Over the course of the next few months, I opened myself up for counseling with a friend that somehow seemed to deepen that fear. I was raw, exposed, and unsure of how to let God fix what felt so painful. My mind knew what the Bible said: that God was enough. But my flesh yearned for people to fill those empty places.
A few days ago, I read a teen fantasy novel called The Siren by Kiera Cass. It's based on the mythology of the sirens, the beautiful, dangerous sea women who sang sailors to their deaths. There's nothing about its premise that screams out Christianity, and yet, I found God so many times in its pages.
The main character, Kahlen, is a siren who longs for pure love. She pours herself out for her sisters and wants to only experience the true love and affection from an intimate relationship someday when her sentence as a siren is complete. In an early part of the book, Kahlen knows she must leave her sisters (her only human companions) for a few weeks to let them sort some things out. She describes herself as hating "being alone. It went against my very makeup to be by myself for more than a few hours. I needed people. And I needed people to need me."
Those sentences resonated with me so greatly. In fact, when Kahlen leaves again later to express some of her anger towards the ocean, I was terrified with her of the coming isolation. But as Kahlen opens up to the ocean, she discovers a communion and companionship with this life-giver that she never knew was available to her before. If anyone had told her this relationship existed, she wouldn't have believed it, but "here I was, aching to be in the Ocean, to not be separated from Her ever. Because She loved me like a cherished daughter."
As soon as Kahlen understands this love, she spends a year communing with the ocean. She lives in the water, completely at rest in this new relationship.
This was such a God picture to me. He longs for us, like the ocean longed for Kahlen. He can meet every need, desire, longing that is within us. He can give us complete rest and peace. While I know those things exist, I'm sure I haven't experienced them in their fullness.
And so Friday night, I was lying in bed, thinking of resting in God and of this beautiful ocean picture, listening to iTunes radio, when a song came on that I had somehow never heard before. It was "Oceans" by Hillsong United. The lyrics touched my heart immediately.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
What a beautiful love song from Heaven for me in that moment. It's been playing non-stop on my phone ever since. It's a nine minute song, so on my sixty minute commute to and from church this morning, I was able to listen to it almost seven times at top volume.
Then it hit me. As I prepare for this year's Fall Conference at church next weekend, this is the longing in my heart--to find this complete rest in His embrace. I'm looking forward to three full days without any responsibility except for communing with God. I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to jump into the ocean, into God's waiting arms. There're desires and longings building up inside me, and I'm ready for the release into the proper place. Yes, my closest friends will be there. But this year, their company isn't my greatest desire. God's is.
What a difference a year makes.