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    Bethel: The Lord is in This Place

    Thursday, January 10, 2019

    I just finished up the book Remember God by Annie Downs. And oh how it rocked my world. Throughout the book, she is seeking to prove to herself and to her readers the kindness of God. Not that His character needs to be proven, but to the doubting mind and the hurt heart, proof is encouraging.

    Annie talks about seeing God in circumstances and making sense of His workings. This makes me think of my bible reading this morning where Jacob wakes up from the ladder dream and says “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16). He names the place Bethel: house of God, hallowed place.

    I think to when I first started dreaming last year. Then I look in my closet to find the gold polka dot journal from last year - the one with the coffee spills and the laughter and the tear stains - and flipped to my entry from exactly a year ago today:

    January 10th, 2018: “My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5 David knew that it is only when I learn to put my expectation in God alone that I would find true and lasting joy. Thriving comes from putting all my expectation in my good, good Father. Lord, as I look back on my life, I expected to be 28 years old, already married for a few years, maybe have a kid or two, not working but staying at home and taking care of the household. But Lord, you had a different plan for me that has grown me to be more like you and that has allowed me to do some amazing things. I’ve grown in you. So Lord - I need to let go of my dating and relationship expectations. A guy or a story won’t fill me. I wait only on God. All my hope and expectations are only in Him.”

    The funny thing is, this was when I had the hope and very real possibility of a new relationship. On the pages before and after this entry, prayers for this man and the expectation of something exciting coming leapt off the page. I look at the entries and feel the thrill of the relationship beginning to blossom. But before the thrill takes root, I remember the ending - the crushing pain of it all.

    Even in the midst of these butterfly emotions, the Lord was preparing me for January 10th, 2019 with these words of surrender (“I need to let go of my dating and relationship expectations”) and declarations of Truth (“A guy or a story won’t fill me. I wait only on God. All my hope and expectations are only in Him”).

    Bethel. Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

    Then I read my prayer at the end of my entry:

    “Lord, glorious Father, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. May the eyes of my heart be enlightened so I may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of your inheritance among fellow believers and what is the immeasurable greatness of your power to me who believes, according to the working of your vast strength.” (taken from Ephesians 1:18-19)

    And I see further confirmation that the Lord truly was in this place and while I did not know it in the pain, I know a bit more of it now in the healing. While I experienced a “hope that was conceived but miscarried” (Remember God), God has answered and is continuing to answer this specific prayer.

    Since I wrote this entry last year, God has in fact given me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing Him. My eyes have been enlightened in hope of what He has called me to - this blog, my small group women, using my singleness for Him, my identity. I have seen a glimpse of the inheritance of Jesus among my fellow Singled Out sisters. His greatness and His power have shined bright in my heart.

    I picture Jacob and where He was in his life when he dreamed this dream and made this realization. He had just stolen the blessing from his brother Esau and was warned by his mother to flee. He is on his way when God shows up. “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:15). The things Jacob goes through after this point are difficult to grasp: being deceived after seven years of labor with the wrong bride, bickering wives, famine, loss of a son (or so he thought), and so much more. Yet he believed God’s promise and chose to see God through it all.

    Will I allow God a hallowed place in my hard spots? Will I allow my difficulties to become a house of God?

    Bethel. The Lord surely is in this place and I will choose to know it.

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