Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Invitation

A grey mist hung over the golf course outside as I stood in the kitchen. My mind and body were still numb as I waited for the coffee to finish dripping through the Mr. Coffee on the counter top. Paula was in the bedroom, talking on the phone to our daughter, trying her best to explain what had happened. We had a friend who was visiting us, there to give both of us some support...and to assist me with any counseling if I should need it. The clock on the microwave read 8:42 in its pale red numbers when I heard the voice behind me. I turned, expecting to see someone there, but the front room was empty. It had seemed so real. I returned my gaze to the slowly dripping coffee pot when I heard it again, even more distinctly than the first time. Two words...spoken softly yet firmly. "Seek Me!" Even before I turned to look, I knew in my spirit Whose voice it had been. For the first time in my life, I had heard the voice of God.

As I reflect back on that day...and those times in my life, I found myself once again at a crossroads in my life. I'd been here many times before, and I'm certain now that God called to me at those times too. But my ears were blocked. Blocked with my own pridefulness...my own arrogance...my own hypocrisy. Today it was different. That morning my ears were open to hear the message.

But even as I stood in the kitchen of our condo, I was in the same place I had been so many times before. The choice was before me. I had heard it loud and clear. But which path would I take. Would I select the path of "Mark can do it by himself!"? I knew that path so well. It had led me to many victories...or so I thought in my vain conceit. Would I choose once again to turn my back on the only true source of power I've ever had in my life? I'd never really ventured down that path very far before. It just seemed too scary...to uncertain. It wasn't that I didn't believe in God and the power of prayer. It was just that my idea of prayer and God's idea of prayer were two completely different things. You would probably find them in different universes.

For the first time in my life, I had come to the realization that this was something that I couldn't do on my own. Strangely, at the time, I had no idea even what it was I was going to up against. I only knew that I had never felt so empty or alone before in my life. Everything that I thought was so important to me was gone...or soon would be. This problem was so much greater than any that I had ever faced before and I would need a great deal of help to overcome this.

A few minutes later, Paula came into the kitchen and told me that she was going to drive to Sunnyside to tell Conrad, our youngest son, what had happened. She didn't want to try to explain over the phone. She knew that Conrad loved me like his own father and didn't know how he would react. She wanted to be with him to personally help him through the pain and confusion. Carolyn offered to stay and pray with me and take me through some healing prayer, but I told her that I just needed to be alone with God. I'd never said those words before..."need to be alone with God." If I had, I probably wouldn't be in the situation I found myself in.

Paula left and Carolyn stayed a little while with me and prayed with me. Even without Paula saying it, we both knew that our marriage was over. Paula was leaving that cold Wednesday morning and she wouldn't be back. As we prayed, I curled on the floor, pulling myself into a fetal position. My body throbbed as the sobs escaped from deeper within me than I knew existed. The tears flowed, making their way down my cheeks to puddle on the floor beneath me.

I'm not sure how long I stayed there on the floor. When I finally got up, Carolyn was gone. I was alone in the condo. It was darkening outside as the winter afternoon faded. I was exhausted. I hadn't eaten for three days and my sleep had been fitful to say the least for the past two nights. But there was also an unexpected peace that I found covering me. A peace that certainly had not been there for the past 48 hours. I knew that I had encountered something in my prayers that afternoon and the complete release of my soul that I had never experienced before. I had accepted the invitation. I had agreed to enter the open door that God had created for me. I had set my pride aside and allowed a power so much greater than any that I had held or seen to help me this time.

That cold, wintry morning found me at a crossroads that would lead to two completely different places. One would lead to Hell. Thankfully, I chose the other. At the time, I didn't know where it would take me. But I would soon find myself in a time of preparation for a journey in the wilderness.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes and a full heart. I'm so glad you chose the road you did and so honored that you're sharing your story in this way. It's ironic, isn't it, that you ended up in a place that many would call Hell and through your experience there you are closer to Heaven than ever. What testimony this chapter in your life is! I'm so proud of you.