so, of course, he'd walk out of my life.  I never once saw that I was actually simply wronged, at the very least for the way he went about that leaving, if not for a whole host of other things.

From here I see so clearly how abused that young girl was. And sadly, how she went from that to an even more emotionally abusive relationship.  In those days I always believed the the word of the person I most 'loved', so if he thought I wasn't worthy, I believed it. Lock, stock and throw away the key.  And, because I believed I was so unworthy, I also knew I'd be left alone in the end.  And that next time, I was again proved right.

It's a very sad story, my young romantic life. Pathetic, really.
But thankfully, praise God, it has had the happiest of endings, in the most unexpected ways.

Why? Because all those years, those 8 years (which is exactly the number of years Beve and I went without seeing each other--except 2 brief moments which we both  remember very clearly--after high school), while I was praying earnestly with tears and sweat and almost blood for God to do for me--to give me what I wanted--, He was actually changing me.  Fundamentally, at my core.  Growing me into His likeness so that I stopped asking for myself and learned to pray for His will. Reforming me so that my thoughts and words and especially my desires were His. Of course, God's gift of Beve in my life was a sea-change.  It was healthy, for one thing. Beve's a very healthy man.   But by the time I fell in love with Beve, I was so wrapped up in praying for Beve, I had matured chronologically and spiritually, and learned about my own worth.  God did that.  And He used Beve to confirm it. That's the right order of things. The way it should be. As I say (and I don't throw this phrase around a lot!), praise God.

Anyway, that is what prayer's really about.  Whether or not He wants to change or fix or heal or give to us the circumstance about which we're praying--for ourselves or others--we can be absolutely certain He wants to change us.

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