Thursday, February 6, 2014

Slowing and Fasting

Seasons have their rhythms.

Our spiritual seasons have rhythms as well.

Outside our home in Central California, it is drier than it has been in years.  We talk of drought and cutting back on water this year.  We long for rain.  My boys and I pray daily for rain to come and fill the parched places -- to provide the life we love in our plants and our homes.

We need living water in times when life is arid and barren.  In a winter of my soul, I can feel dormant or dry.  I had a season recently where I could see the fingerprints of God, but just not grasp His hand.  A dear blogger whom I have come to love posted about Jesus walking near the boat and the disciples not knowing whether He were a ghost or a person.  She asked, "Where are you in this story?"  I was in the boat, longing for Jesus to come near, but feeling He was passing by.

My word for this year is Draw Near.  I hear it echoing through my heart and life -- draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.  I hear Him reminding me I can be gentle to all because He is already near.  I hear Him calling me to rest in His presence which is present.

When I feel He is distant, though my mind knows something else is true, I have to lean in, as in birth, and push through the painful places.

While I sat with this thought of Jesus afar and me desperately longing for His touch, I became aware of the absence of someone dear to me.  One of my most treasured relationships on this earth is with my mentor.  She has been a spiritual mother to me in these past 16 years, helping me walk into the dark places so that I could allow for more of God's light.  Her own life has great demands in this season and as a result she is not as readily available for the connection upon which I have come to depend.  I sat with the realization that I was grieving her distance.  She isn't distant in heart, but our lives are not able to connect and I miss her deeply.

Grief has its way in each of us. 
When we allow it, grief is a great friend to our walk with Jesus.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. ~ Is 53:3

I sat still and allowed the feelings I had been holding at bay to wash over me.  I cried for the distance I felt.  I sat, holding that space and simultaneously knowing that I am loved -- by her and by God.  It has been a long time coming, this knowing that I am loved despite the feelings of distance.  The telling would take a book, not a blog post.  As I sat, I was comforted by the growth and the security of that knowing.  As I sat, I felt the nearness of God.  I realized that when I held the pain at bay, I was holding Him at bay as well.  We can be in a boat, longing for Him to get in, and yet we are rowing with all our might against the current that draws us to Him.  The current is the invitation, but that invitation may involve some pain.  It often does.  I allowed God to have His way and I found Him faithful, once again, to meet me in the lonely and longing places.  He is never far, though we can truly feel He is.  He is with us, Emmanuel, calling and drawing us towards Him.  

When I sit, I find Him present.  When I feel, I allow Him near.  

Linking up with Faith Jam and Thought Provoking Thursdays where other courageous writers share their real experiences as they walk in faith.

1 comment:

HeartsHomeward said...

Andee, Thank you for your words of empathy. I am encouraged when I hear that others have been there too. I know we all have these types of experiences, yet sometimes when we are in the throws of it, we can feel alone. It is for good that we do feel that solitary feeling -- God comes to us there. I am so glad you came by HeartsHomeward. Come back anytime.