Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
I get so angry sometimes, so angry I feel like the shaking will never stop. There are the stories we hear, of sisters who faced experiences, as little girls, as women, that I know make our Savior cry. And we wonder where He was, and why He let it happen, and why we have to carry around the wound, now, for the rest of our lives.
And we know we are loved. And we know He redeems. And we know there is a reason for our suffering, or our sister's suffering, a reason that, while we are on this earth, we will never understand.
But it sucks, God. It sucks to know we are made and created with your glory in us, and we feel so small and hurt and damaged. It is hard to not believe we are just damaged goods.
Oh, come. Come for your girls. The ones who cry out, the ones who willingly go to the dark places with You, courageously remembering the moments of pain. Because they want healing, Father. They want understanding. Really, if they're honest, they often just want it all to go away.
Because it's tiring, caring and being open and not hiding.
It's tiring, letting the pain come, letting it overwhelm completely.
It's tiring, being willing to speak loud the story they've lived.
And it's tiring wondering this, too: Why is one person's story so different and so similiar? Why are one person's wounds so small and another's so deep?
How do you dole out the stories, God? What's it like to watch us navigate the ups and downs of our lives? What is it like to be with us, seeing your children live out these lives, getting bumped and bruised along the way? How do you hold them, these stories of ours? How do you rewrite them when bad things happen? How do you clear away the clutter and redeem, when sometimes the story just seems like such a mess?
And one more thing, God . . . how do we share them? How do we share these stories we can't even understand?
What are the words we say when we don't know the reasons why these things happened to us, but You do? What are the words we say when we know You call us to truth and to courage but we are afraid to be rejected when we share the glimpses of our past? What are the words we say when we are tired of returning to places where we've been hurt and we have no control again--just like we did then--of the outcome? What do we gain by being honest? What do we gain by going back, into the hurt and the pain and the loneliness we are so afraid we will feel when we offer attempts at words to convey something for which there is no language, the song of a broken heart?
Do we see You? Do we gain more of You?
God, you turned away when your Son breathed His last breaths. Your turned away (the pain too great?) when Christ made the sacrifice for the love of us, your children. You bore it. Even though You didn't like it. You loved. Teach us how to bear pain and grieve and live and rise, too.
We are tired of staying here, afraid, wordless, defenseless, alone. (Silence the lies, Father. We reject that we are alone. Silence the whispers of the enemy. We are not alone. You never leave our side.)
So, for your girl, the one you made, here is my prayer:
Remind her you are here, when she stands next to You, knowing she is yours, and you give her words and hope and vision. Remind her you are here, when she puts away the plan to control and trusts You and gives You glory and clings to You and your light, in the darkness, even though the past hurts.
Let her trust You even though she is weary. Let her trust You even though she is afraid. Let her trust You and see You smile and be there, in your arms where You sing over her and remind her the song of her, the one You placed within her that has never left her, the beating of your own heart, in her chest.