I discovered something new on Google tonight, which is why I’m up way past my bedtime. (Good thing it’s a Saturday morning.)
I found that I could plug in the address of my childhood home in Miami and see it in 3-D – rotate, “drive” down the street, visit the park where I got beat up, go all the way to the beach. Bizarre, and healing, all at the same time. If I stare at it long enough, I can remember things that still need healing. I can invite Jesus to meet me there, show me where He was, and bring healing. I do this in prayer ministry all the time – I’m a pretty visual person. But it’s amazing to have the image right in front of me.
If I had been through something worse than emotional abuse, I probably would struggle more with this.
Navigating through the Google maps, I “drove” from my childhood home to the church where I grew up. Rader Memorial United Methodist Church. I heard it had closed off and on over the years. I don’t honestly know if it still exists. But I was able to visit the building on my computer.
The particular angle that drew me the most was the Sunday school building, where I spent a lot of my childhood. My mom worked in the church office, so I hung out a lot after school – choir, kid activities, making up games with whatever kids happened to be there. I used to love hanging out in that building or running around in the courtyard with my friends. On quieter days, I used to wander around the buildings and chatter at God. I don’t think I particularly expected Him to answer back, but somehow I knew He was listening. I think I even knew He liked hearing from me.
That’s what struck me the most when I saw this image tonight. God. I’ve often thought back to my days at this church, and my earliest relationship with Him. But memories are so choppy, sometimes disconnected; dusty pages in a photo album, all cob-webbed up in our minds. Sometimes memories seem almost like a strange fictional story.
But as I looked at this picture tonight, I had this larger-than-life sensation of God. The same God that I talk to now was there back then. Not in my distant memory. But right there. Alive, well, the same yesterday as today, and forever. There is something … wild, bold, comforting … about realizing that the God I’ve come to know in my adult life was sitting right there that whole time while I was growing up.
It’s as if, in my memory, there’s a “childhood God” that somehow differs from the God I relate to now. But no. He is one and the same. I’ve gotten to know Him better over the years, but He was always the same.
My heart is blown away by His presence, His faithfulness … that He transcends everything. He’s never left, He’s never changed. He still sits in that place, and this place, just as He did back then, and just as He is now.
There’s something amazing about that. About knowing that He just IS.
And how patient. How loving. How ever-present with us.
It’s the closest I’ve come to truly knowing in my heart that He encompasses my whole life in His hands. And I love knowing that.
What incredible peace.