Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It Starts Today

When the tall, pretty woman approached me at the writer’s conference and said she wanted to pray with me, I assumed she wanted prayer for herself. She was a first-timer and we had reached that infamous mid-point of the conference when many start to melt down under the burn of crushed dreams. I planned ahead for how I might encourage her, and prayed for the right words. But when we finally connected, she took my hand and said in a voice so gentle that it almost triggered tears, “I want to pray for you.” 

I needed prayer, for a lot of things, but how would she know that?
She knew absolutely nothing about my life other than that I was praying for direction after a difficult year, yet when we found a quiet bench under a shade tree, she spoke and prayed as if she knew my whole life story. She said a lot that I don’t remember until God brings back a quick snipped of our conversation; other gems I hurried back to my cabin to record in my journal so I wouldn’t forget them. She urged me to let go of the darts that had been hurled at me in the past, “Wherever they came from,” so I wouldn’t miss what God had for me. We were about to enter the Auditorium for a service that would include communion, and I was to lay those darts at the foot of the cross and walk in victory.

Darts? How did she know? Did she see their imprints? Were they that obvious, even to a stranger? Or was this one of those moments when God sent an “Is she an angel?” messenger to deliver a truth that might not have sunk in as deeply if I’d heard it from someone who knew the details?   

“It starts today,” she said, smiling. And it did. As we prayed, I ached to open my eyes feeling changed. I didn’t exactly lay the darts at the foot of the cross during communion, but I did picture Jesus taking them out of my hands and hurling them into the sea. After that talk, I no longer wanted to live or even write like the old me, held back by past wounds and my life-long enemy, fear
Since then, I have discovered that “It starts today” is only the beginning. It takes time to break old habits, ignore the mean voices, see lies for what they are, uncover the seeds that sprouted the fears and insecurities, and feel at home with freedom. Some days, it feels like life will always resemble a very long drawn-out therapy session between me and God and whoever I feel the need to open up to about what He is teaching me on a given day. But “It” started and is continuing, so I thank my heavenly Father repeatedly for that woman, for her willingness to risk grabbing for my hand in a crowded room to say, “I want to pray with you later,” and for showing me the beautiful things that can happen when we let “It starts today” begin right away while also allowing it to take the time that true, lasting healing requires.
What do you need to “Start today?”

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