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Monday, April 8, 2013

on my knees for these

Twice I have fallen to my knees in desperation prayers.

First semester of freshman year at James Madison University, I pretty much kept to the confines of my four-person dorm room in Frederickson Hall. Separated from my long-term boyfriend, who I loved dearly. Disappointed by my lack of friends--or even prospects of friends--who did anything other than drink scads and scads of Natty Lite on the weekends.

So, I auditioned for a Christian a cappella group.

I was the very end of a very long line of girls to audition. I sang Blessed Be Your Name. And I forgot every stinkin' word, I was so nervous. But, once I met those girls, heard them sing and learned their stories, I knew I needed in. I fell to my knees in a desperate prayer after my late-night audition:

Lord, please. I can't do this college-thing anymore. Not without these sisters. 

At around 3 a.m. the next day, I was stirred awake by my phone buzzing.

"Get up, and come outside, Bdub!" I heard Brett Baker's sweet voice say to me from the other end of my phone. She had rung me out of a deep sleep. But I was wide awake, and (thankfully) in matching pajamas I had picked earlier that evening...just in case.

I was then blindfolded and inducted into the sweetest sisterhood of my life. Thank God.

I made a similar sort of flare-gun prayer request a few months ago after I sent in a few--okay, dozens--of applications, resumes and cover letters to local writing employers. I had spent the last two years working for a local inn as I made my way through graduate school.

It was 1 a.m., my guests had gone to their respective rooms in the inn, and my staff had gone home. I was locking up the pub area, feeling just as alone as I did freshman year. A hot-yellow glow peaked in through the windows leading from the hallway, and I could get lost in the shadows along the room's dark green walls. 

One of my servers forgot to sweep the floors and I sighed as I picked up the broom and dustpan to clean up the mess they had left behind.This feeling of you'll-never-amount-to-more-than-this swept over me. I felt like I, perhaps, I was what belonged in the dustpan. I was tired. I was discouraged. And I was desperately afraid that the rest of my life would be consumed by shouts from short-order cooks, and wearing a salty-smelling black blazer with a frayed gold name tag.

So, there in dark, in the middle of my little dirt pile, I got on my knees. That same prayer I prayed the night of Into Hymn auditions echoed from my lips.

Lord, please. I seriously can't do this anymore. 

I dusted my gritty knees off, and swept the remaining dregs of the evening's meals into the dustpan. And a few months later, I was ushered into my current job. A writing job.

(People pay me to write, y'all. I still find the whole thing a little ridiculous. A little too good, like a love story--but one that you know is true.) 

But, if I'm being completely honest, I'm still a mess. Lately, there have been a few things I've wanted to get on my knees about. To ask God to change. Finances, loneliness, relationships, and these little essays I'm trying to string together into a novel that simply aren't coming together very well anymore...

And my first instinct is to fall to my knees. To make them gritty again. To admit weakness. To stretch out my hands, searching hard enough to make them sore. 

Didn't Christ do the same thing when he was sweating blood from his brow? 

And I really thought that this is what humility looked like. I thought humility happened when you made your knees raw by falling on them with prayer.  And it does, I suppose. 

But, I think humility might also happen with an acceptance to a particular stage you're living in; and not asking to be delivered from your hardships, but to learn from them. 

Because after he prayed asking that this "cup would be taken" from him, Christ brushed the dirt from his knees, scarred his hands and finished the task he was sent to do.

And I think we have to do the same thing. 

So, I didn't fall to my knees in defeat. Or in discouragement. Or in a pitiful, last attempt plea bargain.  Not this time. For once, I didn't ask God for a change in my situation. Instead, I made my throat raw while praising Him for this season, and asking him to teach me all He can through the struggles He's allowed in my life.

I'm on my knees, but not in desperation. I'm on my knees in thankfulness, in the beauty of this season, and in awe that God cares enough to teach me lessons the hard way. 



Heather Fischer said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I couldn't agree with you more; God definitely teaches us through the heartaches and struggles, but also through the lesson of contentment...one of the hardest to learn. You have a wonderful talent my friend :).

Brett W. Tubbs said...

Thanks, Heather! I miss you--you were such an older sister to me during our time together in SAO. I hope you're well, I hope you're content, and I hope you'll let me know how I can be praying for you! <3

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