The images flashed on the screen…it had been three years since my Baby Shower for Baby #2, my son. I remember that day very well, a day of fun and food and laughter. I also remember feeling like a weight had been lifted. You see, that day I was about 35 weeks along and had been on bed rest or modified bed rest since week 29. As each day came and went without incident, we were one day closer to a healthy birth. Thankfully, there was never a problem with my son, it was just me and my “incompetent” body, which was dilated for weeks, one point reaching 4cm and staying there. Of course, all of that made for a quick and easy delivery, but living under the threat of delivering him prematurely was scary. Something happened though, during this scary time: I met God. I mean, I really met God. God who loves us dearly, wants us to draw close, and wants to give us peace. I learned so much throughout that pregnancy.
I’m always going from one project to the next, this changed that. Unable and not allowed to resume my normal routine, I learned how to simply sit and be still. At first, I watched a lot of television, read, perused the internet, and watched movies with my daughter, but one can only do these things so many times. I found myself sitting in the quiet many times throughout the day, just taking in my surroundings. The trees blowing in the breeze outside of my window, the birds and the butterflies fluttering by, my daughter’s sweet face as she recounted another exciting tale, all taught me the joy of being still and present in the moment.
…and know that I am God.
God sought me during this time. I know that this may sound strange to some, but when I look back at the way that everything was unfolding at that time, it is obvious that He wanted me to know His love and His peace. My husband and I were both raised in church, but never attended one together. A few weeks before I knew I was pregnant we started to go to church at a movie theater. A movie theater. I know, it seemed strange to me, too, but let me tell you about the people in the church…the most loving, selfless people that I have met. As my pregnancy moved along and complications arose, these people were there for us. They would pray with us, bring us food, and even arranged a surprise “baby shower” collection of items for our little one. It is so hard to put into words the warmth and comfort I felt with them, it was as if God himself was there with me, the way I felt so enveloped in love.
Draw near to God…
Besides going to church, I felt an increased desire to read anything I could about God and Jesus. I found solace and comfort in the words of Lysa TerKeurst who introduced me to the prayer:
God, I want to see You.
God, I want to hear You.
God, I want to know You.
So that I can follow hard after You everyday.
I copied it down and posted it on the refrigerator and prayed it every morning. I prayed for God to fill my heart with peace and love and to put in my paths ways that I could share that peace and love of Jesus with others, chances to bless others, but also chances to be aware and BE BLESSED by others. With all my heart, I was looking for ways to see God throughout the day, to be aware of his wonder and beauty and to know He was with me.
…and He will draw near to you.
Once I opened my eyes and heart, I saw God revealing Himself in so many ways. It is not that God is not around us, it is just that we don’t see. I know it sounds easy to say this now that I have a healthy son, but I feel like in those quiet and still moments He gave me a peace that passes understanding that no matter what would happen, it would be okay. As I try to put this into words, I am at a loss, because the feelings of peace and calm are simply indescribable.
During this time of being still and drawing near I read about King David who started out as a shepherd boy. I recalled the David and Goliath story, and David and Saul, and David’s flaws and indiscretions, but I never really took time to let the beginning of his story sink in. He was the young brother, away tending sheep when Samuel came to anoint the next ruler. His brothers all had characteristics more becoming of a leader than the young shepherd boy, but God sees the heart He saw that David was “a man after God’s heart.” After he was appointed, David went back to tending sheep and it was in this quiet and alone time that God prepared him for his future. David had to defend the sheep from predators, he practiced his slingshot skills, and he practiced his music, all things that would prove helpful in his future. He had already been anointed king, his destiny was laid out, but God needed to spend time alone with him on the mountain tending sheep, walking with him and talking with him, to prepare him. That story made me realize that God will use the quiet, sometimes lonely, sometimes uncertain times in our lives to prepare us for the future. David would go on to be a mighty, but flawed man of God, but he was favored because he was “a man after God’s heart.” If we seek God’s heart and pray earnestly for Him to open our eyes to His love around us and to show share that divine, healing love with others, He will be faithful.
This isn’t the end of the story, but only the beginning! I wrote the above piece shortly after that Baby Shower anniversary date in August, but I never did post it. Every time I worked on it, it didn’t seem “quite right.” At first, I wrote it in a much more narrative, stream of conscious way, which is more of my writing style, especially on topics as personal as this, but I felt like that wasn’t it. I sat down a few more times and just couldn’t re-write it, but the message was heavy on my heart. I knew in a real way that there was someone that this was meant for…and not in that general way that you kinda feel when you write Blog Posts, it was an intense feeling that I had to get this right. Eventually, I wrote what you just read, but still couldn’t bring myself to hit the “Post,” button. Weird, right? Well, on an ordinary day in the middle of the week, I happened to see a “Swip Swap,” post of a beautiful wreath with yellow flowers. I hadn’t bought anything off of Swip Swap (a Craigslist like Facebook page) in a long time, but this day, I knew I had to have this wreath, for no reason in particular, really. I messaged the owner and arranged to meet that same day in the Walgreens parking lot to pick it up. What happened when I got there was about so much more than a wreath. The woman that met me commented on my occupation, she too had been in the same field until her recent retirement. We had a very meaningful conversation about what she would do now that she wasn’t working and how all of that time just loomed in front of her. The next thing I know our conversation hit on every single point from my blog post, every single realization I had after my pregnancy. And it all flowed in such a natural, beautiful way. At some point we both realized that this was a Divine Appointment! That we had been set up by God! It was an amazing, grace-filled experience. I was able to share my thoughts and share how I had come to find peace in the quiet, and she set off to do them same, but she also gave me a gift. She made me realize that we must trust what is on our hearts and listen to the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ gift and voice to us, something He gave to us so that we could feel His perfect peace and overwhelming love.
That yellow wreath hangs on my door as a reminder to keep my door open to Divine Appointments and weary travelers, like me and you, that might come knocking. We are all in this together and it is together, sharing our experiences and helping each other along that we find connection with each other and Communion with God.
Holy Spirit you are welcome here.
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