Seeking His Presence Now: Katie

This is Katie. She bakes the best cakes. She celebrates well and is full of joy.

What you hear her say in what she writes below is the perfect picture of her heart. She's real. And honest. God holds her squarely in the palm of His hand, and she knows it. And she lets Him. And she reminds people that it's also true for them. For us.

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She lives down the street, and we get to do a lot of things together. We get to be friends who drop-in and who help-out. I text her when I'm desperate for prayer. And I also text her when I'm desperate for advice about how to wear boots with jeans. I am forever grateful for her friendship. Katie is trustworthy. She is  a friend with whom I will drop my filter and let the words tumble out. Because she will take them and sift them and lay them at the feet of Christ. She will look at me and say, that is a lie. And I will accept her correction. Because she will also say, I can see why it feels like truth. She is loyal. But more than that, she is faithful. To God first and then to her family and friends. It's why we trust her so much--because we know she seeks Him first. She is a most treasured daughter. She is a most treasured friend.

Katie, thank you, for opening up your heart here and letting us see the God you know. Her words are below...

I had been praying about something for weeks. Months. Asking God – Is this what you want for me? Is this what you have? Trying desperately to drown out the voices around me (including my own) so I could hear. I even went as far as asking people around me to pray for me while praying. As in – I’m seeking the Lord on this can you pray that I’d hear when he speaks?

And I didn’t hear anything. I have been surrounded recently by sermons, friends and teachers talking about hearing from God and intentionally pursuing his wisdom and guidance, seeking his heart. Knowing that he wants us to draw near so we can hear Him and discern his will. When I talked through my dilemma with dear, precious friends they’d wisely say, ask the Lord, see what he says, I’ll be praying he speaks to you. And I’d say thank you and be so grateful for friends who point me that direction but sometimes I’d think – “What do you think I’ve been doing!!?” And then I would get on my knees in the morning and I would lay down my frustration and peel off my pride and say Lord, please tell me what you want for me in this. And I didn’t hear anything.

I will pause here and tell you that I’m not always good at big decisions. I always secretly (and not so secretly) hope for writing in the sky or a note to come down from Heaven for me to see so I’d know what to do. So much about stepping forward or even standing still in something requires faith and courage and I sometimes lock up in fear. There have been some decisions that have been abundantly clear– moving to Houston was like that – but others, not as clear. I interviewed for a job in New York a few years ago and when they offered it to me I WRESTLED over that decision. Like – WRESTLED. I so badly want to walk in the path that God has for me and I don’t always trust myself and I don’t always trust Him. I don’t always trust Him for my good, for His plans, for His timing. And I surely don’t always trust my sinful self. I said no to that job, and I’m so thankful that I did. But the wrestle was not easy.

Anyway. A few more weeks went by and I was walking forward. Not in a I-gave-up kind of way, but days come and go and you have to keep going. I didn’t have any answers yet but I wasn’t standing still. Miraculously, instead of an answer I had peace. I still had no idea what to do with the situation, but I had peace about it. And I remember thinking Lord, I’m going to keep walking, please move, please speak, but I trust you. I trust you. I trust you. Thank you for you peace.

And so I went – on my merry way – answerless still, but the burden of it all wasn’t as heavy.

A few weeks after that, I was volunteering at a Christian conference and I was standing in an arena with thousands and thousands of people WORSHIPPING Jesus. The presence of God was so tangible you could almost picture angels worshipping in the rafters praising the Name of the Lord. It was huge and holy. One of those flashes where you can’t help but think, oh heaven will be glorious.

In that moment my heart so naturally, without any motive or agenda, began to joyfully thank Him. "Thank you for where I am in my life Lord. Thank you for this season to praise you unhindered. Thank you that you see me. Thank you that in these moments it’s just you and me. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you that you hold me in all of it.”

And just like that – I knew. I knew that the situation I had been seeking Him on didn’t line up with what God had for me. It felt like I was standing in the Presence of Truth and in His presence only the truth can stand. And it wasn’t with lightning or a loud voice, and I wasn’t bowled over. But the truth was there, in the quietest place in my heart.

I’ve been thinking about it since that day. Why it’s hard for me to make decisions, why it’s hard for me to trust, why it’s so easy to settle. There are a hundred different answers to those questions and so much of it I still need to learn, but I realized in this - all I had been asking for was an answer. And what I really needed was Him.

Decisions are so very hard to make without trust. And it can be so difficult to see the bigger part when all I was staring at was the pin point in front of me. I needed to go back and just hold the hand of my Father. To be in His presence and not need anything else. To be reminded of His character and be lost in the greatness of His majesty. I needed to be hidden in Him. It is in the stillness that He is found. And under the shelter of his wing - that is where I am found. It is where I am seen, where he meets me. And what I needed had been there all along.

"'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13

And one more thing - I don’t know where you have walked. I don’t know if it has been hard or easy or if you had to fight back tears to pull yourself out of bed this morning. But I know where I have walked. And I know I’ve had hundreds of mornings like that. I know the depths of where I have been. And where I have been rescued from. And what I know is that I have found no good, no joy, no peace apart from Jesus. I’m a pretty joyful person. I can be bouncy and dancey and ridiculously silly. I can be so many other things too but I’ve had this nagging thought lately in the back of my head where I just want to tell everyone I see – my life is a miracle of Jesus. And such a demonstration of grace. Ann Voskamp always says, “All is grace.” I love that. I try to roll that around in my head all the time so I can hold on to it. Because it really is. He is so good. And so faithful. And so very worthy. He has saved me in every single way. And since I have you here – I just wanted you to know that.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Anchor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt." Hosea 2:14-15

This post is part of a series I’m calling “Seeking His Presence THEN and NOW” on  A Place In His Presence. You can read more about it by clicking here. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new posts. Or sign up to receive these (and other) posts by email if you haven’t already. You can read the other entries at Seeking His Presence THEN and Seeking His Presence NOW.