Thin places don't declare their presence. They are the moments when the presence of God may be felt, heard, but in a quiet that is thin as air; and in delicate, in whisper, in awareness only. They seem to turn sideways thin and slip away when my presence is announced. They are wild and shy.
Thin and wild and shy, yet full and present. I notice them when I am full, aware and present to the now.
Isn't the near presence of God most noticed in the present moment? Is this why He calls Himself "I AM?" Isn't I AM noticed when I am aware of Him? Aware in the now moment? Awake in the ordinary? I notice Him when I am just present in His presence. I notice Him in moments so fleeting they slip past thin as veil between steps. Between one ordinary step and another, one ordinary place and another.
Mostly I'm unaware of these moments because I'm still slowing my step to live aware. Why is it so hard to live one moment at a time and to live aware? It's not as if moments demand more time than I can give them. A moment is, after all, just a moment. And if God is the I AM presence in every moment, and He is, then shouldn't that change the way I live? It should, and it is. But it takes me a long time to get to slow, and in the mean time I step all over moments and walk on unaware.
Ironically, I can traverse unaware of the presence of God right as I intend to seek Him. It happens when I declare my presence and my purpose and the moment slips past me in my too bright loud declarations in the presence of the bright One who has been unobtrusively waiting to quietly be noticed. Isn't worship most full in full entrance into awareness of God, and in full exit from hearing myself announce my arrival and my desire to seek Him? He's already there! Where have I been? Isn't this the way it is, really? It is. I'm sure of it. Can I let it be the way it is?
Can I live quiet and walk confident because God tells me that He is omnipresent. Can I just trust that He is? Perhaps I miss His presence in the very effort to feel His presence, because perhaps the effort itself hinders my heart from being silent in my flesh before the Lord.
I reach for Him with an arm too short. I forget how holy great He. I reach truncated and just too bright loud, and miss the subtle presence of God in His long reach. His arm is not too short.
Can I quiet and let Him reach? What if I ordinarily sought Him in everywhere ordinary? Isn't this where the most holy can most normally happen? In the most ordinary and repetitive moments that are so everyday "I can practically do this in my sleep" kind of familiar? Can I go through my days with a quiet spirit that watches aware and is sensitive to the subtle breathing of God?
I can. I practice this. The practice itself keeps me sane because I'm prone to the insanity of doubting God. And the practice is bonding me to the reality of faith. There is a bond strong and real between quietness and faith.
Morning at the Window
I pad soft in night gown to the closet. I can do this in my sleep and sometimes I nearly do. Morning light hangs at the window like a veil thin and grey and God reaches in through the light. I feel His presence from soul to feet. The soles of my feet are bare, and so is the soul of me. Bare. And bared thin before the One who breathes, "Fear the Lord." That's all. A flutter of God breath that takes mine away. I just stand there in the grey and the thin light, and think, I'm like a moth drawn to the flame. I see the fire rising, pink sun's glow, long and at far slant twining through pecan grove. Help me, God, because I can't help being drawn to Your glory.
I watch the grey subtly wash to pink against the pane, and the grove quickly turns burnt orange. I will be sacrificed on the altar of glory, I think it willingly in this aware place where light presses in, and I'm drawn out till my soul bares thin what I'm drawn to and, at the same time, fear of the Lord is drawn from me in elongated quiet.
Grey pinks up like life ressurrected and I think I'm watching morning sacrificed on an altar of wood in a grove of glory. Sacrifice and ressurrection; it's beautiful and disquieting I gaze quiet and just watch the most holy truth, the reason for all hope, given once again in the most ordinary and I wonder, Why do believers-why do I- just wash pink, "Fear the Lord" to "Be in awe of the Lord?"
I ask, "Why am I confused about fearing You?"
"It's because of the grey." He nods toward the window where the grey was, and I feel unsettled because I know we're talking about the sacrifice of Jesus and I remember that He is also called the Bright and Morning Star. It's an awesome and aweful truth to reach through because I just watched grey turn pink, morning burn off fast in the wood, and the morning stars go out.
"You are an awesome God," and then, "You are an aweful God, too." He commands awe from anyone who knows the slightest thing about Him; but He is a God who draws full awe from those who stand in their night garb with bare feet and a soul willing to be bared unsettled on an altar of glory as they realize that He is terrifying consuming glory and holiest God.
I can't help it; I will follow Him. I can't help it because he has breathed holy and alive into my spirit and I have taken His breath in. I try to live His life breath till the words "aweful, terrifying, consuming" and "beautiful, gentle, merciful, good," aren't contractitory to me. I have decided that I will not apologize for Him or try to explain Him. I just know Him.
I enter my closet and I'm short of time. It's cold outside. I reach for the nearest warm thing, the quickest foot wear, and leave the closet tugging the drawstring of my husband's sweats to keep them from falling off, a pair of flip-flops, and praying against any reason that would require me to get out of the van between home and the high school. I receive a "Really, Mom?" look from high school junior who has suddenly discovered fashion. I shrug out a grin and shove her brown lunch sack at her. We run out the door and the front walkway is misnamed. It's a run way.
Well, flip-flops aren't for running and they're not for cold weather and they're not for when the pink polish on my toes is chipped. Never for that. I look down at them and pledge to fix them. Today. And pink? Really? In December?
"And to think I was wondering why I get confused about fearing You!" What can I say to Him? One look at the likes of me this morning and no one would wonder why I get confused about anything. They'd just assume I do.
And what if I was heard just now saying, "Fear God! Fear Him! Tremble before Him! He's terrifying," and in the same breath, "Therefore, run to Him!"? Well, I'd have to change my flip-flops because they are meant for strolling the pavement and the beach and suburban summers. Not for breaking trail. "Run to God, the all glorious and terrifying" are trail-blazing words.
Well, I'm all girl. Yeah, I know. But inside there's armor, and I haven't lost my mind in a helmut. I'm in the soundest state of mind and plumb crazy for God. I do say things like, "He's aweful, and He's wonderful. He's terrifying, and I want to spend every moment in His presence. I fear Him, and I entrust my life to Him." The truth is, I have no idea what He's going to ask of me next, but I know what He's asking right now, and right now is where I gather faith as steady as steel-toed hiking boots for tomorrow's hope.
The more I practice this steady faith walk, the less my faith flip-flops. Loose faith snaps the backside of the bare sole with every step, but a bared soul blazes trail in quietness and confidence. A bared soul wears hiking boots and laces up quietness and faith to confidence and hope.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth