“God held the most beautiful, perfect vision of you, and He breathed that part of Himself into you”

Bonnie Gray

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The day is beautiful. Sunny with a hint of warmth and the promise of spring, of new life. New beginnings.

 A wild turkey struts through my back yard. I watch him. I see him.

I ponder. Ponder the words heavy on my heart today, “I see you.”

Why?

I have been where you are. I. See. You.

I have been the woman in khaki pants, white tee, navy blazer, pearls and cute shoes. The woman sitting on the second or third row in Church. The woman teaching Sunday School. Facilitating Ladies Bible Study.

The woman talking the talk who thought she was walking the walk.

I thought I had it all together. Believed it.

I bet you do too. Gets tiresome does it not? Wears you down.

You’re a bit frayed. A lot discouraged. Running on empty.

I. See. You.

You, perfectly put together, with the smile pasted on your beautiful face, the emptiness behind your eyes and the hollowed out heart. Yes, you.

I. See. You.

I have been there. And I did it oh so good, no one ever knew.

Never knew the faith I wore, like my wrinkle free clothing, was superficial. Yeah, I thought I had it altogether. Until I broke.

Like a tender sapling standing all alone in a field, unprotected. The wind blows across mighty and fierce. Blows right through.

A rowboat drifting where the ocean roars, unequipped for the wind and waves that will surely toss it about until it fills with water and debris. Sinking hard and fast.

Oh I had the journal, the colored pens, the marked up Bible read right through. A quiet time.

I did a lot of talking, little listening.

Then the wind blew. The waves of life came at me with a roar.

First one storm, then another, and another. Doubt and fear set in. Faith flees. I began to question. Why am I even doing this, Lord? Where are you? Why me?

I was doing it all right, wasn’t I?

What had I missed, sitting there on that close up pew?

I had overcome so much. A teenage pregnancy. A hopeless marriage that was meant to right the wrong. Divorce.

Starting over.

I didn’t just bend in the storm I broke. I wasn’t just tossed about on the waves of life. I went under. I not only questioned the Almighty God, I turned my heart away from Him.

I stood at the edge of the pit. I looked in. I jumped. Away from The Light into the dark abyss of self destruction, self doubt, self recrimination.

From the front pews to pit dweller. From Sunday School teacher to the Sunday long distance runner. The cyclist. The gym. From one glass of wine to a few. Anywhere I could run and hide myself from Him.

Where did it all go wrong? What did I miss along the way? Why did it take so little to send me running the other way?

Was it my need for perfection? Approval seeking? Pride?

Did I forget that powerful little verse in James, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds”…? 

Was I more like Peter, taking my eyes off Him and focusing more on my circumstances?

Had I pulled my chair up to the table and missed the feast? Stood at the Cross and not seen Grace? Present yet missed His Presence.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8 NIV

Looking back it was all of this and more.

“When our spiritual life begins to grow stale, and there is a lost sense of God’s presence, we often turn to substitutes to replace that which has been lost. Those substitutes can be subtle, even possessing their own level of legitimacy. But they are still substitutes for knowing God.”  Tom Elliff~The Pathway To God’s Presence

I don’t believe I had lost God’s presence but more in my “doing”, I had missed it somehow.

When my heart began to crack and Light was seeping in, I stomped around in that pit, justifying all that I did. He was patient with me. Pulled me tenderly out. Tended my wounds. Put me back together again.

I began little by little to “taste and see”. Little by little wanting more. Knowing that going it alone would make an awful mess of me.

It was a slow transformation. I began to pray to fall in love with Him. To be thrilled by His Word. Parched, hungry and starved for more.

I’m a work in progress.

I still stumble, sometimes fall, more often than not fail, but I will crawl with all that is with in me to experience His Presence.

“The believer’s responsibility is to glorify God. This means that we are simply to be in such a position before God that our lives serve as a platform for His majestic presence.” Tom Elliff~The Pathway To God’s Presence

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn