As I leaned forward to switch off the stereo, the van crossed over the center line just enough to startle me. Navigating through bitter, angry tears, I slowly meandered my way to work.
“I don’t want to be fettered or tethered or whatever that word was,” I said, crying out to the one I was desperately trying to avoid. “Can’t you just leave me alone?”
I don’t know what I was thinking when I put in the old CD I found in the backseat that morning. No, that wasn’t true, I did know why. I was grieving for my mother who loved traditional hymns and I thought it would bring me comfort.
The song was turned off, but the words still hung in my head, beckoning to be addressed:
‘O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.’
At this point in my life, it wasn’t so much about wandering as it was a flat-out-full-on run. I did not want to be bound or tied to a God who allowed so much hurt and disappointment. I wanted to be free. To be free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My mother had served God her whole life and was now wasting away from Alzheimer’s. I had no use for Him.
For months I had been avoiding church and most of my Christian friends. God and I were in a tug-of-war and I didn’t need anyone else pulling on His side. I began to hang out more and more with the girls at work who sympathized with my predicament and soothed me with their non-confrontational attitudes. But now that darn song was pounding on my head and heart, demanding to be played again.
To be considered.
Gravel sprayed up as I pulled off the side of the road. Putting the car in park, I rubbed my throbbing hands together, suddenly aware of the death grip I must have had on the steering wheel for the last few miles.
I switched on the car stereo . . .
Once again it was the third verse that got to me. It made so much sense. As I mulled over the word, ‘fetter’, I pictured my daughters at the school fair only a few weeks previous. There was an inflatable bungee run that had belts that were tied around the girls’ waists. They would run as fast as they could towards the end of the bouncy lane but just when they would almost reach the finish line, the springy tether would pull on them and they would go flying backwards to where they started.
God had a bungee cord around me. I could feel it. The faster I ran, the more tension I could feel and the harder I would fall. He was not letting go.
Turning the sound up to a near deafening level, I put the song on repeat and let the words wash over me again and again.
Who was I kidding? My wandering heart was fettered, and I did love Him.
Finally surrendered, my shoulders dropped as my hands raised . . .
“Here’s my heart, Lord, Take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
Author’s note: This is a true story. I no longer have my mother, but I still have my Lord--and the CD.
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