The Life of the Left Hand ... And Meanwhile the Right

Sunday 15 June 2008

I'm on an email list that discusses and shares relational Christianity. Have been on it for years, came across it when I was in the process of leaving the church building I attended, and Googled something to that effect and came across Wayne Jacobsen's wonderful site and the yahoogroup that goes along with it.

I had some really cool online fellowship there, came across a whole stack of people who were feeling the disconnect in the building just as much as I was (oh, bliss to find likeminded souls) and it was just so good to be able to share without being judged, you know? To ask the difficult questions, and the questions that sounded as if you were losing your mind or your faith or both, and to have validation and affirmation. Sweet stuff.

I haven't been as involved lately (funny, but it's probably the time I have needed the fellowship the most, but I have been quite disabled at fellowshipping the last few years, far too focussed on my own stuff. And anyway, there's this blogging community I've fallen into now.

Actually, even though these two online forms are both situated on the internet, there are differences. Blogging is a far more public space and yet is singular expression in its general form. A forum is a confluence of voices. The dynamics created are much more representative of 'real life fellowship' than blogging. But blogging affords people a voice that they might not have out in 'real life fellowship'. I imagine the best type of real life fellowship would be a combination of those two things - everyone heard, everyone contributing, in a great symphony. That sounds a bit corny, but I still harbour hope :)

But anyway, I digress from my real aim, which is to reproduce a post one of the members made to the forum today (permission granted, of course) which resonated so with me that I wanted to share it with you:

In January of this year, I realized that June 14, 2008, would be the 40th anniversary of the day I decided to follow Jesus. It really overwhelmed me, as I looked back, because it seems I have wasted so much time. There were far too many years in the wilderness, far too many bad choices and living out the consequences of them. There was half a lifetime of doubts and fears, knowing I could never measure up to all the requirements that were tossed out at the Sunday club. Most of my life, I was a taker, a seeker of healing. Being so self-centered, I paid a big price. I never felt that my life made a difference.

I think it has been ten years or so since Father started nudging me outward, away from my inner needs and pains. I did spend half that time hating it, struggling against it, trying to keep the focus on me and what I mess I thought I was. Through a confusing loss, I spent about a year refocusing. The healing came slowly, but it DID come! So, the realization that I have been a follower of Jesus for 40 years was bittersweet, as my heart longed to make a difference for others.

The first conscious thing I did was to volunteer with Hospice. After being peripherally involved in the death by cancer of a life-long friend, it became a longing in my heart that could not be quenched, to be a friend to those who are dying, to make the last months of a life less stressful, more natural. So, I do that as God gives me grace.

But I wanted to do more. I wanted not only to reach out to others, but to show Father in some real and impactful way what our relationship means to me. I decided to plan a retreat. I wanted to get away and be with Father, sing and pray and read and journal for a few days, just to focus on Him and tell/show Him my feelings for Him in a concentrated way.

I saw a bumper sticker once: If you want to make God chuckle, try "making plans".

To hasten to my point, this week I am sleeping in a tent in a campground along the coast of California with my eight year old granddaughter. I brought a backpack full of books, Bibles, journals, etc., and haven't opened it once. I have learned much more, love much more, just by allowing Father to do what He does best: Love me. Here's what has happened:

Every day has been filled with activities. We are exhausted every night and fall straight to sleep. But each and every day, Father has been showing me something new.

Yesterday, as I sat on a piece of driftwood and watched my granddaughter romping in the surf, I thought about her life these past few years. Her bio dad is a drug addict, which she doesn't realize. She adores him. She doesn't know why her Mom divorced him, she just knows that her life is very different now, which is fantastic of course, but she doesn't understand a lot of it.

At almost the exact day of the divorce, her baby sister was born. So, not only had her dad left her life, but now she had to share her mom with a baby, who did and still does (at 2 1/2) get the lion's share of attention. Less than a year later, her mom met and quickly married a wonderful man, whom I adore and she kinda does. He is 20 years older than her mom, and a former Baptist minister, now a chaplain at our hospital. He is very strict, needless to say, and has three children (23 and 22 married, 12 living at home and spoiled rotten. So, she has gone from only child to middle child, and has had a rough time. As a result, I have spent a lot of time with her, as she lived in my house most of her life and I am the only relationship that has not changed in the past three years. Our relationship has been her only stability.

Sorry for that length.

Anyway, as I was watching her in the surf Father revealed to me that this is a life that I have ministered to in more significant ways than I am able to understand, not the least of which is this vacation we are taking together. I cannot even begin to explain the ways I have been blessed.

I broke down crying and began praising Him as I realized that instead of me coming on a trip where I could concentrate on Him all by myself, could pray for ways to make a difference, He clearly showed me the life He has placed right in front of me, a life in which I have made and continue to make a significant difference. The thing I had been wanting to do was right in front of me. I just didn't realize the depth of impact that I was having until Father opened my eyes to my little girl and her heart, her pain, the changes, the adjustments, the criticism, the demands...all the things she has had happen to her...and the solid place I am for her. What an honor.

That was SO long, but this has been SO impactful to me. I think in the back of my head I did realize that my relationship with my granddaughter was important, but the depth of it, the long-term impact seems enormous as I see it through Father's eyes.

Last year, my granddaughter made the decision to follow Jesus. Her mom did the same thing at the same age, but this child has known adversity much more than her mom did, and so I see her heart really being changed as she learns to love her God. What an enormous privilege it is to witness our Father at work in a young life, and to be a part of that work in ways I could not really see until right now.

Again, embarrassed by the length, but I am sitting in a tent waiting for a child's eyes to open for the day, and feeling SO much love.


  1. That's beautiful! That girl is so lucky to have to have her grandmother...may God bless that relationship.

  2. smiling from ear to ear.

  3. Or was it a grandfather?

    May God still bless that love. ;-)

  4. :) She is a grandmother, Erin. It's a beautiful story, ain't it? Rather full of grace, huh, Kentster?


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