Mine was the last plane out before the snowstorm hit New England. Escaping to a warmer clime for a “desperate respite” thanks to the gracious hospitality of friends.
Long days beside the wind and waves quieted my soul (and my weary, throbbing brain) to a place where I could actually hear God’s whisper.
No schedule. No online presence. No books to read… or write. No makeup. No jewelry. No music (except the hymns that occasionally burst forth from a heart of praise as I walked and basked in God’s beauty.)
Oswald Chambers once observed that “the voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr. So gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it.”
I want to hear this Voice. And be sure the words are from God and not me. “The checks of the Spirit come in the most extraordinarily gentle ways, and if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice you will quench it, and your personal spiritual life will be impaired. His checks always come as a still small voice, so small that no one but the saint notices them.” (from “My Utmost for His Highest”)
For many of us it takes time and deliberate withdrawal to come to a place where we can fully receive God’s marching orders for a new season. And so, holy men retreat to the desert. And I go to the beach. In the dead of winter.
A month when the wind is fierce and loud, the waves pound upon the shore as if to rhythmically remind me of my Creator’s power and presence.
It’s not terribly peaceful, but in fact, more stirring. Reflecting my own inner stirrings and desire to be released with fresh power of my own for whatever may be ahead.
For days and days I watched the tall palm trees (all that stands between me and the ocean) buffeted by the force of nature. At times they bent so far that I feared a break was imminent. But no. As I look out today they stand straight and strong. Steadfast.
A month ago I chose “Steadfast” as my word-for-the-year and began asking God to show me why. And how. Today, gazing at the palms, I recall other words associated with ‘steadfast’ – established, immoveable, persevering, wholehearted, firm, faithful, resolute.
The kind of person I long to be. Especially this year.
At its core, my identity has always been “God’s Beloved.” But I believe it is time to add to that– “Seasoned Mentor.” Dare I hope even “Steadfast Seasoned Mentor?”
Because this is what God’s whisper revealed so clearly when I was finally able to settle down long enough to receive it:
My Beloved, Lucinda, this is a season to share the story of what you have learned through My presence, power and provision. How letting go of grasping helped you receive the gift of grace; how healing in your brokenness refined your view of scars as beautiful. How filling up with more of Me allowed you to freely pour out for others in strength and service.
Tell them. Show them. Point out that there are always more options than the ones loudly appearing front and center. That one must go deeper — sometimes bending quite low — to discover My Best. Warn them that it will take great courage and faith to make wise choices, so they must live boldly. With Me.
Stand steadfast in your belief that what you have based your entire life on is true. Essential. Learn how to live simply. Focus. Persevere, even if you are ignored as irrelevant.
Steadfast (“hypomoneo”) means abiding whilst in the midst of adversity. You have already learned the hard lesson of dwelling deep; now do it. Begin at home. Then allow Me to open other doors.
Fling grace widely, everywhere you go — just as Miss Rumphius did with lupine seeds! (And yes, some folks called her a crazy old lady.)
This will be a sweet season, daughter. Don’t worry about legacy, just love. Serve.
I am here. Always have been. Always will be. Because you are Mine. Beloved.
I carefully pack up these precious words along with my sandals and jeans for the trip back to my real life. To the noisy and needy. The immediate and important. The clutter and the cold. But I am fortified and steadfast. And not alone.
In God’s whisper I heard several intimate messages that I hold close in my heart. But those whispers also confirmed why I am here for others:
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
under the mercy, Lucinda
©2018 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.EncouragingWords.net