Yes, Lord

Yes, Lord. Yes, to anything You ask of me, anytime, anywhere.

When I was much younger, one of my aunts loaned us a recording of Ann Kiemel. The title of her talk was “Yes, Lord” and I must have listened to it about 500 times, folding the towels, mopping the floor, whenever.

Later, I found her delightful books. Ann’s books break the capitalization rules. They’re written in a kind of blank verse poetry, telling her simple stories of how she sang to taxi drivers and took children out for ice cream, telling them that Jesus loves them and together, with Jesus and love, they could dream and change the world.

I could never quite place her accent, but it fascinated me, and I liked her stories and her raspy little voice singing little songs at any time. “Something beautiful, something good, all my confusion He understood…”

She grew up in Hawaii and never fit into that world, but her pastor dad kept telling her “It pays to serve Jesus” and she’d say “Why, Daddy? I’m nine years old and ugly and hardly anybody likes me. Why does it pay to serve Jesus?” Then her dad would say “Give God time.”

When she was a junior in college, she was asked to be an administrator at Cornell University. They’d never offered the job to someone so young, or to a woman. It sounded so glamorous, her chance to be somebody, but she felt God saying “No.”

I remember kneeling by a little couch and opening my hand and putting into my hand all the things that I really loved: my family, good health, ambition, dreams for a husband and a home. I put them all right there. ‘Yes Jesus, you can take anything out or put anything in that You see I need. Yes, Lord.I want to be your woman more than I want anything else in the world.’

But dreams are made from mountains, and her dreams led her through dark valleys. After the years she had been a teacher and youth worker and dean of women at Easter Nazarene College, she was a speaker and writer. She found herself unable to keep up with demands and said, “I can’t go on. I can’t be a dreamer. I’m just not cut out for this. I can’t handle the criticisms. People don’t even know me and they make judgements about me and it’s harder than I thought to change the world, and I’m not strong enough.”

At 3:00 in the morning, weeping in my little apartment, again I opened my hand. ‘Jesus, I give all of this to you. I just started out to dream for my neighborhood. I didn’t ask to be a messenger to the world. But Jesus, here it is. Here’s my future, here’s my loneliness, all the pressures, the criticisms, the books, the dreams. Take me again. And I will try to make Yes, Lord the continuing motto of my life.’

Ann has written over a dozen books but these are the ones I’ve read:
I’m Out to Change My World
Yes
I Love the Word Impossible
I Gave God Time (the story of her marriage at 35)
Taste of Tears, Touch of God (the story of many miscarriages and adopting 4 sons)
Search for Wholeness

I found her “Yes Lord” speech on the internet today, and loved how all the stories came back to me as I listened. Now, as an adult, I hear her differently, with more understanding and empathy, not so much with the wide-eyed wonder of a child. I know she put me on a path to living with a ‘Yes, Lord’ motto, and with His help, I intend to keep my hand open.

Yes, Lord. Yes, to anything You ask of me, anytime, anywhere.

4 thoughts on “Yes, Lord

  1. Your post inspires me to be interested in her writing, though something without correct capitalization tends to turn me off. Perhaps I’d like a recording from her better. Where on the internet did you find her “Yes Lord” speech? I googled to see if I could find it, and didn’t have success.

  2. Oh, Anita! This post was so timely for me. I have so MANY precious things in my hand… in fact, I usually need to use both hands, cupped together, to hold them. Once again, I’m opening them. I love the mental picture of allowing Jesus to take out and put into my hands what he wants. Thanks for bringing peace to my morning!

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