If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He Held Me

Today's post is written by Cyndi McDaniel, a guest blogger.
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Several months ago I posted a series of prayer strategies to help readers discover the wealth of intimacy possible between us and our God through prayer. You can find the entire list of 12 strategies here: www.prayerstrategies.blogspot.com.
One of those strategies has to do with ‘imaginative prayer.”  You can find that specific post here: http://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2011/10/strategies-for-prayer-seventh-in-series.html

Cyndi, a friend of mine, set her mind to try imaginative prayer. What follows is the result. I post her essay here to encourage you who read it to also try imaginative prayer. I believe it will deepen your relationship with Christ.
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Mark 10:13-16   People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

I heard the crowd before I could see them, and wondered why so many would come to my small village.  It frightened me, and I considered going home, but knew I was safer here in town.  The friends I was playing with ran toward the crowd out of curiosity, but I stayed where I was.  No one would notice a small child standing alone on the side of the busy street.  At least that’s what I hoped. 

As they came into view, I could see and hear Jesus.  So here was the man everyone was talking about.  What was so special about him?  He looked like most of the men from my town- maybe worse.  Dirty clothes and hair from traveling dusty roads, face flushed from the heat.  Yet even from a distance, I could see there was something different about him, something that prevented me from running away.  Soon, I was swallowed up in the mob and could not escape even if I had tried.

To my surprise, he stopped not far from me and began to teach.  The crowd backed away to give him room and sat down wherever they stood- giving me a front row seat.  I didn’t really understand most of what he said, but there was something about the way he said it that held my attention.  He spoke with confidence and authority, yet without arrogance or condemnation.  It was as if he knew and was having a private conversation with each person. 

Parents began pushing their children ahead of them through the crowd, just so he could touch them.  What did they expect him to do?  I knew what he would do, and I waited for the angry outburst that must surely come at any minute.  The disciples must have anticipated it as well, for they rebuked the parents, telling them not to “bother the teacher”.

Jesus did get angry, but not at the children or parents.  He told his followers not to hinder the children from coming to him, something about the kingdom of God belonging to children.  It didn’t make any sense to me- his words or his actions. 

As he turned his attention to the kids, his eyes and face softened, and he even grinned!  He touched and blessed them, and I found myself once again wishing I could be one of them.  Wishing I could overcome the knot of fear in my gut and my constant sense of being unworthy of anything good.

I hung my head in shame as tears welled up in my eyes. It was then I sensed someone watching me.  When I raised my head, I was surprised to find Jesus moving in my direction, looking straight at me! His eyes seemed to be asking permission to come closer.  My heart was racing and I felt that familiar need to run, but there was nowhere to go with the crowd pressing around me.

The people stepped aside as Jesus continued toward me, never taking his eyes off mine. His eyes; soft, gentle, even twinkling!  He was smiling now, and was close enough that I could see the laugh lines at the corners of his eyes.  What else could I do but smile in return?  This made him laugh.  

He sat beside me on a small rock and without a word, gently pulled me into his lap.  I didn’t resist.  As his arms encircled me protectively, I snuggled into his shoulder and felt his beard tickle my forehead.  Somehow, though we had never met, I knew this Jesus saw through my broken life into my soul, and he loved me.  It was if he was claiming me- not as a possession, but as part of his family. 

He continued to speak to the crowd, but I don’t know what he said.  I was listening to his heart beat...strong, consistent, dependable.  When he was done, he gave me one last gentle embrace and set me on my feet again.  We looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.  He kissed my forehead and smoothed the hair back from my face.  Then he stood and moved on with the crowd.

We never said a word to each other, but our exchange could not be described in words.  He saw me.  He came to me and met me where I was in my brokenness.  He held me in his arms and loved me.  I will never be the same.

 

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