Well, here goes…
Dec. 13, 2018 prayer journal entry:
Dear Lord, well, here we go; another year coming to a close and I have yet to share your mission with the world, what you called me to do back in 2006.
I sense you have finally given me the courage to begin The Gap. I have opened my computer a thousand times over the past year to begin my first entry, only to close it again…afraid. I have feared blogging, writing, journaling in a public sense because I never want the message to seem about me. This isn’t my story; it’s Yours. You continue to nudge me, often strong and persistent. I can no longer ignore.
I name my first entry THE Blogger because YOU, God, are the writer of this story. You are THE Blogger that posts every entry; Your words, not mine.
I have stopped counting after 30 prayer journals; our intimate conversations. Putting these in some sort of order seems impossible yet I will try and highlight the many emphasized moments, those marked with the letter “L”,
“Helen, LISTEN and write this down.”
So here goes….
I begin sharing, freely journaling, “this Mystery story”, not with a writer’s expertise or biblical inerrancy. I am not here to argue religion or biblical context. I am here to write my God story of 12 years, my unexpected encounter with the Divine, with prayers, that The Gap be that space of grace, where we take off our shoes and recognize that where we stand is on holy ground.
With my heart fully open in prayer, I now begin to write from the tablet of my heart…
May hearts be enlightened, awakened and opened, with eyes focused and clear, so that all can see exactly what it is each has been called to do. Lord, open eyes of the heart to see, and ears to hear your voice calling as you whispered so clearly to me…
“This is the way, now walk in it.”
It was September 2006…I left my house on what I thought to be a normal walk through my neighborhood. Never would I have imagined this ordinary walk becoming a chance encounter that would completely change the periphery of my life. One ordinary day, one ordinary walk began a progression of several extraorinary encounters and revelations that I know only to be God.
Age 40 and my life seemed quite normal. A wife and mother of two boys, ages 6 and 10. A stay at home mom, though full-time volunteer. I was “doing life”, moving through every day at super speed, accomplishing all tasks with an enormous check mark. Done, accomplished… all glory to me! Super mom- super wife-super church going-volunteer extraordinaire on every level whether at church, at home or at schools. Nothing got passed me. Unbeknownst to me I had hopped on life’s deadly gerbil wheel and I was moving at a high rate of speed unable to hop off.
Cancer…. I stood with the curtain open, half dressed. I glanced at the radiologist with thoughts that seemed like minutes passing as I stared at her, thinking, do I ask the question? I did. “Are you concerned it could be?” She gave me a look that I noticed before her words were spoken, “Yes, I am a little concerned. We would like to see you back here tomorrow. Schedule an appointment at the front desk before you leave. We will know further results tomorrow.”
I closed the curtain…
This was a defining moment; a hindsight moment.
I closed the curtain…
The details of my cancer are unimportant to this story. Through second opinions, multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and adjunct therapy I am a survivor. Many others have experienced a similar survival path.
My story doesn’t end at the date of cancer remission.
Little did I know then, the “closing of the curtain” was an opening of a new one; opening my eyes to a New Reality. God had ripped the curtain of religion and spoken directly to my heart with a mission and a purpose outside of myself. I KNEW this voice was that of the Holy Spirit. For the first time in my life, I recognized where my old life was ending and new life was beginning; my life in Christ. This new journey was no longer the robotic motions of “doing church” but finally a time of simply “being with God”.
My walk began around 9:00 am. Kids had left for school. About 5 minutes into the walk I noticed traffic seemed unusually busy, yet the odd thing was, I was in a quiet neighborhood, not a busy city street. I continued to walk, taking notice of the scene around me. “Wow, how busy,” I thought to myself. “Oh, I have cancer, reason to slow down and take notice of such busyness.”
I entered the woods, an open pathway that seemed quietly inviting. I began noticing an eerie silence, yet sacred, and welcoming. I began experiencing a new sanctuary.
The pathway began gaining light as I exited stepping onto the pavement again. The cars at their hectic pace zoomed past me. I began approaching the park where friends and I would gather our children for play. It was empty at the time.
I was startled by an elderly couple that seemed to approach out of nowhere. The elderly man paused next to me as he held his wife’s elbow. “Would you mind helping my wife and me across the road? I am noticing it seems to be an extra busy day. Traffic seems hectic.” Odd, I thought as I was thinking the same thing. I proceeded to escort the two gently across the street.
No longer did I turn to proceed home that I noticed a navy Honda Civic pulling up to the park. I began to experience this unusual feeling within me as I approached the car. I somehow intuitively knew the person in the car would need my attention. I tried to look forward and proceed quickly home when the young woman in the car began rolling her window down. “Hi”, she said, ” Is it okay if I park here?” “Well, sure, I replied.” I was distracted by the baby in the backseat crying hysterically in need of attention. The older sibling, guessing around age 2, was eating his bagel just looking up at me, not phased at all at sister screaming bloody murder. She proceeded to tell me she sensed it being a very busy day and she wanted to pull over to wait for the traffic to clear. At this point I am feeling very spooked. An elderly couple? This young mother needing my assistance on what seemed to be a hectic, busy day? I began questioning it all in my mind… Why was this mother not darting to where she needed to be so to help her crying baby settle down? Why did she feel the need to pull over to wait for the traffic to clear? Was this really happening? Where did the elderly couple come from? Why was everyone slowing down, taking notice of the chaos? Noise, traffic, busyness, elderly couple, young mother with young children, and a woman fighting an illness on a daily walk…
An unexpected Mapped Message bubbling up...
I continued on my walk, feeling a shift inside me, an inner awakening to Something; a deep need to “take notice”.
I arrived home, sat on my den sofa, contemplating what just happened.
I opened my Bible…
Be still…. the words illuminated off the pages and into my heart; they became organically highlighted… KNOW… as if to naturally capitalize itself.
Then came the audible whisper that has become the mission I have been called to share…
“Helen, Be still… and KNOW me. But, that’s not all… it is your mission to teach others to do the same.”
No matter age, generation, circumstances of our lives, God is calling us to slow down, take notice, become aware of His Presence.
That day, that walk, back in 2006, was an invitation to stillness, to companionship with a Real God in our real world of chaos and noise.
He ever so gently, took hold of me, pulled me off the gerbil wheel and invited me into His Sacred space.
He appeared to ME. He sought ME out. He met me at a huge crossroad in my life. I was aware enough to take notice. I can only give him the praise of opening my heart to a point that I was able to hear and discern his voice.
The thing is….there was no grandiose verbal commitment on my part. Grace met me on a pathway through the woods. Without realizing it, I slipped my shoes off and realized I was standing on holy ground. Nothing I could have learned in church or a bible study class could have prepared me for that moment. Don’t get me wrong. My church upbringing was foundational to that moment.
Yet… the funny thing? Even as an ordained elder, I never read the bible as I should. I wouldn’t even say I was that compassionate. My intentions were good but my heart was misplaced. It had not yet connected with the Divine. GOD brought me to His Word. The Holy Spirit moved me towards compassion, to know joy, love, patience, gentleness, kindness and all of the fruits of the Spirit.
God showed up providing an open space of grace whereby time slowed down. He taught me, just as with Mary, “Helen… choose the “better part”; all that is necessary; just be with me awhile and I will make your path straight.”
For 12 years now I have stood in that space getting to know Him and getting to know the real me, apart from worldly standards, expectations and voices; learning how to hear His Voice separate from my own and experiencing real grace in His holy space.
The Gap truly is an invitation to holy communion, an invitation to rest awhile with no expectations… space to discover real grace designed for you.
More grace stories to follow…