Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finding God Right Next to Me

As my summer kicks off, I realize I am not the same person I was a year ago. Sure the basic stuff has stayed the same - I love dark chocolate and writing (put them together and I’m in heaven); my house is almost always on the verge of total disaster-zone; and my fashion sense is non-existent.  My life probably looks the same too.  Raising amazing kids, married to my hard-working sensitive husband, and working part-time on my dad’s farm.

But the way I see things is very different, and it has everything to do with this phrase:

When we are at the edge of ourselves, God shows up.

photo credit: Aaron D. Feen via photopin cc
Last week I was privileged to attend my first writing conference, the Write To Publish Conference in Wheaton, IL.  Christian writers, editors, and publishers from all walks of life gathered together to share, encourage, and enlighten.  Evenings were graced with joyful messages from Pam and Bill Farrel - authors and speakers who have over 3 decades of marriage and over 2 decades of ministry and publishing experiences to inform their ministry.  (Check out their books on relationship!)  They are a hoot to listen to and definitely gave me a few things to think about.  

When Pam said “When we are at the edge of ourselves, God shows up,” my heart and soul burst with agreement.  The last few years have really driven this home for me.  I’ve faced some painful moments, and the less of myself I could count on… the more of Christ I was forced to lean on.  

When we are at the edge of ourselves, God shows up

Actually He’s always been there.  He’s so consistent and perfectly faithful to His children.  His love never fails.  There is no doubt He is right alongside us.  

But when we are at the edge of ourselves, looking out over the brink (our own strengths and confidence like gravel under our feet), our eyes darting desperately seeking the help of something greater than ourselves….  We find Him. 

When we are at the edge of ourselves, God shows up.  We couldn’t see him before, because we were in the way.  
Like a blurred photograph, out of focus because of our rush.
Like a dirty, streaked window covered with fingerprints and lipstick kisses, puddle splashes from recklessly speeding away.
Lost in a crowd of ourselves, our multiple personalities and vocational positions filling up the room, the sound of our ego deafening. 

One by one our important endeavors, fancy skills, and self-declared strengths can’t finish the job.  Misfortune is too shocking.  Mistakes too frustrating.  Messes too overwhelming.  
We are at the edge of ourselves.  Nothing left to solve our problems or get us out of these too-often self-imposed disasters.  

Then we are forced to look up.  We are forced to look outside of ourselves and see the One who has faithfully been waiting for the prayer, “God, help me.”   
Whatever it is inside us that the Holy Spirit can work with, He moves the heart to turn.  He brings into focus the mighty God who loves us and whose strong arms will hold us when we feel like we’re falling.  

And God shows up. 

A year ago I was not so willing to look outside of myself.  I didn’t know what it was to desperately seek the eyes of God.  I’d yet to experience truly frantic need.  

Since then I’ve seen God up-close and I’m much happier leaning on His strength than mine.  I’ve experienced the Peace that He offers, that makes no sense other than the rationale of His promises.  Furthermore, I know I will fail to be consistent and strong.  But I know He will always show up when I turn to Him and admit there’s too much of me and not enough of Him.  

When we are at the edge of ourselves, God shows up. Thanks, Pam, for that reminder.  

Have you experienced this desperate edge? Have you experienced the peace that makes no sense? Leave a comment, and encourage someone else with your story.

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