“Because I Want to Be With You…”


Warning: You may need two of your favorite beverages first. 

Several months ago, prior to the summer health adventures, very few were reading my blog. And rightly so. I am a fledgling, evolving writer and even one of my very favorite writers/speakers, Jon Acuff, would tell you that his own blog had much the same following in his “early days.” But for some crazy reason, I still felt that God was convicting me to write this blog. And my blog had few references to Godly things, so I really wondered why I felt so convicted. Was I delusional? Definitely a possibility.

One day, quite uncharacteristically of me, I quit doing all the talking in my prayer to God. Instead (and no, I have no idea why I chose to quit being “me” that day), I paused and asked, “God, why am I so convicted to write this blog if very few are reading it?” A very still, very small voice from within me answered, almost immediately, “Because I want to be with you.” Now, I grant you that voices inside my head are probably an indication that I need to check myself into the psych ward pronto, but it didn’t seem like the sort of thing I would say to myself, even if I was developing psychosis or trying to become the modern-day equivalent of Sybil. There are lots of days when I really don’t want to be with me!

So, what did I finally conclude from such a statement? The very scary, very weird notion that God might actually be answering me. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, pinched myself to be sure that I wasn’t dreaming, consulted the DSM to make sure I didn’t fit the criteria for immediate hospitalization, and took several deep breaths, I did the next most logical thing: I burst into tears.

As usual, I had completely missed the point. I thought the purpose for writing a blog was to help people or entertain people. I thought that for those two things to occur, a lot of people had to read it. I thought I was doing it to be obedient to God. It had never occurred to me that God would use it merely to show me more of Himself, to deepen our relationship and…the most scariest of all…to help me.

I don’t do “receiving help” well. I never have. Is this a fault? Yes, I think God was telling me exactly that with that little “statement.” So, I stopped trying to look up my web “stats” every day. The reality is that I don’t understand 90% of them anyway, so what difference does it make?

Enter the heart attacks. Now, I’m not sure what to think about the heart attacks in light of the above. Am I to conclude that I was, dare I say it, starting to be one of those women who, upon waking, Satan says, “Darn. SHE’s up!” and therefore, putting me out of commission for a while might thwart any good I might put out into my small “universe”? I suppose I could, but there are tons of other people in the world that do far more good than I and they’re not generally being struck down in epidemic proportions. Should I conclude that there are even more lessons for MaryAnn to learn from such experiences? This is a much more comfortable notion for me and the one I chose to ponder.

Thankfully, God did choose to use that time to, indeed, teach MaryAnn even more, such as the really simple concept (that someone my age should have grasped a long time ago) that a real relationship with God is a two-way conversation, in which I ask questions and actually wait for God’s reply. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that that is not my strong suit–the waiting for a reply!

I’m not going to divulge all of what resulted from me becoming mute and God doing more of the talking because some of it makes for good reading in a future novel (Hint, hint–or at least I’d like to think that!), but one fact that He’s been hitting me in the head with a “2 x 4” is: What are you willing to sacrifice to further other people’s walks with Me? Wow. Okay. I’m officially toast. Why? Because when I look at the ultimate “two-way conversation” which I think is Jesus talking to God, He sacrificed everything for that. And He’s supposed to be my role model for this. Yikes!

Now, in some cases, the sacrifice is not too difficult. Cheer people on. Be less judgmental and let Jesus and God do that stuff. Be kind. Do nice things for other people. Be a servant. Read your Bible regularly. Read Christian books. Write your blog. Write your book. Commiserate. Pray for people. Think more about others and less about yourself. I can do that stuff. It’s do-able, if I just make sure that’s my focus each and every day as much as I humanly can muster.

But, here are the things that I will probably struggle to sacrifice for the rest of my life:

1. Give up being well thought of by your friends and family. (I don’t do “lonely” well.)

2. Give up power. (At first I thought I had little power to sacrifice, but power is a much larger concept now that I’m contemplating what it means to give it up.)

3. Give up agreeing with the lies of our society, including the ones I have helped to perpetrate and the ones that are popular with today’s society and even Christian society.

4. Speak the truth in love.

5. Search your own heart for your own hypocrisy and “pull those weeds.” (Since I’m allergic to most “weeds,” I think this is going to be a really long process!)

6. Consider that your own pain and eventual death may be the exact thing that brings someone to Christ.  (I find it hard to fathom that my death could do that, but the more important question is whether or not I’m prepared to do that, no matter what it means for me.)

Jesus said very unpopular things. He embraced the ostracized of his day–in fact, he hung out with them on a regular basis. He was often at odds with the religious leaders of his day–the very people who were supposed to be pointing the way to Him! He was expected to seize power and overwhelm “the enemy.” He was supposed to do this for a very long time, well-protected from pain and harm. He was supposed to be famous. He was supposed to be well-regarded.

As a result of saying unpopular things, embracing the ostracized, ticking off His very own religious leaders, not seizing power and not overwhelming the enemy, he was whipped, subjected to multiple stab wounds and then subjected to one of the most painful forms of death ever known to man. Those who chose to follow this same path often were imprisoned, beaten, tortured, crucified themselves, and lived in abject poverty most of their lives.

We have even more modern examples: our founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, war protesters of the 1960s, Nelson Mandela and many others that I’m probably forgetting. And my very own family did admittedly minor versions of this, but yet “bucked” the mores of their time. My family is traditionally a rather conservative group and we love our traditions, so to do this bucking meant to really turn some heads, endure name-calling, deal with heated arguments on a regular basis, risk injury and death, and risk job security and popularity. But now I am very proud of each of them for doing that. I get to say I’m part of that kind of family.

Now it’s my turn. And since I have a real “gift” for inserting my feet into my mouth on a regular basis, this is going to be anything but easy. And I absolutely abhor “confrontation” and losing friendships and the love of those around me. In fact that love and friendship is exactly what has sustained me this summer!

Please understand that if I feel God is indicating that I need to share the “Good News” or ask us all (myself included) to consider whether our behavior is where it should be, I am going to try and do exactly that. Does this mean I will quit hanging out with you if we disagree on some issues or you make choices different from those I would make? Nope. Honestly, God may be using you to teach me! I am “MaryAnn in Progress” and thus, bound to make mistakes. I’m thinking–BIG ONES! Please forgive me, if I offend you and make you really uncomfortable. Definitely not my intention at all.

Know this–I only do it with one intention: To assist you in making yourself as ready for your new home as possible. I plan on being the “event coordinator” for the “Welcome to Heaven” party in your honor. Why? Because I want to be with you.

Friday’s Post: Someone’s birthday is coming up…

You might also like: Things I Love about the Man I Married and How I Cope with a Heart that’s a Ticking Time Bomb

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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