I stood up from the dinner table with a full stomach but an empty heart. The fears from the last several years were pushing hard, screaming that I didn't fit it, would never fit in. What I saw around me only served to enforce those lies. As I wandered outside for chapel, people were taking pictures of their friends from this week. There was laughter and excitement, but I was alone.
As I waited through my daughter's rehearsal the feelings of isolation grew. By the time service began, I was afraid of the large crowd gathered around me. Had I been left to myself, I would have run away. But my beautiful little girl was performing, so I had to stay and watch. She sang beautifully, but even her songs and smiles didn't take away my ache.
It was worship time and still my heart felt empty. I tried to sing, hoping my enthusiasm would make up for this feeling of despair. Instead I just felt like a fraud. Not only did I feel rejected by people, I felt rejected by God as well. How could He possibly use me?
I seriously considered leaving my faith. How could I continue? But how could I walk away? Finally out of desperation I cried out to God "I doubt that you can use me or even that you want me anymore. But here I am. Even if you reject me, I'm yours."
I'd love to say that in that moment, my heart was filled up again. It wasn't, but the despair slowly ebbed away. At the end of the service, I went up for prayer. Again, nothing spectacular happened, just a slow emptying away of despair and a gentle infilling of peace. By bedtime, my heart was quieted again, slowly slowly becoming full.
So, I went a wee tiny bit over five minutes. In my defence, I had both a phone call and a demanding baby while I tried to write. So it all works out. :)