along her journey

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to participate in a ‘Silent Retreat’. The intent was to get away, get alone, get quite, be still and acknowledge God. I’m not going to lie, initially, I wasn’t thrilled about it. I had just come off a week saturated with time to myself and the last place I wanted to be going into my weekend was alone.

Regardless, I brought plenty to-do and planned on filling this time alone with tasks to distract me from quiteing my busy mind. I  began my Saturday of silence and solitude finishing up the daunting task of my personal inventory, one of the rigorous steps of Recovery. In taking a break, I decided it would be a good idea to go for a run to hammer out and relax the tenseness in my body before lunch. I took off at a faster pace than normal and followed this well marked trail…

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Just past ten minutes into my run, this well marked path began to disappear. I frusteratingly slowed my steps to keep an extra eye on my footing. Inside, I heard a still soft voice whispering, “Kara my dear, slow down. You’re going to miss me.” I ignored this beckoning and focused on burning off my AppleJacks from earlier that morning.

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The trail became increasingly unpredictable, and in debating a turn around, I heard the voice again, “Just slow down, I want to meet you, but you can’t see me when you’re running so fast. Stop and look.”  At last, I gave in, kicking a few rocks out of irritation as I caught my breath. ‘You have my attention now!’ I mumbled saracstically in my thoughts. As I wandered down the path seeking to discern its vagueness, I began to contemplate how this hike mirrored my own life’s journey.

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There were several times where the path’s subtleness became so slight that I had to pause and survey my surroundings to find it’s lead. At one point, I lost all sight of the trail, and found myself wandering around, tracing and retracing my steps, drifting into panic as I neared twenty minutes without a hint of direction.

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In my hurry to regain guidance, my feeble ankle gave way as I stepped harshly on a rock causing my whole leg to buckle, losing my footing and falling to the ground below.  I walked it off with a slight limp, but strength was quick to rejuvenate my stride as I relocated the path ahead. This was the first of many ankle turns, slips and trips, some worse than others, each a reminder to keep careful watch over my foot placement especially when the trail turned rigid and rocky.

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The path varied in its terrain, at times I was refreshed alongside of trickling waters…

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shaded by a large live oak tree…

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disturbed by dryness and desolation…

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confused by unclear options…

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haunted by a barren riverbed…

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decieved by beauty, and pricked by a thorn…

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captivated by the lushness of spring surrounding me…

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 and romanced by the ever present whisping of wildflowers and clicking flutters of butterflies…

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After about an hour of hiking, my stomach began to rumble, and I wondered how, when and where I would find my way back to the camp grounds for lunch. Flustered in the angst of uncertainty I picked up the pace of my steps longing to return to familiarity. As anxiety became rampant in my thoughts, I anticipated the possibility of my brisk moving Asics catching the tail of a snake. I began to plead with the whisperings in my head, “Can’t we just get back already? Take me home! Please, Daddy, I am afraid.” And just then, my sight caught glimpse of a sliced view of spectacularity just over the hill I was tredging. I topped the tomult to encounter a foretaste of glory…

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Anxiety instantly faded as I found myself alone before the cross. There, the whispers became almost audible, “Beloved, remember, I am with you. Be still. Acknowledge me. Listen to me. Let me remind you of my love for you.”

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“I know this journey you are on seems long and hard. It is full of various kinds of suffering, confusion, angst and uncertainty, but, dear one, this journey brings you home to me. Though you cannot see me now, you believe in me, and I am with you. I am with you in every step. In fact, I have gone before you and I come behind you. When the path is well defined and effortless to endure, and when the path is ambiguous and daunting threatening your footing with each step, I am with you. I am with you when you slip and fall, when you’re confused, and even when you get lost. I feel your pain, and I hear your cry. I will protect you from snakes, and will make my way known to you. Do not fear. I have redeemed you. Remember dearly, you are worth my life, worth dying for, not because of anything you have done, but because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”

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“I know that you’re anxious for me to come back for you, once and for all, but darling the journey isn’t over yet. Until then, I am preparing a place for you, my Spirit is with you, and I long to bless you with glimpses of my glory, and reminders of my love to give you a foretaste of my promises fulfilled. Slow down to seek me, and when you find me, follow me.  I have spectacular veiws in store for you…”

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“Trust me, beloved, you are mine.”

The weight of this love humbled me to a weak collapse laying across the bench beneathe the cross. I breathed deeply, and rest assured of His presence with me. A tear painted my cheek as I realized  how quick I am to busy my thoughts, obsess over distractions, succomb to fear, speed up in impatience and altogether, forget who I am as a beloved companion of the Most High God.

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However, regardless of my faithlessness, whoredom and imperfection, my Redeemer is relentless in chasing after me, and He won’t ever stop. I can’t get away. Some how, I am precious in His eyes and He has called me worthy. Worthy enough to die for.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8

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