What a strange day. This morning after Mass, I told God that all I wanted today was that He would hold me. I wanted to be a little child and crawl up in His lap and lean my head against His chest and listen to His heartbeat, and just be there in the Father’s embrace. I expected that this was just another prayer. In fact, I almost forgot that I had prayed it.
Fast forward to this afternoon. For some reason lately, I’ve found it really easy to get distracted in prayer. So I’ve had to read the Bible, or read a book, or journal in order to focus my attention and not let my mind wander. But this afternoon, God gifted me with a really great holy hour where I was just able to sit and be with Him. I felt Him telling me that He was moving even in my struggles. I felt joy just that He exists, because I know that if someone had told me that ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed them. And I felt that God was telling me that He is bigger. He is bigger than my sins, than my shortcomings, bigger than my fears, bigger than all of my desires, bigger than my struggles and the struggles of the people that I love. I felt as well that God loves me, that even as I had desired that morning to be held by God, He desired even more to be the one holding me. Mostly, I just felt the overwhelming presence of God. It was the most blessed prayer time that I have had in a while.
Fast forward a few more hours. I found myself back in the same chapel with my three other missionary brothers and sister, and Chris, our missions director. Chris wanted us to do this prayer exercise where we each knelt in front of the tabernacle, and prayed out loud, telling God the things that kept us from His embrace. As each person knelt there, the other four of us would gather behind that person, praying for them, and putting our hands on their shoulders, symbolizing the Father’s embrace.
To me, it was such a beautiful idea, but I absolutely did not want to be the one kneeling and praying in front of everyone. First of all, I don’t really super duper love praying out loud. Secondly, the whole experience was one of those awkwardly intimate things, one of those things that calls for vulnerability, which is also not something that I love. So I watched as everyone else went first, laying his or her heart before us, and before God. I felt a great love for each person fill me as we prayed, and I knew that I longed to experience this same embrace of God, even if it was a stretch for me. When my turn came, I knelt there on the chapel floor somewhat reluctantly because I was uncomfortable and nervous. But I did it. I knelt there in the Father’s embrace and prayed out loud, and it was an incredible gift just to feel my brothers and sisters hands on my shoulders and know that I am loved by God.
It wasn’t until later that I remembered again the prayer that I prayed this morning: that all I wanted was that the Father would hold me today. I never expected that I would get to have such a physical experience of this prayer. I just can’t believe that He gave me a tangible representation of His love, and on the same day that I prayed for it. I mean, I feel like I should go fly a kite, or do a celebratory dance or something. So today, I am grateful. I am very grateful for the ways that God lavished His love on me exactly when I asked for it, maybe even because I asked for it. Or maybe just because He loves me. Thank You, Lord.