Monday, March 26, 2012

Exploring the thin places...

Today I read a blog entitled "Thin Places-Faith, Family and Disability" by Amy Julie Becker. Amy Julie wrote, "This blog is about discovering and remembering thin places, places where heaven and earth touch, where God seems more readily present, more easily accessed. It is meant to uncover ideas, relationships, points of connection, and moments of deep beauty that draw us towards one another and towards the Holy One."

Where I have known I have experienced God's presence most fully have been in times of either deep grief, depression, loneliness, or in moments of unparallelled joy and wonder...all moments where I was overwhelmed, exhausted, completely at my end and in need of my Savior. Moments where I have felt completely enveloped by the presence of God and His miraculous ways...where I have felt carried by Him.

My mind and my heart lept back to December 31, 2003 and the death of our 18 year old nephew Justin. The world our extended family had enjoyed was shattered with his unexpected loss.  It was my first encounter with a place of deep grief, fear, and questioning...why Lord? Why Justin? In January 2005 our daughter Jill married the love of her life Matt - enlarging our family and our hearts in a fresh sense of God's joyful presence - even while our family was still in the midst of grief. Fast-forward to September 20, 2009 and the discovery that the grandson whose birth we had longed for the past 9 months had died in Jill's womb just days before his delivery. September 21, 2009 was both Parker's birth day and the day we gave him back to Jesus. Grief overwhelmed me again, yet God's presence was thick. I truly felt the boundary between my grief in this world and God's presence in Heaven was broken... He held me close. I was held by God, His precious child, holding my daughter, my precious child, while she held her son, her precious child. Grief upon grief, upon grief. Joy came into my life again (in abundance) on June 4, 2010 as we welcomed another daughter into our family when Laura married our son Seth. Her presence in our family has encouraged me to count my joys along with my sorrows as gifts from God. And then on March 29, 2011, I was once again brought to another thin place when I was with my daughter Jill as she brought my first granddaughter, Kahlan Grace into this world...moments of sadness that Parker was not with us to welcome his baby sister were certainly present, but absolute joy in snuggling with a beautiful, healthy, special granddaughter brought fresh tears of joy as well. Grief and joy mingling again surrounded with the wonder of being fully held by my God in both.

I know there have been many other times when I have experienced thin places in my life, when I married my husband, the births of Jill, Seth, Hillary, and Sam Jr to name the most significant, however, I don't think before experiencing my deepest grief in the loss of Parker, that I truly understood the holy ground/the thin places, that I was experiencing. Perhaps it is as simple as the stage of life I am in, but I believe that God has called me, walked along side me, prodded me, pushed me, and carried me through so much in life to open my heart, my mind, my soul, to His presence in every moment.

Where have your "thin places" been? Where have you known God's presence so fully, so intimately?

My heart bears the scars of many places of grief, but these scars testify to the beauty of God's eternal gifts to me of His presence, and for that I will forever be grateful...

That's it for now...

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