This morning I ran across something I had written a year ago about recognizing God’s presence in daily life:
I was reading through the really great encouragements in the “Light from the Word” section of the GA.com website this morning. It struck me repeatedly that a part of me was responding, “These thoughts made more sense to me when I felt I was in the flow of something God was doing”–as I did when I posted them in 2003 during all the ferment following GG’s excommunication.
By 2003 we had been out of the Assembly for thirteen years. We’d recovered to a certain extent from the intensity addiction of life in the Assembly, when we were always intense, anticipating or participating in something “great”–a seminar, an outreach, an all-night of prayer. By 2003 we had pretty much a normal church and family life.
But when the Assembly imploded, the old intensity instantly blazed up, and continued for months, analyzing the issues, doing the website, talking, talking, talking. It felt very much like God was at work in a major way. The passages quoted in “Light from the Word” were thrown out as lifelines to those who were escaping from a sinking ship.
By 2006 life was again back to normal. It was ordinary stuff–shopping for my four-year-old granddaughter’s birthday, a doctor’s appointment, work on the website, cook dinner.
I knew those great and precious promises had meaning and significance for today, but I didn’t feel it the way I did in the tumultuous final days of the Assembly–that tingle in my soul like the flow of water against the skin when you’re swimming in the ocean, that makes you know you’re in something powerful that’s moving.
But as I read through those verses now, I come to the one from Lamentations, “His tender, cherishing lovingkindnesses never fail; they are new every morning.” I am reminded that here is my sense of significance and meaning–that God is with me in the mundane things of today.
Just being able to enjoy picking out computer games and art supplies that a grandchild will love is a cherishing lovingkindness of my God. He is restoring our family so that we can delight in a little one’s birthday celebration. That is soooo different from our Assembly days, when a birthday might be crammed in at dinner before going to the Bible study. Or might be skipped entirely during a seminar.
The promises regain their luster when I slow down to really live my life today with God and discover the meaning that is here when I focus on it.
That journal entry, written in 2006, sixteen (16!!) years after we left the Assembly, shows how deeply we were impacted and conditioned by the Assembly experience. Throwing off that conditioning, growing out of it, is apparently a long-term struggle, at least in my case. But at least it is possible! And so worth the effort.