written on a lanai on the magical island of Maui
I’ve begun a new chapter in my earth-life.
I didn’t know that I had; at least, I didn’t intend to. I guess it started, or, the sharp, short inhales of new breath started filling my lungs the day I left Dad’s house, knowing I didn’t want to live there again. I spent the Summer and first bit of Fall trying to find my bearings. To use Jonathan Martin’s analogy: the ship – my ship – had wrecked, the floorboards shattered and sunk beneath my feet. I watched in horror as everything I had stood upon, trusted in, put faith and security in, sunk deeper, deeper, deeper past the reach of my clutching and grasping fingertips into the depths of the sea.
Completely shattered. Beyond salvage, repair, or restoration.
So, He rebuilt me. He is rebuilding me. He has grasped the hand that once flailed for the remnants of what I knew, and drew my gaze up to meet His. His eyes, shimmering with tears, seeing and knowing and feeling my horror, sadness, despair, hopelessness, and confusion. His eyes, full of the deepest riches of compassion. He adored me, and wanted to show me the way to being loved by Him, to trust His desire and ability to rebuild me. He is the Master Builder, the Great Artist, the Creative Genius that knows, knows, KNOWS me, and knows the best way to build. He took the Summer and Fall to teach me to trust His ways, His method, His heart.
He is so good.
Writing that looks way too simple for the weightiness those words strung together hold in my spirit.
He is so good. He can’t be anything else.
But He hasn’t proved His trustworthiness by doing whatever I ask. No.
He brought Himself close – His very visceral presence.
He is God with me. His presence communicated more in ways of bringing deepest peace than Him satisfying every desire I could have come up with.
I wasn’t expecting that. I expected to surrender, and then see Him bring all the things I needed as I needed them.
Instead, He brought Himself.
And as I felt Him and heard Him and saw Him, all the things I thought I needed faded into the periphery. And over and over again, I knew – ginosko, knew (perceive, feel, understand intimately) – that He is and was enough, . . . He proved it to me. Again – not by satisfying every need and desire (physical healing, paying off debt, mending brokenness, bringing a husband) – but by being WITH me in the midst of my pain and heartache. And His presence began to heal me.
As I woke up day after day to new visions of Him with me in my room, in my car, by my bed, next to me at the table, I began to believe: You’re really with me. And then came the night that I saw the demon of panic that I had allowed to be there…
I woke up, turned over, saw the dark thing there. I just stared for a minute. I wasn’t afraid, but I knew it shouldn’t be there. I told it to leave. I began to worship. After awhile, it was still there. Since I had seen Jesus multiple times a day for weeks, I thought to ask Him, “Where are You?” and immediately I saw Him next to me.
His arm was draped across my chest; there was gold light shimmering from it. It was protective and comforting.
And in an instant I received the greatest revelation that I have ever comprehended. It has marked me, and changed me forever.
He was sleeping in the presence of the enemy. And not just that – the enemy that I had allowed to be there by the agreement that I had made long ago: that I would fear when anything negative happened to my body.
That didn’t stop His closeness.
It didn’t stop His comfort.
It didn’t do a thing to distance Him from me.
“There’s no shadow You won’t light up,
mountain You won’t climb up,
coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down,
lie You won’t tear down,
coming after me”
He was so unconcerned . . . so unaffected by anything I had done that might separate Him from me. He wasn’t threatened, wasn’t concerned about, wasn’t intimidated by my fear and even my choice to engage with fear.
He couldn’t care less. He was sleeping beside me – holding me close.
In a flash, the vision changed from a real-time experience to a prophetic one: I saw two massive angels on either side of the dark figure. I saw the dark figure begin to shrink smaller – smaller – smaller – until it disintegrated. I understood that it had no power outside of what I gave to it – and I knew that as I trusted Him and His withness more and more and more – I would have no need for the false protection fear had offered me.
I haven’t had a panic attack since that night last summer.
Healing is incredibly multifaceted, I’ve learned. He can do it in a moment: Cancer – gone. Dead – raised. Barren – pregnant. Afraid – at peace. Confusion – clarity. Despairing – hope-filled. He can do it, and He does. I’ve seen it and experienced it many, many times.
He can also extend a hand, and point to a path, a journey, and invite the sick and pained and anguished to walk with Him and learn from Him.
Sometimes, He disciples into wholeness.
My healing journey carries with it a host of choices, most all of them boiling down to this:
Will I trust Him to lead me to good?
Will I trust His reckless love for me?
Will I rest in His love?
Healing comes. It WILL come. Sometimes instantly, sometimes in periods of time, and sometimes in Heaven.
My freedom led me to find a sturdy foothold of flagstones in the dirt path when I accepted that mystery, and let go of my need to control the timing.
It’s completely ironic – that letting go of my obsession with control would push open the forgotten door into a secret garden of delight and intimacy. My favorite mantra for months now has been: “I don’t know, and isn’t that wonderful?”
It’s freed me from the pressure to perform
the pressure to achieve
the pressure to provide
the pressure to hurry
the pressure to move
the pressure to acquiesce and please
the pressure to be anything besides His Beloved. His Daughter. His Lover. His Chosen One.
He knows, and I trust Him. Oh, how I trust Him!
I’m so thankful there is more! I’m so thankful He will never stop freeing me! I’m so thankful He will always light up my shadows, climb the mountains I’m scaling, kick down the walls I erect, and tear down the lies I chose to believe!
He will never stop His pursuit.
He will never be more than a breath away.