Locked in darkness…(read this first…it’s my favorite)

I was alone on the floor of my bathroom.

I was sitting in the dark. The door was closed and locked.

This was becoming a new habit of mine….

I had small children, my husband, chores, tv, and other things bombarting my days.

In the midst of it all, I very badly wanted a relationship…with him.

If I wanted to grow closer to him, then I needed to make the effort and spend time with him.  I would need to carve out the time in my hectic days to do it.

I made the decision that worked best for my daily schedule. I decided that 11:00 pm, after everyone had gone to bed, was the best time for me.

So, each night, I’d see 11:00pm hit on the clock.  I headed to my bathroom, closed the door and locked it, turned off the lights, and sat down… to talk with him. I knew no one would interrupt me.

In the beginning, I’d be in there for 10 minutes total. But, over time, weeks and months later, it grew to nearly an hour! (Where did the time fly?) It always “felt” like only 10 minutes had passed, but the clock always said otherwise.

No matter how much time it took, I felt so good afterwards. I loved our talks.

Before long…. it became a time in my daily life that I couldn’t live without. And, I fit in time all throughout the days to talk, rather than just at 11:00 pm at night.

It didn’t take long at all for him to become my best friend. He knew me better than anyone. He understood me, my heart, and my thought process better than anyone else did.

I kept up this daily relationship for months… and years.

For anyone who says God doesn’t “talk back” or communicate has never truly made the effort…or simply doesn’t know how to recognize His voice and forms of communications.

The Bible PROMISES, “Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)  Notice…we go first.  He’s always there…waiting for us…hoping…wanting.  We aren’t.

One night, during one of my 11:00pm bathroom talks, a boy’s face came to my mind.  I recognized him.  I was a Sunday school teacher for the Juniors and Seniors in high school.  But, shamefully, I didn’t know the boy’s name, or anything about him.

I couldn’t figure out why his face was coming to my mind, but I prayed for him. I asked Jesus to please meet his needs, and to inspire him to turn to Him.

Every night for a week, during my 11:00 talk time, I’d see that same boy’s face. I prayed the same way every night.

Then, the following Sunday, one week after seeing his face, I was driving to church. The words, “Tell the boy you’ve been praying for him,” went through my mind as clear as crystal.

This was NOT my idea. I had 0 desire in telling the boy. Can you imagine me saying, “I’ve been seeing your face in my mind when I’m in the bathroom alone each night.” (ha ha ha!!) Nothing good can come from starting any conversation that way.

I also didn’t want to tell him that I’d been praying for him every night. He didn’t know me very well, and I didn’t want him to falsely assume that I knew all about him from someone else. I didn’t want him to feel invaded, or be suspicious or uncomfortable. So, I was going to choose to ignore that strange thought that entered my mind.

“Tell the boy you’ve been praying for him.”

“Tell the boy you’ve been praying for him.”

“Tell the boy you’ve been praying for him.”

The thought invaded my head and wouldn’t go away.

I sat through the morning announcements in the youth room with all the teenagers, and could see that boy sitting on the end of the couch in deep thought. My gut was in knots. That same annoying thought would not go away.

I finally figured that, perhaps it couldn’t “hurt” to let him know, if I explained myself a bit more. Who knows…maybe it would make him feel good, and like I cared about him. It could hurt not to tell him. So…ok.

VERY reluctantly, I walked over to him before class started. I knelt down onto my knees, and spoke to him very softly so no one else could hear me. I looked into his eyes. He was puzzled.

I said, “Hi. This is going to sound very strange to you. One week ago I was sitting alone in my bathroom, where I pray every night. During my prayer time, your face came to into my mind. I had no idea why, and still don’t. I confess that I don’t know your name, and am very sorry about that. And, I can swear to you that I don’t know a single thing about you or your life. I know nothing. So, all I could do was ask God to pull you near Him, to meet your needs…whatever those are…and to help you to trust Him. Every single night your face came into my head…so every single night I asked those prayers for you. Then, this morning, on my way to church, the words ‘Tell the boy you’ve been praying for him’ went through my head…and frankly didn’t stop until just now. Apparently, Jesus wants you to know that He’s had His eyes on you every day since at least last Sunday, wants to reach out to you, and has wanted me to pray for you. And, today, He wants you to know about it all. Does this mean anything to you? Or have I only freaked you out, or made you uncomfortable?”

His eyes flooded over. His lip trembled. He shook his head and said, “No…you haven’t made me uncomfortable at all.”

Struggling to share his heart with me, he was a bit restless in his seat, but then looked me in the eye again, and said, “Last week, after church, I told God that I didn’t think I believed in Him anymore. I challenged Him. I told Him that if He really did exist, and really did love me, then I was going to give him 7 days to let me know, somehow…or else I’d completely stop believing in Him. Today is the 7th day. Now I know He’s real, was listening to me, and is actually speaking to me.”

I was in awe.

I’m really not sure who was touched more with the awesomeness of God and His ability to just reach down and speak directly to a person’s heart…the boy, or me. Both, for sure.

I have had SOOOO many stories such as these happen to me over the years.

Before I ever started the habit of heading to my bathroom at 11:00pm, I had read Exodus 33:7-11 that said how “Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp… As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses….The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”

While in the wilderness, wandering, Moses took it upon himself to go pitch a random tent away from everyone else. There, he’d talk to God. God met him in the doorway. This intrigued me!

It’s a promise in the Bible…that when you make the heartfelt effort to go spend time with God, seeking Him and His advice for your life…He’ll meet you there and TELL you!  Jesus’ own half-brother said, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5

I wanted that.

If Moses could be so close to God just by making the concerted effort to go talk to Him…then so could I.

And, according to the last verse, Joshua went, too…and didn’t leave. He stayed to take full advantage of his own one-on-one with God. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that Joshua was the one God turned the Israelites over to after Moses died, and gave Joshua the task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua, after all, wanted to hear from God…was in the habit and addiction of spending quality time with Him…where he could hear anything God wanted him to know.

I wanted the same thing. I didn’t want to just “believe in” God. I wanted to be friends with Him. I wanted to hear what He had to say to me!

1 Timothy 1:16 “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”

I formed my own “Tent of Meeting” in my bathroom.  It was a priority to me…simply because I made it one.

Eventually, that “Tent of Meeting” time started in the morning when I first woke up; I’d meet with Him outside on my porch with my Bible, or in a comfy chair in the corner of the room if it was too cold, or if the mosquitos were bad. No matter what, I had an appointment with God every day…and then would talk to Him more throughout the day, all day, every day. But, that “Tent Time” was set aside for just Him. And He honored it every single time. He still does.

Life is full of distractions. When we started building our log house, and had moved into our 300 sq ft guest house while working from 8am til 11pm at night, my schedule got all messed up, and I had nowhere to go…yet.

But, once I realized that I hadn’t made a new “Tent Time” with Him…I created one. The chair on the porch, or the base of a tree, or a long country walk. I made the time. I prioritized it.

Now in our home, I still do.  Currently, it’s my couch with my morning coffee, stack of devotionals, and Bible, followed by sitting there…thinking…reflecting…and talking to Him in my head.

Sometimes I just spend 2 minutes with Him.  Sometimes I get sucked into what I’m reading and realize that a couple hours have slipped by.   Sometimes I just don’t feel like reading at all…and can barely muster a mental conversation.  But, He knows me.  He knows my heart better than anyone.  He knows what I’m thinking.  He knows what I’ve been going through…and what I will be going through.   SO, in those moments of my mental incapacity, I take great comfort in being able to simply say, “I’m wanting to remain in You today.  I need You and love You.”  Nothing makes Him happier.  (John 15)

If you’d like to know the various ways He spoke to us, guided us, fulfilled our needs, and provided for us during our build, feel free to read about it all in detail at our other blog, www.OurCottonwoodCreek.com. Start with the post called “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek“, which begins the whole story.  Or, continue reading more of the posts on this site.

—————–

According to the Apostle Paul (who knew Jesus), if we believe that Jesus was God in a human body, and that He died on a cross for our sins, and came back to life, then “Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)

“For a child [Jesus] is born to us, a son is given to us…. he will be called: Wonderful Counselor [Holy Spirit], Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

2 thoughts on “Locked in darkness…(read this first…it’s my favorite)

  1. Hi Gretchen 🙂 I’ve learned so much from you, thank you very very much for sharing this with us – your readers 🙂

    1. Rita! I want to apologize first of all for taking so long to write back! I thought I had. Oops.
      Thank you from the very bottom of my sincere heart for touching base with me and letting me know you’ve enjoyed reading my personal stories of the Lord and His realness in my life. He’s awesome. He’s my best friend ever. It greatly blesses me to know that others are learning that they can have the same kind of friendship with Him…the one and only very very very real God who communicates with those who crave to hear from Him.

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