Seeking His Presence Now: Angela
My friend Angela sent me her post over a month ago, and I read it then, but I read it with fresh eyes this morning, and I'm so grateful for her words and her gentle reminder to draw near to the Lord. I pray her story and her encouragement will encourage you as well. What you should know about Angela is that is every bit as humble and gentle as she sounds in her writing. She is also faithful. Incredibly so. She shows up. She does what needs doing. She prays fervently. She checks-in and follows-up when you confide in her. And she doesn't do it for show or reward. It's just who she is. It's who God is in her. It's how He loves through her. It's how she loves Him. And it is beautiful. Ang, I'm grateful for your friendship, for your faithfulness, for your daily example of living life not for God but with Him. But mostly I'm just grateful for you!
Thank you for sharing a part of your story here. Angela's words are below...
After a couple of years experiencing God do some things I could never have thought to ask or imagine, it seemed to me that He just stopped in 2014. I felt I passed over for several things - potential job growth, potential relationships, potential friendships, potential ministry opportunities, potentially being included in fun activities - the list could potentially go on. Actually, I think some of the passing-over began sometime in 2013, but snowballed in 2014.
I like to think of this being "passed over" thing in comparison to my height - at barely 5'1 I'm below most normal people's line of sight if they are looking straight ahead. Often times, short people don't get seen for not being in the line of sight, no matter how up on our tippy-toes we get, or how high we try to jump to be seen. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen.
By late Summer, I was really almost ready to throw in the towel. Over the last year, I had taken risks, stepped out of my comfort zone, made myself available, and acted in faith more times than I could count, only to come up with nothing to show for any of it. My faith was dwindling - which is kind of a big deal for me.
One afternoon, as I was walking my dog, thinking about these things, I asked Him for something. Anything. In so many instances in my past, I had been able to act on something I understood Him to be spurring me to, and come out of it testifying of His Faithfulness. He had constantly increased my faith in really big ways. It seemed as though I was missing something, but I didn't know what it was. My words to Him that day were, "Lord, I've got only a little faith left. It's not much. So please, give me something to hold on to so I can know that You're still in all of this." In that moment, a Whisper in my heart, a Still, Small Voice - "Draw near. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you. That's all you need to do. Just draw near, and I will do the rest." I felt uncertain, still, but with every ounce of faith I had left in me (which wasn't much), I said in my heart, "Ok, Lord, if that's what I need to do, if that's all I need to do, I'm going to give it a shot - because it's all I have left to do now."
So the next morning, I got up when the alarm went off (instead of snoozing for 45 minutes), made my coffee, and sat on the couch with my Bible and journal. I expressed to Him that I was drawing near. I asked Him to draw near to me, as He promises in His Word, and as He had promised me the day before. I did it again the next day, and the next, and the next.
Finally, for what felt like the first time in months, I felt Him near that day, and then the next, and the next. He drew nearer than I had felt Him in several years. Nearer than I expected Him to. Nearer than I had trusted Him to.
After a few weeks, Irealized He had never left. He had been just as close all those months I hadn't felt Him near, as He was the day I finally began to feel Him near again. All that time, I had been trying to feel Him near to me by doing everything but drawing near to him. My faith almost dwindled by my own doing, not by His. All He wanted was for me to draw near, and nothing else.
"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." James 4:6-8a (ESV)
So, my sister, draw near to Him. Don't try anything else - just draw near to Him. He wants you to, He invites you to. He promises that if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you.