"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Where are You?

There are days when God feels very far away.  Or, maybe I might say my relationship with Him isn't great---isn't close.

In the Kazakh language, when translating the common Biblical phrase "in Christ", the term "tightly bound together with Christ" was used.

We know that this closeness... this depth of relationship is available.  But, sometimes it feels far away---out of reach.

I am realizing that on those days---or in those seasons---in reality, it is me who is very far away.  As trite as it can sound, it is not that God has moved or changed.  It is me who is far away.  And, in truth, I am not 'far away from God'--- He is ever close.  In fact, I am far from me.

In these moments, it isn't that I can't find God.  It is that I can't find myself.

I have been wandering for days and nights recently in the feeling of "far away".  David's Psalms bouncing through my head, "Where are you, O God!? Why are you far from me?  Will you remain distant forever, angry at me forever?"...these words ringing in my ears through the watches of the night, I have been tossed and turned with angst and exhaustion.

Realization hit today, though, as I finally sat long enough to ask the heart question of myself, "Where are you, O Stephanie?"

Where are you...  

God asks that of Adam and Eve those first fitful, painful, disastrous moments in recorded time.

Where are you, O Stephanie?  

Given time, pen and paper, a bit of quiet, and a reluctantly-willing heart, I sat and asked myself the very question that God asked Adam.

The answer wasn't pretty.  I, too, was hiding.  Hiding in shame.  Angry at myself for sin and choices to run away.  I was tired.  I was sad... profoundly sad. Under the anger sat frustration, embarrassment, worry, fear, hurt, insecurity, sadness, judgment, and pain.

While this may sound over-dramatic, I truly believe these are the feelings of every day life:  Everyone's every day life.   I just think we are really good at hiding from ourselves.

After prayerfully listening, to the best of my vulnerability, to my heart and asking where I was...  I sat for another moment.  And, the thought dawned on me...

You O Lord, where are you?

The same place I have always been.  I am.  Here.  Creator.  Sustainer.  Redeemer.  Rock.  Alpha and Omega.  I am Under...Over...In...you.  I am.  

I am Love.  

I used to feel that God would move far away or I couldn't find Him.  But, I am most certainly the one who moves...  I so easily move away from myself, from others, and ultimately from Him.

I have heard this trite saying, too... many times.  But, today, I experienced Him walking in my garden with me and asking me to stop and answer the age old question... Where are you?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Advent Needed Today

Last night it was at 2 am.  Sometimes it comes in the quiet of the morning... or maybe it comes into the stillness found when I am chopping vegetables for dinner.  Worry.

Worry comes.  Unbidden.  Unwelcome.  But, it comes and I find myself fighting for breath and truth---searching for a solid rock for my emotions to rest upon.

Worry.  Often about yesterday.  Most often about tomorrow.  The thoughts swirl around my mind and my heart.  Dizzy with what feels "real"...but, in reality isn't real at all.  It isn't now.  It's a story.  It is only a fictional piece playing in my mind:  Re-membering yesterday and fore-telling tomorrow.  What might have been?  What I should have done.  What I did wrong?  Will I have enough?  What might come?  What could be the end of this story line?  What if?

Last night it came at 2 am.

The darkness and loneliness of night makes the battle evermore fierce sometimes, doesn't it?

Truth fought hard at the corners and edge of my mind last night.  Do not worry.   Do not be afraid.  Do not be anxious about anything.  I heard the whispers.  But, these words felt so far off.  He felt so far off.

Lord, why is it so hard sometimes for me to take this in?  Why can I not live in this freedom that you offer and bought for me?  

Lessons long learned.  Lessons taught and written about here.  Freedom found.  And, so easily lost... again.  I believe.  Help me with my unbelief!

Morning came.  It always does.  Oh, my Dayspring!  "...through the tender mercy of God, whereby the dayspring from on high hast visited us, to give light to them that sit in the darkness..."  (Luke 1:76-79)

His faithfulness found me here again.  This morning I came.  I sat and waited.  I listened to His Word.  I asked.  Today, a fresh day.  A day to stand on His Truth and He, Himself, as the rock that can steady my heart.  His hold ever secure in midst of the fictional flood that overwhelmed me last night.

He came.  Today, He came.  My Dayspring.  My love.

Love comes.

Truth comes.  Light floods.  Welcomed.  Asked for.  ...hoped for.  The coming.  The Advent again this morning.  Fresh coming.  His whispers---ever steadfast---won and pushed through this morning.  No longer at the edge, His Presence filled.

Advent means the arrival.  The coming.  The rising.  The dawning.  My Advent, my Jesus!  Oh how this heart needs Your coming each and every day.

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