We always tease my roommate Mallory that she has the “red phone” to God.
That girl… Oh that girl has the most beautiful relationship with God that I’ve ever had the privileged of witnessing. She wakes up early every morning to be with Him. She hears His voice clearly. Her prayers seem to always be answered in hilarious ways. She has dreams filled with meaning and spiritual depth. I mean the girl might as well have those little cartoon birds and mice from Cinderella dancing and singing around her as she walks through life with Jesus by her side.
Then there’s me.
The one who constantly is tripping and bumping her way through life, trying to discern whether I’m hearing God or my own rambling internal monologue. And as far as hyper-spiritual dreams go, well… I’m the girl who once had a dream involving a car accident, a meth addict, and a cop riding an ostrich in downtown Denver… Not quite the same.
But there’s a new fixture on my hand that reminds me that while my life may not be full of dancing cartoon animals, that God is crazy-big, and beautiful, and more faithful than I could ever begin to imagine.
Before y’all go jumping to conclusions about the ring on my finger, no, I am by no means engaged to be married. (Although that has been a really fun trick to play on some of you as I’ve asked for your addresses to send out support letters…)
Instead, as I prepare to go to Alaska, I’ve decided to intentionally be engaged in a season of prayer. I’m a ridiculously kinesthetic person, and thus the ring is there to remind me to pray for God to prepare me for whatever He has gotten me into with this wild adventure. I am trying to be in prayer for faith in provision. Prayer for the church-less villages of Alaska. Prayer for those whom I am about to leave. Prayer for those whom I am going to.
Right about now I just envision you, my sweet reader, gagging at how cliche the concept of wearing a ring of prayer/non-marital engagement sounds, but just as with everything in my life, the ring has a back story and it’s tied to Alaska.
Last year when I hopped on the tiny two-seater plane to Port Alsworth, I was seeking healing. In the months leading up to the trip, God seemed insistent to make me confront the darkest parts of myself and my past… and well, I was less than pumped about it.
In classic Kacy style, I ran. I avoided Him. Or I spent all of my free time with Him asking questions that had nothing to do with my own heart. I was torn between wanting His healing and not wanting to walk through the messy process of confessing my own sin and receiving that.
The second night I was in Alaska, I shot straight up in bed. Disoriented, I sat staring at my empty hands trying to figure out whether what I had just experienced was real or not.
I twisted my body, looking around the room. The ever-present summer sun was peaking out from behind the blackout curtains and my friend Megan was still asleep in her bed to my right.
Whose voice was that? It seemed eerily real and close, and yet I’m still in Kathryn’s bed and no one else is awake yet…
I yanked back the comforter and slid my hands around on the mattress, searching the under pillows and near my feet. Nothing. It had to have been a dream…
Just moments before, I had been standing in a room with someone I knew and yet couldn’t see. I was holding a giant chunk of glassy, black rock.
“Do you know what this is?” The familiar voice asked.
I remember holding it up in the air and twisting it to see a bit of light shine through it. From some deep, dark cavern of 6th grade science knowledge I pulled out a term and definition I didn’t know I remembered.
“It’s obsidian… A type of glassy lava rock that’s translucent rather than opaque, which just means that it lets some of the light through, but not all of it.”
“Exactly. You’re like this rock right now. You let some of My Light through, but it’s cloudy and obscured by your own darkness– the darkness that you are afraid to let Me enter. But as you learn to pray and allow Me to enter into your darkness, I will make you into even more of a vessel for my Light. I will turn this obsidian into diamond.”
For what seemed like hours, I stood holding that rock in my hands, praying through past abuse I had suffered, sobbing all the while. (Yes, apparently I’m a giant sap, even in my dreams.) The mysterious person I had given my mini science lesson to stood with His hand on my shoulder and we spoke in harmony. Over time, yet right before my eyes, the rock shifted from black to grey, then to a cloudy, shiny silver color. Just as the silver began to clear and glisten like a diamond, I sat up straight in bed, staring at my hands…
So, it had been a dream.
I crept out of the darkened bedroom, past Kathryn sleeping on the sofa, grabbed my journal and retreated to the hammock I had hung overlooking Lake Clark.
It was on that hammock that I realized that my refusal to walk fully into His Light was an act of sin.
Was it a form of sin that was obvious to the people around me? Probably not– unless they knew the depths of my heart and knew how much it was keeping me from trusting God. Did it seem to consume me? No, but only because I’m too stubborn to appear as anything except cool, calm, and collected.
But in the depths of my heart, I knew that I had grown content with my darkness, thinking that because a little bit of His Light was shining through me, that that was good enough.
As I processed and journaled that morning, I realized I wasn’t trusting God to heal my heart from the verbal and physical abuse of my past. I had simply accepted darkness and deep pain as a part of life instead of seeing it as something that needed to be brought before the King time, and time again in prayer. And that is exactly the process that began that morning.
Nearly a year later, I’m here in Denver staring at the obsidian ring on my hand as I type this, laughing to myself because not only has God done many miraculous healing works in my heart, but because a stack of support letters written about moving to Alaska are sitting in a pile next to my computer.
I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with this whole move– I will readily admit that– but God does. And I honestly have no idea why I’m being called to a village 2,500 miles away from home for the next season of my life– but I know with every fiber of my being that I am.
I have no doubt that I will see His light shine a million times brighter than a diamond in Alaska, but just like in my dream, I know that I won’t be able to make an impact on the murky darkness alone.
In my dream, I was praying with someone. I like to think that maybe it was Jesus… but who really knows. All I know is that the change in my heart didn’t begin with me, but with a prompting from the Lord and I hope and pray that He will use me and my story to begin to do the same healing and sanctifying works in my students’ hearts next year at TLC. I look forward to sharing the transformation I get to witness with all of y’all.
“I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
(If you’re interested in receiving a support letter or my e-newsletters as I prepare for my journey to Alaska, shoot me an e-mail at KacyLouLeyba@gmail.com. Especially if you’ve got the “red phone” like Mallory. Just sayin’…)