Have you ever noticed my favorite movie quote on the sidebar--"Swing away, Merrill. Merrill, swing away"? It's from the movie Signs, by M. Night Shyamalan. Signs could be written off as a silly horror movie about alien invasion. But it's not--it's much more. It deals with the issues of grief, the loss and regaining of faith, and finding your life's purpose. I relate deeply with two characters, Graham and Merrill. Now, do I believe in aliens from outer space? No. In this film I'd say they are symbolic of horrible things that happen, over which we have no control. I don't want to say too much about Signs in case you haven't seen it. But I will say that God can use any medium to catch our attention. So here's my story--my sign.
When I was nine years old, I told God I did not believe in Him any more. Things had happened. Things that marked me, and not for the good. The older I got, the angrier and more reckless I became. By age nineteen, I knew a lot more about life than a nineteen year old should. I suffered from bouts of anxiety and insomnia. To comfort myself while trying to sleep, I would play this game in my mind. I would imagine myself as a little, little girl climbing the steps of a huge porch, and there would be Father God sitting on a porch swing. And when He sees me, He opens His arms and welcomes me into His lap, and rocks me until I fall asleep. This was the only time where I would allow myself to consider the possibility of His existence.
One random Wednesday evening, I was walking past a church and heard singing. Out of curiosity, I wandered in and stood in the back. The people at the front of the church were gathered together wholeheartedly worshipping. When I looked at them, even though I was within a few yards, I felt a million miles away. They seemed so clean. I felt so not. I became acutely aware that one day they would be in heaven, and I would not. The sense was so strong that I literally started screaming. Two women rushed to the back. You'd have thought they would have put me out for creating such a disturbance. Instead they tenderly put their arms around me, and I sobbed and sobbed, and unleashed all the years of pent-up pain and rage.
After I'd calmed down, one of the women shyly said to me, "I hope you won't think this is weird, but God wants you to know something. He's telling me that every night, you play a game to put yourself to sleep. He wants you to know it's not a game. He was there. He is there. He wants you to come home." I was stunned. No one knew about that "game" but me--and the God who is there.
That night I came home. My life has never been the same. Some pains and sorrows are still with me. But they are not my master. Jesus is. No one could ever convince me that God does not exist. No one ever will. I was born for a purpose. And while I'm here, I'll swing away.
Joining Emily today