There are moments in our lives, a day or week or even month, that are memory markers. Marks in our memory that speak of God's grace and presence in a way that should and hopefully does allow for change. They become memorialized in our story. And, yet, the moment is over-that moment that took your breath away in a really good way. It was a moment where the heart of God was so near, and His voice as clear and soft as though it was a whisper directly into your ear. The same moment that takes our breath away can become in the next breath the moment that drifts slowly away. If we are not careful... If we are not diligent, we can experience and encounter our Creator and Redeemer, and yet walk away with nothing.
I believe these life changing moments require us to take inventory, to reflect, and to record. And, then they call for celebration, for deep heartfelt gratitude for all that God has done in our regard.
This is fresh on my mind because my family has just had a whirlwind of two weeks. Two weeks that have memory markers, marks of God's grace. Moments frozen in time that demand to not be forgotten, and they demand for a lasting impact. Some of those moments occurred through these last few days as I participated in a conference that was quite significant. I planned to come as an attendee, and in the end arrived as a learner of all things related to this conference. The purpose of this conference changed because of an invitation to lead the women of the Assemblies of God Southern New England Network - filling the role of director beginning January 1. Next year, myself and the team I serve with will be responsible.
But that's not the story focus for my thoughts of reflection. My heart, currently, is reflecting on God's work in me through this weekend.
The verse, "Behold I am doing a new thing"...comes to mind. He is making, always, all things new. And, when a person chooses to take 2.5 days out of their week to center their soul and spirit on Him and to join in life-giving community, well there is just something powerful that always occurs. God does a new thing in each heart that offer Him the invitation. And this new thing becomes the mark of grace upon our life in that very moment. And the hope is that it truly changes our life, wholly as He would desire.
Yet, if you have experienced these moments-whether at a conference or through any other circumstance or time-you know as I do that there is a let down that occurs when you exit the movement of the moment, and then continue forward.
If we do not pause in this let down, and reflect and respond, we may lose the moment or at the very least dim the impact of the moment. We must have a moment of rest (which is so apropos since this was the theme of this conference I attended). Intentionally carve out a time where we worship and share gratitude to our Father, reflect, take inventory, and then respond.
It's possible we might become distracted by the let down itself. The let down that is represented by heading full force into our current reality. Our next steps, the responsibilities calling to us, and the regular difficulties we were facing come crashing back into view. We take a deep breath and plunge forward. Alright, let's go, back to the daily grind.
For some of us that will be more painful, and for others more distracting and challenging. Some will get caught in the let down itself and enter depression.
And, really, all of this quite normal. However, it can quickly take all of the good received until our "new thing" in Christ and the "making all new" in our heart fades completely.
So, let's not let that happen. What are those moments for you? What have those moments been for you in the past?
In the past, I know there are revelations and life-changing truths that faded more than I care to admit or accept simply because I didn't pause and allow it to penetrate.
Here's to intentionally not allowing the light to dim.
Even now as a pen this to share and encourage, I challenge myself and process the experiences, emotions, and revelations that have occurred over this weekend and the last two weeks.
I am already feeling the let down, or the push to dive back into the responsibilities in front of me. Yet I won't allow it to trap me, distract me, or negate what God has shared and done in me.
As I reflect on these memorializing two weeks, I will recount all of His good ways- the beautiful places He brought me in His Word and in communion with Him. I will allow the revelation of His truth, the awareness cultivated in my soul to take root - do its work.
And, then, I will ask how should I respond? What places of surrender should I tread? What roots need to be dug up and what roots need to be planted?
I will remember and respect that through the last few weeks and even days there were painful moments of confusion, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. Moments when I tried to understand what He was doing or when the very thing He was doing brought grief and pain - the moments when I desired the completed end and yet he wasn't finished. It arose out of great need to know that He was with me, and what I was sensing, experiencing, and hearing was truly and completely from Him alone. Those times are painful. BUT-it will lead me to my knees in acknowledgment of His faithfulness and care for me.
And, I will worship. I will adore my good, good Father who sees me, knows me, and walked with me. The only One who always knows exactly what I need, when I need it, and how I need to receive it. He is perfect, loving in all of His ways. And I REST in amazement of what the Lord has given and what He has done in me.
As I make the necessary pause to reflect and respond, I am confident that these marks of grace - these life changing encounters-will become deeply rooted into the fabric of who I am. And I will look back in gratitude as I remember the time that one more piece of my heart was made new through Christ.