I was on my way into the grocery store one afternoon when I saw Diane. Diane is a woman I used to go to church with in yet another one of my unsuccessful attempts to join a church and stay there. I have major church issues, and God is helping me with that. But, this isn't about me and church.
We greeted each other, and it is mostly good to see her when I bump into her at Kroger or Target. I like Diane. She possesses a genuine kindness that moves me, but I am always a bit uncomfortable with the glimmer of sympathy in her eyes. I know I'm awful, I just wish she didn't know it, too.
We exchange pleasantries. She asks about the kids and I say they're fine, and am grateful to God that they are. Then she asks a big question, one that she's probably wanted to ask me for a long time, and somehow, she found the courage to on this day.
"Are you still with the Lord?"
At first I wonder if I'm wearing something that looks totally hoochie. I've been losing weight, and I'm turning 40, and occassional lapses in sanity that effect a sista's modesty are an unfortunate side effect of my midlife crisis. I wasn't looking hoochie, though. A little scattered, but by no means ho. Mind you, I know I haven't been to her church in over a year. It really looks bad for me. I *have* been to church, just not that one, and okay, I really do suck when it comes to going to church. But she didn't ask was I still in church, did she? She asked if I was 'still with the Lord.'
I almost laughed. I answered her like this:
"Yes, I am, but even if I tried to leave Him, He would pursue me. He's funny that way."
It only took all my life for me to understand that.
Diane looked thoughtful, and shook her head. I don't think she expected me to say that. I didn't expect it either. She went on to her car, and I into Kroger, and rather than feel badly about ME, and MY lack, I felt pretty good about God. HIM, and HIS great big love, that holds on tight and has never, ever let me go.
"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." (Song of Songs)
Isn't that a psychadelic trip? God loves me. Oh, honey, there are times that I leapt with wild abandon straight out of the right hand of God--only to be caught with His left. Did you hear me? I said He caught me in His left hand. He hasn't dropped me yet.
He is unwilling that I should perish. He doens't want you to perish either, and whether you are aware of this or not, dear reader, He is at your heals, chasing you. You--His desire. Ha! Did I say He is at your heals? I meant heels, but heals works, too. He is at our heals and heels, chasing us.
I am His, and He is mine.
God is the Great Starry Eyed Romantic, and I the object of His affection.
I have this image of myself. I am running, a fair maiden--always a fair maiden in His eyes, and He is pursuing me, His prize. I cannot outrun His hunger, and He catches me by the waist, and draws me to Himself, ravishing with me with His good, good love.
At long last. He has caught me, and given me His Good, Good Love.
Here is my re-write of amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace. I'm in His Arms
My Love has captured me.
It's in His Love
That I belong
Thus bound, I now am free.
Stop for a moment, loved of God,
and let Him give Himself to you.