in the parlor

Photo By: Christa Kimble

Photo By: Christa Kimble

“She packed it all and headed South.” That’s how this story began.

I moved to Nashville in 2004, in love and prepared to start a new life, whatever that meant.  Post college a few years I still felt I wasn’t quite old enough to marry, to live on my own, to be me. But I was … still waiting to hear God say, “GO!”

You know that moment when you just know what you’re meant to do, where you’re meant to go, who you’re meant to be? Neither did I. Some call it purpose, some mission, others identity.  Somehow, no matter how you look at it they’re all wrapped up together.

I knew my identity was found in Jesus.  I had given him my life; we were pals.   And, I had a purpose.  Marriage was right around the corner and planning ensued, giving me multiple daily missions to accomplish.  Once the wedding day was over, family gone, I was alone with the man I was to spend life with and all of a sudden, many other daily missions.  I was learning what my new world looked like and in that came a question that would gnaw at my identity.

“What do you do?”  It was inevitable.  Every new person I met and sometimes those who knew me, would throw out the line as if it’s answer would determine our relational fate.   What did I do?  Cook.  Clean.  Be a wife.  I hadn’t figured out a career path yet and wasn’t sure I wanted one.

The question kept coming.  I’d play around with my answer.  None of them seemed satisfactory.  And in the world of 30-40 something’s that knew exactly what they did and what they did want, I was lost in a big way.  It didn’t seem to matter WHO I was, they just wanted to know what I DID (for a living)?

FIRST of all:  I’d just gotten married – give me a break!

SECOND:  Did I really have to DO something to BE viable?  To be worthy?  To be enough? To be your friend?

And, if I wasn’t enough as I was, what was there to reach for?

Fear of man (basically what everyone else thought of me) had me wound up and I was sinking in its muck and mire.  I was trying to perform and I felt lost, unimportant and unloved.

Oh, I knew I was loved.  Grant and I had a solid relationship.  I could even talk to him about feeling lost and unimportant and unloved, but I wanted so badly to just have one girl friend.  One friend that knew me like Jesus does… Who was I kidding?

I do this occasionally.  If you have a husband and you’ve ever wanted them to be just a bit more like a woman you’ll understand.  Otherwise, you’ll just think that was a weird sentence.  In this instance I wanted a friend who would know me enough upon first glance to care and walk into my life and say yes, you’re important.  I love you.  Let’s hang out.  I want to know you.  We belong together.  There are so many things I want to tell you.  What would you like to tell me?  I can’t believe we didn’t talk sooner!  I’d like to make snow angels when the snow falls.  I’m coming over for a sandwich.  Talk to me.  I’ll wait for you to speak.  I’ll listen.  Take your time.  And on and on it goes.

Yes, I wanted a true friend …  one that really cared to know me.  And Jesus was the only one who cared.  And instead of inviting him over for coffee, I was sitting at his feet asking for friends.

And the question kept coming and I kept trying to find an answer that would make my counterpart smile and somehow fill a void that was growing deeper everyday.  I knew Jesus was everything, but what about my career?

It was cyclical.  Run to Jesus and live in peace for a day and then, go out into the fray and get asked the inevitable question.  Each time I let myself become discouraged because I didn’t know where I was headed.  I didn’t have a career and everyone around me was living a life that said career was everything.  And at the time, I had forgotten who I was.  And after all, God never said GO.

He had said, ” Wait.”  Wait upon me and I will renew your strength.  Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)  I was weary.  I was tired of fighting my own battles.  I was tired of not understanding my way.  I was tired of knowing Jesus and going in and out of head and heart seasons that didn’t make sense.   I just wanted rest, and friendship.   And, Jesus wanted to be that friend.

It wasn’t that we’d not been friends before.  I’d been coming to his parlor now for some time.  But, this was a step into the kitchen.  Jesus didn’t just want to be my parlor friend.  He’d been bringing the food in for a long time, but he was asking me now to come on in.  He was saying I had to want Him.  I had to seek Him with all my heart.  That done,  God promised I would find Him.  He honors a heart that seeks him truly and he offers that promise to YOU!

I had to remember (and he began to remind) that this is who I was: I belonged to Him.  He bought me and I live IN HIM.  And IN HIM I was made HIS inheritance … we were made His inheritance.  (Ephesians 1:11) The value we place on our earthly possessions is nothing compared to our value as Christ’s inheritance.  He loves you! Begin to know and get a glimpse of just how vast that love is.

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