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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Way Back

A few days ago my best friend and I talked about "the distinguishable presence of God." Her awesome pastor had posed this question in a recent sermon: "Would you even know if the presence of God was missing from your life?"

My answer was a resounding, "YES!" Because that distinguishable presence had been missing for a while and the absence was becoming more and more painful.

That question and our resulting conversation helped me take a baby step back towards God. It helped me identify the gaping hole in my heart and put words to my huge but hazy longings.

Then came my husband’s email with an awesome devotional link and the awesome comments to my “life in the pain lane” blog. Another step came when I was teaching my fourth grader grammar. Please note teaching grammar is not on my “love to do list” but I’ve learned as much as my firstborn. On this particular day we were talking about the wisdom of journaling and how to start her school journal for this year. I said something that hit me upside my head and got me thinking. “Journaling is how I work things out. When I put words on paper, that helps me to see more clearly the things I’m struggling with. It helps me hear God.”

One more baby step back.

The next step isn’t one I am proud of. It was a huge fight my husband and I got into long distance that bled into an awful attitude towards my children. But I woke up this morning knowing I couldn’t go on like this. Living over a week without God’s presence was like going a week without water. I was parched. And I knew what I had to do.

I journaled. Not just my thoughts, but also my sins. I knew I’d blown it big time with my girls and my husband yesterday. I didn’t want a repeat performance. The only way I knew not to was to run to God.

So I did.

I confessed my sins and the lies I’d been listening to for months now. Lies like I’m a failure as a writer, a wife, and a parent. Lies like God doesn’t love me because if He did I wouldn’t be in this much pain.

Those lies might sound silly in the light. But let me tell you, they’re powerful in the dark just buzzing around in the background of life.

I quickly rejected those lies and stood against the one who provoked the discord between my family and me. What the enemy obviously meant for evil, God clearly meant for good.

It was my path back into His presence.

God knows me so well. He knew I couldn’t teach my daughters well or sit before my students on Sunday and teach about a God I wasn’t talking to or trusting. So He reminded me of that and offered His full attention as I poured out my heart.

Then He spoke. A few short whispers to my heart. Two Bible verses. One about Him being with me always and the other about why my sin didn’t surprise Him. You know that verse about how there’s none of us righteous, no not one? Well, me in my sheep-likeness had wondered far from that truth.

I’d acted as though I deserved God’s forgiveness and had dismissed my sin being part of the problem ~ not exactly calling it righteous anger, but understandable anger that anyone would feel given the awful circumstances I was in. I’d also thought I could demand His healing because I’m His child.

So He had to remind me that HE is the Father and I, being His CHILD, have SO MUCH to learn.

God also reminded me that His smile is on me too.

I cried and cried. In the midst of the tears, I savored His presence return to my life.

I later talked things through with my husband and children and sought their forgiveness. They are so amazing to be so quick to forgive me and love me.

Then I blew it again with one of my girls over some schoolwork.

But I could sense God’s presence and I cut my words off before another fight kicked into overdrive. I prayed with my girls and talked with the one I’d been harsh toward. Afterwards we both agreed that had gone better and we’d resolved it far quicker than times in the past. We’re both growing. I wish I grew faster. And I wish I’d never feel anger again.

But I’m a sheep. So says God’s Word. I don’t care for being equated with a dumb, forgetful animal. But the analogy fits. I’m just thankful I have a Good Shepherd who knows the paths I travel and when I falter, He’s there to lead me home.

My prayers are still for relief from the pain and for circumstances to work out the way I’d like. But with the return of God’s presence, I’ve experience something I haven’t done in many months…


And my prayers are slowly turning onto a little different trail. More along the lines of, “Keep me walking close to You, Daddy. Help me remember.”


Tracey Bateman said...

Very sweet post, Amy. I love your transparency.

Vicki said...

Hi Amy. I always love the way you share your heart and lead us into truth. We sheep need the Good Shepherd! I've been struggling with some lies that hold me back. I'm sure it's no coincidence that God led me to your post today. Much need. And much appreciated.

God bless you, my friend~

Vicki said...

...much 'needed' I meant to say:-)

Amy Wallace said...


Thanks so much for posting such an encouraging comment. It's hard to be transparent, but I'm so glad to know it touches people.


Amy Wallace said...


It's so good to hear from you!!! From one struggling sheep to another, I'm so glad we're friends. ;-)


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