Jaazaniah*, 2003

Jaazaniah*, 2003

Holding a picture and a “never, never” you were a gritter of teeth and a ram, but because you heard Him you answered yes. You stepped into a heavyset bus with orange curtains in the land of Rus, where you fell and jammed the knee to a bruise, ripening under pale skin. A bumpy endless night follows, with a skipping refrain from a silver Walkman:

And I know that someday soon, you’ll make sense of this despair, and your love, your love, will get me there.

Open the shutters and see the first summer that you were awake, drink the sparkling stars and tall, skinny pines like a shot of vodka, with shivers and burn and clarity.

Earth, rain, mud, sense and a cry, the original cry that was answered with the unexpected, longed for yes.

Through flooded showers with strangers’ hair grabbing at feet like snakes, through mosquitos feasting on flesh layered in sweat and dirt, through a shared mascara and a new friend who shared your name there was that yes,

the yes that answered the question, the original question.

You sat there, twelve and ancient, infinite and tired, tasked with tasking the children with crafts you didn’t understand, and some tasks just don’t make sense in the entropy, and the prayer pours out in all its young, eternal specificity:

“Let it rain God, a rain with drops big like I’ve never seen, but let it be for only five minutes.”

And when the sky immediately rumbles and cries your tears of relief, it is all naturalness to you, but

joy, joy, joy!

Joy in an oversized grey hoodie, running through the forest path in the giddy hope that defines you. Slick with the answer dripping off your face, through your clothes, breathless and known.

I have now seen the One who sees me.

He was in this place and I did not know it.

*Jaazaniah is one of my middle names. It means “the Lord hears.”

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Ten Years Ago, I Fell in Love

A few days ago, while sorting through some old papers in my room, I found this:

ImageIn case it’s too small to read, this is a piece in the Bangor Daily News from 2003 that details an upcoming trip to Russia that a local magician and his 12 year old daughter were going to make…

I was filled with joy and thankfulness when I found this little article, in awe of how God used one step into the unknown ten years ago to radically change the course of my life. As I slowly read the news article, I was transported back to the mind of a twelve year old girl who was scared to death to travel to a country that she had heard was scary, dark, and cold. I honestly don’t remember the moment I decided to go to Russia, which is funny because I tend to remember obscure things like what I wore on the first day of fourth grade. My Dad tells me though, that I went up to him and told him that I felt the Lord wanted me to go to Russia. That was a good enough reason for him, and I’m so glad it was.

I stepped onto a plane ten years ago, scared, unsure, yet having an undeniable sense that God wanted me to be there. And I fell in love that summer. I fell in love with Russians, with their warmth and vibrancy and depth. I fell in love with Russia, with its color and nature and kaleidoscope of culture. I fell in love, and ten years later, that God-inspired love continues to grow in joy and passion and purpose.

The Israelites used to put up stones as a memorial of God’s great works among them, tangible, solid markers that reminded them of God’s faithfulness, power and love in their lives (Genesis 35:14, Exodus 28:12, for starters). And to me, finding this little article from ten years ago was like unearthing a precious memorial stone. As I step forward into this next stage of life, if I am tempted to doubt my calling or doubt myself, may I come back to these tangible evidences of a calling and love that is so much bigger than me, and trust in the God who never fails to love and lead his children.

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