Earlier today, we decided that we were not going to the pool. Neither of our kids knew for certain if any of their friends would be there and they were both incredibly content with the activities that had chosen to participate in at home. #XBox #Youtube I was fine with this because I was also content with my chosen activities. #Reading #RhythmsOfGraceVideoStudy
2:00ish Son gets text that friend will be at pool
2:05 I go to library to pick up requested movie
2:45ish Son and I depart for pool, me with book in tote prepared to read
Now, my husband had an errand to run and my daughter wanted to stay at home, so God had me alone. That should have been my first clue. Because I had taken a 20 minute power nap earlier, I was completely alert to settle in to read for our time at the pool. That should have been my second clue. The fact that I only listen to contemporary Christian music as a rule for my own sanity and that our pool has been playing songs I remember from when I was a kid, should have told me that something was definitely up.
When I first started reading The Look That Kills a couple of days ago, I read in the introduction, "I checked off my spiritual "to-do" list but refused to have a real relationship with God out of fear that I would eventually feel guilty......Guilt over my destructive behavior would only get in my way." After I read those words, I immediately began praying. There are many times that I feel like my emotional breakdown has been because I have refused to let God in to a lot of areas because I really don't want to have to surrender certain things. But knowing I have to was the reason I got this book. I was told that the book would be good for me because the entire message is about giving God control over what we don't want to hand over. (In my case the areas of rest, time stewardship, fitness, and food. Not necessarily in that order.)
So, my prayer has been simple. "Lord, I want to know what a REAL relationship with you looks like. I know it's more than just reading my Bible and going to Bible study and praying. I just don't know how it's supposed to look. I know what human relationships look like, so help me understand how that happens with you."
As I sat at the pool with my book open, pen and ruler in hand, I learned of Michelle's collision with God when she realized she needed help and that there was a song on the radio that became the cry of her heart. As the road to recovery began, she shared that as she read a verse that would combat a lie of the world, that she would write it in her own words in her journal. The first thing she wrote was, "I made her...she is different. She's unique. With love, I formed her in her mother's womb. I fashioned her with great joy. I remember with great pleasure the day I created her." (Psalm 139:13-16)
As soon as I finished reading those words, I became acutely aware of the song that was playing. It was Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are. I closed the book, I closed my eyes, and listened intently. To even think God would use a song I would have never heard if I weren't at the pool by myself with my own thoughts. And a song that I was familiar enough with but with the words now taking on a completely different meaning. A song that as a little girl I loved because of the thought of someone wanting me just the way I am. And not coincidentally the answer to my prayer.
While I'm sure you might remember the melody, I pray that you will let these lyrics speak volumes to both your heart and soul. The relationship God wants is the one he showed us in the garden....walking together, in the cool of the day, with open communication. I know I've certainly tried to overcomplicate it by thinking of all the things I needed to do. But these words remind me that his love is unconditional, because I was intentionally made, just the way I am.
Don't go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times; I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are
Don't go trying some new fashion
Don't change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken pasison
Although I might not seem to care
I don't want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone I can talk to
I want you just the way you are
I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you?
I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are