Nestled in among twinkling aspen trees along the tallest peak in Colorado is my blessed get away for the next 4 -5 weeks. What we lovingly call the McGraw Compound in Twin Lakes. One week ago I arrived on Father’s Day. I drove non-stop from Sherman, Tx, a 13 hour drive, and listened the The Shack the entire way.

I knew The Shack would get to me. Sometimes we make these decisions, like listening to a moving spiritual book on tape, to force God to ‘show up’ in our lives. He delivered. I listened and imagined the visuals of God as ‘Papa’… Jesus as any man who could be my brother, and the wispy image of the Holy Spirit. I felt them in the car with me, an intentional union of the four of us, the Holy Trinity and me, on this journey for me to grieve and to grow.

Along the way I wept. I understood the ‘great sadness’ in so many ways. Maybe the great sadness took me over for some time as I know I did not behave well in these past six months. Some might say I ‘lost my mind’… I don’t believe I did. Rather, I believe I found my voice. And in saying that I will have some who will balk at that statement which has kept me from writing. And to them I merely say, “You have a right to your opinions.”

By the end of my trip from sticky Texas humidity to the crisp coolness of Colorado I had found a long lost elation in the absolute truth of the presence of the Holy Trinity in my life. What I call the ‘Knowing’. That I know without a doubt that God’s love is for me! No matter what. That He is beside me, behind me, before me, within me, all around me and he already knows the end game. He is my great protector, that by allowing myself to persevere and wait on His timing that it will be perfect and what is good, right, and true for me. Christ is my Redeemer…because of Christ I can sit here and be renewed in my repentance of my sins. I have sinned. I will acknowledge this. I am a sinner. I am not proud of decisions I made. I am also forgiven. REDEEMED. And the Holy Spirit is forever within me to remind me it takes an intentional, diligent mind and spirit to follow in the path they are leading me and not to go off that path only to fall into another pit. I’ve also learned when given the opportunity the Lord can take even your worst mistakes and bring great good from them.

Being that it was Father’s Day I took myself to a movie and saw Aladdin. My dad loved to go to the movies so it was a great way to end the evening in his honor. And to remind myself ‘it’s a whole new world’ out there…not to live of the world but to live the world being Christ’s light to others.

I slept soundly, even though I was in a cabin all alone. How I feared coming into this ‘great alone’ world… in a cabin in the woods all by myself. Only to contend with my mind. I struggled the first two days. I didn’t want to be alone. I needed someone to talk to. I couldn’t face the ‘great sadness’ that lurked around the corners of every room I entered, or hike I would venture on, only to leave me with a tight chest and tears I couldn’t shed.

And then it hit me. I was not doing as I was instructed on the ride up. I was not giving into the KNOWING. I was controlling my emotions because I was afraid to feel. The fear of the pain washing over me, suffocating any gasp of breath manageable, to lean into the vulnerability of loss and the unknowing of the future. To face a world that would no longer look the way it used to because my dad was no longer in it. And I was no longer married.

I had to face the pain of change.

I gave in. One cold night I allowed the images of my father to surface. I heard his voice. I felt him hold me as I wept. I apologized for the many years we wasted butting our hard heads both too engrossed in pride to simply allow God to work in our Father / Daughter relationship. I praised God for the three months we had when the pride subsided and we loved fully. I sank into the vulnerability of not being able to have my dad ‘save me’ from my circumstances.

The great sadness of the loss of my marriage and the means in which we both took something that if meant to be was supposed to be a beautiful union and example of God’s love and we managed to twist, warp and deface it sin.

I allowed grief to overwhelm me …and I survived.

Now I cry when it comes. I embrace the Great Alone as I am blessed to not be alone at all. I am surrounded by God’s creation. As I type I am watching four red birds playing, flying around only feet in front of me. Hummingbirds race about bringing the chaos and noise of their own freeway action in the sky. A chipmunk just ran across the lawn and looked at me as if to say , “hey”, all the while the constant backdrop of the rushing river with its mighty power is a reminder something so beautiful and tranquil can also bring danger if you don’t respect what it can do.

No, I’m not alone, the Lord reminds me. I am always one of four. A truth that sometimes takes my mustard seed of faith time to sink in, to trust, and to rest in the KNOWING I am okay because I’m not alone.

You are not alone. No matter what circumstances you’ve lived through. No matter what mistakes you’ve made. No matter what harm has been done to you. I invite you to turn to your belief in the Lord. If you don’t know him I invite you to simply ask him into your life. I am not normally an ‘alter call’ kind of girl but if there is one thing I KNOW it’s that God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, only because of the Holy Trinity am I where I am today.

Living Loved.

Blessings

Shannon