I took some time today to read a few journal entries and previous blogs. January 1, starting out my new year in church, bathing myself in scriptures and worship songs, more aware than ever of a new beginning, a new start, a new perspective - seeking and searching for God to remove the burden of the past and claiming a fresh future. I recalled that moment wrestling with God as I left it on the altar, knowing it wasn't the end but just the beginning of my journey.
The next journal entry I reflected on was a month later as I sat on a plane headed to California, overcome with emotions marked by that day. As I headed out west, once again I offered the Lord my willingness to lay it down, move forward and let go, yet blogging about knowing I was exactly where God needed me. I couldn't move yet because I was still paralyzed by pain, fear and a host of other emotions that held me down.
I had no idea what journey I'd be on during the next few weeks where God would take me through the exact answer to my prayer in those journals. Where He would see fit to strip me of "me" and release me from the chains that bound. Where He would offer grace and peace and even direction to move forward, despite not knowing what the next step would be. Where He would come in and provide healing and wholeness to what the locusts surely sought to destroy. I wasn't prepared for the way He would choose to answer my prayers and how I would find Him in my seeking, but now I see Him more clearly even though I'm still not completely clear of where I'm going.
What has happened as I reflect over my words documenting and journaling the past few months is a realization of God's very active presence, even in the midst of all that I have faced and felt. I can recall the pain and the absolute agony that I've experienced - to the point of physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. And yet I can also testify of His love, grace, mercy and peace in my life - even in the midst of the most tumultuous times. I discussed searching for this peace the other day. But above all these "emotions" what I've sensed more than feelings is His presence.
One of my favorite verses and one I claimed for my life just a few years ago is found in Exodus 33:14, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
I've come to know the truth of that verse having now experienced it firsthand. As if feeling His presence wasn't enough, receiving His rest is an added reward. As I look back and recall the prayers from a seeking heart, the prayers from a broken heart, the prayers from a remorseful heart, I can now wholeheartedly say I can move forward knowing His presence is going with me. Though the future may be uncertain, though my heart may still not be healed, I am certain He is with me and right now that's all I need to know.
I'm thankful for the ability to look back and see His faithfulness, realizing how He has been at work even when I have been unable to move. I'm grateful for the opportunity to recognize His presence, even when I couldn't make sense of my own self. I don't have all the answers and I haven't arrived but I can confidently say I will continue documenting my hurts, my needs, and my prayers so I can further see Him moving in each and every circumstance.