For this reason, if I ever suddenly jolt out of a deep sleep and am wide awake in the middle of the night, I suspect that it has to be the Lord. After praying for whoever He brings to mind, I might fall back to sleep, but if the Lord is really trying to get my attention, well...sleep is over! In those times, I get up, grab my Bible, pray, and try to listen to that "still, small voice". It never fails. He always has something important to say.
Last year, He had something important to say. It was just before 5am, and sure enough, I was aroused out of a deep sleep. Being that it was our last day on vacation, I honestly tried hard to ignore the urgency thinking I needed the extra rest for packing up and heading home, but the sense that I needed to get up was very strong. I put on some clothes, tiptoed out of the room, and was quiet as a mouse as I opened the beach house door.
I had never seen the sunrise over the ocean, so I figured if I was up, I would go spend time with the Lord on the beach. This particular morning, it seems, God had both a sunrise and a word that He didn't want me to miss.
I had no idea what time the sun would actually come up. Using the flashlight on my cell phone, I made my way down the little path out to the ocean. I was somewhat leery walking through the bushes and the shadows, but I reached the boardwalk soon enough.
There are only a handful of times in my life that I can say I have sensed such an undeniable, weighty, and overwhelming presence of the Lord. In the stillness of that moment, it sat heavy on me, blanketing me in the most amazing peace. It's almost like God was waiting for me on the beach that morning. It was surprising, unexpected, and caught me completely off guard, in the very best way possible.
Sitting in awe and reverence, I didn't say a word, but I felt both completely known and completely loved all at the same time. I also felt extremely vulnerable. Before I knew it, a slow trickle of tears cascaded down each cheek. Emotions from somewhere down deep soon turned into sobs that I couldn't control. It was evident that I had been carrying a burden for far too long, because it gushed out of me as the Lord's presence scratched the surface of a painful wound. That morning, alone on the beach, I couldn't hide behind busyness or distraction or complacency. He had removed all of those. He stripped away my every defense, engulfed me in His love, and feeling completely safe.... I..... let ..... go.
You see, for a few years, I had been fighting to fit in...to feel like I belonged in a place that was way too big and way too cold. The saying "bloom where you're planted" had played over and over in my mind, so, like a good soldier, I marched on. I kept my nose to the grindstone, knowing that God saw my motives and that He would honor them. Yet, every act of bravery to put myself out there ended in failure and I had basically thrown in the towel. I had not fit in from the moment I arrived, and I never would. It was one of the most utterly confusing times in my life and honestly, I was starting to doubt that the Lord had taken notice of any of it. In fact, it seemed like it was open season on me in many areas of my life. I felt like I was dying on the inside and no one knew it.
The One who woke me up and arranged one of the most beautiful moments of my entire life...He saw it all. And He cared. Deeply. Until that moment on the beach, I don't think I knew how much.
I held nothing back. All of the pain, confusion, and hurt came out. I confessed that I felt like one gigantic disappointment and then I prayed what I now understand is a very dangerous prayer. I told God, with every ounce of sincerity in me, that I surrendered to anything...anything that I needed to do...anything that I needed to say...anything that needed to be moved, switched up, laid down, let go, given away, or completely removed from my life...I was ready, for anything.
"You're a dreamer and that's no mistake. You feel deeply by design...just like I designed the sunrise you saw today. My love is powerful and constant. It's like the waves that change the shape of the shoreline according to My will. It is my masterpiece. So are you. It's okay not to fit in. It's okay to rest and not know the next step. It's okay to not 'feel' used by me. I make no mistakes. To say you are a disappointment would be to say that I have made a mistake. I make no mistakes. My love for you is powerful and constant. It will change you. Let it. Daily."
That morning, a different woman walked off the beach. My burdens were lifted. I had been profoundly changed in the presence of God.
Six weeks later, our world started to turn upside down in many ways, and while I can't tell you it was easy, I can tell you this...it was worth it!! My prayer of "anything" changed EVERYTHING. God literally moved us to a new city, put us in a new church, moved us into a new house, and even gave us a new-to-us vehicle. Nothing is the same, but all of it is better than we could have ever imagined! My life is far removed from every thought, feeling, or concern that I had that morning on the beach and I will be forever grateful that God woke me up.
My prayer for you today is this...that you would get alone with God and pour out your heart to Him like never before. Maybe He broke through the noise and distraction in my life that morning and woke me up so that He could, on this day, wake you up! He loves you!! You are not a mistake. You are not a disappointment. You are His masterpiece!!! And if you're brave enough to pray a dangerous prayer of surrender....to say to Him, "anything"...I promise, He will be faithful to come through on your behalf, both for your good and for His glory! Anything changes everything!!