I’ve just returned from a week’s stay in snowy Michigan as part of a residency requirement for my graduate program. It was a week spent laughing, sharing, learning, crying, listening, thinking, and worshiping with my dear cohort friends and the many others met along the way.
The day before I left on this trip, as I folded my laundry in preparation, I found myself uttering a heart-prayer over and over:
“Restore my soul.”
Restore my soul, restore my soul, restore my soul.
I realized this was my prayer for the week ahead. In being taken out of the dailiness of a regular routine, and in preparation for the new season of work-life ahead when I returned, my heart kept asking Jesus to come and restore my soul. It had become such a parched and thirsty soul over the past several months of busyness.
Oh, how beautifully God answered this prayer.
In quiet moments like these, God returned my heart to itself and to himself:
- Through the beauty of a snow scene, I found the beauty of God. I stepped outside my cabin on the very first morning to be greeted by a shocking-white snow scene. All was quiet. Small dusts of snowflakes fell lightly on my face and hair and jacket. The cold air heightened my senses. It was quietly beautiful. I couldn’t help but tell God how beautiful he is.
- Through noticing small incarnational moments, I discovered the ache in my soul that springs forth in longing for God. I completed several short reflective exercises on the first day of the residency that had me noticing different ways God meets me in my daily life. Moments like the attentive presence of my little girl kitty, the sparkling beauty of the sun on a lake, the mystical romance of hanging moss on trees. Through these reflective exercises, I was reminded that I always feel a strong and stirring ache deep down in my soul in these moments of surprising connection with God’s presence and beauty. It’s a reminder that my heart has a continually unsatisfied longing for God.
- Through a time of prayer, I wept at the sight of God’s beauty. While sitting among a group of friends at dinner, I became aware of my heart’s longing for prayer. It was a longing I hadn’t felt for quite some time, so I paid attention. I excused myself and headed to the 24/7 prayer room: a darkened room lit by candles, piles of pillows on the floor, and an ample supply of tissues. As I listened to a particular worship song on my iPod, tears streamed down my face. The beauty of the Lord loomed closer, the communion of our hearts grew stronger, and I could not help but cry at the sight of his beauty.
- Through a brisk, cold walk, my body praised God with vigorous movement. After that time of prayer in the 24/7 prayer room, my body needed to move — and preferably in the cold night air. I pulled on my winter cap and gloves, buttoned my jacket close, and turned up the worship tunes on my iPod. I may or may not have been singing loudly as I tramped along the circular pathway. :)
I’m so very thankful for the way God met me in those moments. I had cried out for him to restore my soul, and he presented himself to me for deep, long drinks of himself. I could not help but adore him in response.
What about you: What has been your own heart’s prayer to God these days? How have you seen him responding to that prayer?