I am honored and delighted to have my dear friend, Jennifer J. Camp share about her soon to be released book Breathing Eden.
(I am working on a Subscribers Only Post, “What Would You Do For Love?” as part of our Love Series. Thanks for your patience.)
We sit across from one another, a narrow table between us. Months of not talking face to face. And then this. How do we begin? The very agreement to meet is a step toward one another. A willingness to move into the uncomfortable, the unknown, and healing.
She is the sister with whom I have been in battle, against and for. Yes, we have had a hard road. We have hurt each other. With words. With actions. Ambivalence. Misunderstanding. Distrust.
Holy Spirit, I need you to be in this place. I need you to lead. I need you to help us make our way together, see you, find our way home.
I tell my friend, when I sit down, I have no agenda, no plan. I tell her I don’t know how to begin.
But Father, you do. I know you do.
We awkwardly joke that we should start with the mundane, the safe questions to ask. “How was your summer? How are the kids liking school?” Once upon a time, we skipped perfunctory conversation. There was a day when, without hesitation, we dared to share with each other the whispers of God.
Once you have shared your deepest secrets with another person—and it is reciprocated—a treasure has been given, an unspoken bond created. Sacred space is shared, one sister joined to another.
While we sit together, awkward and unsure, it doesn’t take long until we hear the Spirit’s whispers. Come deeper now. It is okay. I am here. Come on in. And whether my friend feels safe to me or not, whether or not I feel safe to her, we trust the heart of our Father. We trust that He is safe. We trust that the Holy Spirit is present with us. We trust that He is the God of healing and love and unity. When we take action towards Him, He moves too. And so we step forward again.
“Can I ask you how you are, really? Can I ask you, how is your heart?”
The questions are said delicately, with a little trepidation, and with great care. We are aware of the raw state of our hearts as we step toward vulnerability, again. We are saying yes to the possibility of being hurt.
Any movement in love is an act of saying yes to God. He is present here.
My brave friend looks me in the eye, her blue eyes spilling tears, and she shares in the way she always did. With honesty. Candid and raw and real. She does not hold back. And my spirit is pulled toward her. And I share too.
I tell her how hard this has been. How awful it is that we have hurt each other the way we did, how much I hate how I have hurt her. She asks for my forgiveness. With tears, I ask for hers. I tell her wish I could do the past all over again. I am so much wiser now.
It is so easy to hurt one another, in our humanness.
Oh, Father, you are the only One who can repair hearts.
I reach across the table, nervous to touch her. But I place my hands over her’s anyway, clenched and stiff on the distressed table. “I have missed you. I have missed you. I am so sorry. I am so sorry for what I did, for how I hurt you.” And we are both crying more now, letting the raw beauty that is the Holy Spirit translate our words for one another.
Awkward, but forward still, we step, longing to move toward unity once more.
I walked into the room that day not knowing what I would say, how I could connect with my friend, how we might be able to heal. But I trusted that God was guiding me forward.
Moments like this with my friend inspired me. I wanted to know more about prayer—specifically, how God’s take on our situation is always so different than our own. There is a chance of healing, beauty, newness, when we let our cries out to God become a conversation, an action, a listening and a responding. Praying can be more than a cry out for help. It is a going deeper. It is a conversation between a daughter and a Father, a King who gives good gifts to His children to recognize and listen for His voice.
The road of healing and connection and trust with my friend might be a long one. It will be gradual, I think, one step at a time. But it is in the conversation with God, trusting His voice, HIs whisper in my heart more than my own, that keeps me stepping forward.
How do you long to connect with God? How has he brought healing in your life?
If you would like to go deeper and explore the life-changing effects of having raw, honest conversations with God, please take a look at the book Breathing Eden: Conversations with God on Light, Fresh Air, and New Things is forty raw, honest, heartbreaking and encouraging conversations between women and God. These prayers are like our own: full of pain, celebration, anxiety, and joy. Each one helps the reader hear God whisper love and hope into their lives. And after each story, Jennifer offers readers a guided invitation to listen for what God is saying to them.
In these pages, readers will find hope and fresh perspectives. It’s an invitation to come. Breathe Eden. *And if you pre-order before Oct. 3 and forward Jennifer your Amazon receipt, your receive cool bonuses created just for you Find out more here.
Jennifer J. Camp knows what it’s like to chase down an identity not her own. And now she listens and writes and speaks to point women to Jesus. She is co-founder of Gather Ministries with her husband, Justin, and she’s passionate about encouraging women to live lives of identity, community and adventure, with Christ. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with Justin, their three kids, and her very insecure dog. Connect with her at jenniferjcamp.com.
(Affiliate links via Jennifer)