As Isaiah & the Worry Pack‘s launch day draws near–just 11 days from now!–I’ve been happily busy with writing and interviews about this book, worry/anxiety experienced by children, prayer, and my kids’ books more generally.
I’ve thought again and again of an experience during Lent 1991 in a little church in West Chicago. I had been introduced to guided-imagery meditation before then, through books and a therapist, but on this Wednesday night it changed my life.
My first (sad and abusive) marriage had ended, and I still wondered whether divorce was one of the worst sins, essentially a departure from the faith in which I had grown up. I had moved my kids across the country, and now I was in a church service with a bunch of strangers. The woman at the front invited us to close our eyes and participate in a prayer exercise called Garden of the Heart.
Picture your heart as a garden.
Mine isn’t even full of weeds. It is a patch of dry, hard, absolutely barren dirt.
Where are you in the garden?
Right in the middle, lying prostrate with my face in the dirt.
Now Jesus comes into the garden. What does he do?
I suppose he picks up a hoe and starts poking at the dirt to break it up for planting.
No! I see Jesus. He is right beside me on the ground, face down in the dirt.
I cried and cried that night—healing tears. God had come into my devastation, my life’s failure, and instead of hurrying to fix things was mourning with me.
My inner desert had become a place of intimate encounter—a garden for the sprouting of something beautiful, unforeseen, and utterly wild.