Emmanuel.  God WITH us.   With – “accompanied by.”  Thank you, dictionary.com.  I’m beginning to crawl out of the hole that I have been in for the past month. A hole that included the beach, starting classes again, and beginning my internship which means seeing clients for the first time.  But I also have been more internal as I allow a significant week at the end of April to continue to resonate in my heart and mind.  I don’t know if I will ever truly understand why it feels more safe for me to share some heart things on a blog, but a little more difficult for me to share one-on-one….I’ll make sure I ask my counselor next week. 🙂  Anyway, I wanted to share with you what has been stirring in me.
Larry Crabb is a hero of mine.  When I was walking through my broken engagement my discipler gave me a book of his called Finding God.  From then on I was hooked.  His message often is not popular, but it was what I needed to hear.  Do I want God more than I want his blessings?  Does He desire to bless? YES! But I cannot demand it.  When my desires get out of order, entitlement surfaces, and let me tell you friends, it ain’t pretty.  All that to say is that I went to a conference/retreat/school with Larry at the end of April.  At the schools that he leads, he always prays about who he wants to ask to “chat” with him in front of the class for four nights.  He calls it “chatting” and I would call it “counseling the neurotic redhead who has a really bad ugly cry.”  I digress.  Needless to say, he picked me.  I have no clue why, other than it was Jesus loving on me in a very specific way that I was not expecting. 

Even now my eys well up with tears (shocker, I know) as I think about how God met me.  Probably even more AFTER the week than the week there.  I kept waiting for Larry to address blind spots in my life, to tell me areas in my life where I was just unteachable, etc.  I think I feel this way about Jesus more than I was willing to admit.  What Larry wanted me to know is that he enjoyed being WITH me.  He would tell me that and I would just stare at him.  I was undone.  I followed the man around all week.  STALKER.  I sat in front of him as he taught.  I asked him questions at every break.  He would turn around and I would say, “Hey! It’s me again.”  Here’s the thing. I adore this man and he has played a significant role in my life, but he isn’t Jesus.  What he showed me is that Jesus also enjoys being WITH me. 

So once again, when my days of longing for “home” are more intense than others, I am learning to see it as a continued invitation to press in and experience Jesus’ “withness”.  Augustine said that we are restless until we find our rest in Him.  Such wisdom and truth.  WITHNESS is powerful.  My new friends from that week saw and recognized what I could not….that I needed to undersand Jesus wants to be WITH me as all of us, including myself, have experienced painful times when others did not want to be WITH…….Can you believe that God left heaven to be WITH us?  What crap deal on his end.  Let’s not analyze that  weak theological statement.

In the picture above, it reminds me of the power of healing we have in our relationships with one another.  Can I be WITH someone in silence, tears, and pain? Can I be fully present and joyful WITH another as they get engaged and then move on to marriage and babies?  Can I be WITH someone in their anger and disappointment?  Can I be WITH someone when all I want to do is run away from the uncomfortable emotions or fear that it surfaces in me?  I pray we will all learn more from the One who is With………

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