Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rediscovering the Past

2013 August 9

Rediscovering the Past

Yesterday I reread my prayer journal from my last trip to Ireland and the Dublin Prayer Conference (DPC), in 2006. Finding it and reading it brought back a rush of memories. 

It was my third time attending the Dublin Prayer Conference. It was the only time I attended as an individual, not as part of a team. It was in the midst of a trying period in my relationship with my home church and especially, with my then pastor. I was struggling spiritually. Previous trips to the DPC had fueled desires to do whatever was in my personal power to support and encourage missions. On this trip, I felt less connected, more vulnerable, and more afraid of my personal shortcomings. Some of those feelings were based in the loss of Elder Matt Smith, from New Hope Church. Some were outgrowths of my own insecurity, some because of my desire to fit in, especially without a team to offer encouragement and support. 

The notations in my prayer journal seem to run the gamut from intense praise and worship, to recognizing my extreme shortcomings and asking for guidance to overcome them, to a report of my inappropriate outburst of anger and the need to offer apologies to those affected by it. Not a stellar journal, by any stretch of imagination.

Reading it, though sometimes uncomfortable, did bring to mind the many people who probably have no memory of me, but who had a profound effect on me. People like Jonathan and Hazel Reid, Jacob Reynolds, Craig Maiden, David Ross, Brian and Collen Corr, Mick Breen, Cathy Breen, Andy and Louise Halpern, Tom and Vickie Gilliam, Ron and Mary Wilson, along with many of the attendees of the Conference. It jogged my memory. These were people whose experiences spoke to my heart about the need to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These were people for whom I had prayed regularly for years. Yet somehow, I had drifted away from both God and them, and the promise to do what I could to support them in their work of missions. 

It made me realize that in some ways I had allowed some negative experiences in my home church to have lingering effects on too many other aspects of my life, especially in an area where I had previously felt called, in the arena of missions. I had allowed disappointment, pain, and hurt to fester until I forgot about my commitment to pray. I painted with too broad a stroke, and in the process painted myself into a corner, and turned my back on my promises and on God, who had himself promised to "be with me always, and in all ways".

I am grateful for finding that prayer journal. It is the beginning of a rediscovery process, as I begin to recover my relationship with my God who has never left me. I know this will be the beginning of a new start and I am buoyed by the thought. I also hope this will be a new beginning and a recovery of my relationships with those whom I have lost along the way, especially those in the work of missions.