“He’s going to hit us,” I said calmly. John looked up from his passenger seat and said nothing. There wasn’t time. I was driving 70mph heading south on I-65 and he was driving north in the same lane. I didn’t apply the brakes. I said nothing as my hands gripped the steering wheel and made a slight jog to the right to avoid a head-on collision. My body braced for the sideswipe that did not happen. I never took my eyes off the road ahead but I knew we were passing within inches of one another.
“Phenomenal driving, Mary!” were John’s first words. “Thank you, Jesus!” were mine. And I continued to drive.
This was no way to start the New Year, face to face with danger on the expressway. It was unexpected, quick and frightening. My body was frozen in place, time and speed…I didn’t realize that until my hands, arms and legs started to tingle. I was thawing out. It was over. Yet the lingering effects of facing danger on I-65 have haunted me ever since. It is the first time I really thought I was going to die.
Oswald Chambers asks the question, “What are you haunted by?”
I had not given that much thought until now. Ironically I have been reading his devotionals from My Utmost for His Highest for years (since December 23, 1978 to be exact) and this year his question has caused me to pause and to ponder my haunting.
I decided to explore some definitions for the word “haunt.” Here are just a few: obsess, continually present, to visit often, inhabit, torment, plague…and the list goes on. Next I made of list of what haunts me: my past, my addiction with an eating disorder, anxiety, death, broken relationships, guilt, sin, reputation, judgments, depression…and the list goes on. Notice that my list is void of anything positive. Could it be I have a limited view of what it means to be haunted?
I wonder what’s on your list? You may have noticed that God did not make mine. I’ve realized that my worry ignores His presence in my life. My desire to control every jot and tittle leaves Him far away even when His presence is all around me. My fear is misplaced as I agonize over how to make my life work. I am haunted by my desire to please others instead of God. My mind has become the “haunt” where I hang out.
Is it possible that my depression is because I continue to live in the haunt of my past? Or my anxiety gets kicked up as I strive to dwell in the haunt of my future? I’m discovering that today is all I have and I long for Jesus to be the one who haunts me here. It is with Him only that I am facing down the danger that comes daily as a woman who wants to live, to be free, to be known and to be loved.
It was Jesus who was with me on I-65. He was the One haunting my heart as danger approached at 70mph. He was in the moment and so was I. We made a great team while facing danger together.
Allow me close with a few words that now describe the haunting of my heart with Jesus: goodness, God, kindness, free, rest, hope, beauty, protection, carefree, heaven, trust, love…and the list goes on. What a captivating “haunt” those words create. I invite you to join me there…
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.