Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Holy Ground

I am honoured to introduce Laura Carmichael as the author of this particular post. For anyone who knows her, you will have an understanding of the wisdom and grace that pours out of this woman. I am thankful to have the opportunity to share with you a piece of her heart as it is full of compassion, empathy, and a desire to grow. I hope you enjoy the message she shares here - I know that it was both timely and impactful in my own life... 





Have you ever found yourself thinking: “Is God really with me? I can’t see Him in this." Maybe it isn’t a specific situation, but rather a thought pattern. A relationship. A circumstance.  A transition. A corner of your life, or life at large that feels like it is crumbling. A place that lacks foundation and feels void of hope. These are the places that we need transformation in, but don’t know where to begin. We spiral. 

We exhaust ourselves trying to simply keep breathing.

They are where the pain is so deep and the circumstances look overwhelmingly messy. They are the seasons that we want to rush through and often approach with the attitude of: “Okay God, tell me what I need to learn here and let this end”.

I know this all too well, and I believe that if each of us is honest, we all do. We all walk on roads that feel hard. Messy. Complicated. Hurtful. Hopeless. These seasons can suffocate our hearts.

That has been my experience for the last few months. Seeking God, I’ve wondered why I was left abandoned. Why I was walking alone. And I just wanted it to end.

I have cried out to God-and found graciously His response to my dry soul.   

He is teaching me that it is in those exact places where God-our loving Father, almighty Lord, Prince of Peace shows up and says: You are on Holy Ground.

It is Holy because He is Holy, and He is there. He stands. He walks. He fights for us.
He redeems. He restores.

And in that truth, I can breathe. Deep and slow. Breath that draws life from the Breath of Life Himself.

This is the beauty of the Gospel. God is love. And he sends Jesus into our world-into our thoughts, communities and circumstances to bring hope and peace. The Good News that I learned about so many years ago in Sunday school is becoming a daily reality for me.  I need Jesus. I need a Saviour - One who is able to redeem moments and places that seem hopeless and beyond repair into places that radiate the very things that He is. Jesus enters the land that feels dark, unending and foggy.  Light shines and hope is allowed to grow.

Counterintuitive to how I feel I should respond, God offers a life-giving alternative. Painful circumstances are often ones that I want to protect others from. I don’t want anyone to have to enter into the pain or mess. They can breed shame. They tell us to keep them to ourselves, that we are sentenced to endure a burden. The last thing that I want to do is expose others to those spaces. This is amazing grace - in love and with boldness, the Lord Almighty walks in. In strength, power and honor, He claims the spaces as His.

Love that isn’t afraid. Love that doesn’t want my heart to suffocate. Love that doesn’t want me to be alone. Love that injects truth. Love that went to the cross, was afflicted with wounds to heal the wounds that I and this world creates.

And that truth spreads roots of hope and joy to the aspects of life that feel lifeless.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for a love like that. A love that I would barely grasp with my “just get me through this” mentality.

I am learning to be thankful for these seasons. The ones that feel so awful and empty and unending. Because while what I see may be just that, I have the opportunity to call upon the name of the Lord, and to see Him reign in power and majesty. And as my eyes see the Glory of the Lord, I am transformed.

Holy Ground is not common and it requires that I act as if it is Holy.

In the Old Testament, God instructs Moses to remove his sandals. He commands him to be different - set apart - when he approaches a Holy place. To acknowledge that he is in the presence of the Holy one.

This invites the question: How does your thinking, behavior and heart change when you acknowledge that Jesus is present? Maybe the bigger question is—how should it?

When I believe I am alone in chaos and mess, my heart reflects that. I worry. Fear grips my mind and heart and I want to control circumstances in order to minimize pain and reduce the duration of the experience.

What does it look like for me to be set apart? My fear turns to faith, worry to trust and control to surrender. I stand in a truth that declares: The battle belongs to the Lord.

To choose to see that I am on Holy ground is to believe that Jesus is with me. And to know that Jesus is with me is to access His promises.

Know them. Claim them. Believe them. Put your hope and strength in Jesus and His capacity to navigate us through the mess.

Look to Heaven. Look to Jesus. Invite Him into the corner of your life that needs to be made Holy. And then live like you are standing on Holy ground.

You are not alone. His love is abounding. His glory is victorious. 

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