The Place to Be With God
I sit in my study, steam rising off my second cup of coffee. Wally is standing in the window watching my husband walking to his truck headed to work. One of my ‘borrowed’ daughters is in my kitchen, I hear her exhale after her first sip of delicious hot coffee. Grizzly lies on the rug to my left in the foyer, his smell reminding me it’s bath time for him again.
By this point in the morning, I’ve been out with Grizzly for fetch and written my morning pages*, my three pages of longhand that turn the tap of words on and flush out the thinking and feeling hiding in the recesses of my brain during the night. Page 1 of that practice is usually not very pretty and certainly not publishable. It begins with how well I did or did not sleep or aches and pains or examining the day before -sometimes with regrets that tempt me to despair. I see myself falling into the same traps over and over.
The ‘magic’ of the morning pages, if you will, happens somewhere past the middle of the second page. By that time I’m usually asking questions of God, which then turns to asking for help - that’s a good place to be. Confessing and Depending. I know some would argue I’m supposed to begin prayer with praise and adoration but my experience with my own children and with being God’s child myself is that we can show up however we are. If my children are in pain or anxious or heavy hearted, they don’t have to lead off with how great a mom I am :)
Sometimes I find myself writing things like, “Help me believe I am loved today.” I cannot give what I have not received, and what would I have to offer anyone in my life if I don’t believe that God loves me? Other times I’m writing (asking) “Help me believe there is not a scarcity in the universe,” because everything in our culture tells us there is - not enough time, not enough money, not enough leadership, not enough memory, not enough ministry, not enough brain power, not enough physical stamina - the list can go on endlessly of what we think we lack.
Even as I write it out, though, I hear the answer coming back to me, that if God’s spirit dwells within me, then there is sufficiency for whatever situation I am finding myself in.
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
For years, my mother quoted this verse to my sister and me when she wanted to straighten out our attitudes - which I am quite sure needed doing. I heard all the emphasis on the ‘we will be glad’ part. Only recently have I begun to see that it is really speaking to me of Presence, of staying in the moment I am in, accepting what I find before me, and realizing that it is really the only place I can meet God. He is with me in the present moment, the very air I’m breathing. Though my mind can travel to the past and the future ( usually to make plans or worry) - my body and soul - that’s at least 2/3 of my being - is sitting right here in this study, bathed in morning light, candles burning, coffee steaming, dogs sleeping. God is here in this moment, today, in this space, where my body and spirit reside. I’d do well to keep my mind here too.
Meister Eckhart said, “God is at home; it is we who have gone out for a walk.” My mind does it all the time, walking ahead to make sure that everything in the future is as I’d like it to be—as if I could control any of it. By my spirit, the place where He dwells in me, is residing firmly in my body as long as I draw breath on this earth, so to stay at home with Him, I need to be rooted in the present moment, the the space where my body is.
Psalm 16:11 says, “…In your presence there is fullness of joy.” The place of rejoicing, of gladness, is at God’s right hand, right next to Him. He is present in the now, this day, this moment, in this body of mine sipping hot coffee, in my husband’s embrace as he heads out the door, in my ‘borrowed’ daughter cooking pigs-in-the blanket in my kitchen. He’s in us and surrounding us - like the smelly dogs sleeping in the morning sun. On this most ordinary morning with situations unresolved and answers still yet to come, the Lover of my Soul is with me, and I can be glad.
￼*The practice of Morning Pages comes from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron