Ever download the same song multiple times, or at least try to? It seems I am always trying to. Accidentally of course - I just don't remember I already have it. I suppose you could chalk it up to a memory that has gone completely down the tubes. But I think it's more than that. I totally understand it's not like it's this huge act of God, but what I have realized is that I should pay attention to why that particular song is tugging at me so strongly, in that particular way, during a specific time in my life. Recently, I downloaded (and tried to download several more times!) the All Sons & Daughters song "Christ Be All Around Me." The words resonate deep within my soul..."As I hear, voice of God, lead me on, be my guide. Above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me...And as I go, hand of God, my defense, by my side. And as I rest, the breath of God, fall upon, bring me peace." I think it's because I haven't been feeling any of what those words say. I haven't been feeling close to God, I'm not hearing from Him like I usually do and I definitely didn't feel like others were seeing Him in me. I don't know if you can relate - but it's a desperate feeling for me. I start to feel lost and then everything else seems to follow suit. My days get hard, my thoughts stray and I lose sight of what's most important to me - my relationship with Jesus.
I continued to pray, but my time with God was minimal. So the prayer was simple and relatively short, "Lord, draw me close. Breathe your breath in me. Remind me of your love." and then I would move on with my day.
I love how gracious and loving God is. Even with my simple, short prayers, and despite my lack of obedience, He heard my plea and answered. And hear me...it was definitely a plea at this point. In an unexpected moment, He gave me a completely random vision. It seemed really silly at the time...okay it's actually still a pretty funny image - but when God broke it down for me I realized the importance of what He was saying to me.
As I was lying in bed the other night, I closed my eyes, tears leaking out of the corners (something that seems to be a bit more common these days!) I was frustrated, discouraged, hurting and kind of lonely. It stemmed from missing a body that worked like I was used to, from the busy-ness of life and work and from missing my time with God. And then out of nowhere - God gave me a vision. Consider yourself warned, it's an odd one. It made me laugh out loud and the tears suddenly stopped as I looked at the sight behind my closed eye lids....I saw a turtle standing upright (not too dissimilar to a teenage mutant ninja turtle) in a boat, out in the middle of a body of water. And he was wearing a helmet. Because that seems logical. It really made me laugh and then made me wonder. I asked God what it was supposed to mean and the interpretation came immediately. Slow down, get in the boat and I will protect your mind. Whoa. It was so clear. And so totally opposite of what I've been doing. And just like that, things suddenly got a little bit clearer and I thought back over the past couple weeks...
Leading up to my surgery, I ran a hundred miles an hour, tying to get as much done as I could, knowing I wouldn't be able to do as much after. Working until midnight each night, finalizing work projects, the house, meals, you name it. Then surgery hit, which naturally slows you down physically, but somehow I still managed to run a hundred miles an hour from my chair. Before I knew it, each day was filled with the everyday stuff of life - work, calls, meetings and taking care of sick kids...a brutal round of the flu that knocked them all out by the way, myself included. I promise, I'm not trying to get any pity, I'm just trying to paint a picture - probably one that many of you are familiar with in your own life. Then, suddenly, it's the end of the day and I realize I hadn't taken any time to sit down with God. Again. Day one, day two, day three. The pattern continued until I honestly felt like I couldn't breathe. And I got frustrated with God...how on earth do I find the time? How exactly am I supposed to get in the boat? What about the things still moving around me? Get in the boat. What happens if I can't get it all done and things start to crash around me? There's a reason I put the helmet on your head. How do I clear my head to be able to sit and listen? You're in a lake, away from the noise, helmet securely on your head. The dialogue continued until I had finally run out of excuses. And that's when I broke. I called my mom in tears and asked her to talk me off a ledge. Not literally - I had just reached a breaking point. I'm guessing a lot of you can relate. You know, that point in life where God is silent, but your days are not. The days when the world gets louder than the soft whisper we were created to listen to. And I felt the breath sucked out of me.
I'm grateful to my family and friends around me who saw where I was and heard the same plea I had been crying out to the Lord...and they said the same words, in a different way - Get in the boat. So I did. I got in. I spent most of this week sitting in the boat with Jesus and listening to the soft beckoning of His voice. Reading His word and learning more about Him. And it was SO good. The world around me slowed down. The pace of life didn't seem so fast and, amazingly, things still continued to get done and move on, even though my hands weren't in it - ha! imagine that! My thoughts were re-focused on the Lord and my prayers began to take on deeper meaning.
I know this is a simple blog, with no real big story or dream attached. But this journey of writing began by God telling me to be me. To share what is on my heart, what is my story, the one He gives me each and every day. And this is what was on my heart this week. My story in this season of my life. And I'm learning that as God prepares me for something bigger, there will be trials. This is one of those times I believe He is asking more of me. And Satan doesn't want me to go deeper, hear clearer, be a warrior in the Spiritual battle that is waging, so he digs his claws in. If we don't fight back - it looks like the phone call to my mom...one of despair and discouragement. When we do make the decision to engage in the battle, it might look a bit like a turtle in a boat, helmet on, spending time with Jesus.
I hope that if you can relate, this gives you hope and encouragement. The Lord hears our cry. There are and will be seasons when it's hard to hear His voice. But He is always there and ever so patient with us. All He is asking is that we take the time to get in the boat. He'll take care of the rest.
"When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him." -Matthew 8:23