Last week, as I was reading SDG blogs, one sister used this verse from 2 Samuel 22: 17-20 in her post (confession – I tried to go back to find the post and I can’t find it…if it was YOU, please let me know!):
But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
I’ve been a Christian for awhile now, but this is me still at times…standing there saved, but surprised to be loved. I was caught in this visual moment of God reaching down to save me from a sea of chaos, standing me on solid ground, and me, finding my footing, looking up in surprise. Who am I to deserve such love? To encounter this Rescuer? To be loved even when I have been unlovable?
God sent me to another translation and I wound up in the NIV:
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
He moved me in prayer to hone in on my upcoming weekend away with Craig to San Antonio, to pray for a spacious place where we could delight in each other. At first, I was more than just a bit hesitant to pray for such things. I felt guilty for asking for such things (missile launches in Israel! downed plane in the Ukraine!), but I could not ignore His promptings. But for a moment, instead of just praying for spaciousness and delight, I let my mind wander. What would a spacious place look like? A surprise room upgrade? A mysterious person paying for our meal? Did I need to come up with a plan to delight Craig?
God interrupted my thoughts: Let go of the expectations, Jen. Expectations put unnecessary borders on the space I am creating for you. If you are looking for something specific, you might be disappointed. If you have a set idea in your mind, you might miss what I am preparing.
So, I simply prayed as He asked me to pray, expecting only to be surprised by Love (God Himself!).
How did God surprise me with a spacious place this past weekend with my husband?
- We got one of the few rooms with a balcony, without even asking. (God knows how I love balconies.)
- When we went to the pool, we waited less than 5 minutes for two chaise chairs to open up right next to each other.
- We went into an antique shop and had space for pure FUN! trying on vintage hats. (sure wish I had taken a picture!)
- In that same antique shop, I had space to remember my Grannie in looking at all the old things (the same weekend, we would have been at the beach with her if she was still alive).
- My children did not call incessantly (thanks, Mom!), giving us time to talk and focus on something else besides them.
- All my social media outlets were pretty quiet — I didn’t feel like I needed to respond to a whole bunch of things. (I started to take this personally for some reason until God interrupted…I’m giving you space, Jen.)
Now I’m home and I’m still thinking about space. I see how sometimes my lack of planning or organizing or needing to know everything allows me to see God move more fluidly. For example, I had no idea the final edits of our book would be due this Friday until a few weeks ago. Can you believe last March I signed my kids up for a day camp from 9-3:30 every day this week? Space…to finish, to not rush, to not feel guilty being on my computer and not with my kids.
I think about a picture I posted on our public SDG Facebook page a few weeks ago with this confession: “I spent the better part of the day grumpy because of everyone’s clutter. But God is faithful because what He showed me is what I really needed was a space of my own where I could work without seeing the mess life makes around me. And it didn’t cost me a penny.#Godintheeveryday #repurpose #grace” Even though it took the better part of my day to listen to God’s whisper, He eventually got through to me and illuminated what the true issue was — my need for space, not my family’s clutter. Not only did He validate my need for my own space, He showed me how to do it so it was beneficial for everyone.
I’d like us to think together about the concept of space this week, mulling it over, encouraging each other to let go of the labels and expectations that constrict the space God has given us for freedom, fun, and breath. Will you let us know your thoughts in the comments? Here are some questions to get us started:
- What are some labels or expectations you feel constrict the space God has for you in your life?
- Does this spill over into your relationships?
- How has God made space in your life for things that bring life to you?
- Where do you feel a lack of space in your life? Have you asked God about this? What does He say?
Ooh! I can’t wait to see what God does with our words here this week! I’m so thankful to have such amazing women to converse with!
Upcoming SDG: Connections Posts
On Wednesday, Barbie shares her story of moving from darkness (date rape) into marvelous light (healing).
On Friday, Kelly shares her story of being hurt by friends in her church in “Loving the Church More than the Fairy Tale.”
Don’t forget to join us Saturday for Week 7 of our Isaiah 54 study with Dawn Boyer!
Let’s support our sisters who are sharing so bravely, yes?
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.