The washing machine quit (we got a new one) and the peonies are blooming beautifully.
I’ve had a hard time in May and June. So much up and down. So many tears.
I felt sick for days (and still do) about the story that is all over social media these days of child sexual abuse at the hand of a missionary man in Haiti. I don’t even have words to address this heinous evil. And besides, they’ve all been said by someone else. I just pray and pray that the right steps are taken by all involved and that justice is served and that those precious victims’ lives are given loving spaces to heal.
“But I thought missionaries were supposed to be good people,” said Liesl. That’s what we all thought, dear.
Last Sunday evening I poured the olive oil out of the vial Dan uses for anointing with oil and washed it.
(If you aren’t a Bible person, here are verses in James 5 that explain this practice.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.)
We’ve used that little vial four times in the years that Dan has been pastor. Once for my brother Kevin, who passed away with a brain tumor at age 27. Again for our friend Mary and later for her mother, Edith.
And this time it was for me. I’ve had days in the past month when I just didn’t think I could go on. It isn’t just the depression, it’s terrible anxiety too. I never really knew what people meant when they talked about anxiety. But now I do.
I’d been meaning to ask for anointing for a long time already. Then I’d start to feel better and kind of forget about it.
But it was Time.
We had a nice little service. Lots of tears and kind encouragement. Friends laid hands on me and prayed that I could be healed from this mental illness that stalks my life. Afterwards, Dan’s face was wet and he very seldom cries.
(He told me later that he was thinking about us dating and how much he wanted to marry me and how he didn’t know what was in the future for us and that he would pour oil on my head someday and lead in prayer for my healing.)
I have only shreds of faith. But I prayed that God would honor them. And that others would have faith for me. And that whatever the outcome, I’d be surrendered to God.
Well I didn’t wake up Monday morning with all things looking clear and bright.
In fact, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week were some of my darkest yet. At least that’s what I wrote in my journal.
I don’t know why God heals some miraculously and others through time and medication and therapy and natural supplements. I think He’d be glorified most by my supernaturally being healed at the hands of a humble handful of people in BayTree, Alberta.
But as much as I want to choke on the words, maybe I need to suffer a little while yet, as 1 Peter 5:10 so aptly puts it, before I am restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established.
I’ve been seeing a Christian therapist in Grande Prairie. Her name is Beth and she’s warm and kind. I talk about my feelings easily and people say they are praying and they care and that they’ve struggled with depression too. But I guess it’s good for me to talk to someone who can give me tools for overcoming my chaotic thinking.
Besides that, the beautiful green walls of the waiting room at the counselling office and the classical music playing are so calming that that in itself makes the visit seem worthwhile.
How do you picture Jesus? At the suggestion of my therapist, I have been trying to practice Listening Prayer, which simply means opening your heart and being quiet. It’s so hard because I want to talk and talk.
Anyway, viewing Jesus as a friend sitting right beside me helps. But I struggle over picturing Him. I can’t stand to have Him in skinny jeans and converse sneakers and short hair, a picture that some people might find comforting.
But the long white robes of the Bible story books don’t work either. Not in BayTree, Alberta in 2019.
I’ve come to peace with a picture that’s kind of in between the two I described. Loose fitting clothing in neutral colours, a rope belt over a tunic, and long hair. (Sorry, CLP.)
I remember a ladies’ talk at a fellowship meeting of missionaries in Belize and the leader was saying that she pictures herself coming to Jesus on a throne with her requests. She is bowing low, and He puts forth his hand and offers her acceptance into His throne room.
Another lady spoke up and said she pictured Jesus to look like Labe, her husband. He had a beard and kind eyes and I loved it that she felt that way about her husband.
I could say the same about my husband looking like Jesus. Except Dan might be a shade too good looking. Because the Bible says that Jesus on earth didn’t have beauty that made people desire Him.
I think our view of Jesus needs to balanced between what both of those ladies saw when they pictured Him. Right now, when I lie on my bed in tears, I need the comforting friend picture.
It’s been lovely to talk to my friends again here. Do tell me how you picture Jesus if you are His follower.
(Here is a 9:50 pm walk on the longest day.)