It was a cool, crisp February night in 2011. The sky was clear and the stars were bright. As I exhaled, a small white cloud surrounded my mouth. I was in New York City ice skating in Central Park. There were lots of other people there, but I was mostly unaware of them. It was one of those nights that you just get lost in. Time, space and others didn’t exist. I felt a connection, a peace and a safety that I couldn’t totally explain, but to say that all was well. I felt protected and cared for, I felt alive, I was content. My ice skate blades slid across the rink smoothly as I enjoyed being in this rare calm moment.
I embraced the tranquility of the evening as it was such a contrast to my feelings from earlier in the trip. Just to prepare for and actually take the trip was no small feat with a preschooler, toddler and infant at home. But I was determined! This was going to be a wonderful experience, a welcomed reprieve from the daily grind. I had a fairy tale image in my head and I was convinced that my plan would prevail.
Despite my fantasy version, I felt on edge, disconnected, uncomfortable and wanted to go home very shortly into our arrival in New York City. I was shocked. “How could this be? I really thought it was going to be an amazing trip.” The confusion settled in.
As I skated In the stillness of the night, I felt like a dry sponge, soaking up every drop of serenity. I marveled in the quiet and allowed it to wrap around me like a cloak. I was insulated with the warmth that came from the moment, yet I could not ignore the restlessness that still lingered inside me. I began asking God what was happening. It started as a humble ask and then turned into a desperate plea for help. Intuitively I knew there was much going on just below the surface and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.
God responded to my cries in a way that only He can. With the gentlest and strongest touch, God assured me of my readiness and then swiftly removed the thick black veil that had been covering my eyes. In one fluid action I was brought out of the darkness and into the light.
All of a sudden, I saw my life in a completely different light. It was almost as if I had been lifted up outside of my body, observing my life from the position of a bystander. The view was shocking and heart breaking. I could barely believe my eyes.
Things came into view that I had never seen before. In an instant clarity was brought to places of confusion; questions were answered. I learned that day that my life was not really a life, but rather an existence. I was existing in a prison where I could barely breathe and was getting close to suffocating. I felt a sense of urgency, my instincts kicked in and I immediately and instinctively tried to break the chains that were holding me in my jail cell. I spent a few minutes trying to release myself to no avail.
Then a quiet, gentle voice whispered in my ear,
“It’s OK, I got this.”
I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but I knew that my prisoner status wasn’t going to change that night.
I don’t know about you, but for me, one of the hardest things in life is patience in problem-solving. When I encounter a challenge, I want it fixed immediately. My first impulse is to analyze the situation and devise a plan to correct the issue. Waiting and trusting are not two of my strong suits.
Stepping off the ice rink that night was excruciating. I was consciously walking back into the jail cell that I called “life” and it all felt wrong. I wanted to stay out there forever living in a place of eternal bliss skating hand in hand with My Creator. But freedom wasn’t going to happen that way for me, I had to walk back into the prison in order to find the keys to my exodus.
I share this story to illustrate a few things:
- God can be close and personal if I want Him to be.
- Hope and encouragement.
- God’s attention, kindness and faithfulness to me.
- God meets me right where I’m at.
God saw me, He heard me and He answered. He met me just where I was at. He spoke to me in a way that only I could truly understand. His revelations were displayed in a way that only I could truly experience and connect with. God is so good like that. He comes to each of us in a completely unique way when He sees even the slightest opening in our hearts. In that moment, God honored the truth that I was seeking and granted me the privilege of experiencing Him in a whole new way. He revealed my bondage, so He could set me free.
I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or contact me by email. Share your triumphs, pain and questions. Are you curious, struggling or grateful? I want to hear it all!
This is the first post in the series, God Meets Us Right Where We Are. Please join me here next Wednesday for Skating with the Spirit Part 2 to read about another spiritual experience on the ice rink. Hint hint, it’s not mine. It will be from a younger member of my family. Take my word for it, you DON’T want to miss it!
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I pray you are blessed and uplifted. Until next Wednesday…………………………..
Reading your article has greatly helped me, and I agree with you. But I still have some questions. Can you help me? I will pay attention to your answer. thank you.
Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!
Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.
Thanks Aunt Bobbie! I have experienced God the most and heard Him the loudest in the midst of pain and struggle. “Follow His peace” is something I try to focus on because He will give us peace when we are focused on and following Him (Isaiah 26:3).
Very encouraging Shannon!God’s peace can be felt when you listen to Him. Great writing. Love you, aunt Bobbie
Thank you mom for your faithful support of me! Your encouragement continues to mean the world to me and helps to weather the storms. I so appreciate your vulnerability and transparency. Lots of love!
Shannon – i remember those early years as well. So filled with uncertainty and upset. But the outcome was so beautiful.
To say God’s plans are smooth sailing in my life would not be the truth either. In the moment, i feel so helpless ,scared and stuck in a deep dark hole – until i reach for God’s help and surrender to his plan. Then i start to feel myself pulled up.
Thank you again for a beautifully written and personal account of the before.
Love XOXO mom
That is so beautiful, thank you, I am going to read it over and over!
Thank you for your encouraging words Marilyn! I have definitely played the chameleon, changing myself based on my surroundings. It feels so bad when I fall back into it at times. I love the quote by Etta Turner, “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.” When I look at that in the light of God’s word, I wonder why I shy away from being my true self at times. God says I am His masterpiece, why wouldn’t I want to display His handiwork?
I just read this week’s blog and I desperately tried to keep the tears from flowing. I don’t know if it’s the same, but lately I find I am looking for others reactions instead of just being me, don’t know if that makes sense, I have also felt that I am on the outside watching my life instead of experiencing it. Thanks for your blog Shannon and I look forward to next week’s