We sing, “Your holy presence, surrounding me, in every season, I know you love me.” I reflected on these seasons during a personal retreat, and felt led to share what I wrote:
Lord, thank you for the seasons in which you have been with me.
Childhood – You were the God I admired – the God of all the Bible stories I loved so much. You were also the love in the eyes of the people who taught me those stories. I believe. It all makes sense to me, actually. The God who made the water can walk on it. What’s the big deal? Why doesn't everyone believe this?
Youth – You were the God who called me. You spoke to me personally and powerfully. Am I nuts for hearing voices? No, I’m privileged. I loved listening to you. There is nothing on earth that matters more than getting in touch with heaven. (By the way, Lord. I want to do this with you again? Will you do this with me again? I thought maybe not, but now I think so.)
College – You were the God who burned in me. You gave me a love for your church. It is actually not my love for your church, it is your love for your church. Why does the church have to hurt people? Why does it have to be leaderless? Why does it have to be so ineffective? Do I have stuff in me to make a difference? Is that why you’ve called me? Is that why you have created me?
Young Adulthood – the church is more messed up than I thought. So am I, actually, though I won’t realize that until you break me down. I’m a shepherd, but I’m also a sheep. And you break the legs of stray sheep. Severe mercy. It hurts big-time, but in a way that lets me know I’m loved, not hated.
Middle Adulthood – You were the God who walks with me. Even though I walk with a limp, I still occasionally try to get out in front of you. It’s amazing. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You occasionally hook me back in. You don’t allow me to get too far away. I remember my brokenness, and I revel in your attentive, amazing grace. Our relationship is complicated, but simple. As long as I stay connected to the vine, there’s fruit. Apart from you, I can do nothing. You allow me to see what you can do, and it is WAY more than anything I thought or imagined. Thank you for the front row seat.
Now – You are the God who is moving in me. Just when I thought I had you figured out, you moved. I was about to press the cruise control button, and you decided to go off-road driving. Wow, God. I need a three-point harness. Am I too old for this? I guess not, if you don’t think so. You are wild. I feel your Spirit on me. You are doing things I can’t explain. You are showing up in places I didn’t expect. And that angel standing behind me that one Sunday? I just wanted you to know I noticed. I’m excited about where this is heading, even though I don’t know where this is heading. Father Abraham had many sons, and I am one of them. I feel content in not figuring it out. I’m getting comfortable with my uncomfortability. Now, will you make the supernatural natural, and the extraordinary ordinary?