Missing Heaven

Monday nights I go to a youth inpatient drug rehabilitation facility and do Bible studies for teenage girls. I also work there, Monday to Friday from nine to five. To say the job is exhausting is an understatement. And yet, every Monday after an eight hour day I rush home for dinner and my dog, then rush back to work to volunteer for a couple of hours.

This previous Monday was a particularly difficult day. I’d had it up to my eyeballs with the attitude and lip-service of a bunch of hormonal teenagers and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. If I had to choose between going back to work and watching paint dry I probably would have watched paint dry… paint doesn’t talk back. The idea of spreading the love of God to them sounded about as easy as a root canal. Then a friend called, my dearest friend, and reminded me of a scripture in Isaiah 26:8: “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts,” encouraging me to let that be my motivation. Then, my friend Helena, my partner in the Bible studying endeavor showed up.

Her passion and zeal lit the fire in my heart that I needed. I forgot about the kids and the stress of the day. The steel rod in my shoulders softened.

We spent over two hours in that Bible study. It should have only lasted an hour, but when four out of the ten girls had tears in their eyes and wanted to know what the Bible said about how to repent, whether or not baptism was something they should do, whether God really loved them… and not just them collectively, but her in particular. Well, you hear that stuff and you make time to share God’s love and truth.

Helena and I were in multiple one-on-one, intense conversations, digging through the Bible, holding hands and loving on the girls in a way they hadn’t experienced in a long time – if ever. By the time we got in the car, I was exhausted. When we got back to my house, Helena was still raving about how amazing it was to have connected with the girls in such a way. Riding that high the Spirit gives when we actually do what it calls us to do. We went inside to pray, and when I opened my mouth to speak, the strangest thing happened.

As I prayed, I began missing God in a way that just didn’t make sense. It wasn’t the missing you feel when you’re far away from someone, but a different kind. One that involves connecting. It’s the same feeling that happens when I get a hug from someone and my head fits right in her shoulder… and she doesn’t let go. Or when I get a good long cry out for no good reason, and my dog snuggles up to me on the couch and stays there long after I’m done. Or riding a horse and feeling one with him in a way I never have before. While praying, I missed God in the same way. Tears filled my eyes and I longed to crawl into someone’s arms. Instead I just kept praying, and I let myself cry alone.

The truth is, I’m tired. Far more tired than I’m often willing to admit, and for a moment I felt God take me by the hand and draw me into his arms whispering, “I’m right here.”

Giving up my time outside of my day job to do God’s work is exhausting. I know this is the job God called me to, but sometimes I lay my head down at night and wonder: what if I fail? How upset will He be? What if it’s too much? Am I enough if I can’t do this? Just me… do I need to bring anything more than my heart and mind to the table in order for God to use me?

I hope I’m not the only one who’s struggled with this. I don’t think I am, but for now here’s a little voice into the void letting you know – whoever you are reading this and feeling the same way – you’re not alone. Keep fighting the fight, running the race, and don’t grow weary in doing good. God’s right there.

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