WITH-ness: A New Word

A memory flooded to the surface recently. I had been praying for release to be able to share my #OneWord for this New Year. Every time I began a post, I heard the whisper, “Not yet, you’ll know when it’s time.” And so I waited. Others were posting their words for the year, and I felt time slipping away.

“Keep waiting,” I heard Him say. But when the memory rose up in my heart, and the words spilled out unbidden, I knew He was speaking: “Now.”

~~~~~~

The days were hard as I found myself weeping through my daily chores. My heart was filled with anguish over choices that I saw my children making. Words had been hurled back and forth between us, and I was not sure that I had the strength to keep praying any longer.

So I poured myself even more deeply into the chores set before me. Down on my knees, my tears mingled with the cleaning solution I sprayed on the floor. I found myself asking the same questions, day after day:

“Where are You, God? I see my own faults throughout all these years of praying. How can Your fullness ever find an answer?”

On one of those days, as I was moving through my home, I sensed movement above me, right outside the window. I looked up quickly in surprise. What was that huge creature hanging from the tree branch? It looked like a dark brown caterpillar with vivid white spots, but it was 6 inches long?!  I had never seen anything like it! A sense of repulsion mingled with fascination gripped me, causing me to look away, but then to turn back, staring.

I grabbed my digital camera (this was before the days of cell-phones-with-us-constantly,) and I snapped several photos. Blurry as they were, I used them for researching on our home computer.

You can read some information here at Wikipedia, showing what I found.

It was the caterpillar of the Pandora Sphinx Moth.  And the story of the myth of Pandora crept into my mind. … The box that was so tempting. … The lid that had been forbidden was opened … and the troubles of the world were issued forth from that time. But at the very end, when it seemed the box was empty, one more little item fluttered to the surface: it was the gift of HOPE.

The answer to my prayers had been sent to me, right at the moment I needed to hear from God.  My prayers for my children had never been about my perfection to fulfill their answers. No, only GOD could bring the fulfillment at just the right time, in His own perfect way.

His gift to me was the HOPE of HIS promise. 

Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:5 AMP

As I shared the story with a few close friends, they were surprised that I could find a message of beauty in an ugly and grotesque creature. Whenever I longed to see God’s beauty and hope, I found myself escaping to His beautiful creation: hiking, biking, working in my garden, tending other’s gardens.

But through-out these years with chronic illness, when that escape was gradually cut off, and it became less and less easy to run to, God began to open my eyes. Escape was no longer an option because escape was no longer necessary. He had uncovered the longing for beauty in my heart because HE had always been with me. He was and is the One calling me to join Him in this journey. Healthy days of hiking or chronically ill days of resting in my chair are all equal when beauty from God is being called forth. The beauty of His presence cannot be hindered.

He calls me to see His beauty, His hope, in every moment of the day.

sunrise 12.22.19

I awoke to a blaze of fire
Feathers of light stretching
East to west horizon shimmering

Come with ME the glory called
Lift your eyes from sleeping
Colors for your heart invading

Heavy eyelids covered my soul
Lips too used to yawning
Wondering whence the water leaking

Tears of longing escaped within
From reigning night daylight glimpsing
Come WITH ME Glory calling

And I arose WITH Him

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I would love to pray with you today, my friends. As I go forward this year with what seems to me to be an unusual word, I know my Lord has HIS fulfillment of beauty to bring about even here.

Dear Lord Jesus,

We are overwhelmed by the beauty of Your presence all around us. When we open our hearts and look with the eyes of Your Spirit given to us, we know that all of this beauty is only a gift from YOU. So would You help us to respond to You now? Your WITH-ness can seem overwhelming to us at times. We know our failures are many and deep. But You know that even better than we do, don’t You? YOUR grace with-in us covers every dark place with more of Your light and beauty. Thank You for calling us to come. Thank You for bringing Your hope into our weary days. Thank You for pouring that hope so abundantly with-in us.

In the sweet name of Jesus, we pray,

Amen.

My #OneWord for 2020:

Peach rose Oneword 1.20

I am linking with: #TellHisStory

24 thoughts on “WITH-ness: A New Word

  1. Oh, dear Bettie, how beautiful this is! The inspiring caterpillar tale reveals the hidden gift of hope within what looks like emptiness. I love how God shows you His with-ness, His constant loving presence right where you are, incapacitated in body maybe, but perfectly able to listen to and appreciate God’s voice asking you to wait or nudging you to begin. And your lovely poem and prayer encapsulate the yearnings of a heart open to beauty, and entranced to find it in her straightened circumstances.
    We definitely need God to wake us up to notice, to pay attention and to know He is WITH-us in everything. These words resonate in me too: “Healthy days of hiking or chronically ill days of resting in my chair are all equal when beauty from God is being called forth. The beauty of His presence cannot be hindered.” Because God’s grace with-in us “covers every dark place with more of (His) light and beauty.” How encouraging that is! Bless you, dear friend, for pouring out your seeking heart to God and to us here. We are all the richer for reading your words. Love and hugs! xoxo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joy,
      Thank you for your precious encouragement that you share with me–and thank you for the ways that you have inspired me to see that beauty also! Perhaps it is the gift of poetry that stirs our hearts to pause and to let Him “wake us up to notice, to pay attention and to know He is WITH-us in everything.” I have seen that gift in you, and I have shared in the fruit that came from your pausing to pay attention. Oh, may we continue to let Him stir our hearts to watch for that beauty. The path of pain can sometimes feel too heavy to pay attention, but I am so grateful that HE is with us there, bringing His gentle nudges to lift our eyes even then. His grace is so rich for us in every one of these moments. Love and hugs and blessings to you my dear friend! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I am so glad that you understand that searching for beauty even where others might not see it! God does have such surprises for us, doesn’t He? Thank you for your sweet encouragement. Blessings to you this week.

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet prayers, Melissa! I am glad that we can pray for each other across the miles! I pray that you are finding some pain relief during these cold, winter days. And may God bring blessings to you this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful choice, Bettie. I love “with.” With makes all the difference! God with us is the most precious present we ever can receive. Listening to the song now. It’s new to me. I really like it! You are faithful to continue praying through difficult situations. How wonderful it would be if all children had such parents’ attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lisa,
      Isn’t that song such a gift? I’m so glad that you were blessed by it. And you are so right that, “with makes all the difference!” I appreciate your prayers and sweet comments so much, dear friend. May you be blessed this week.

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  3. Bettie, this is absolutely beautiful. I love the photo and your lovely poem. Thank you for reminding us that there is beauty even in what might seem ugly at first glance. Even through our pain, we can find beauty if we open our eyes and look for it. I love your word, WITH. And the last line of your poem is so inspiring. “And I arose WITH Him.” Amen Much love with blessings and hugs to you my dear sister/poet/artist/friend! xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Dear Gayl, Thank you so much for your encouragement and support through all of these days. Do you know, that even though I felt the hope and the beauty that God was pointing out in these hard places, I did not see the parallel in what appears to be ugly, until I read your words tonight. I am crying here thinking of God’s precious gift in the “ugly” of pain-filled days. He sees things so differently than we do. So much love and hugs and blessings to you too, my dear poet/sister/artist/friend! xoxoxo

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

    Romans 5:5 AMP

    What a verse! [and I love the amplified version]

    There is always hope. Thank God for that!

    Love you always. Pray today they make a final decision on approving us to rent at our daughter’s complex. I had a premonition that something amazing could happen. I’ve not shared that with anyone but you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Mandy, I have been praying for you throughout this day! May God bring His glorious abundant hope so clearly into your lives, as a testimony of His grace! ( I love the Amplified version also!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good afternoon, my amazing sister. Your honesty grounds me Bettie, puts me where you are, pouring into your chores, wondering why. I thank Our God of Grace and Mercy for anointing you with such a unique, special-to-you word to guide your heart. Love always, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for always sharing your heart so freely, dear Julie. I feel His presence being honored in your honesty too. Truly He does give us such unique words, chosen for each of us, doesn’t He? Thank you for that encouraging reminder! Love to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Cheryl for your love and sharing heart! I am grateful that God has given us ways of being “with” each other, even tho mikes apart. Thank you for sharing the precious Bible Study too! Blessings and love to you tonight.

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    1. And thank you for sharing the beauty of His creation also. I am so grateful for the weaving of God that lets us “see” parts of His beauty given in such varied places! Blessings to you this week!

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  6. Psalm 84:4 ESV
    Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

    His praise through you draws us all to His feet. A Word so unique for you speaks to us all in unique ways too. This is the God who takes the two fish and five loaves and multiplies. The God whose WITHness with the small and humble becomes the blessing for and humbling of us all.

    Love you and so so so thankful for you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Anna, only God could have brought this precious Scripture that you have shared here today. He knew exactly what I would need to hear, and the confirmation that would come from HIS Spirit. Amen. May I rest in His WITHness in this place of His humbling, all for His own dear glory as He dwells right here. Love you and so very thankful for you! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How God moves with us, right where we are, prayers, regrets, hopes and sorrows. Amidst the chores, amidst the memories, amidst the tears, amidst the gift of His incredible creation and most marvelously, Christ in us, the hope of glory! Thank you for walking me through this memory, helping me see the Lord’s touch in your life, as He likewise reaches for mine. And to remember, when our bodies fail, the Lord does not. He is ever with us, revealing His deeper beauty, more vast than all creation itself. I weep almost daily for my children to return to Christ and love Him as their only hope. Once again your story was all too familiar. May every tear form a precious prayer before our Savior, who is both gentle and mighty to save. God bless you, dear sister!
    Colossians 1:27 – To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Melissa,
      What a precious prayer from Scripture you have shared here! Thank you so much dear friend. How I join you now in praying for our loved ones that Christ will reveal Himself, the hope of glory, to each heart. May they see the glorious riches of HIS mystery living in us. Your words touched me dear friend, and brought a blessing to my heart: “And to remember, when our bodies fail, the Lord does not. He is ever with us, revealing His deeper beauty, more vast than all creation itself.” Amen. I am praying for you today also, that the Lord will strengthen you in your precious prayers and comfort you with glimpses of His working. Much love and prayers!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. God is so dear to all of us but I see the special joy He finds in you, his daughter! You continue to reach out to others even as you face your own challenges. Your #oneword is God-ordained just for you. He desires time with you and loves how you draw near to Him. Thank you for sharing your word and I am praying for you as God continues to teach you this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Mary, thank you for your precious and comforting words. You have brought tears to my eyes tonight, to see the blessing in the way He truly ordained the #Oneword that He gave to me. He is so very good to us, isn’t He? May I open my heart to rest with Him in His nearness. Blessings and love to you also, dear friend, as you share your encouragement with so many.

      Liked by 1 person

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