Tag Archives: presence

When the Safe Places are Shaken

Photo by Austin Upton

Photo by Austin Upton

I think I have been in hiding for the past few weeks.

There are places I have come to rely on as havens in my life, but recently, almost every one of those safe places has suddenly become a little less safe.  There is a shaking happening.  And it’s not fun.

But it is revealing.  I find myself approaching God’s heart with new eyes, new ears.  As I am forced to look at my world differently, He also prompts me to look at my own heart differently.  And I am discovering that for all my independence and strong will, much of what I have become has been defined by others, not Him.  Not the One who most truly sees me.  So I lean in closer, teach my soul to be still and know.

I am not unique in this experience.  Snippets of stories waft my way in spite of the arms’ length I have been holding the world at, and I know there are many others feeling the tremors too.  I whisper to you the comfort I whisper to myself: He is shaking everything that can be shaken, so that only what cannot be shaken will remain.

I think of my children when they are faced with a new circumstance or experience, how their little bodies draw close, arms wrapped around my leg or holding to my hand.  I cannot take away the uncertainty or the apprehension, but I can infuse them with courage through the assurance of my nearness.

And so we draw close, wrap our weary arms around the everlasting arms.  It may not stop the shaking, but it will remind us of our refuge and release the strength we need to stand firm, even as the ground around us sways and shifts.  But once the stillness comes and the dust settles, we will know with heightened clarity the things within us that are unshakeable.

Consider things around you that are shaking.  Is there perhaps something new He wants you to see in your own heart?

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Filed under Hope, Presence, Waiting

Rooftops

(Over the next 10 weeks, as I work my way through Story 101, a lot of my posts will come from prompts and subjects we’re discussing.)

Consider this :: what is it that keeps you up at night? What could you talk about every single day for the rest of your life? What do you want to shout from the rooftops so everyone will know?

What runs electric through your veins?

I have to admit – I stared at these words for a long time, slow panic rising in me.  Lots of things keep me up at night right now – and all the uncertainties and struggles began dancing around my head in broad daylight.

But out of the chaotic thoughts came countless moments from my memories – me, a heap on the floor and tears in my eyes and heart laid bare.  And I knew.

I shout from the rooftops that I love Him – shamelessly, fiercely, desperately – because He is all together perfect.

I don’t understand so much, but I love Him.

Some days it scares me because I live in a world that wants to make it seem foolish and pathetic and ignorant to love Him.  Sometimes the Church has earned those criticisms; often she hasn’t.  And it is hard to live in a world that seems hostile to what you love.  But still I love Him.

And I shout from the rooftops that He loves you, me, all of us, and if you do not love Him, perhaps you have not really seen Him?  And I suggest this with not a shred of condemnation or shame, but rather to stir up hope, to urge you to keep looking.

Electric through my veins is the desire for people to encounter His presence, to catch one glimpse of His eyes gazing into them – seeing all and loving all.  If we do not have Him, we have nothing.

And I shout from the rooftops that He is holy, and it is ok that we are not because He is committed to making us holy, even while we are broken.  When He corrects, it may be uncomfortable, but it still feels like grace.  And if it feels more like shame, then maybe just wait a little longer before making any changes?  Shame produces some nasty fruit, nothing like what He offers.

For the rest of my life, it comes back to Him, again and again.  And I know sometimes He seems far and sometimes He seems unreasonable and sometimes He simply makes no sense.  But don’t give up.  He is never truly far.  And I know some days this journey is just so, SO hard.  But don’t give up.

I shout from the rooftops that He is worth it.  I believe it with every fiber of my being.  I love Him.

And He loves us – this is my loudest shout of all.

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Filed under Faith, Passion, Presence, Worship

Lifeline

I am weary in every sense of the word.

My heart feels like it has been squeezed and squeezed, and stretched and squeezed.

The last few weeks have brought a barrage of questions, emotions, conflicts, decisions, opportunities, revelations.  It is like the tiniest glimpse into what it must have been like to wrestle with God all through the night.

But tonight, I dragged my weary soul into His presence alongside beloved friends, covenant family.  And it never ceases to amaze me that no matter where you’ve been and I’ve been, we get together and cry out and He comes.

I have spent a lifetime trying to do enough, be enough.  But I get in His presence and am reminded that I am already enough because I am His.  Because I love Him and He cannot resist a heart that adores Him.  I may not be good enough to deserve it, but I am precious enough.

Every burden, fear, worry, hope, expectation, conflict, question – everything melts away when He wraps around me.  His presence is what sustains me through everything else that makes absolutely no sense.  And I know there is always someone who reads words like these and says, “But I can’t feel Him.  Why can’t I feel Him?”

And I can only say, dear heart, I have been there.  I have been in the moments where it seemed everyone was experiencing God but me.  I have been in the seasons where it seemed the only amazing, life-changing service was the one I missed.  I have walked through the times where the wounds were so great it seemed I would never be able to find Him in that place again.  I have known the heavens as brass and His voice as silent and His heart seemingly distant.

But I have learned to never stop chasing.  He is never far.  It does not always makes sense to me, but I know now I will find Him, how my heart will touch Him.  And you will too.  Be relentless.

Because His presence is our lifeline, our everything.  When we touch Him, we are whole.

Tonight I did the one thing that sets my heart on fire like no other – I sang to my Beloved.  He enfolded me with His gentleness and His grace.  He is here with me in my weariness, my wandering.  And I am left with this assurance in the midst of all my imperfections – He loves me.

 

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Filed under Faith, Music, Presence, Worship