I must begin this post with a disclaimer, due to some worry my last post caused. Writing is a fundamental part of me and a key player in my spiritual life, it is how I process my emotions, and how I dig into and ponder what it is that God is telling me. Some of my writing in the last year has been less bubbly, less happy, at times it has been dark, deep, raw and brutally honest–but both are reflections of my life of faith. Sometimes the life of faith is easier than other times, sometimes the life of faith is dark and stormy but both are beautiful and both are real. My writing has been reflecting a difficult period in my life of faith, the words have flowed directly from my heart onto these virtual pages and they have been brutally honest. Recently, I have laid some of my darkest thoughts and feelings out and for those who love and care for me, they have caused worry. Thank you for all of you who have walked side by side with me in this difficult period, thank you for those who have loved and prayed for me from afar, thank you for those who have reached out I truly appreciate it and needed it. But I also want you to know that I am good; know that the words I write bring me closer into the warm embrace of my God, and they allow me an opportunity to process my emotions, and they open up a door for healing.
With that being said I will now briefly talk about what occurred after I wrote my last post, this is deeply personal and I will most likely not go into too much detail.
I had a friend ask me recently, “When you think of God what does he look like?” This is a question I have pondered and thought about before, but in that moment I looked at this friend and I said that when I thought of God I envisioned Jesus. Since December 2014 that is who I have envisioned when I thought of God. If you take a wander far back into the archives of this blog you will find a post from December 17, 2014 entitled ‘Mary and Jesus.’ This post reflects a groundbreaking moment in my life of faith, it is the moment that I finally came to terms with who my savior is and what my savior did for not only me, but for the world. For nearly two years I have connected with God through the Son, my savior and dearest friend. This was the image I needed during that time, an understanding of my Savior, my closest confidant and friend. For the first time in my life I knew God as Jesus, who is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp. I fell into the arms of my Savior through befriending his mother, Mary. Both of these beautiful people and my relationship to them are incredibly significant to me and to my life of faith. Mary provided me with the opportunity to connect to the human side of Jesus, and just as she did not fully understand Jesus there are times that I am just as baffled. For nearly two years I have clung to that faith breakthrough and clung to the loving relationship I share with Jesus. But a little over a week ago, that image was not replaced, but enriched with yet another image of God.
Just as December 2014 is marked with an incredible faith breakthrough, September 2016 is marked with yet another faith breakthrough. The image that God has placed in my heart and mind is truly one of the most beautiful, necessary, powerful, and comforting images of God I have ever encountered. As I rested on that image today, I found myself with tears rolling down my face and a peaceful love filling my soul.
My last post discussed being ashamed to make my way “home,” but my sisters and brothers, I can tell you that as soon as I hit publish I arrived home. As I wrote those words I felt myself moving towards the road that leads home, I felt my feet steadily walk up the road. As soon as I turned that corner I saw her, I saw God sitting on the front steps of the house anxiously looking for me. As soon as she caught glimpse of my weary form God jumped up and ran towards me crying out, “My baby is home!” Before I even knew what had happened I was wrapped into an engulfing embrace and ushered into the house of joy, as Henri Nouwen calls it. Friends, I can honestly say, as I laid my head to rest that night I felt the childlike comfort of having a momma or daddy tuck you into bed, kiss your forehead and whisper “sweet dreams”.
This image is so incredibly personal to me and I have not gone into too much detail. All I can say is that I am at home right now. After my last post I spoke on the phone to a dear friend and she looked at me, an ocean separating us but FaceTime allowing us to see each other, and she said “You don’t think about a hug–you just receive it.” So that is what I am doing, I am receiving God’s hug and letting myself rest in the incredible embrace that only my God can provide.
“The Father’s love does not force itself on the beloved. Although he wants to heal us of all our inner darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or to step into the light of God’s love. God is there. God’s light is there. God’s forgiveness is there. What is so clear is that God is always there, always ready to give and forgive, absolutely independent of our response. God’s love does not depend on our repentance or our inner or outer changes. Whether I am the younger son or the elder son, God’s only desire i s to bring me home.” (Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son, p. 78).
May the God of peace, love, grace, and joy be with you all. Peace, Blessings, Love, and Joy–Margaret