In the Gap

In the Gap~
Journal written in 2015; 5 years ago…

“The Gap”, “In the Gap”, “God in our Gaps” seems to be a resonating theme this year for our family, and maybe not just our family.

Through this kind of subconscious observing I am becoming drawn to “the gap”. This word has been holding my attention lately. It seems that many of us somehow find ourselves stuck “in the gap”; that space of “in between-ness” or “in between-MESS” being the better way of defining this place of fear, uncertainty and being uncomfortable. You know, so many of us find ourselves caught in a gap, a lull, a place of feeling incomplete, uncertain or indecisive. We want the quick fix. We want all the answers now.

No coincidence that Prescott’s Gap year from college fell into that same “in between-ness”; that need of a waiting period; space for inward discovery and discernment in looking forward to life’s next chapter.

Webster’s definition of “gap is “unfilled space”.

Well if truth doesn’t speak there! We all face a gap in our lives; that unsettled, unfilled, unpredictable space. It may be that space of uncertainty of what’s next? Why am I doing this? What direction should I be going? What does it all mean?

We sort of stand in the valley of waiting and wondering…

It seems we must embrace the gift that comes in the waiting and resting period; that this open season should not be viewed as a negative; that our “unfilled space” not feel lonely or wrong. Untimely answers can be a gift of grace. The unfilled spaces are left for only God to fill. We are always so quick to want to fill up the empty spaces, the pauses, the awkward, silent moments.

But why? Reflection and pause are healthy and needed.

Our fast-paced, over industrialized, technologically advanced world wants to fill the empty spaces and quickly. We are a quick fix, immediate gratification society. Waiting is boring to us. Yet God’s abundance awaits us in the gaps of emptiness and moments of pause.

The fast pace to a quick fix only leaves us more anxious, unsettled and without peace. So, we must begin to pause, reflect and fill our gaps seeking God. Looking back on Little Prescott’s Gap year before college, it is clear it was a year giving into exploration and Mystery, time to discover without all the distractions, asking questions like, Who am I? Who is God?

It took age 40 and cancer for me to begin to pause and reflect, posing similar questions that may seem obvious to some. Recently, I had the opportunity to read a journal that my youngest son wrote while in Windy Gap, a retreat area for youth participating in Young Life. This particular year he was injured in his JV football game. What we thought was a mild injury needed surgery. Over the weekend his plans were to head to Windy Gap near Asheville NC with his Young Life group. He was excited about zip lining and all the activities that young boys of 14 and 15 do. His injury prevented him from participating. Recognizing his inabilities at the time, he chose to retreat and get away from the crowd of kids. While all of his friends and girlfriend were off engaged in the many active plans this camp had to offer, Branyon sat resting under a tree journaling a letter of gratitude to God.

Throughout the 4 pages, his take away was amazingly insightful. He captured something similar to what I captured when I discovered for the first time God’s whisper in my own life while being outside with nature during cancer. He said, “While some people may be walking by me wondering what am I doing or why I am sitting alone writing under this tree; well, what they think doesn’t really matter because I am seeing that this is a chance for me to become closer to you, God, and reflect on the weekend, soaking up all you have created. Your creation is beautiful in this place. Everyone is blinded to all of this. While running around, having fun with all the activities isn’t bad, its just what I am able to see is your amazing works so big yet so subtle…and it all goes unnoticed. You Lord, you, just sit back and watch. Giving up our phones may have been difficult and a little hard but it was one of the best things that we did. Separating from social media and just bonding together in your name is unreal. For me to have the opportunity to just sit back and watch God’s creation is so much more than I thought it would be. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”

I wish I could share all the joy that Branyon spoke through the 4 written pages of his journal. He expressed the excitement it brought him to just see the smiles on everyone’s faces as they enjoyed each other and the fellowship there.

Branyon grasped what God intended… the gift of spirit; to experience pure inward joy of Presence. Branyon grasped the fact we all run around aimlessly in life, “blind” to God in our midst.

I experienced a similar Aha moment in my time of forced stillness. Branyon was standing in a valley or gap of uncertainty. He was forced to pause, as was I in the midst of an illness. God filled the gap as he sat underneath that tree.

In the pauses, in the gaps, God shows up. He has something to say in our gap time. He is able to clear away the mud from our eyes, bringing into clear view what it is He intends for us to see.

We can all affirm that what He has to share in the gap is always life giving, full of beauty and awe.

He fills up, never depletes.

Being in the gap is a welcoming pause, a season of stillness, a welcome interruption.

I am in awe to witness the beautiful mystery of God’s grace showing up over and over again. Had I not experienced such intimate companionship over the years with such a Divine friend, I don’t know that I could quite capture the theme that continues to repeat itself… The Gap.

God is speaking inside the empty places.

Over the years, I’ve read similar journal entries from both my boys as well as my own entries and I can’t help but recognize a commonality… God’s grace poured out inside the gaps of our lives.

My prayer has always been that somehow, someway my boys would experience a glimpse of God, causing them to pause and look in the way of His direction because what I believe is once we catch a glimpse of God, embrace the pauses as a gift, life changes at a depth of understanding that sticks with us and guides us. I believe the best way to meet God is in the gaps; the yet filled spaces where we just don’t have all the answers. It’s inside those moments of complete uncertainty that He shows up.

“There is a God-shaped hole in all of us waiting to be filled.”
~ Blaise Pascal


Miracle in the ICU~ My Brother Michael and an Angel Uber Driver Named Michael




Miracle in the ICU
My Brother Michael, an Angel Uber driver named Michael, a true story of faith, hope, prayer and ongoing perseverance

This picture does not do justice to the experience I had January 22, 2020 when Mom, Dad and I arrived to the ICU unit in Casper Wyoming. Sitting in my den with my husband and older son, I received the panic call from my mom that my brother had a massive stroke. I quickly drove to Mom and Dad’s where we received the final call from the doctor’s saying we needed to travel there as soon as possible. The news was not good. They were air lifting Michael to a city, 2 hours away from his hometown in Thermopolis to a larger city, Casper Wyoming.

In the midst of total chaos and panic, with the help of friends, we had flights booked out of Raleigh, NC at 6 am the next morning. Here is where our God story begins.

Watching my mother desperately needing to get to her son was heart wrenching. Mom has always been my brother’s rock, the one to understand him the most. They share a special bond.

Michael has always had a passion for the outdoors. He graduated with a degree in Wildlife and Fishery. He worked many years as a park ranger and later moved to Alaska living in Dutch Harbor, then Homer where he worked with the Deadliest Catch team then later moved to Nome where he married his German wife, Nadja. Nadja and Michael have lived in Thermopolis Wyoming for the last 2 years. Michael’s true passions are genealogy and history. He works for a museum in Thermopolis.

Miracle One: God sent the doctors

The day of the stroke Michael was working at the museum. Doctors, of all groups, happened to be meeting in the reserved conference room. Michael normally would be getting off earlier but he decided to work late so to tend to the needs of the doctors. Michael felt lightheaded, dizzy and off balance and he sat down in a chair. The director of museum could tell something was not right and she called Nadja to come immediately. He began talking and not making sense. Michael refused 911. Through the doctors exam they made the 911 call. Due to the quick response of the doctors there and response from the 911 medic team, Michael was intubated and air lifted to Casper.

We begin our descent into Casper, Wyoming.

Miracle Two: God sends an Uber driver named Michael

Just before landing, I am looking out the window. The topography is so peaceful in Wyoming. I felt Presence and I prayed. Normally, when I pray, I pray… Dear God… this moment I called out to Jesus. Jesus, I do not normally ask for signs but I need one today. I need to know you are truly among us in what we are about to face.

We land.

I click on my Uber app, destination… Wyoming Medical Center. My, sweet mom, almost 80, pushing 2 pieces of carry on luggage and her large handbag; I’m pushing dad in his wheelchair while pushing the other carry ons. We pull up to curbside.

Uber Driver pulls up. We get in. It all feels so eerie being in Wyoming, not to celebrate exploring the sights with Nadja and Michael but to be approaching ICU, not knowing what is happening. A somber silence seemed to cover the inside of the Uber car.

Uber driver asks, “What brings you to Casper?” “My brother has had a massive stroke. They airlifted him yesterday from Thermopolis to here.” He shared his deep concern and later through small talk, he says… “My wife and I have traveled to Thermopolis a few times… we sell jewelry to a museum there.” “My brother works for a museum there.” The connection is made! In a town 2 hours from where my brother Michael lives, I click on my Uber app and of all the Uber drives, of the all the cities where we arrive, the one Uber driver knows my brother! One month prior to my brother’s stroke, the Uber driver and his wife had been sitting, meeting with Michael in that exact conference room!

We pull up to the hospital. The Uber driver says, “My name is Michael. I normally don’t hand out my cell number but I want you to have it in case you need anything while you are here.” He then proceeded to say, “Do you pray?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “My wife, Allison and I will be praying for your brother.”

Inside the fog of what all is happening… we arrive on the floor of the ICU. I don’t recall much of what I was feeling. We begin our travel down the long hallway towards the steel ICU doors. Something redirects my attention. Why do I stop? When did Mom begin pushing Dad instead of me? I seem lifted away from the scene of walking towards the steel doors. But wait… we are in the middle of a panic situation. We need to get to Michael as quickly as possible. He’s not expected to live.

I am somehow redirected, yet unaware at the time this is all unfolding. I am able to see in hindsight.

Something of a soft blue color catches my attention. I walk over to the wall where a small 9 by 11 picture hangs on the wall. I am drawn to it. It hangs alongside other pictures but the hues inside this small, framed picture gain my attention. It is the picture you see here. What you don’t see is what it says on the tiny, brass plate.

Miracle in the ICU… Jesus is in the midst of all the doctors.

Jesus, no doubt provided me the sign I needed… “Take notice, acknowledge me. I’m in the middle of all of this.”

Michael survived the stroke. The nurses hand us a red folder saying, “We hand out very few of the red ones because they don’t survive.”

We had 8 days with him. Dad’s breathing worsened due to the higher elevations and we had to return to NC.

Michael our Uber driver picked us up and assured us he would continue praying for Michael and our family.

Miracle Three:

Over the course of 6 weeks, Michael is transported to one of the top 10 rehab hospitals in the nation, Elkhorn. Michael begins intense physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Six weeks have passed and we are approaching the deadline of the 45 days that Michael can remain there due to insurance coverage running out.

Michael’s condition is not where he can return home. He cannot walk. He remains on a feeding tube and catheter. He continues to struggle with speech and swallowing.

We are all praying.

“God, I know you are in this. I lean on your faith, not my own”. I prayed this every single day, letting Him know I was leaning on what He could do.

One week short of Michael being left without a place to go, the therapists at Elkhorn called QLI, a non-profit, rehab/care facility in Omaha Nebraska! Ten hours from Casper.

Less than a week, QLI flies a representative to Elkhorn to observe my brother in his rehab routine. They then fly back to QLI the same day to give the report to the team at QLI.

In the meantime, insurance is being informed of Michael’s need to qualify for him to be transported to QLI so to begin extended care there.

Days of uncertainty and fervent prayer followed.

We are now in the first of March. The corona virus is creeping into our territory as well as all surrounding states.

Schools begin shutting down.

Second week of March and I am at school, the last day before we are to close our doors due to the virus. In the midst of the total chaos that our school is enduring as we process all of this, I get the call…

The caseworker at Elkhorn; “Michael is approved for QLI however they have said he may not fly due to risk of infection from the virus.” “How am I to get him there, I ask?” “I don’t know,” is the case workers reply. Not the response I expected to hear.

I can’t worry Mom.

“God, what do we do now?” I turn to my teacher friends. We brainstorm. Nothing…no way anyone is transporting my brother in the midst of a terrible virus affecting our nation. Who is going to drive him the 10 hour distance? I am at a total loss. I walk away from the teachers and I go into a dark classroom and pray.

Michael! Our Uber driver. I still have his contact.

I call him… 8 weeks later… He picks up the phone. “Hey, with excitement! How’s your brother?” He too, had kept my contact, thankfully! I’m sure he never thought he would hear from us again after we left Casper 8 weeks ago.

“Michael, I need a favor. My brother has been approved for a top notch care facility in Omaha Nebraska and I have no way of getting him there.” “This is a miracle you called me. I am in need of work. Uber driving has slowed down dramatically over the last week.” We hang up. This is Monday. He calls back. There is a snow storm coming in. We need to leave tomorrow morning so we can get him there.

May I add an insert here…

Just before Michael’s stroke, a pastor friend came into the museum and told Michael and Nadja they must watch the movie TOGO. Togo was the lead sled dog that led the team in pushing through the snowstorm towards Nome Alaska in 1925 to transport the serum needed to combat the outbreak of the disease diphtheria. So many were in quarantine then as are now.

Crazy, of all movies recommended just a week before Michael’s stroke. Michael is transported just before a snowstorm through a long trek of 11 hours after having a massive stroke in the midst of a terrible virus that’s quarantining thousands of people.

Tuesday, the day Michael’s insurance expires from Elkhorn Michael is picked up at 6 am. Angel Michael and his wife pull up curbside. They load Michael, Nadja and the wheelchair but there is not room for luggage.

They begin the long, long drive in a cramped car, catheter and feeding tube. They move toward uncertainty with only faith, endurance and perseverance; moving forward with whatever storms they have to face. Much like Togo.

Midway there I receive a phone call from QVI. They are slowly shutting things down here in Nebraska. We are meeting in 30 minutes and the discussion is we may not be able to admit new “intake patients”.

Mom is with me in the car when I receive this call and we are both in shock. What now? Mom crumbles.

I text Nadja the message. She cannot talk in front of my brother. I give her the fearful news. They continue driving. We continue praying.

Several hours later I receive the call. “We are able to admit him but Nadja may not be able to come in. We may have to quarantine him for 14 days.”

Though not good news there as Nadja had been by Michael’s side, living on a cot in the Elhorn facility for 8 weeks… to separate them could be devastating for both of them, mentally and fear of a setback for Michael.

I texted Nadja… “Text me when you arrive and just tell me if you are in or not.”

Eleven hours later, they make it in… both of them.

Angel Michael begins the trek back to Wyoming to beat the snowstorm.

The facility? It’s worth Googling…

Acres and acres of outdoor beauty. Therapy? They help to rebuild his motor skills through archery, fishing and canoeing! Michael is being restored in ways he doesn’t yet see.

He still has many mountains to climb. Some days are more difficult than others.

We live inside this God story. We see where Michael was and where he is now. I only want Michael to know that God places the pavers into our pathway. We must slowly step on each one of them, trusting a Power much greater than ourselves. We must fight every battle with faith. God shows up in the midst of the worst of circumstances. God is love. God is Presence.

Michael caught a fish today.

Spring has sprung and God’s showing up no matter what!

We will never understand there seems some miracles, some not… we can only look to the One who knows even when we don’t.




Dear Church,

This is probably one of my more difficult posts because it addresses “ the church”. Who am I to write a letter to the church, right? I’m stepping out in faith here, for sure!

In a previous post, I shared the moment I felt this inner desire to leave church for a while. The thing is I did not leave church due to preaching styles I didn’t agree with or a belief system that seemed different.

In the midst of an illness I had an encounter/revelation that pulled me inward. And I simply needed “desert time”.

I wonder… in this stilling season for us, is God calling us to our own desert time? Not just as “the church” but as individuals. I know in my own life, for years, I was just traveling on life’s gerbil wheel, simply running around and around and around in the same circle only to arrive no where, questioning, Where am I? Who am I? What is my life’s purpose?

I was in desperate need of introspection.

I wonder… might these be some of the same questions posed for “the church”? Who are we? How is God calling us to “be” in these times?

God lifted me off of life’s gerbil wheel where He placed me on holy ground.


“Be still and know me… and teach others the same.”

So here is what I sense…

In these moments of uncertainty, I imagine God wanting to turn our cheek towards Him.

“Yield. Pause. Acknowledge Me.”


How many times is that word mentioned in the Bible?

I recall a wise minister saying to me, “Helen, you have been ‘doing church’ all of your life.”

At the time of this deep discernment period
I knew he was right. I was “doing church”, “doing life”, “doing work, and “doing family”…


I wasn’t “be”-ing.

God’s Divine Whisper, again, being confirmed.

I knew I needed time away to just be still with Him and allow Him to “teach me” so I could somehow, prayerfully discern and pass along this message to others.

Over a decade and here I am… writing to you, “the church” in whatever form that is. We have seen the church taking on many forms over the years.

As I was praying while on a prayer run recently, I saw a large flock of geese flying in their perfect V formation; a community in flight.

I came to my resting spot, a bench, my Jesus Bench. I continued to pray… “God, I truly do carry the burden of this message; that others come to a stilling place so they come to KNOW you in a real, authentic and transformative way. Inside the massive influx of podcasts, social media, online devotionals and services, where is YOUR Voice? What is my role here? How am I to be your message of stillness in a sea of a million voices?”

In that moment, I look up and notice another flock of geese flying over, only this time there are 5 geese in a V formation… a smaller community in flight.

So here’s my heart’s whisper to “the church”… in whatever formation it may become, He will make it so…

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the hearts inside the numbers.

We are all in the desert wandering, seeking and searching for the One, True Voice.

Everyone is on a journey and His language is understood only to the level it is “known”. In the same way we can only preach/teach to the level that we know.

“The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, yet the world did not know Him. His own people did not know Him.” John 1:9-10

And what was the apostle Paul’s prayer and deepest desire as a result of his own revelation of Christ?

“ I pray that the eye’s of your heart be enlightened in order that you may know…”

THAT has been my most fervent prayer for years since my own revelation… for the church and for the many lost souls, including believers… to come to know Him in the way He yearns to be known.

Just because one believes in Him doesn’t mean one truly knows Him. That’s hard to swallow… especially inside the religious system.

I believe we must step aside from all the motion and movement and become still and listen for His Inner Wisdom.

We must at some point recognize this is not “business” as usual. We have been given the gift of TIME… a spiritual time out, time to be still and listen for His Voice… in the NOW. It’s not a numbers game. It’s not about the most “viewed”.

It’s about hearts being enlightened and awakened; taking notice of Something and Someone in a new way.

The flock of geese speaks quite a profound and wise message.

We are truly “walking” the 40 days. I believe it’s important that we stop and smell the roses; be in awe and wonder again, discover the riches of his glorious inheritance.

As we travel this unknown territory, I read a devotional that made sense. “Wilderness is not just about geography. New responsibilities, new unfamiliar challenges, and transitional times are all different experiences of the ‘wilderness’. They require as much faith as wandering in the desert.’

Times of unfamiliar wandering can seem lonely and scary but not so much when you come to know the One True Voice. We may have to take the time to wander and flounder for a while. Be okay inside the gap. Accepting of the fact we don’t know it all. Begin to notice the doors he has shut and those He’s flung wide open… and also be okay standing at the cracked one where He whispers, “Just pause and wait awhile.”



“Be patient in the slow work of God”… one of my deepest take -aways from my studies at Shalem Institute for Spiritual Direction.

Let’s embrace the gift of TIME. I believe Real time spent with Him clears away the clutter of our minds and egos and brings us to our knees.

It is through releasing that we gain a more clear vision.

I do not believe His intention and vision for the church has ever been over programming, packed calendars and full agendas, pushing out prayer and discernment. I believe He is calling us to “rebuild the temple” a whole new way… the temple of our hearts.

This is a good time for us to open our hands, empty them… so we can bravely take hold of His, leaving behind all old agendas and plans.

For He has the plans…

Wiping the slate clean seems scary. Letting go is never easy.

It’s time we bring to life what we preach. Step out in faith.

Open our hands. Allow them to be empty. Begin anew.

The tomb… empty hands, resurrection, new life, new hope.

Discern. Cease striving.

P.S. Susan Beaumont, a friend and classmate of mine during my studies at Shalem Institute, has published several deeply insightful books on the soul of the church. We connected from the get-go at Shalem. We shared in the same peer group and it was evident she  just “knew”. Her academic study and research pairs well with her own personal, spiritual knowledge. She shares true wisdom in our times. Her website and books are worth reading; her most recent… How to Lead When You Don’t Know; Leading in a Liminal Season. Timely I’d say… the thing is when I created The Gap I was not aware of her new book. So you can’t help but wonder… this message, this theme, this pattern. He’s awakening us to something.
Be okay in the “in-between”… embrace this liminal season with empty hands and open hearts.




And be patient in the slow work of God…