Fighting the Storm

Sunset from window

Sometimes a picture can communicate more of what you want to say than words.

It felt like the darkness, the clouds were trying to swallow up the sun as a late afternoon storm rolled in on Monday. The sun kept fighting back the clouds and the storm and I could see it’s fight through a window at the gym.

The sight got at my heart because that’s where I’ve been recently. Unsure of the clouds creeping in and the storm that seems to be forming. I had been wrestling for a couple of weeks on a good thing, a decision that was good and confirming where my heart was leading but that ultimately was not the best thing. Over the weekend I was affirmed in what I felt was where God was leading. Once I voiced it to one person, just one person, I could feel this darkness creep in and a storm brewing. I could feel myself bristle up for a fight because I was choosing the best God has intended and not this very good thing that isn’t for me.

To see that play out visually just hours after I’d started to get that notion was just for me. But maybe it’s for you too. Maybe God needed you to hear, to see, to read that the thing you decided on and now feel the darkness creeping in is what He wants for you. He wants that very best thing, and not the really good thing you said “no” to right now. He wants that obedience in what He has long been calling you towards, reminding you of. The darkness doesn’t want that, Satan doesn’t want you going hard after obedience because it scares him when you are in God’s will, in relationship and fellowship with Him pursuing after what He’d have for you.

May this bring you hope, affirmation, confidence in the fight ahead. The sun always fights back against the encroaching storm. The Son already fought it off so that you could be in Him in all things. When the storm comes. When the clouds creep in. When the devil would have you doubt and fear the very best God has for you.

In His Presence

We have some pretty spectacular sunsets and sunrises around Nashville. You’ll know it (if you don’t live in these parts) by the flooding of social media with people capturing the moment. I am known to do it too. It’s just too beautiful, too breathtaking not to share with the world. If you’ll indulge my sentimentality as well, it’s also where I often hear God loudest…where He gives a wink or a nod to something I have been praying through and a scene of a sunset reminds me He’s heard me, He’s got it. I can release my worry or fear and just rest in the knowledge of Him.

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Taken in March 2011 at Maryville College.  Photo owned by Sara Stacy, do not copy without permission.

It takes a certain level of presence of the moment to see it though. To be fully present I can’t be distracted by a phone or thoughts of tomorrow, I have to be fully aware of the moment I am in. I find in seasons that I am really present in the moments, each and every one ticking by and then other seasons I find that I just can’t quite bring myself fully into the present because I am dwelling in the past or creating worry for the future.

Lately it’s been the latter. There’s been unfounded worry about this, and created anxiety about that. It’s pushed out where my focus and my heart should be, in the present, pursuing His voice in the noise of it all.

This week I was able to see Hillsong United and Lauren Daigle in concert. My  heart’s prayer as the lights dim was a plea to be present. It came on suddenly and it was breathtaking. It was a cry from deep within to no longer dwell in the fear of something happening or not happening. It was a song to Christ of trust and reliance, toward God. I want to trust and release it all because He is there in the future, He’s in the past as well. He extends before and behind, something I forget all too quickly when I am not in the present.

So I felt this pull to the present, Christ’s arm extending to draw me close, draw me near to Him and trust the present to be. He does that when we allow Him. When we make ourselves available to the Presence of Him. The sunsets, the worship, Scripture and quiet. All of these bring me to His Presence in the present if I choose it.

Many times I don’t. I choose busyness, social media, television…all distractions simply because being present is work. It’s difficult sometimes and it’s much easier to relax into a comfortable posture of procrastination and distraction than pursuit of Presence. But I desire that Presence especially in my present. If I desire it, and it’s aligns with His will, doesn’t He promise to give it?

Y’all, He does. He gives Himself to us if we but desire it with all of our self. If we pursue His Presence in the moment over the other, over our self as well. Sometimes it’s worth not capturing that sunset simply because He meant it for you in that moment. Desire to receive the present, a gift of His Presence.

If Instagram has taught us nothing, it’s that everyone is a purveyor of sunrises (or maybe its sunsets). Here in Nashville especially we tend to have some crazy sunsets I know…simply because my Insta-feed and Twitter scrolling will tell me what I have seen with my own eyes.

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I stood this morning, sun still working it’s way to horizon, at my living room window as the sky lightened. It’s a magical time in the hours before dawn and as the sun works its way to greet us with a new day. The mornings I am able to see the sun rise (when it’s not been cloudy for what seems like forever, as it did the last few weeks here) I feel like I have been given a glimpse of creation.

Beauty and creation of a new day. A new day not yet filled with busy, tears, frustrations. A new day not yet realized of the joy, happiness and contentment it contains. It is just new. As if the whole earth is holding its breath.

As I sit this very morning and type this, the sky is lightening to my left out the front while to my right and behind my shoulder the moon still hangs, in half of it’s normal size. Even it anticipates the beauty of this new day, clinging to the last depths of night hoping to witness creation unfold once more anew today.

Sunrises bring anticipation, affirmation that God is with us at least for me. I cannot see a sunrise and not breathe a little deeper, filling with the engulfing goodness of His beauty at work. It is knowing that I have navigated whatever the night has brought with God greeting me newness in today. He was with me in that night but reminds me that beauty awaits with but the turning of the day.

Maybe today we all need to breathe in the newness of the day, the beauty of light dancing upon the horizon. Brilliant warmth flooding our view as a reminder that no matter where we find ourselves He brings beauty, mercies anew for today. He gifts us that with each new morning for us to see hope in the midst of uncertainty, joy in the midst of sorrow and beauty from a God who loves us so.

The Return to Writing.

I took six weeks off. Just completely off from writing. I checked out of my monthly gig with Single Roots. I shut my blog down. You know what…

I am not sorry about it either.

Well I am sorry about Single Roots writing, cause I sort of, kind of, totally disappeared on my amazing editor Jessica without so much as an adios!

But not writing for six weeks was truly amazing. I wasn’t having to push myself to post. To perform. To get content up here.

Then I started noticing I had words spilling out. I had jotted ideas down anywhere I could find paper. It felt freeing to step away from something I had been pursuing so hard on, hustling out posts and chapters on a book. To just break it off and not think on it.

Honestly I wasn’t sure if I would come back to it. But I wanted to come back to it on my terms. Where it wouldn’t be me trying to get something out of every little thing. Instead I want to enjoy and find it a gift when inspiration strikes.

I think too often we try to look for something in everything, when many times that’s not what it’s not meant for in our lives. A moment can just be a moment, without context or hidden meaning. It’s a breath of fresh air without looking for the sigh or gasp. It’s joy, to just be joy. Nothing else.

Maybe you need that too. To just enjoy the moment. Stop looking for other things and be in this exact time. Be present. Don’t look for the next thing to jump to, the next person who you can connect with. Be in the here. Be in the now.

You won’t get it again.

I have what remains of life to write. To write on experiences, on thoughts, on inspirations and circumstances. I won’t get this moment again. So this morning I enjoyed the sunrise, and this evening I took in the sunset with eyes open to enjoying. For being a sunrise. For being a sunset. Thankful that I was present for both.