Two years ago, when Paul was in the hospital, I felt closer to God than I did to people sitting in the same room with me. It is difficult to explain that time. Even though there were always people around, there was so much going on in my head and in my heart. There were things that I couldn’t say…even to the people closest to me. But, I knew I could tell God. Well, He already knew everything I was thinking.
In the happiest of moments and the darkest of times, God was right there with me. When my mind slipped to thinking of the worst outcome, He would gently move my thoughts to the positives, to the two steps forward, to walking out of the hospital hand-in-hand with Paul. I would sit with Paul, looking at him in his hospital bed and looking at all the machines keeping him alive. I was so very broken; yet, He kept me together. He kept me focused on His work. I may have been wrapped in a blanket, but it felt like I was wrapped in the arms of Jesus, holding me every moment, every breath.
Casting Crowns sings a beautiful song that can somewhat explain how that felt. Here is a link to their video, Just Be Held: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ
I remember feeling so very close to God at that time. My eyes were on Him and Him alone. Others would see Paul in that bed, but I would see the progress. I saw God moving each and every moment to save him, to heal him, to bring him back to us. I felt like I could hear Him talking with me, holding me in His arms and whispering in my ear,
“I have this. Please don’t be afraid. I know the outcome. I know it’s scary. Trust Me. I have this. He will overcome this. Just breathe.”
So, what does that have to do with my purpose?
As Paul healed, I felt like I knew exactly what God wanted me to do next. He had me writing down everything I could through the entire journey. He ensured I had all the details that I certainly would have forgotten without His divine intervention. He wanted me to write this story, His story. And, as I did, I felt that same closeness. I felt as if He was writing the story for me.
After I finished the book, I felt lost.
What was my next?
What were His plans for me?
Within days, He seemed to provide an opportunity for me to do similar work to what I had been doing previously, but this time it was right down the street. I was able to financially provide for our family, but now I could drive to work versus flying to another state 2-3 weeks every month. I could do great work and be home every night with our family. It seemed perfect.
Like usual, I dove right in. I found myself engrossed in the work, the opportunity, the pressure and the performance. There was a lot to learn and were even more opportunities for professional growth. I was blessed to work with a great team of people and was responsible for their personal development, as well as the overall project successes. While I was focused on building these new relationships, I neglected the most important relationship I have ever had – the one with Jesus. As I did, that closeness I felt with Him seemed to disappear.
I feel it even now. I have a great deal of conversations about Jesus. People talk with me about Him or ask me to pray for them, and I do…immediately. I have my prayer list written on our bedroom mirror alongside my favorite Bible verses. Most mornings, before I leave for the day, I spend time looking in that mirror and praying for those listed and for others who I then add. And, I have seen God working!
So, why do I feel so far away from Him? Why do I feel like I am helping bring others closer, but I feel like I am slipping farther away?
It is because I am talking about Him, not with Him.
And, when I do talk with Him, it is for the help of others. I am asking Him to help me with words for others to help them see Him more clearly. I am asking Him to heal others, to save others, and for others – to bring them into His Holy Kingdom. While I have been helping others grow closer to Jesus, I have neglected to nourish my own, personal relationship with Him.
- Talking with Jesus,
- Asking for His guidance, and
- Listening for His answers
are the only ways I will ever truly hear His voice sharing with me the plans He has for my life:
I come to You today in thanksgiving. You know all I have on my heart and all of the prayers I have for others. I ask that You please hear those prayers today and answer them. And, You know one specific prayer I have on my heart – please heal her! Please God, I have seen You move mountains and part seas in the healing of Paul. We need another miracle. Please provide her Your peace as You guide the doctors and the treatments to heal her.
Father, as I write these words, I see myself doing it again. And, while I will always be others focused, I know You have plans for me. I pray You help me to quiet my mind and the noise of the world around me so that I can focus only on You. I long to feel that closeness again, to feel Your loving arms wrapped around me and to hear Your voice as clearly as I can hear my own.
Father, I know You placed me on this Earth at this very time for a specific purpose. I know You have great plans for me. Why? Because I know You have great plans for each one of Your children, and we are placed on this Earth for Your purpose. Please Lord, help me quiet my mind so I can fully understand Your purpose. And, please provide me the strength and courage to follow Your lead.
I love You! I thank You! I praise Your glorious name! Your will, Your plan, Your time – not mine!
In Jesus’ most Holy Name,