by Stephanie S. Sawyer
If you were to ask me if I have seen God, a broad smile would spread over my face. A warm glow would fill not only my heart, but also the entirety of my body. And it would not take a split second's pondering to give you my response.
“Yes,” I would testify with a peacefully happy demeanor, as I would continue to allow God's Presence to fill me, basking in its peacefulness.
I have often been blinded to God's Presence in my life, especially between certain years. I have sought to walk closely with Him since I was eighteen of age, but trauma and tragedy recently have sometimes blinded me, alienating me to His Presence at times until this past year.
However, I will be swift to state that this past year has been one of the harshest and most difficult of my life. That is exactly how the Lord allowed the events to take place in order for me to have to call out to Him in despair and necessity. He knew I would do that. Then He moved, and I saw.
Many are the night I spent hopelessly drowned in my own tears over my deep personal losses. Marital, financial stability, career depletion due to move, social losses. One counselor told me that I outranked the scale in trauma measurement although I would not dare to compare myself with a Katrina victim. I have an apartment and my safety.
When I first moved to this place, I barely had those functions, and even God was moving then although I could not see it then. But suddenly, things began to happen. Lost friends from long ago began to suddenly reappear providing heavenly fellowship, aid, and direction of course in action.
The Voice of God came to me while driving one day. “Go home,” He stated, and I knew instantly that home was not a house. It was the church and my original fellowship that raised me up in my love for the Lord Jesus. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would be met at the door with joy despite my absence for many years. I turned my car around immediately, and headed straight for Church of the Redeemer, Houston, Texas. I have been experiencing healing and God's movement ever since.
Clarity has come into my life after that marriage that needed to break for my own safety and health. It was not simple, but God's Presence was clearly known in words of wisdom through my priest. Several unknowing counselors tried to waylay my path, yet I was blessed that my path got redirected every time, and I knew in time the Lord's wisdom for me.
The Lord put my talents to use immediately at Church of the Redeemer and I could not be idle. Remarkably, He put them to use in a quiet way so I had time to pray and listen to Him as I worked! However, I did have the wonderment of presenting piano presentations to Him as church service offerings in a place I thought I would never be able. I still marvel at how He has brought me up out of the place from my fear so many years ago when I would shake in my shoes at the mere thought of another person hearing me play the piano! And now, for the entirety of Church of the Redeemer to hear me! “Absurd,” I would have stated!
In addition, the Lord began to work on my own spirit and further mold me. He yielded up in me a spirit of joy and thanksgiving once again, breaking the bitterness of loss that had entrapped me. A resurgence of happiness entered my spirit simply in knowing He is with me day after day. He alone is my rock and my provider.
I found through the year many of my fellowship brothers and sisters reaching out to assist me as I had need. ‘Community' is a word lived out in small groups at Redeemer, and I count Redeemer very much as my real family. It is in Jesus that we are woven, and it is in Him that we are eternally bound as one in His Spirit.
I am now in a secure place financially and am continuing to grow in career. My interest in new piano repertoire has picked up and has even included the romantics. Strauss has suddenly become an interest to me. I had music strangers call me this past year and offer to assist me both financially and managerially. You cannot tell me that I have not seen God!
The Lord moves through His people. Mostly, we have to want it bad enough to ask for it. Then we have to be willing to stop and listen. What does He want me to do?
Even in the times I have felt deaf to the Lord, I have been able to count on Him being able to get through to me. All it takes is eyes to look, see, and recognize. He's there all around us and He wants to be so much a part of every detail of our lives.
I hope the year ahead will prove just as lively for me and that I will keep my eyes on the Lord. I hope that I will continue to say, “Thank You, Lord, for this day,” each morning when I awaken, as I have been this past year. I do not always feel grateful, but I can make the decision to act in gratitude, and His blessings will follow. He will work with a heart that is willing. Then He will take care of the rest.
December 31, 2005
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.