Jesus, Are You There?

“The way school needs teachers, the way Kathie Lee needed Regis, that’s the way I need Jesus”.

I’m sure there’d be many-a religious scholars who would have problems with me describing the way I need Jesus like Kanye West so poignantly does in his song “Jesus Walks”, but I’m not afraid. See, it took me a long time to not only admit to myself how much I need Jesus, but also to everyone else. I still find myself wishing for that song to come on the radio so I can point at it and say, “oh man, so true, so true” rather than just come right out and say, “You know what man, I love Jesus and I need Him”.

I don’t think I’m alone in this hesitancy. Ask someone if they’re Christian and there’s a good chance there will be a hesitation and then a long explanation that ends somewhere between yes and no but never sticking to an exact answer. I often do that when someone asks me a spiritual question or asks me to quote a place in the Bible. I fumble around for what would seem to be the right answer like a baby trying to nurse for the first time. It’s not a pretty sight and I fear I tend to distract people from the message, the true message I’m trying to get out. “I don’t have the answers, all I know is the man is a good man and He loves me and I love Him”.

I’m not your typical Jesus lover at first glance. I curse more than I like to admit (though I blame that entirely on my husband), I yell at the dogs too much, I once in awhile make fun of someone else to make myself feel better and I’m definitely not the kind of wife or mother the Bible says you should be. Most my prayers end in me apologizing for being so sleepy and saying something like, “But you know me right? Just listen to my heart and do that please”. I get fidgety when I have to pray aloud, and I am lucky to read passages from the Bible three times a week. I listen to music that my dad so lovingly refers to as “F-this, F-that crap” (as noticed by my two Kanye West references I’m sure). I don’t have a fish bumper sticker, I wear my cross necklace once in awhile, and I have no t-shirts that reference Jesus, God, church, missionary trips or the like, the closest I have is an Oprah shirt and perhaps that counts for some people.

But I do love Jesus and I need Him more than I need anything else. I have a “spiritual journey” just like the next gal, but mine I like to keep a bit private. I still wrestle with my spirituality and sometimes my own wants and needs are the Cael Sandersons and sometimes God’s are, it just depends. It took me a long time to relinquish my control, isn’t that what we’re brought up to want? The American dream, the money, the power, the title, everything. Interestingly enough it’s exactly what God asks you to give up and let Him take control over. It’s just a tough thing to rewire, your whole thought process. Even if you were brought up in a good Christian home like I was, I was also brought up in an intelligent home, one that taught you to think for yourself. It’s only natural that I would want proof and not go on faith alone.

But faith and His grace is what has given me all the amazing things I have now, it definitely hasn’t been my smarts or my beauty (both of which I like to think if ever there was a person that could get by on those alone, it could be me). Only recently have I learned He gives and He takes away with such force and resilience the only thing we humans can do is bow down and worship it. He has given me a beautiful child and taken one away, yet He gives again! He has given me an amazing husband, a beautiful house, a job that makes me happy a good portion of the time, yet has not blessed us with the best health. Ironically the closer I get in my walk with Him, the more I realize it is the taking away that brings me closer to Him. I can for an instant think I am the reason for all the goodness in my life, but it’s in moments of sadness that I realize none of it is about me. In moments of quiet (or loud) desperation I realize it has nothing to do with me.

A couple days ago my husband had to work late so I was home alone with my pneumonia-ridden son. He had been diagnosed a couple days before that but it had seemed to be getting progressively worse. He fell asleep okay but an hour later woke up screaming. I ran upstairs and got him, which usually stops the screaming, but he continued on for the next 10 minutes or so. I started crying and carrying on just like him until he asked, “Mommy, why are you crying”? It took me forever to admit, “Because I’m scared”. This wasn’t a good thing to say as his answer to that was “I’m scared too” and more screams and crying from the both of us. I hugged him and started praying, “God please don’t take him, please heal him, make him feel better, do SOMETHING! Anything, God please.” (Note this was the first time in a long time that I realized this prayer would not end with me sleeping, so I was a bit rusty). But I couldn’t help it I was scared. I was scared I would go in to the doctor thinking he was fine and they would tell me he had cancer or some other life-threatening disease that I was not ready to handle with my angel of a three-year-old. I called my much more grounded husband and we met at the ER. Of course, it was still just pneumonia.

I reflected while watching him with Zach on the hospital bed that I am so out of control in almost every situation I’m in. I may feel in control sometimes, because thank God He gives me the illusion to keep me sane, to keep me happy; but He’s in control whether I like it or not. As tough as that is for me to admit even now, I know it and I love that about Him. He gives me a life much better than I could ever create trying to go at it alone. This is why I love Him, why I need Him and why I shouldn’t be afraid of saying all of that.

Now, “I ain’t here to argue about His facial features, not here to convert atheists into believers”. I’m just trying to say I need Jesus and I’m going to try to be more and more like Him everyday. And next time someone asks me if I’m a Christian, I won’t just take off my shirt and show them my tattoo of a cross, I’ll keep my shirt on and say something like, “Why yes, yes I am and it comes highly recommended.”