Losing the Key

keyLast night I was giving my testimony. It was a 6 hour journey to our venue and the baby was screaming. Glen and I argued in the car. I hadn’t looked at my notes, we were running late and when we arrived, the hotel couldn’t find our booking. I felt tired and flat and grumpy and useless. It seemed impossible that God could use me in any way. I hadn’t had the right build-up. My preparations had been thrown out, all was lost.

We raced to the venue. As I stood up to speak I was praying. ‘Lord, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m the last person to be talking about what it means to follow you. Please, please help.’

I spoke about my past – and present – messiness. I talked about Jesus and how He meets us, even in the dark. And as I read from the Bible, He met me afresh. You’re weak, He said, but I am strong. You’re ashamed, He said, but I will cover you with grace. Lift your eyes from yourself. Look to me. I am enough.

I did. And as we drove back to the hotel, I wondered afresh at His beauty. Thank you Lord, I said. I can do nothing in my own strength. You are all I need.

Woke up this morning feeling good, but empty. Maybe last night I’d found the key to faith; a real grasp of who Jesus is.  But now I wasn’t so sure. If only I could find The Key again. Something I can do to make it right.

I drink coffee, stay busy. Check my emails. Clean the room. Ask Glen again, Did I do okay? Is God happy with me?

Yes, he says slowly. He loves you as you are. Sit down now. Rest.

I have to work on my book, I say. I have to feed the baby. I have to make some calls. I have to go shopping.

You don’t, he says. We’ve got everything we need.

I find myself at Tesco’s. 50% off selected groceries. Groceries I don’t need.

I’ll take ten. Because I’m empty – and stuff will make me safe.

My arms and heart are heavy as I think back to last night. ‘I’m enough,’ Jesus told me.

‘I know,’ I said. ‘I know.’

Yesterday I frantically prepared for The Godly Thing – speaking about Jesus. And He came through in spite of my failures.

Today I’ve frantically chased the Worldly Things. And you know what? Jesus remains the same.

I didn’t magically grasp The Key last night. And I didn’t tragically lose it today.

I didn’t walk the tightrope last night nor did I fall off it today.

There is no tightrope.  There is no key. He’s got me. And He won’t let go.


20 thoughts on “Losing the Key

  1. Well, it didn’t show. All I saw was someone humbled and thankful to God, who continues to fight to trust him daily in spite of herself. I could relate to that.

    You were ace.

  2. Oh Emma, I sit here as someone who doesn’t have a speaking gift or “ministry,” yet I can identify (“you too?”) with the same sense of agitation or perplexity: connecting with the Lord on occasion, knowing He is enough when my eyes are lifted to Him; but, all too often it seems, those times being followed with the feeling of emptiness you described. Like yesterday, when I went from one coffee shop to another, trying to ward off depression with caffeine, knowing that today (my birthday) was coming and not feeling like it was worth celebrating. Still struggling, but I think Jesus just gave me a very good gift in your post. It is good for me to hear you say, “I didn’t walk the tightrope last night nor did I fall off it today. There is no tightrope. There is no key. He’s got me. And He won’t let go.” So, thanks! If you were to say nothing else today, that would be enough.

  3. Keep going Emma. Just finished reading your book. What an inspiration. As someone with a loved one gripped by anorexia it touches a deep nerve but also gives me a lot of hope.
    ‘For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.’ Psalm 27:5

  4. I was at that evening too, nearly 200 people came, the hall was full and you could have heard a pin drop. Be encouraged Emma! So many were touched by your story. My day today has been rubbish – I have managed to be exactly the person I don’t want to be and I thought back to what you said …..it’s when you reach the end of yourself….that’s when you discover Jesus… waiting…

  5. long time silent reader (& closet Scrivener fangirl hahahah), first time commenter .. I think.

    So this was me yesterday hahaha oops. ended up in tears for half a psych appt (ermmmm yes) during which I was talking about how one of the children I teach, made a flippant comment abt me having mental illness cos I yelled at his misbehaviour (not knowing that I really do have one & am trying to be a Normal Person despite. But more so, yes – he is a young child but that is no reason to stereotype and a mental illness Is Not a label for “she excessively yelled at me for my excessive misbehaviour” ..)

    gets a friend to meet for dinner, cos I need some time alone & away from home. while that’s actually fine – what’s not? is that while waiting for her arrival, I go into Marks & Spencer. I buy a bag of vegetable chips. I buy mini cookies on promotion, because hey mini cookies on a two-for deal.

    & then I remember the last time I felt this way, I went into the candy store & bought two Whittaker’s chocolate (fun size) bars. That I ended up feeling too undeserving to eat anyway.

    Oh did I mention that on top of yesterday’s purchases, I actually already have a pack of Kettle Chips that I bought a month ago and have yet to actually open?

    – – –

    Yup buying snacks to fill a hole does not a good solution make – especially the blind buying, knowing the outcome being “I feel too undeserving to open & eat them ..” (not a food issue, apologies if triggering. more an issue of guilt on frivolous tidbit spendings ..)

    #sigh (but keep calm, hide in my pillow today, try again tomorrow

  6. Urgh part of my comment got cut because I didn’t know you can’t use emoji.

    Okay that’s supposed to say,

    “keep calm, hide in my pillow today, try again tomorrow. but meantime, thankful for this post & your blog in general – I hope you are well! xx”

  7. Hi Dee – thanks so much for commenting and sharing some of your experiences. We all seek refuge in stuff, (I blame Marks and Spencer ;-) – but somehow it feels like we’re alone when we do it, doesn’t it? Or that we are uniquely unforgivable. But I love that the Bible assumes we will struggle with these things; God is not shocked – and the cross covers everything – from Kettle Chips to murderous hearts.

  8. This happened again. Children’s camp in church, helped out with craft (which really means I’m stuck in the same room the whole day prepping & facilitating craft, I don’t get to view the prog as per a group leader’s role), after which I still had to stay beyond the time for the after-school care children’s parents to pick them up.

    Cranky, very tired, & therefore even more upset that this is only the first day & oh my gosh 2 more days of this, with a potential 12-hour day for the last day. I Need edible motivation (a chocolate bar/cup of Starbucks is fine) – only that it ends up being $17 worth of snacks,

    Clearance chocolate. Chickpea chips. Noodle cracker snack. Three cereal bars, each a different flavour (individual sale bars are pricier too) / wait – oh. Did I mention that I -already- have some chocolate bars at home from the sister’s trip to Australia about a month ago, that I haven’t opened? Or that I bought Winter Edition Ritter Sport last week?


  9. I think my comment got cut off again but well, here’s to hiding in bed. under my quilt. with my quilt over my head. & feeling safe & warm & I’m never coming out again because I’m too easily too tired & too easily giving in to buying food for comfort … that I’ll probably feel too guilty for buying (when I wasn’t supposed to buy So Much + already had stuff at home Did I Really Have To Do That), that I might not even eat them anyway.

    – – –

    Not really, but the shame (over what, I actually don’t precisely know) that overwhelms me in the meantime … sigh. :'(

  10. Hey Dee – I’m sorry it’s been a tough day. Shame is such a powerful emotion, isn’t it? It clings. And we so much want to cover it, with all sorts of meta-duvets! I’m hanging onto this verse from Hebrews 12:2:
    “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    This tells me that Jesus covers my shame – on the cross, He carries it and He scorns it, and He says to us – right now, in all of our mess: “accepted, righteous, loved.”

  11. thanks Emma – actually I intended yesterday’s comment/s mainly as an end-of-exhausted-day need-to-tell-this-to-someone kind of expressing myself .. so your reply was really unexpected but especially encouraging in that light xx

    & more so – encouraged (& frankly impressed- how do you find the biblical equivalent parallel .. for everything, even as random as a duvet/quilt haha) by the reminder that Jesus covers my (/our) shame, not my quilt .. queen-sized as it may be. Haha


  12. hi Emma :-)

    I’m rather hesitant/shy to share this, but since the comments on this post were my Scriven-spiration (ermmm, inspiration from Emma Scrivener hahahaha) – I will!

    was approached by a friend to write an article for a devotional column, the topic was about how we tend to depend on ourselves instead of God when we’re caught in our messes – I wrote about my food fix-its, & how I was reminded that Christ covers our shame, not my quilt, queen-sized as it might be (nah – not really .. I shared the scripture but didn’t mention my quilt bit hahaha it’s too embarrassing lol)

    It’s for Our Daily Bread’s young adult platform (YMI) column – & the final draft didn’t have as much of my author’s voice as I’d hoped, although the ideas were still rather well captured. It’ll be published online in April, I could send you the link if you’re keen to read heheh.

    I suppose God -does- work in the midst of my messiness for His good, even though … I’m quite scared cos it goes on live with my full name, not “Dee” (um, my name isn’t really Dee! lol) – & essentially puts all these insecure vulnerabilities out on the (scary) www .. but well. Heehee.

    If Emma can publish her story into a book & live to still speak about it at events/on live radio .. I’ll survive a small online column. Lol xx

  13. Go Dee! I’d Love the link: and I’m sure lots of others would too. God will use this and it will help a lot of people, including me! Thank you xx

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