I remember bursting into tears in a little, wooden, summer camp chapel before starting the 5th grade because I really wanted to know if I was meant for religious life. It's funny now, how seriously I took everything when my friends were game-planning saint scavenger hunts and how to steal slushies after lights out, but at the time it seemed so urgent. It made absolute sense to my 11-year-old self that I should demand an answer after, what I considered to be, far too long a waiting period. I sat alone in the back with a choir of crickets, tears streaming and heart aching, eyes fixed on the tabernacle, and I felt so safe, so able to sit honestly in a puddle of tears. Sometimes I wish I could go back and hug that little self. I'd smile at her wide-open heart, her tear-stained face, and find the words to tell her that she still won't know in 12 years but she'll find a new beauty in wondering. I'd tell her how brave she is, how good she is, and how her passion and ambition aren't mistakes in her story. I'd tell her how much her willingness makes Jesus smile, how she brings Him to tears with her own, and how deeply she is seen, known, and loved by Him. I'd tell her that when the storms come, and they will, to remember this courage and willingness, to run into His arms when the walls of chapels, like this one, start to feel a little less safe, and to keep her eyes on His when she faces the numbing gaze of scandal and betrayal. I'd tell her a lot of things, but I think I'd also sit down next to her and cry for a while. I'd remember what it felt like to be little and willing and brave. I'd rest there, in her openness, and let my eyes meet His. I’d remember how that sort of prayer feels, and I'd let it be enough.
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