A Different Kind of Valentine

Feb 14, 7:13p, Starbucks

I found myself feeling sleepy on the way home from work, so I stopped off the freeway to visit Starbucks for a cup of tea. I took a quick power nap in the car, then headed inside to order my earl grey and the blueberry scone that looked so lovely from behind the glass window case. I had my Bible with me and chapters to read for next week’s study, so I figured I’d just spend some time with the Lord here. Guess this turned into an impromptu date with my Beloved.

Today is Valentine’s Day. I have to be honest — I almost completely forgot about it. But this year, for some reason, I wanted the Lord to be my Valentine, and so this morning, I asked for His presence and His presents to come through in this day. I wanted His flowers. I wanted His candy. I wanted His thoughtful notes. And He did not disappoint.

The day started out a bit rough with much on my heart and mind. I was weary in more ways than one, still so dramatically altered by my experience in Asia and still processing all of the overwhelming stretching and movement God has been doing in my life. Catching the many glimpses of His heart and being dazzled by the brilliance of His countenance, I am left wanting more and at a complete loss for how to move forward in light of what He’s doing. I’ve found myself terribly grieving the loss of “normal” while also being fully grateful for the new vision the Lord has brought in enlarging my heart. I don’t want to go back to life as it was — I cannot — and yet moving forward means encountering more of the unknown as I wait on God to shed light on the steps ahead. It feels like everything, everything is gone for me to lean on. Only God and I remain. It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s reality. It’s humbling. And it’s hard to find the words to describe life right now. I think it may go something like this:

For yet in a little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

-Hebrews 10:37-38

I find that in coming back, I’m having difficulty explaining what happened. Some people expect I had a great vacation and experienced some cool sights and want to hear about that. But most don’t realize that more happened than that…

I saw more than beautiful beaches.

I climbed more than the steep steps of the Great Wall.

I walked further than the bounds of Tianamen Square.

I rode more than elephants in the jungle.

I encountered God in a deeply profound way. And nearly like Paul’s blinding encounter with Jesus on his journey to Damascus, I feel completely tongue-tied and inadequate to tell of what I’ve seen and heard.

But though I feel inadequate…

Though I feel incapable…

It’s only through stumbling through the telling of this story that I’m finding words that come out plainly, deep joy in describing how God moved, and an overflow of compassion for the things that move God’s heart. In the telling, the story’s becoming clear and something of God’s power is working this out in me.

I am staring at my cursor after writing that last sentence. His Spirit’s led me straight into truth again.

I must tell what I’ve seen.

I’m realizing that’s part of the new normal that Jesus is ushering in.

So back to His being my Valentine…

I was overwhelmed by much this morning, feeling like I was reaching my breaking point again. All that could come out through prayer was, “God, I can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t. But I know…I know You can.” And as the overwhelming truth of the ground being pulled out from under my feet, the ground of everything I’ve known being radically shifted for a view closer to a step-by-step journey into the pillar of the cloud of His presence where there is so much I do not know, He met me. He showed me how to step forward. He gave me gifts in 3 conversations that strengthened me. He’s here.

He’s here.

I asked for flowers. He brought them.

I wanted valentines. He gave them.

I wanted notes from Him. He overwhelmed me with the joy of His presence.

While there’s much that doesn’t make sense to me right now, I know it doesn’t have to. I just need to trust Him. He knows what’s next. He knows where He’s leading me. He will provide what I need for the bend in the road ahead.

I feel incredibly stretched but completely held and loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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