more than i know

Photo By: Carolyn Cochrane

Photo By: Carolyn Cochrane

I was leaving home for the first time in awhile.  Alone, this rings of a young girl, braving the world, leaving home truly for the first time.  My story is somewhat different.  I am married, old enough to know better by now, and living in a shelter of my own making.

Women’s retreats are not something I have experienced much of.   I am a conference sort of girl.  GO to a location, hear a bunch of speakers, worship, write a bunch of notes and come home with something to pray about.  But as I started to understand the dynamics of this retreat I started to get the feeling it was going to be different.  I was going to be interacting with women … a lot, and I was going to be doing things I didn’t expect to do.  I started to dread the moment I stepped out of the car and onto the pavement that placed me in someone else’s care.

Two years of pain and struggle have given Grant and I a bond I treasure.  He has taken care of me well and I am confident in his love.  As I left, the struggle showing on my face and the knowledge he’d be fixing his own meals setting in, I said this: “It’s going to be hard, I’m going to miss you!”  And he replied with, “Yes, but you don’t need to hide.”

How can a statement shatter your whole world and so deeply rock you?  I’ll tell you: Holy Spirit was speaking in that moment and was just beginning the process of touching the wound I didn’t know was there.

Cell service was non-existent during the “retreat” (that’s appropriate) and God’s purposes for me required this.  For years now Grant and I had been talking every night, even if only for one minute to say goodnight.  We ALWAYS say goodnight.  I had no goodnight, this night.  No texting, no call, no nothing.  All was silence and dark and for the first time I wondered, “Is Grant my shield?”

More stories, more speakers, more love from the women around me.  It was like putting puzzle pieces together.  I felt like God was showing up and hovering.  Sometimes I couldn’t speak, sometimes joy made me bubble.  Still, a question: who was my help?  OH, I knew whom it was supposed to be, but whom had I made it?

I had been wary of coming, not because I didn’t want to meet these women.  I wanted to spend time with them.  I wanted to know them.  But, in my hurt and pain I’d learned to retreat.  My habitual behavior was kicking in.  I needed Jesus, I knew, but I’d learned to rely on one man.

In the moment of our “death” when we struggle to move, God cradles us.  He shelters us and there is safety in the shadow of His wings.   He is with us … encouraging us to breathe, understanding the pain.  Maybe that’s what I appreciate most … he understands the pain and doesn’t rush us out of it, but grieves with us.

Somewhere in this safety I’d taken hold and I was holding on now, grasping, using Grant as my shield and making him my refuge when I didn’t know what else to hold to.  Somehow I was no longer being sheltered, I was HIDING.  Hiding from myself, from the world, from LIFE … from God.  Talking about life and living it are two very different things.

In the puddle of tears that brought cleansing relief I surrendered to God’s help.  He is my shield.  He is my restoration.  It is only here that I am sheltered.  Only here can I step into the great unknown and truly LIVE.  Only here can I accept it all with peace, knowing He has overcome the world.  I must step out of hiding.

But you, Lord, are a shield, that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me.  Psalm 3:3

I will articulate here that there are places in which God hides us.  His purposes and plans no one can fathom (rom. 11:33) and his ways are not like our own (is. 55:8).  There is a season for all things and I know God has hidden me and in some ways is still.

So, though I may be hidden, I hide no more.  Trusting HIM is a very real thing.  And He is more than I yet know.

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