I write down the days I want to remember. I clutch them, a mother clinging to time fleeting and swift. It is only in the gratitude that I can see Jesus, even if I am too angry to hear His voice, too overwhelmed with trying to fix things on my own to remember He is here.
He has felt so close before, but these days I find myself believing in his closeness only by faith. I believe in the Holy Spirit’s closeness to me while, at the same time, I fear I’ve forgotten how much I miss his touch.
It is in the moments of ingratitude–of not seeing, of not looking for Him and choosing to see Him, that I am the most alone; yet I know, truly, He can be the closest to me then, too.
How do you go about remembering our friend, the Holy Spirit, is so close? How do you practice looking for Him, how do you practice seeing?
We journeyed home, just south of San Francisco, a few days ago, back to our bungalow on a street two blocks from the kids’ school, a street with a sidewalk and a mailbox all tidy and upright across the way. We have rested for a week, hiking in green canopied forest, our boots digging into marsh and meadow, where a string of horses and mules carried supplies and fishing gear and food.
We caught and released over two hundred fish between the ten of us, the lakes in the Uinta Mountains of Utah filled with brown trout, cutthroat, and rainbow. We built bonfires that were wide some nights, tall to the sky on others. We had no electricity, no showers, and drank filtered water from the streams and lakes. And as I walked the trails and cast my rod out into the waters, I tried to pause and see. Yet the whole time I wondered if I was missing God, even in the beauty, and the removal of distraction, the absence of work and phone and computers and deadlines.
I remember when God’s closeness was something tangible, something I could imagine I physically felt, His hands pressed over my heart, my ear pushed up against His chest. And I realize what has been missing lately: even in what I would describe as “rest”, I haven’t been practicing what it means to be His friend, His daughter. It is something I am, but it is something I have stopped practicing remembering.
We need to practice remembering God–who it is we love, who is Love–to know how to live a life with Him. We must not be passive in our remembering our identity in Christ, assuming that a vacation, a retreat into beauty, an absence of commitments, will refresh our souls. It is only in the intentional practice of choosing to look for God that we can be refreshed and whole and awake.
How do you seek God with intention, these summer days?
I don’t want my relationship with God to be one that is only memory. I want it to be something I taste and hear and feel, with all of my soul.
I want to be fully awake–and it was in the mountains, when Justin and I attempted to slow, that I realized that it is not any place itself that helps me see God; rather, it is my heart choosing to see Him, both despite circumstances . . . and because of them.
So, back at home, as I unpack our backpacks and sleeping bags, pulling them back up into the attic, washing out our water bottles and returning the headlamps to the camping box in the cupboard, I ask God to help me see beauty here, in this heart of mine He’s given me.
Is your experience with God these days a memory, a reality, or a dream pursued?