What would it be like if you could actually hear what God might say to you in church? More importantly, what would he say? Maybe more than we expected.
You are here, but you feel like it’s just barely. The songs — shouldn’t those words pierce you straight through? You’re trying, but still you feel nothing. Fear not, for I am near you still.
You fasted last week and it was for all the wrong reasons. You’d never realized a person could have so many wrong reasons at once. Take heart: even your selfish awkward gifts are precious to me.
The thoughts in your head run together like train cars in a pileup. Vaguely, you know there’s something true you should be hearing here. But you are wondering, right now, whether the guy in the next pew over notices you—and if you hold your hands up during the singing, will someone think you’re a freak? What kind of mood will your boss be in tomorrow? And where should you go for lunch?
Listen: I am not counting every off-track thought you have. I am glad you have come. I am glad every time you come, no matter how you come, and when, and whether or not it’s in a church. No matter how bad you are at controlling your thoughts, your words, yourself. It does not matter what state you are in; I love it when you want me near you.
Today, you do not need to discover something no one has ever discovered before. You do not need to understand something you’ve never understood before. You do not need to impress me by how much you get out of this day, how much you learn in this hour.
You do not need to know how everything works. I will not forget what you are made of; I understand why the big mysteries make you afraid. I am not waiting to smite you every time you slip, or get confused, or feel lost.
I am there, always, when you come to me. Do not lose heart when you feel nothing. I am working in you deeper than feelings can reach. I am making you new.
Every second you are with me I can see you coming more alive. Dear one, don’t ever leave. I am in love with you.
[Stephanie Gehring is a 23-year-old self-employed portrait artist, high school math tutor, and freelance writer. She spent the first sixteen years of her life in Germany and lives in Portland, Oregon.]