Four words to anchor your weary soul

I watched two of the boys wrestle this afternoon on the rug, neither willing to let go. Both hoping mom wouldn’t intervene and stop what they considered fun.

They grappled and groped, their wrestling pushing them forward, neither winning. Neither willing to admit losing. Neither willing to look my way to see if I would make their fun end.

I’ve done some wrestling myself, lately.

There’s a wrestling of soul that can leave you more weary than wrestling with any sibling. 

When you’re tired of who you are and realize you want something more than what’s in front of you, you repeat words of thousands of years ago: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” I said those words years ago, broken-hearted and knowing His rescue was what my soul needed. I knew enough to know where to look for answers, and the words of Jacob as he wrestled with God leapt off pages and gave promise where emptiness ached.

Words are a powerful thing.

Those words have rang in my ears for weeks now. A renewing of the vows between He and I spoken years ago. The memory as fresh today as it was all those years ago. I asked God if he remembered the college girl, face pressed against carpet, demanding blessing of God, as though he owed me anything. College girl repeated over and over through her tears: “I’m not letting go. I’m not letting go.”

In all of the “not letting go,” the blessing came.

College turned to 20s, then 30s.

These past few weeks I’ve repeated the refrain over and again, as though these words might disappear if I didn’t say them over and over. These four words have anchored a weary soul.

“I’m not letting go.”

Jacob prevailed, God blessed, and left him marked with the touch of God on his thigh. He limped through his life. Blessed, but reminded about the encounter with God.

A hip marked by God will forever remind you of the one who created all things. 

I whispered it in the wee hours of early morning today. Asked God if he remembered the girl who said “I’m not letting go.”

not letting go

That moment marked me all those years ago. It marks me now. I breathed the words to God in the foggy morning mist today, reminding Him of the college girl who wanted all things made new again. He reminded me of the final words “unless you bless me.”

The blessing has been Him. In all the years in between, He’s been ever present. He reminded again this morning of his steadfast love. A love unchanged by years, demands, disappointments.

There’s been so many years in between, I sometimes wonder if He remembers the words whispered into carpet. Mumbled and muffled, but seared into my soul.

Then He reminded me of the blessing of His mark on my life. The ache in my heart that won’t go away reminds me of Him. The empty places hollowed out by his gracious touch remind me of Him. The call to different paths that lead in different directions than anyone else remind me of Him.

Wrestling with God will always leave a mark. 

The mark reminds of his steadfast love. When the in-between years attempt to steal the promises, He reminds of steadfast love.

The stuff  in the middle is just stuff. It’s the steadfast love anchoring the beginning and the end. So when Jacob made his demand of blessing, God answers with a name change. From deceiver to father of a nation. When we wrestle with Him, He changes our destiny. We go from understanding his presence to living in the promise.

So we wrestle with a God who is not daunted by our questions. Not daunted by our demands. Who knows where to mark us that we might always remember Him.

To not be marked is to not be His.

Because He says He marks those who are His. Even in the midst of what seems the most desolate destruction, He goes through marking those who are His. 

I used to think the promise would come quickly, that a whispered word to the heart meant fulfillment not far away. I’ve learned waiting is a part of the promise.

I'm not letting go

Because the ultimate promise is that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. There’s no better place to be than in the shadow of one whose promises are always faithful, always true. Renewed strength comes when we wait on Him and don’t attempt to make our own way. His carved out path will carve new places in our heart.

Then when I’ve said the four words over and over to Him, as a reminder, He reminds me that he said them first. He’s promised to never let go. My words echo His, even though I thought I said them first. The best of my promises are simply echoes of His.







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