Updated: May 9
One morning last week, still in my jammies as the sun peered up over the horizon, I wrapped myself in one of my favorite soft red and white blankets, the one with "Joy" scripted all over it. I tucked myself into the corner of the couch and closed my eyes. It was my time with God.
I imagined him sitting near me, in the other corner of the couch. Whenever I picture God he's like a giant white cloud, a bit like Hercules from Disney's famous movie, Hercules, except without the pitch fork and rosy cheeks. And He's HUGE!
It's the holidays. And somehow grief snuck up on me like a mallet sneaks up on the mole in the arcade game Wack-a-Mole. And there I sat in my miserable pit with heaviness in my heart. Ugh. And those Hallmark movies...seriously! I don't need another reminder of how imperfect my life or my marriage is!
Can you relate?
How did this happen, again? I was so over grieving the pain of my past. Yet, here it is, one more time at the holidays.
I haven't had this happen in many years.
In fact, I felt joy around the holidays as I moved out of the grief of my past: the wonder in children's eyes filled my heart, beautifully decorated Christmas trees were like sweet eye candy, and mangers of baby Jesus reminded me that he is the reason for the season. So why don't I feel joy?
This year I launched my speaking career, with my keynote being, Ignite Joy. I shared the painful stories of abuse and abandonment from my past over and over again. As I spoke about my traumas it stirred emotions from my past, and my present. And I sunk into a pit of misery.
Is this you? Is the pain of your past stirred?
Do you feel loss? Or loneliness? Does anger seem to bubble up out of nowhere? Maybe someone you loved left this earth. Maybe divorce keeps you lonely and wondering how to move on. Maybe you just can't seem to find the joy you long for.
A wise mentor suggested I sit with God in the quiet. Not to "do" anything but just "be." Not pray or do gratitude, but to simply listen. Listen to what God has to say to me and about me. So, I wrapped myself in my "joy" blanket and began to listen.
As I sat in the corner of our plush sectional, I felt like a little girl who needed to tuck into her father's arms. I wanted to feel safe and cared for. So in my mind's eye I did just that: I snuggled into my heavenly father's arms feeling his warm embrace envelope me.
"Father," I said, "You know the pain of my heart." And I watched as tears ran down this woman's face. I miss having an extended earthly family-a mom who loves me no matter what, who calls me to find out how my day has been, and wants the best for me, and a dad to talk with, who can share experiences and wisdom, and a husband who just gets me. Sometimes this life feels so lonely!
Can you relate? Is this you?
God opened his hand and caught my tears as they fell from my eyes. You see, He tells us that He wants to hold all of our tears. So why wouldn't I give them to him? So I did. And they disappeared into his very large cloud-like palm.
I continued my conversation with him. "I hate this feeling like I don't matter. And I know it's from Satan. God, won't you fill me with the light of the Holy Spirit?" I asked. "Change my all-too-often offended heart, Lord."
He placed his cloud-like hand over my heart. I felt my heart's tightness. As I drew in a breath and exhaled, I softened, and my body melted into God my father, just as I've seen a child do when embraced by a loving parent.
"What do you think of me, Lord? How do you feel about me? 'Cuz right now I don't feel so good about myself."
"I love you," He replied. "You are my precious child, a princess. You belong to me."
As I sat in this prayerful meditation my eyes wet with tears. I DO BELONG, I thought. I belong to Him! I am His! He wrapped me in a big hug and pulled me in close. Then He showed me His clenched hand. Slowly, He unfolded His fingers. And there, written in His palm was my name, Debbie.
Sister, can I tell you that no matter where you are you are so loved!
Let's be honest, life is hard-difficult relationships, addictions, illness, hardships, traumas. Sometimes we feel so disconnected from others and we long for intimate relationship: how comforting it would be to curl up in a lap and just be held.
Do it! Find that quiet time in the morning before you even get out of your jammies to just sit with God. Take 15 minutes. Imagine Him with you. What do you need from Him? Do you need to crawl up in His lap and feel the safe embrace of your Father, your Heavenly Father? Ask him what he thinks about you. And be ready for some amazing truth. Ask. And then listen...just listen. Maybe you need reassurance. Ask for that. Maybe you need to know what to do next. Ask Him. Then listen.
This week I feel like my old self again. Every morning for the past week I've sat with God, some mornings for an hour, some for ten minutes. His strong embrace has made me strong. His joyfulness has filled my spirit.
Your father in Heaven loves you so much! He wants all those things for you that your earthly family can't deliver. So grab your favorite blanket, wrap yourself up, settle into His lap, ask for what you need and listen. He will fill you to overflowing!
"The world's not falling apart it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held. Just be held. Just be held." Casting Crowns, Just Be Held.