My heart is torn. I am deeply concerned for the state of our country and yet I am finding it difficult to entertain the plethora of divisions and distractions. I long for the words in the Pledge of Allegiance to be alive and well in this present day. My wholehearted desire is for our country to be one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
I want to be a part of bringing a taste of Heaven to Earth.
Over the past several months I have felt myself wavering in the distractions not only in the political world but in my heart and home as well. I felt the quake of disruption when I read the words written on a stone I chose from a basket in a local shop.
“Don’t forget why you started.”
The message has continued to come around over and over again.
This is a prayer from my journal. I wrote it in 2003 when I discovered that the abuses I experienced in my past had been impacting my present day relationships causing divisions and distractions.
“Seriously, Jesus. I need help. I lift my marriage and family to you. I lift my relationships. I pray for healing. I pray that my heart be freed of resentment and bitterness. I am exhausted from trying to raise the perfect family. I pray Lord that you restore our marriage and family and that anything harmful be consumed by your love. Heal our hearts Lord, please.”
That was 14 years ago. I remember the exhaustion I felt from trying too hard to prove my worth, to “get it right”, to take responsibility for others and to meet every need except my own. My life had been about service to others in belief that it was better to give than to receive. I had an external experience with God, but no inner experience. I believed receiving for myself was considered selfishness. I was empty inside.
So much has happened in the years in between then and now. We are still married. Our kids have grown together with our family. Just this year, I received grace upon grace. Not only did our two sons graduate from college, but our oldest son got married and I got to receive our daughter in grace, Lauren.
Hope. It is why I started and why I want to continue.
It has not been any one process that has brought change but rather the unexpected mercies of God, the presence of his spirit and the body of Christ.
“Life is never about being correct, but only and always about being connected. Just stay connected! At all costs stay connected. Our only holiness is by participation and surrender to the Body of Love and not by any private performance.” Richard Rohr “Eager to Love”
Though the distractions of this world feel pulling and at times I struggle to stay connected to my heart and to the Body of Love, working to prove myself worthy or right is just not necessary. I am thankful for undeserved grace that accepts me as I am in all the glorious mess of my past and my present and I am thankful for love that welcomes me back to hope for the future. I can rest assured that no matter how long or how far I’ve wandered away, I am secure in Christ and I am right where I belong.
I want to remember why I started. I want to dream with hope for our future and for that day when we will be one nation under God.
Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 26 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.