Do you have a place where you sense the presence of God? A favorite chair. A quiet porch. Out in nature? My friend Kelly tells of a time and place when God revealed Himself to her, leaving her both comforted and awed by His majesty.
GUEST BLOG: Kelly Cowan
I found myself in a doctor’s office waiting room sitting across from a nun. Clutching my ipod, I did everything I could to talk myself out of getting sweaty and throwing up. I was wondering why the nun didn’t sense my stress and come over to pray for me. Then I realized I was giving her too much credit for being above what normal believers are gifted to do. I dismissed the presumptive idea. She went on to read her Friends of the Cross book delicately resting in her lap, robe flowing down to the floor. I sat and felt the temperature in the room rise.
It had been a series of very anxiety-filled weeks for me. Waiting room scenarios like this one were fairly common. I had seen five specialists for multiple ailments. Going to the Lord for strength and freedom on account of the same troubles again and again was making me weary. I sought the Lord in quiet times and prayer but nothing seemed to be enough. It reminded me of the Psalms where the writers are asking things like, Lord how long will you leave me here? My couch is flooded with tears all day long.
In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel took a stone and set it up, naming it “Ebenezer,” saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” I leave my “Ebenezer stones” in my journaling as a reminder of what God has done and where He has shown up. Through a friend, I was encouraged in this season to return to some of my journal writing on anxiety. The Lord had already spoken a good word to me about fear and anxiety. Does that mean I wasn’t listening? Does that mean it didn’t work? No. It means I need that truth again. It means a new thing has risen up and I’ve been blindsided all anew. It’s like God is saying to me: I have already told you the truth. Believe upon it. It is enough, again. So I went back to my Ebenezers, with a heart ready to receive them again.
The entry in my journal was about a weekend away I’d had a while ago with my husband. We went to a beach here in the Northwest. At the time, I was feeling desperate to go on a walk to speak to God about my heavy heart. But it was raining like crazy. The Oregon beach, decorated with gigantic boulders and crashing waves, was deserted, for obvious reasons. But, I was finally without the kids and this was the time. I needed to pour out my heart to God. I bundled up in my waterproof rain shell and pulled on my knee-high rain boots. I began to walk straight into a sideways, stinging rain. I walked as far as I could barely able to keep my eyes open, as they were continually pelted. My talking it out was done, and my heart felt totally emptied. I turned around, finally able to open my eyes, with the weather now beating against my back.
The scene set before me was striking, yet chaotic. The sand whipping by my feet looked like hundreds of brown snakes racing past me, and the waves wildly crashed relentlessly against towering rock formations out in the water. The clouds hovered, so cold looking with their stoney gray texture and defined layers. Everything was stark. Powerful. And very wild. Yet in all the seeming chaos, I felt a truth reverberate through me: There was perfect order. Maybe that’s why I froze. It took my breath away. Just like my life, full of trial and anxiety, I felt piercingly certain that God was in control of all that was happening in front of me. And He spoke very clearly to my heart to clarify the picture He had painted for me: I. Am. Enough. Hearing this as if over the loudspeakers, I was instantly stilled within. I did not feel crazy. Or scared. Or overwhelmed. I felt awed and small, but very, very thankful and safe.
As I stumbled a few steps further, I looked down to find a sand dollar. I picked it up. My Ebenezer, to remind me that God is enough.