There are peaks and valleys. Times of plenty and want. Times when He feels so near you can feel His cloak brush against you and times when He feels so distant you begin to wonder if the brush of His cloak might have just been imagined. Times when you remember to look at His face regardless of what’s going on around you and times when you cannot bring yourself to look at His face because of what’s going on around you.
And that’s where I spent the better part of 2011. Unable to bring myself to stop grasping for breath and control long enough just to gaze into His face. To examine exactly who He is. To right my focus. I did glance occasionally but could never seem to maintain a gaze. I believed in His goodness – really and truly. And I could list a zillion ways He had proven it to me right in the middle of the pain. And I knew that His faithfulness would not falter. But with the knowledge of this third pregnancy, of the possibility of new hope – or new pain – I wouldn’t let me guard down, wouldn’t believe it was real. It felt like the only thing I could do to protect myself from hurting quite so deep.
How do you lovingly gaze at the one you feel like you can’t trust entirely to give you the thing that your heart so deeply desires?
And there it was – trust. Or in my case, lack thereof. It’s hard to float along living fully in the joy AND the pain. Trusting Him so deeply that you believe that all of it is good – or will prove to be – in the end. So we work vigorously to build walls that will block the blows. What we don’t realize, though, is that those walls also tend to block out the rich blessings we could be embracing…like the joy of knowing you are pregnant. And we get so distracted with all that building that we forget to gaze at the only One who can really do a darn thing about a darn thing.
For a few months at the end of the year, I felt Him drawing me. Gently suggesting that maybe I should just take a look at who He is again. Remember my first love, you know? I always allowed distraction to deter me. Wasn’t that sweet of me?
And then one Sunday morning in January, sitting in that same spot that honestly feels a little like holy ground now because of all the times God has revealed something big to me while I occupied that space, right in the middle of our pastor’s sermon, a man passed out. And people started waving their arms frantically. Our pastor called for medical assistance and asked everyone to stand and sing in an effort to allow for privacy and not interrupt whatever the Holy Spirit might have been doing in people’s hearts. The band had left the sanctuary for the sermon and missed the whole rigamauraw. Two lone worship leaders remained in service and it was looking like they were going to have to go it acapella. I was sweating for them a little. At the last minute the band in the back got the memo and out they all came and without missing a beat jumped in with Revelation Song.
And God said, “Emily. Look. at. me. I’ll do whatever it takes to get you there – looking at me again. Even if it means I have to interrupt an entire service to do it. Just look at me.”
I sang and I wept and I smiled at the persistence of my God to bring me back to Him again.
Maybe He’s trying to get your attention, asking you to just stop and look at Him. Not because of or in spite of your circumstances. Forget about your circumstances and remember your First Love. It makes all the difference there is to be made. It does for me, anyway.
Keep on keepin’ it down and dirty. Love y’all like crazy!