And just like that, May has come and is almost gone. Do you remember five months ago when we all rang in 2020 with such hope, excitement, and expectancy? Then, fast forward to a couple of months in and the world decided to throw all of that hope, excitement, and expectancy out the window.
All of the “theys” out there have tried their hardest to put a positive spin on this unprecedented time in all of our lives. Create. Rest. Connect. Produce. Build. And I’ve tried, but I don’t think my trying has produced the kind of fruit I was envisioning.
Thankfully, I have had a bit of normalcy during this season. I am considered essential and so I have gone into work as usual. My church was given permission by our sheriff’s office to have small prayer gatherings that included social distancing, and I go for a walk everyday, soaking up all the fresh air and Vitamin D.
I have added Zoom call after Zoom call after online Bible Studies after worship services. I have also been full on in acquiring two life coaching certifications since January. I’ve actually stayed quite busy. That’s how I like it. I am a doer by nature, and I don’t do well with stillness, idleness, or extended alone time despite being quite a bit of an introvert.
The one thing this pandemic has showed me is that my capacity for quiet and the secret place was a bit lacking. The fruit of that has definitely played out in me not sleeping well for the past couple of months and some anxiety.
I would say that I haven’t been fearful of contracting the virus, but fear about other areas has come up in other ways. Evading fear, for me, has looked like work and numbing out. I can’t tell you how many shows I have binge-watched or how many trails of toxic thoughts I have entertained or how much time I’ve spent intentionally trying not to be alone. And on top of all of that, a really close friend is moving soon.
I’ve discovered through my coaching classes that I tend to avoid hard emotions by disconnecting from my heart and pretending those emotions don’t exist. The easiest way for me to do that is by not creating space for me to be still and alone with God.
One of my friends shared Song of Solomon 2:10-13 on Facebook recently, and it stopped me in my tracks. It was almost as if I could literally hear the voice of the Lord whispering into my ear. This is His desire for me and for you in this season while many of us have few to no other choices to fill up our time:
My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!”
Growing up as a child with both parents pretty much out of the picture, I never quite felt loved. When I became a Christian at nineteen, my head grabbed a hold of the truth that God loved me, but my heart hasn’t always held onto it as easily.
He has been gently reminding me that whether or not I feel loved, I am loved. I am loved because God is love, and I am made in His image. His very breath sustains my life. I was created out of His love to be loved by Him. Love is the language that He freely speaks over me and over you. We don’t have to be something we’re not. We don’t have to strive for His approval. We can rest in our identity being found in His love alone.
In these verses, Solomon bids his love to come away with him several times. He invites her into a secret place to see her face and hear her voice. He loves her and wants nothing more than to be with her. His beloved wants the same things. She is eager to be alone with him. She is eager to know him and be known by him.
Often times, I run away from this kind of intimacy with the Lord. I fear truly being known by the One who created me. I fear judgment or punishment or simply the realities of my sin. I allow shame to pull me away instead of allowing His kindness to lead me into repentance.
God wants nothing more than to commune with us, to have intimacy with us. He wants to speak truth to our hearts and hope to our souls. His love leads to pruning and growth. It leads to us conforming to His image. As we spend time with Him, His desires become our desires. We die to our flesh and become alive in Him. That is the mighty and undeniable work of His Spirit that comes out of stillness.
In my neck of the woods, life is slowly coming back, but there is still much opportunity for quiet and reflection. My prayer is that I will come out of this “pause” in my normal activity better than I went into it. I want to repent more quickly than I used to. I want stillness to be my new normal. I want my heart to know that I am beloved no matter what.
If you have found yourself struggling during this time to quiet your mind,
please share in the comments below — I’d love to pray for you!
Love is the language that God freely speaks over me and over you. -@karina268: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Thank you for sharing this beautiful devotional. I would appreciate prayer for my health. There is lots of mold where I am living that is progressing my chronic illness but I cannot afford to move.
God, You promise to care for your children, and your Beloved Daughter Jen needs healing and safe shelter. I know in your love and grace you will provide for her. Give her comfort and strength as she waits for your provision. Lord, I know you hear our prayers and will answer them. Amen.
Thank you for your comforting prayers Maura
Jen, I am praying for you also. I have a chronic illness easily inflamed by things like mold as well. I have been following a protocol by an Anthony William who talks about many chronic illnesses; I’m not sure it’d be any help for yours, but it seems worth mentioning. I know I was ready to try anything that sounded healthy. God’s blessings on you.
Thank you so much Malissa, I will look into that. 🙂
Beth Williams says
Abba Father, You are Jehovah-Rapha the great healer. Please put your healing hands on Jen. Take away the mold or guide her to a cleaner living space. Guide her steps & give her the knowledge she needs to care for herself.
Beth, thank you for your prayers. It means a lot!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I have watched your writing go to beautiful new depths as God has led you through trials and called you to come away with him. Sometimes, He needs to remove all the extraneous distractions so that it comes down to only You and Him. He even removes people in our lives so that He can build intimacy. Take this as a sign that He wants you to know just how furious is His love for you! Soak it in. Awesome post.
Barbara Schultz says
Thank you so much for this, Karina. This really resonates with me in so many ways. You have encouraged me to seek out one-on-one time with Jesus, which I know I’ve needed so badly, but which I’ve only had in numerous online Bible studies, video sessions, study books, and journaling. It’s the deep intimacy of just Jesus and me which I long for, but have allowed the trials and loneliness and worry of this strange time to snatch away from me. It’s time for me to go deeper! Thank you and God bless you. Barbara
It hits a cord with me! I’m commonly struggling to disconnect the internal voice and although I know it’s not right it’s sometimes to fight it. And my internal dialogue can sometimes get pretty dark. Then I get to a place (where I am now) I just get sick of myself.
Thank you for sharing!
It has been so long since my mind has been quiet that I don’t even know what that is like anymore! During these challenging times, I struggle the most at night with thoughts about the impact of the Pandemic on my home and community. I long for life to resume some sense of normalcy, but I long for my inner life to acquire a peace that I didn’t have before.
Michele Morin says
Like you, Karina, I tend to take life head first, and my “feelings to deal with later” file can get pretty thick. Thanks for sharing your own journey with this. Those emotions do have a way of coming out sideways if we don’t give them room.
I can completely relate to what you’ve written and would welcome the prayer!! Thank you!
This is beautiful ~ thank you for sharing Karina. I too have had my moments of racing thoughts in my mind that spiral down to anxious thoughts. I take my daily time with the Lord to connect and ask Him to renew me and give me the peace, strength and faith I need for each day! thank you. May God continue to walk with, fill, work in and through you to share your writings of hope and pointing to The ONE who makes all things new!!
Karina, your comments about disconnecting from your heart and pretending hard emotions don’t exist resonated with me. I am still working (at my office and at home) and am hoping to retire sometime this year. As I continue working and ponder my future, I tend to pull away from my emotions and God so as not to feel the confusion and uncertainty of all of this. Thank you for sharing this. I needed to hear it.
Thx so much for the authenticity of today’s post “I file my emotions in a draw” and separate from the doing b /c I’m not sure how to identify,
deal with the emotions . I am still learning, how to be present with God, in the silence. I am praying to overcome the “self imposed expectations of what is pleasing to the Lord, be less guarded & receive His love & care for me.
Thanks for the prayer and insights from your post. God’s richest blessing. Zeph. 3:16-18
Beautiful article! I study from home currently, like many, I struggle with similar issues as you in this difficult time – studying intertwined with distracting myself with netflix, movies etc. I am afraid to come before God and just enjoy Him. I am coming from a season where I have made quite a few mistakes and have tried to fix them myself and failed, I have repented, but I still struggle to be patient and accept God’s forgiveness and loving presence,thus me “running away” through different distractions.
This was so so good! Yes, i have struggled!
I have struggled also with frustrations with my college aged children and how this quarantine is affecting them, especially the one that graduated and had to move back home bc he was laid off from his job and has to look for a big boy job now. We’ve for sure had some good times but we’ve struggled and this devotion really helped me. Thank you !
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Karina thank you for sharing such a beautiful message. I know one thing I am so glad to be saved. I along with my Husband am the only one in my family saved. My late Mum used to say Dawn where did I get you from. You go Church you say your Prayers read your Bible. I just said Mum God has me hear for a reason. I couldn’t ever preach to my Mum or tell her she needed to get saved. I just had to Pray for live my life in front of her as follower of Jesus. I just hope when she passed away she made that commitment. But when I look at my Family my Dad my Sister’s and rest of my Dads Family plus my Mum’s Family and they way they live their lives. I am so glad Jesus in No 1 in mine. As I wouldn’t have their life style. They all believe that they will if anything happens to them get into heaven. I can tell them they need to get saved. Or row go up. They tell to keep my religion to myself. Not preach to them. If anyone ask me what I was. I reply just this. I am nothing only a follower of Jesus. I have no other labels only the Jesus label on my head. One person as me once are you this or this I said no. I have no labels on my head. I only carry the Jesus label as I am follower of his. No other label will I ever have I told them nicely. They looked at me. They said what they where. I said that ok. I still love you and you are special to me and that does not stop me loving you any the less because you are that. They wanted to know would I still want to talk to them I said yes. Because I love Jesus and even if I didn’t belive in Jesus I still talk to you. I told them I was praying for them. They look at me. Said you are praying for me. I said yes. They where shocked. But they said thank you. I am my Beloved and my Beloved is Mine. So how true that is. Thank you again for today’s reading. We have so much to thank God for. Xxx
I would love for you to pray for me. This season has been unsettling for me. Its not that I don’t know that God loves me – this stay-in-place order is not sitting well with me and I too cannot sleep, am anxious and exhausted at the same time! Thank you!
Tonya Dalton says
Yes, quiet time and being still is quite hard for me. I’m a runner, have been my whole life. I turn to tv and food to numb myself. God has been working to make time here and there to be still…. I find doing drawings or other art helps me somewhat. Need to keep doing it.
Sylvia Leonard says
Absolutely how I feel but could not put it into words, so thank you for expressing what i wanted but couldn’t. Like you, I pray for that intimacy with God to restore me instead of feeling Im not good enough to be in His presence. I want my heart to crave for time alone with Him. I want my heart to finally catch up with my brain and feel fully loved by Christ.
Melody McMinn says
This message really hit home with me! I’ve found my self isolating
I’m old and live alone. I know my quite time has been lacking lately due to anxiety and Depression. I have a daughter and family that live close but haven’t seen them very much,which makes me sad. I know my only hope is in Christ, who loves me unconditionally ❤️ but I fear rejection. I’m not very close with my daughter,which makes me sad also.
I need to lean into Christ more than evermore to quite my fears and anxiety.
Thank you for sharing this encourging message with me today.
Janet Williams says
Oh Karina how absolutely beautiful are these words today. I can feel your soft heart and hear your soft voice through these words you shared. What a lovely reminder how much God loves us and wants us come away with Him, that His love leads to pruning and growth. I haven’t read Solomon in a long time. I’d forgotten how beautiful the verses are! Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful blessed day sisters. I will be praying for you
This is a beautiful, touching post. Thank-you for sharing with us this morning.
Blessings to all,
Jane Johnson says
Yes, I’ve been struggling and I identify myself in this devotional, I too am a doer and find it hard to be still!! Always! Thank you SO much, would love to talk over ciffee!!
This met me right where I am today. For me, avoiding stillness means I’m accomplishing and achieving which obviously make me worthy. ♀️ I avoid stillness with Him because I don’t always feel that He meets me there and I don’t want to walk away disappointed. My head knows He never leaves nor forsakes me, but my heart is another story.
William H Gohn III says
Here’s something that The Holy Spirit brought to my mind after reading your encouragement: “Cease striving (or, Let go, relax) and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”. [Psalm 46:10]
Beth Williams says
Been praying for you for a while. I sense God wooing this nation back to Himself. He often did that with the Israelites. We got busy rushing around doing various activities. The nation as a whole didn’t take a lot of time each week to be with God. A lot of people didn’t pray unless trials came & some only as a last resort. He so desires intimate relationships with each of His beloved children. Like you my life didn’t change much for me. I have no fear of getting disease. The biggest thing was not having church. I’ve been using my time to pray more & work on two Bible studies “Finger prints of God” by Jennifer Rothscchild & “Dangerous Prayers” by Craig Groeschel w/Proverbs 31 online. God will find ways to get our attention. He “sidelines” his children by various means in hopes we will come away & commune with him. Thank you for sharing your journey of life with us.
Prayers we can all get back to a semi normal soon.
jessica c says
Thank you for writing this devotional. I just read it today. Wow. The sheer grace this post exudes and breathing a sigh of relief after reading it is lovely. I have struggled greatly during this pandemic in the relationships arena…before the pandemic I thought I had friends but after it began…it felt like I was fooling myself into believing a lie that I did have friends because noone called or texted really to see how I was doing. In so many ways I’ve felt like relationships were one-sided…still feel that way. I’ve numbed myself with watching dvds, surfing the net, etc. I also live in an unideal place that I can’t move from at the moment since money is tight and anxiety would be at an all time high for me if I just up and moved now. Please pray for me. I get very depressed and thinking this pandemic thing will never end. When people say we’re all “struggling” it’s not true. Some have actually prospered and been promoted while others still struggle. I’m sorry I just feel so far away from God right now
Hi Jessica –
My heart and prayers go out to you. I understand how you are feeling. I hear the same thing – everyone is struggling yet I hurt knowing that my company was able to keep most of the staff (me and two others were let go) and everyone will be returning to work. I have been in valleys since I was let go and my depression and anxiety have reared their ugly heads a couple of times. A couple or the blessings through this is I have been home with my kiddos and been able to help them with their school work and motivate them.
I know I’m rambling lol but please know you are not alone. I can sympathize with you and I am praying for you even as I type. I pray God will continue to hold you so tightly and you will feel peace and comfort that only He can provide. Hugs sweet friend!!
Kimberly M. says
This is so true. Being molested as a child, led to other tragedies and bad decisions in my life. I know in my heart that God has forgiven me of what I did as a teenager, but it seems I keep taking it back from the cross. I am now dredging up past hurts from my mother on how she treated me back then. I do not want that. I am now 50 years old. I want it to stop and live my life with my husband as God has intended for me to live.
What a surreal moment to read your words knowing that’s exactly how I’ve felt & been feeling a while now. I know God loves me unconditionally but sometimes my emotions is the loudest voice I hear. This stay at home order has been getting me down and I’m thinking about work (i haven’t started yet) thinking about my finances and all that flows from that. In between the noise I have had to remind myself that God is in control and nothing I can do in my own strength will remove this pandemic any quicker or make ‘this’ life better for all. I’ve reminded myself that in the stillness that’s where I will find him even when it’s just tears that flows.
Thank you for your touching words and your honesty Karina. The last few weeks have felt like a year .. My capacity for knowing that I am loved is sometimes lacking and has been more so during these last few weeks. Reading your words was like someone was describing my feelings and reading Scripture in Song of Solomon spoke to my heart.
Like you Karina I wish to come out of this time better than I went into it.
I too want to repent quickly, to be still before the Lord, as a continuous desire for me and a normal occurrence in my day, and most of all to know that I am beloved no matter what. And, that this love will overflow into my relationships, my interactions with my family and with all whom I encounter.
Please pray for me.