Make Me Yours

From almost 15 years ago, the memory came flooding back tonight, prompted by the same song that caused the original experience. Me, standing in our kitchen, 2 am, holding our baby who was finally asleep; glasses literally fogged over, humidity off the charts because of the burst dishwasher pipe that had spewed all over the kitchen. Crying. Holding our baby, overwhelmed, and crying.

The tears weren’t desperation. I don’t know exactly how to describe them; not relief, not joy. They were the kind of tears that are familiar but not frequent, tears that mark a thin space in my soul, that give evidence of a Divine movement of grace working on my innermost being.

I felt a longing. A longing for God to do a work, a work that I could glimpse but that I knew I had not really experienced. An unmaking. An unraveling. A holy disruption. A hallowing, a refining fire. In a rush I saw almost equally my inadequacy and my pride, my fear and my presumption. This song, this live version of a song I knew well, was placing me on a sort of peak, a precipice where I could see more of the vista than I ever had before, and where I could also fearfully plunge to my death.

I sort of naively embraced that death metaphor. The way of the cross had already become central in my theology, but at age 34, in that weird mix of humility and pride, I both knew I had things in me that needed to die, and was confident I was up to the journey of surrender. The thin space, the precipice moment was met with my willing, conscious invitation to Jesus to unmake me and help me truly live in Christ-like, obedient surrender.

“More and more I need you now /I owe you more each passing hour

The battle between grace and pride /I gave up not so long ago

So steal my heart and take my pain/Wash my feet and cleanse my pride

Take the selfish, take the weak/And all the things I cannot hide

Take the beauty, take my tears/This sin-soaked heart and make me yours

Take my world all apart/Take it now, take it now

And serve the ones that I despise/Speak the words I can’t deny

Watch the world I used to love/Fall to dust and blow away

I look beyond the empty cross/Forgetting what my life has cost

Wipe away the crimson stains/And dull the nails that still remain

So steal my heart and take my pain/wash my feet and cleanse my pride

Take the selfish, take the weak/And all the things I cannot hide

Take the beauty, take my tears/This sin-soaked heart and make me yours

Take my world apart, take my world apart

I pray, and I pray, and I pray”

(Worlds Apart [Live], Jars of Clay, 2003)

It’s a crazy stupid prayer to pray. But I did pray it, as I listened to the song on repeat through headphones, trying not to let my tears wake the finally slumbering daughter in my arms. And I kept praying it for several years: through spoken words and silent thoughts, through singing, in my car, in my office. I kept praying it, with a sacred memory of that thin space of holy longing that surprised me in the chaos of our kitchen, in the lonely hours of the morning.

I didn’t understand what I was praying. So many spiritual traditions describe this unmaking, this deconstruction, this ripping of the foundation of human hubris. Not to get to emptiness, but to experience a re-orientation where the living God can be Center and Guide and Light. Not to eliminate our personhood, but to have a spiritual Reality and relationship at the core of who we are.

I didn’t understand, but I kept praying. I kept offering, which is really all you can do. You cannot “make” pride stop or servanthood grow. The constant offering, the yielding is part of the unmaking.

The song form of the prayer faded with time. Tonight, as it came through my car speakers again, I could almost step outside myself and see Aubrey and me in the kitchen of the house we no longer live in. I could almost visually trace the years of offering, the yearning, the times of complacency, the times of bitterness. And with the distance, in the almost visual separation from myself, I saw these last two years in a new light.

I feel like I have to make a disclaimer here, because I hate self-pity and I am more than aware that the turmoil of our church and Yearly Meeting has not made me their main or biggest victim. Others have been erased and wounded while I was given leadership. I’m not the main story.

Yet my story is all that is mine to share, so I want to be faithful to share it.

I am Yours, God. You have made me Yours. I have now walked what once was just a path I glimpsed, and you have proven yourself faithful, so faithful.

I’ve been face down on that maroon and blue (almost black) carpet, and you’ve taken my selfishness, my weakness, my tears; and you’ve made me Yours.

I’ve knelt countless times beside that brown chair with the wheels, angrily swearing, anxiously panicking, and you’ve made me Yours.

I’ve run miles on asphalt around this town, pleading and asking and begging and questioning; and in the absence of answers, in my unmaking, you’ve made me Yours.

I’ve begged you for strength and wisdom and courage…for myself, for my family, for my friends. And you have answered, as our world has fallen to dust and blown away. You have made us Yours.

You have been achingly present, trembling through my hands and my voice. You have at times forcefully yanked my focus away from myself and lovingly, gently, instantaneously shown me how you are at work in someone else. You’ve given me the indescribable gift of holding others before you in your Presence, of being the vehicle of your grace through Spirit pictures and Spirit power.

And I am Yours.

Tonight I saw that you have been answering this prayer from years ago. You’ve been forming my character, forming our characters. In the unmaking and the fracturing and the pain, you have always been planting, shaping, nudging, resurrecting. You’ve been offering Yourself.

Tonight in a new thin space, I had a glimpse that I have been in this glorious process of being REmade, not just UNmade. You have become more of a Foundation and Center and Revealer than ever before…and I believe you have more of Yourself to reveal to me still.

And I am Yours.

 

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