I used to know in my heart we wouldn’t stay…it was just a place of rest along the way.
Sweet rest. Nourishing. An open hand that fed us, wings that sheltered us, spirit that whispered us to sleep there in that place. Our ears grew familiar with His breath there. A dance of three swayed above us within earthly lines drawn up and measured out in heaven. A place chosen just for us. Three children felt the holy vibrations of the moving dance above as days crept forward into weeks, and months spilled into unstoppable years,
That place sheltered celebrations.
….and that place wrapped itself around
Jesus became a familiar scent to prickable souls and ever questioning minds there.
That place was good. A good gift from a good good Father. Tired limbs settled bone and muscle in a house of wood furnished with soft comfort. Emotionally fringed minds were refreshed through glorious sunsets on a porch made for two. We could see God there. We felt His invisible presence. And Holy Love swaddled us in safe as light turned into dark in that place.
It wasn’t long before that place celebrated three high school graduations and we wondered if we were supposed to go or to stay…and all that wondering made its journey through prayers and conversations about God drawing lines, and establishing boundaries and dwelling places and directing our steps no matter what man plans in his own mind. And it was like we were being propelled in forward motion out of that place and into a new place.
A new place where God had planned for our feet to land and our souls to settle into.
This was an open space of land, and hills and trees, and water. It’s as if we breathed in more of God in the new place. Keep,us breathing…i think I smell you here, God.
if there is grace it reaches far enough to touch what isn’t…
if there is love it penetrates what knows nothing of it…
if there is mercy it floods over what should never know it…as it hides in dark, putrid forgotten places.
All because calloused hands of wicked men stuck a makeshift cross of wood in dirt and nailed a King there.
we know Someone we shouldn’t.
And if there is God, our hands cover our mouths while our eyes open on the side of Him we are only allowed to see while this cleft He has carved for us keeps us safe.
I see glory here.
Not that I didn’t see glory in that place. Such a sweet familiar place, with worn floors beneath our feet, chipped and gouged, and the people smell that belongs to every home. Glory filled that place in much the same way that Isaiah saw glory fill the temple…
but this place has been channeled out of rock for us…and every morning he passes by as I cry show me your glory! My backyard of barren and scarce grass in that place has been replaced with a fresh, clean lake poured straight down from the pitchers lined on shelves in hidden storehouse rooms of heaven. When God filled it, He knew our names and said “live in the land and cultivate faithfulness” Psalm 37:3.
So we are here on the shores of Holy water. Not because the water has power, but because the hand of El Elohim, filled the surface of the deep and formed this place.
we are a people familiar with pain. It’s a shared pain to a select few of us who were called to watch the children of our flesh suffer. We also know the hollow ache of the two called to be one staggering alone in search of anything that doesn’t look or sound like him…or her… We know sickness that has lasted months and years and we know health.
And if there is a God that takes away…
then there is a God who gives…
if there is a God who strips…
there is a God who restores…
and so I began to pray, show us that you are the God of Job who restores…
the God who restores the years the locusts have eaten…
the God who delights in giving good gifts to His children…
if I have known suffering, can I humbly and boldly ask for restoration? Is that ok, Lord?
I wouldn’t trade one minute of the suffering, because without suffering, I would not know the ecstatic intimacy of my Love, my treasure, my hope, my joy….in Christ. Through suffering, “I have found Him whom my soul loves…” Song of Solomon 3:4.
houses and places are but things that will one day tumble down and the land beneath them will be rolled up like a smoking scroll…for our God is a consuming fire. but they are also places God uses as sanctuaries of rest and quiet and reprieve.
Make us faithful with this sanctuary of time and space, land and water…show us your glory that we might reflect it so that those who grope in darkness see shards of holy light streaming crooked through our broken frames that house your Spirit.
Why are you so good to us? We are here today and tomorrow will not know us. Yet we sink into the stillness of who you are, unchanging, abundant in grace, rich in mercy…and we stay….
This place we cannot claim, for it belongs only to the One who’s hands formed it. This house, though man made documents tell us we own it, truth soaked words carved into hearts of flesh tell us You are the rightful owner of it all. We are eternally grateful, our hearts overflow with a new gratitude. This is raw, fresh love for us. Keep showing us who You are.
So you have set our feet here. Oh that thousands of pairs of feet would walk this earth and feel the quiet still of the lake here with us. Imprinting their soles alongside ours in this dirt and lake-drenched sand Open our doors wide to share what you have generously bestowed on us for such a time as this.
I am hemmed in here…this tiny cleft..
and I see Glory.