The morning began over toasted crusty artisan bread with homemade strawberry jam and French press coffee. Our conversation started on a light note until our unmet longings became the subject of our words. We spoke of longings we had hoped the other would fulfill and our disappointment. Fortunately, we didn’t get stuck there or spiral into disagreement. Our words stayed sad, but kind. The conversation moved towards how we each have longings where God is painfully silent. There are places where “no” or “yes” seem to be His answer, other places He is silent. Not a yes and not even a maybe. Just silence where we are left in a place of waiting. The waiting is hard and this morning was one of those times.
Dane left for work and I turned to my journal. I’ve been drawing circles lately in my journal. It’s a way I’ve been charting some of my longings. Each circle has a name. I place myself inside, on the edge or outside the circle, depending on where I feel God has me. I’ve been asking God lots of questions – some very serious questions. Even some ”Really, seriously, God?”
Circles take me back to marble games when I was a young girl. Back in the 1950’s we carried small leather pouches of glass marbles instead of smart phones and technology. At recess we would rush out to a place on the playground where no grass grew. Someone would draw a circle and each player would put the same number of marbles in the center. Everyone took a turn shooting with our metal “steely.” If you hit another player’s marble out of the circle you got to keep it. I remember those days as a happy memory.
There were other circles I remember that weren’t drawn in the dirt. They were created by groups that formed at recess and also in the cafeteria for lunch at school. There were also circles of friends and circles of families. I wasn’t invited into very many of those circles, especially the circle of my biological family. As the survivor of my mother’s attempted abortion of me, I was painfully aware that I was uninvited and unwanted by my family.
It was traumatic for a young girl to stand on the outside or edge of the circles and not be included, even in my own family. That has left a scar that isn’t noticeable on my physical body but it lies deep within.
I was powerless to change the place I held in the circles of my childhood. In my little girl desperation I tried to be what people might find acceptable to include. I worked hard within my family to conform to their image of me, trying to change to suit their desires.
That brings me to the circles in my journal today. As a grown woman, I am no longer powerless. I understand and embrace my value and my goodness. Performance is no longer a crutch for me.
I feel gratitude for those circles that include me.
At the same time I am aware that I’ve drawn some circles where I am farther out on the edge than I long to be. There are gatherings and groups where I desire to be much closer to the inner circle.
If God shuts a door stop banging on it! Trust that whatever is behind is not meant for you.
God and I are having some serious discussions about this quote. The truth is I’m spending more time in God’s waiting room than I like. I do want to wait as the patient adult while being sensitive to the stories of the little girl desperate to belong. The word I’m focusing on from the quote is “trust.”
I’ve drawn a big circle around all my smaller circles. That circle represents God to me and with that new drawing, I’m in His circle. My dialogue with God continues as I ask Him to show me the balance between longing, planning, trust and waiting. The words “chosen and re-chosen” have come to me several times. I’ve accepted them as my words going into this new year. I’m chosen by God. He has plans for me. True, He has me in a place of waiting and trusting. I trust He will open His planned doors for me in His timing. I will wait with anticipation.
Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 50 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope. You can read more here.