Where’s your place?

I often wonder if David ever went back and visited the spot where God used him to wallop Goliath.

Or if Paul paused later in life on the road to Damascus where God had knocked him crazy bold with His grace.

Did Mary ever go back to the spot where the angel first gave her the ridiculously impossible news that she would carry Jesus into the world?

The whole earth is filled with God’s glory, but in some places He just seems more present than others. Or we are paying closer attention.  Some call them “thin places” where the boundary lines between heaven and earth are barely discernible.

Friday I got home from a trip to Great Britain, feeling a little “off”.  Jet-lag or being out of a healthy soul rhythm.  So Saturday morning I went back to one of those thin places – a path I walked daily during a season when many of those days were filled with pain and confusion.  It is a path where I have praised God and also cried out to Him in utter despair.  It’s a place I return to because it is filled with reminders of His presence and faithfulness.

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As I walked yesterday I remembered an early morning after a powerful thunderstorm years ago that had echoed the sounds of the storm in my own life at the time.  The next morning as I was walking around “my” lake I came to a place on the path where there was a bird who had been pelted to the ground by the storm…battered and broken.  I couldn’t tell if there was any life left in him, but it didn’t look good.

I thought, “Lord, that’s a picture of how I feel.  Half the time I’m numb.  Unconscious. Battered and exhausted.  Every once in awhile I regain consciousness and try to move my wings, and figure out how to fly again.  But it just hurts and I collapse in pain again.”

Though this was the way I felt, as I continued to walk this path that represented my journey with God, I had memorized Lamentations 3:21-24 “But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.  His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself: The Lord is my portion.  I will wait for Him.”

That morning and in the days after, slowly, ever so gradually, God changed the picture in my mind.  He added to it.  I was still that mangled, broken bird, but gradually, I saw myself gently scooped up into the loving hands of God, shielded, nurtured, bound up, healed.  I was an injured bird, cradled in Hands that treasured me and would restore my strength.

Yesterday as I finished my walk, and my memories of God’s faithfulness, these are the words I encountered.

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Where is “that place” for you?  Is there a chair, or a chapel, a path or a beach where you feel God has shown up in ways you can’t deny?  I’d love to see you post your place or your experience in the comments so others can be encouraged.  If you’re a first time commenter and it doesn’t show up immediately, don’t worry, it will!

If you are new to faith and haven’t experienced this, let me share what I prayed every morning I walked that path: “Lord, what do You have to show me about Yourself and myself today?”  Give it a try!

8 thoughts on “Where’s your place?

  1. Mine was North Pond in Chicago. I was new to the city and at the time, I began to pursue healing from some past hurts. It was my refuge and a place I went to just be with God and let Him speak healing and encouragement into my life. I don’t live near there anymore so I don’t have a chance to visit but I think of it often.

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  2. While growing up, my mother had a sunny yellow chair placed right next to her bedroom window that she called her “prayer” chair. I can still picture her, reading her Bible, praying to God, snuggled up in her yellow chair with a quilt wrapped around her lap. Everyday when I would walk past her room, that chair just beckoned to me. I believed that with all the time mom spent with God in that chair, it held a special magic and connection to God. I went away to college, got married, moved to Chicago. My marriage ended in betrayal and I moved back to my parent’s home for a short time. A few days after I moved back, on a particular sunny Sunday morning, I was in a place of great fear, loss, and loneliness. I was alone in the house, my mother and father were at church. The sadness and fear threatened to overwhelm me. I walked that empty house and then I knew where I needed to be. Curled up in mom’s prayer chair in the lap of God. I went to mom’s room, opened up her window to the early spring morning, snuggled in to her chair and wept to God, pleading with Him to show me that if He could hear my small voice, if He loved me like His book says he does, if He truly was a God of relationship and wanted to “talk” with his children, then why would He not “talk” to me? For a long time, other than the sound of my weeping and voice pleading with God, there was silence. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a home burglar alarm go off from somewhere down the block. My first thought was no, I am in this place of quiet and prayer, waiting on God, and now I hear nothing but a glaring alarm? But then….I heard God. As clear as if He were in the room with me, He told me to get up, and follow Him. He told me to open a certain kitchen drawer, go through a box of keys, take out a particular set of house keys (keys that had no name on them, only 4 numbers), get in my car, drive down the block several homes, go into that house, take a left by the kitchen and punch in those 4 numbers. The alarm would be silenced. I did exactly that. While I had been living in Chicago, my cousins had moved in to that house down the street. They were not at home, but their children and grandmother were. She had set off the alarm and had no idea how to turn it off. She was amazed and relieved that someone she did not know would appear at her door and know just what to do. I let her know, that I, by myself, did not know what to do. I had no way of knowing that my parents had a set of unmarked house keys that would have nothing on them, but the code to her burglar alarm. But God knew. And He chose the most unlikely of ways to let me know that He hears, He guides, He loves, He leads, He nudges. He shouts above the blaring sound of alarms. My mother and father are no longer here, the house and chair are long gone, but in less than an instant, in my mind’s eye, I can return to my mother’s yellow prayer chair, snuggle under her quilt, climb onto the lap of God and listen as he whispers “Beloved, I am here.”

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  3. In all honesty, I don’t go to my place, it seems to come to me. As I remember my oh so young sister, Peggy, who passed away four years ago tomorrow from pancreatic cancer, this is a very timely blog you have written. My sister has given hope to my parents and I in a few ways…an orange butterfly who stayed with us for a very long time during one of our hardest days, several orange butterflies that seemed to pop up at an art fair that I went to during a certain special week, and double rainbows on holidays that are special to us. We just had one of those when the 3 of us gathered for my Dad’s birthday. Maybe it’s wishing, maybe it just is, and maybe our loved ones are able to ask God to intervene on their behalf. Either way, my “place” seems to come to me when I’m overwhelmed with being the only living child for two parents who are struggling with health issues and seem to be on their last path of this life. When I long for another phone conversation with Peggy, when I really really need my sister to talk to especially as I see my Dad struggling physically so hard, just to function daily. I’m a geriatric nurse, I know this stuff in my head, but I can’t live with just what I know, I can’t survive with what I know. I survive with what my heart believes and feels and that is God allowing his and her love to come to me. I need her, so when I find myself in that place of despair, at some point, maybe not that day or that week, but at some point, there she is. The significance of the orange is amazing, as I painted my bathroom in my home orange several years ago. I’m contemporary with flashes of color here and there. Peggy is traditional, and did everything in floral. Kind of a switch when I’m the feminine one and she was the tomboy with the massive arms that would make softball players tremble when she threw the ball. We didn’t tolerate each other’s differences well way back, and slowly she accepted me and I her. She’d find the polka dot dish for me and I’d find a country blue bowl for her. When she first saw my new town home, she went into the bathroom and I didn’t say a thing. Figured she was going to have to find out herself. She turned around in the door and said, “Kimberly, what have you done!!” I said, “Well Peggy if it’s too bright for you there are sunglasses there in the cabinet drawer. I bought them just for you.” That was the beginning of us accepting each other and the differences we had and frankly, we weren’t so different after all. Next thing I know, she’s going for a Glamour Shot photo and I’m putting in my own sump pump with my sister cheering me on. I still have my orange bathroom and always will. Maybe I do have a place I can go, it IS my favorite room in the house.

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  4. Pingback: The Fence | Awake my Soul

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