Saturday, 15 September 2012

In Everything, By Prayer

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is nearDo not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to GodAnd the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:4-7)

I am not sure why, but coming to Korea has brought back the teenager-me I thought I had left behind forever. And was I glad to leave her behind! She was moody, needy, wretchedly insecure, and melodramatic - a rickety canoe in an open sea of emotion. I can barely even pity her; I certainly don't welcome her return. I have struggled and fought to regain my balance, but my normal coping strategies are proving useless.

I went last weekend to see old friends in another part of the city. One friend had just had a baby. I wanted to watch someone else's life - to escape, forget myself, and just enjoy a friendship that is not in the building stages. They greeted me with hugs and smiles. I was glad I had gone to meet them. After the usual greetings and exchange, we settled down to tea and they began asking questions about my not-yet-year-old life in a new country: "Are you homesick? Lonely?" I planned on brushing lightly past these, but suddenly I couldn't speak. I stared for a moment, willing the tears back, but they came anyway, hot and streaming. 

There really wasn't much to explain. I miss the security of home...but it isn't just home that I miss. I am plagued by fears and hurts that have only small connections to my reality. I have been hurt here, and betrayed, by people I trusted too deeply for the short time in which I knew them, but such hurt doesn't warrant the grief I have experienced. I ride a rollercoaster of emotion that alternately carries me to into a sky of happiness and plunges me into black despair - sometimes with very little reason. 

Dear friends! They listened. They held my hands. Then they spoke. "We will pray." 
Oh, the comfort of being prayed-for. They reminded me that other people are praying for me, too. My parents. My grandmother. My sisters. My friends. One friend told me her story of being prayed-for, and the changes that have come to her life because of it.

I realized that I have been trying to guard my own heart - to steady it - with reason and self-talk. I have stationed suspicion and self-protection on the ramparts and built bars over the open spaces. I want to be free to love and forgive, but often I find myself trapped inside my own prison. 

This week, I have been praying for those who betrayed me, and bringing my requests to God. He is the One whose peace can guard my heart. It is truly a peace that transcends understanding. I have long depended on reason to manage my emotions, but reason has fled and left me lost and afraid. God never leaves me, and the peace that he gives is un-connected to my understanding or my ability to reason through my situation. 

It seems trite; a Christian truism, another bead on the rosary: prayer changes things. But it does change things, not like you'd expect. More than changing my situation, it is changing me. Undeniably, it's a better guard for heart and mind than suspicion and self-protection. 

And after all, just maybe I needed to know that God - and the friends he has given - love and care for even the teenager-me.

I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.” (Isaiah 57:18-19)


janelle said...

praying and loving you.
and (selfishly?) glad to know i'm not alone in being teenagerly lately.

jennypo said...

Thanks Bein. I am thankful.
...At least it is giving me more sympathy for my middle school students...