Sometimes we desperately need to run.
I received the call while in my car, my daughter driving, and her two girlfriends in the back seat. We were headed to Washington Family Ranch in Central Oregon for a woman’s retreat with 120 ladies.
“She has Alzheimer’s,” my brother’s words were soft but sure. Our precious sister, who suffers from Post Polio Syndrome, now faces a wilting memory. I quietly take in the reality of what may be coming, picturing my Grandpa who suffered from Alzheimer’s when I was a teenager.
I looked over at my daughter and whispered my fear, “Will she forget me?”
“Probably, one day,” she took my hand as our eyes filled with tears. And I set the terrible news aside… for the next two travel hours.
When we reached the camp, I knew what I had to do - - RUN. Run to Jesus!
I grabbed my Bible and my journal and moved quickly until I found a spot. I needed a table and chair, the place the Lord and I most often dialogue together.
The 900-seat dining hall became my sacred place, my flashlight providing the only light. I didn’t want to brighten the room giving any hint of welcome to others. This time was urgent and holy. I needed privacy with the God who I knew would welcome my lament.
And He did.
I cried through my pages of fears – trying to imagine the journey of losing the connection with my soul mate – my best friend, the one who led me to Jesus when we were both teenagers.
We had danced our way through decades of broken hearts, a broken marriage, family deaths and crushed dreams. We’d also danced our way through new babies, exciting careers and ministries, endless answers to prayer, and years and years of laughter.
Would she forget me? And as the hours turned into days of running away to find that sacred place where Jesus and I could meet alone, I faced another reality. One even worse.
“Jesus, will she forget YOU?” And the weeping took a deeper dive.
The first time Psalm 139 made its home in me was when I was pregnant with my first child. I took walks in the warm spring months to a nearby market for a daily Popsicle meditating on this:
“Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or when I stand up…You know everything I do.”
When my first child was born blue and not breathing, the truth of Psalm 139 washed over me. I remembered my days of praying for each part of this developing child and committing each part of her to her Creator.
“You made all the delicate inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Peace washed over me as she was rushed to the ICU. She was revived and has lived strong and healthy for decades.
But Annie forgetting God? I just couldn’t imagine anything worse for this prayer-warrior given to praise. And then I felt the nudge from the God of All Comfort.
“I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!”
Sometimes you need to run. To Jesus. I missed some fellowship at the retreat last weekend. I also lost some sleep as I continued our dialogues in the bunk bed I’d transformed into a desk.
But I returned home with peace – the kind that passes all understanding. Graciously, God has taught me through the years, that when my heart breaks into a hundred pieces… running to Him is the very best idea.
Remember the airplane instructions? If the oxygen masks drop down and you are with a child… put yours on first. In the midst of a breaking heart, I ran. And I found Jesus waiting for me – to listen, to comfort, to convince me of truth.
Pull up a chair and sit still
Do you need to run? Are you facing a fear, a crisis, a sorrow that only Jesus will understand? I urge you not to delay, not to slow down until peace becomes your companion again.