• Melanie Renken

Prayer to Fix Me

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

It's a constant struggle for me to love certain people, and I pray that God will open my heart to understanding them.



Hi, God.


I'd ask how things are going, but I can probably make a decent guess. I read the news.

As for me, things have never been better. I can't even begin to list everything good in my life. Healthy me, healthy husband, and healthy rugrat. Fulfilling job working with smart and kind people. A homey home surrounded by neighbors who have become family. Three furry friends that bring equal amounts of crazy, laughter, love, and dog hair into my life every day.


You've outdone yourself.


Anyway. I wanted to drop a note to tell you how much I'm loving our relationship these days. We've certainly been through a lot together, and I'd do it all over again to get to where we are now. I've never known you like this, and the better I get to know you, the more peaceful I am. So let's keep doing what we're doing.


It's funny. Growing up, I thought I knew you. Going to church, memorizing scripture, singing songs about you, listening to what all those men told me about you every Wednesday and Sunday...how could I not know you? I knew you because I knew your rules, your exclusive formula for salvation, and the things that disgusted you. Knowing those things was the only way I was getting into heaven.


That's what it was about: knowing what you (supposedly) despised = knowing you = avoiding hell.


Or so I thought.


But I didn't know you. Not even a little. I just knew what others had told me about you--before I learned to trust the heart and brain you gave me. Before I accepted that my heart and brain rejecting a teaching about you didn't make me a blasphemer. Before I cared more about how you saw me than how the church does.


When questions crept into my mind about how you could send people to hell if they've never even heard of you, I was scared you would take away my salvation for questioning your judgment. Or that maybe I wasn't saved in the first place.


When my heart told me that you are the creator of all love, so I'm not vile because I can see myself loving a woman the same way I love a man, I knew it was just satan trying to corrupt me.


When I couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that the earth and its critters were all created in just seven 24-hour periods, I reminded myself that being a good Christian meant just accepting certain things on blind faith.


Knowing you meant being scared of my thoughts and distrustful of my heart.


That was before you brought me to my knees.


That was when I saw myself the way I thought you saw me: A disappointment. A phony. Pathetic. Just a giant hot mess.


That was before you answered my prayers to fill the void I couldn't explain. Prayers pleading for hope. Prayers to help me stop being so inexplicably sad and anxious.


Thank you, God, for answering them in such dramatic fashion. Thank you for helping me to trust that the Jewish therapist--not the Christian pastor--was the person who could teach me to love myself. Thank you for humbling me so I could walk into a room of who I thought were going to be the dregs of society, only to find out that spirituality--not religion--would lead me to you.


The real you.


The real you, as I know you, at least. But while I feel closer to you than ever, for the first time, I'm admitting that I don't--and can't--really know all of you.


I don't know if you're a man, a woman, or neither.


I don't know if you really spoke out loud to Noah, Moses, Abraham, or anyone else.


I don't know how heaven works, or whether hell exists.


I don't know why you don't stop child abuse from happening, keep kind people from suffering, or end racism and all the other isms.


And I'm okay with not knowing. I'm okay with saying I don't have the answers about evolution and the age of the earth. I'm okay with not really understanding the point of infant baptism or what is actually happening when I take communion.


In fact, I'm more than okay with not trying to find all the answers. There's such a freedom that comes with letting all of that go and peace that comes from just focusing on loving you, me, and everyone in between.


But I need your help, God. I need your help with that last part--about loving everyone in between. It's so hard, God. I'm grateful that you've split my heart wide open to loving addicts, convicts, and immigrants, but I'm a mess when it comes to loving those who disagree with how I see you and what I believe you want from us.


How arrogant and proud, I know. I know my anger--and frequent self-righteousness--don't come from you. I know I suffer from my own pride, because even though I've come to care more about your love than theirs, it still hurts when they don't love me and when they reject me. I know it's a me issue, God. So please help.


Help me to remember they have their own battles, trauma, and experiences that have shaped their beliefs about you. Help me to always focus on the good. Help me to see them as you do--lovable, amazing, wonderful creatures you made.


Please remind me now and then that I'm not always right (and please don't tell Tom I said that). And that it's not about being right--it's about loving right.


And please help me be okay with not fitting in. Help me to feel your arms wrapped around me when they reject my friendship. And help me to love them even when I know the sentiment isn't mutual. Stop the voices in my head telling me they think I'm crazy or unworthy. That they think I'm just a troublemaker who's lost her way.


I really am so very grateful for my life, God. I wouldn't trade it with a single person on earth. Sometimes, I stop and look at rugrat, Tom, and our slobber-covered home and I honestly think my heart could burst. I actually have to catch my breath.


But I'm always going to need fixing, and I can't fix me without you.


I love you.


I love me.


I love my life.


Amen.

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