I Hear God Singing to Me: Going Public with my Faith

I Hear God Singing to Me: Going Public with my Faith

This past year has been many things, a full stop, a radical shaking up, and a washing away of a lifetime of grief, disappointments, and shame. It’s been a time of reflection, a celebration, and a setting right of all that was gut and mind wrenchingly wrong.

It’s been God in all His glory answering prayers that have been prayed for decades, in ways that were unimaginable to me. I could only see what I could see, and strive to make it through my eyes. My heart yearned for something, my destiny, for God’s calling on my life, only I kept choosing to grasp and claw my way through a bog of weeds so thick and high and deep that engulfed and suffocated me.

We have available to us a path straight to God’s heart and arms, and yes, his glory, his holy presence. So why do we seek it in all the wrong places and then try to convince ourselves we know it better, and are higher than him?

A new trajectory is before me. I stand on a precipice with a profoundly different perspective of life and living, the past, the present, the future, and while it’s scary there’s another truth prevailing…that if God does have a claim, a calling, a vision for how He wants to use me, then I can be assured he will provide the strength, the courage, and the way.

Whether I succeed or fail, doesn’t even really matter because he will use all of it for His good purpose. Whether or not I see the fruits doesn’t matter either, because if I do my part then I can rest in the trust that my life has not been in vain. Not that it could be anyway, because he simply loves me, and he lets me know it, day after day after day in the silent whispers, as he does with you.

Everything changes when we open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, our everything to let him in.

So many days – a lifetime, and so many ways seeking answers, signs, validation, belonging. A never ending, never fulfilling quest without knowing the language of God. So many illusionists claiming to be the Great I Am, without saturating oneself in the Word, it’s fair game for falling into false promises that pull one further and further away from the truth.

Yet, no matter the distance we travel, no matter the worldly or other-worldly ways that entice us or lull us, no matter in our fog of slumber that we descend into, we are not lost forever. One moment of turning our eyes and hearts up and we’ll find that we’ve not been forsaken, never have.

In a year that has literally that flipped from upside down to downside up, I find myself standing among over a thousand people and marvel in wonderment if it is all real. Shaking my head as if it’s been a dream. We are singing and clapping and moving in praise of the Lord.

My heart is pounding because shortly I’ll be up on that stage speaking to the crowd, sharing my coming to faith story. I haven’t been up on a stage in years and I never imagined that one day I would be talking about how Jesus saved me from a living dead.

Moments of wondering if this was real, if it was really God’s calling. Am I willing and ready to make such a public declaration. How did I get from living entrenched in a new age life to converting to Christianity, it seemed so bizarre.

And while yes, it was surreal beyond imagining, here I was. By the grace of God and only God, the only Living God, had my life been healed, transformed, filled up, and blessed in so many ways that I knew there was only one truth for me.

I prayed fervently, make me worthy of your calling. Give me strength, fill me with calm, may you be seen and heard in and through me.

I had been sick the past week. Knock down, Kleenex, tea, resting to the bone sick. First time in ten years and honestly didn’t think I’d be able to make it to service, much less speak.

Three congregations coming together in one service. Over a thousand people.

Public speaking is something I persevere with great hidden anxiety. My saving grace here was in reminding myself that it was not about me. It was simply me standing up for the God who had revealed himself to me, who has been giving me a new heart, a new mind, and new eyes and ears.

But with each passing moment getting closer to my cue, my throat parched in cracking dryness, I’m reaching for mints, I’m reaching for water, and again. I worried it would have me stumble and cough, desperate for thirst.

The energy, from floor to third tier balcony was high and pulsing. I’m now backstage, waiting in the shadows of light with monitors and technicians. The stage looks huge. The choir and band, three congregations wide and deep.

A shift begins to happen. Now I’m feeling gratitude filling up and ready to pour out. I get to do this.

There is the cue and I walk out behind my sister-in-law Lisa who will introduce me.

I don’t feel my heart pounding anymore. I’m not blindsided by fear, by the lights, by the theatre filled up to the balconies and all eyes upon me. I’m connecting. I’m speaking slowly, calmly, even eloquently, I’m told later. I hear it too. My voice steady, my body still. I’m both speaking and listening. The only sign that I’m present to nerves is a slight tremor in my left hand as I turn a page of my notes.

When it’s done I feel that it’s the best speech I’ve ever given publicly, and I give all credit to God for holding me steady and filling me up. I don’t know how to deflect the accolades after. I’m simply grateful for the calling on me that came close to not being fulfilled at this special service.

I’m in a new world now. It feels like I’m fully in and ready to be fully giving. In a lifetime of adventures of the spirit, never have I felt so supported and so blessed. Though I have to admit, I’m still kind of scratching my head in wonderment by the turn of events, and in the listening to the Word, the voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ~ Isaiah 30:21

I’m excited for what’s to come because now I know where my strength, and wind, and breath, and the fire in my soul comes from. Through God all things are possible, and He tells us to be bold and courageous because He’s got us. In, around, behind and before. In all ways and in all things. His presence reigns true.

May His face shine upon you,

Kiernan

His Love Endures Forever

His Love Endures Forever

It is a happy day because His Love Endures Forever.

Every day is a happy day in this knowing… even in the midst of the mess… in the silence as my soul awaits for God alone to instruct me in His Word.

His Word… how did it come so alive in me?

One day I wanted nothing to do with it… I did try on occasion to read the Holy Book, but the words… they were garbled. I’d read and re-read and re-read because I couldn’t make them out.

What did they say? What were these confusing words? I’d put it all away, shaking my head, wondering what it was all about, and thinking it obviously wasn’t for me.

Something changed all that. Something I can only explain as His time… to call upon me… to say enough.

Enough of the seeking in all the wrong places. Enough of the years going by in circles, repeating patterns.

Enough of a lifetime of never feeling enough… of doubts… and aloneness, an aching aloneness even where love was everywhere… because worldly love is not the same as His Love.

One day a tap on the shoulder came… a whisper of hope, of love, of peace in the darkness.

Jesus.

He made Himself known to me. He encouraged me to call upon Him in my times of need. He said He was here to help us… in this world. There seemed to be an urgency about it.

He told me to draw Him close and not let go. He walked with me and somehow, He filled me up with hope… with teachings on a new way to live, in the knowing that He loved me.

He loved me?

He. Loved. Me.

My heart quickened. It softened. It opened. Calling upon Him… talking to Him… sharing all that tormented me in my brokenness.

And the Holy Book began coming alive in me…. In my fingertips as I turned the pages… in my eyes that thirsted for the Light coming off the Words… in my heart that filled up with a need to spill over… up, up, up the rivers flowed.

Now, the Words… they are the air I breathe. They live in me. Every. Day. They are my daily bread.

His very Word spoken to me.

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

Oh yes!

What means this? How is it possible?

There were times in my dark hours, when I’d think of Him and His hand extended… my head bowed… my breathing hilting and labored… pain ruling my body… my ache for the ways I could not make me feel love for myself, and for all the ways this ache hit upon others as surely as a tongue lashing or a beating with fists.

And, I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” in the reaching out and accepting the hand tendered.

This Way. This Truth. This Light. Stretching out from fingers to air to me. I took His hand, and He became my strength.

I didn’t understand it all. Surely, I didn’t.

I could never understand all the talk about Jesus having died for our sins. I could not wrap my head around that one. It made no sense to me.

I acknowledged Jesus existed. I acknowledged that he died on the cross. But, what sins? How could his death over 2,000 years ago have anything to do with me?

It took months of studying the scriptures and watching movies about the Bible and Jesus… it took me having to recite the events of His life time and again… it took my own life review, praying and making amends… understanding that sin was really anything that kept me from experiencing God’s Love (God’s Love is always there and always endures but that doesn’t mean we EXPERIENCE it, does it?) to make sense of it.

Then one day, as surely as the Holy Book claimed me… it came. I could look into His heart, as He could look into mine. His breath became the air I breathed. His Presence… the Living Waters of which I drank, and it felled me.

It felled me.

Love filled the aching emptiness and broke everything wide open… the mind… the heart… the soul. Wide. Deep. High. Open.

And, I understood the grace of his death was my saving. Does that make sense? I’m reading these words just written, and I don’t know… do they convey what it is for an anguished pounding heart delivered into a new life? From numbness, empty living to everlasting… ever eternal peace and joy?

His death for Love. His death for kindnesses. His death for peace. His death for Truth. His death for All.

His Risen.

Rises in each one of us who is ready and called to believe in the power of Love.

I can see the Love in His eyes. I can feel the Love in His walk with me… in His talk with me… in His heart that finds mine.

What is it like to surrender my ways, my will for the Holy?

I am found. I am new. I have new life.

I am defined by His promises, which are many… and, shaped by His Word.

So yes, oh happy day. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. To live, with all that comes with life, the loves and losses… in the knowing that His Love Endures Forever.

In the knowing that He Loves Me… and He Loves You, even if you’ve never heard His name… He Loves you too.

So yes, oh happy day. As brush to paint in the making of this piece ‘His Love Endures Forever’ – a little something to celebrate Him in glory. I’ve got a frame in mind to affix this (heavy textured paper) piece to… please pray I don’t wreck it in the process.

 

His Love Endures Forever by Kiernan Antares

His Love Endures Forever | 18 x 24″ Acrylic on Paper

 

 

Heart to heart, love to love, may His face shine upon you,

Kiernan

xoxo

An Invitation into the Sweetness of God’s Presence

An Invitation into the Sweetness of God’s Presence

I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

~ Jeremiah 24:7

This. Right. There. If we but cut out the noise in the world, and tuned in to this whisper. It changes everything.

I felt it as a child. Moments of the touch of grace. In the spaces… in the pauses… in the empty. The promise of something… but what I couldn’t hear.

What I knew with certainty was that it was different than everything else. How could I live it, I couldn’t know.

But, it was there, always there… softly… quietly… like a flutter… a touch… of another living voice.

It felt like both something inside me, and somehow also in the spaces around me.

I felt it in the longing to know it, to understand it, to feel it… in the wanting for it to live me.

You, God, are my God,

    earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

    my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

    where there is no water.

~ Psalm 63:1

When the new age philosophies captured my attention, I thought God was there. I fell for the promises, the lure of transformation and transcendence. But, nothing was real or sustaining. The promises were just that… promises that kept being broken… always in the tomorrow… that never comes.

I grew tired of the false promises… of the never-ending cycles of the sun, the moon, the stars, which I gave my power to… in the name of ascension.

I longed for something real… something sustaining… something that would fill me up day after day.

After so many years, two decades of these empty promises, when Jesus began to call for me it was confusing. Head shaking confusing. Yet, I felt His urgency. He wanted me. He wouldn’t give up. He wouldn’t leave me in the empty another day.

When I finally arrived… when I finally landed in His Church, in His Body I wanted to fall to my knees. His presence so filling… so over-filling it wracked me with sobs.

The beauty so immense. It stirred memories of moments of this grace… what my whole life longing amounted to… that space inside me that wanted to be lived.

The longing that lacked a name.

Lacked comprehension.

Blocked by the every dayness of living… and not listening.

The Holy.

Many months later, studying scripture, miraculous blessings upon blessings through the power of prayer and grace, baptism… the living waters… singing worship songs still threaten to overflow in a fountain of tears.

My beautiful sister-in-law and sister-in-Christ standing beside me, takes my hand tightly and whispers, “I can feel God’s Presence… here… with… us.”

The child in me remembers. YES.

That’s IT. The sudden realization. It’s God’s Presence… that I feel in those moments.

His ever loving… ever faithful… Presence.

I vow to remember. Always remember. Forever and ever.

“O beloved, why has not Love sufficiently overwhelmed you and engulfed you in her abyss? Alas! when Love is so sweet, why do you not fall deep into her? And why do you not touch God deeply enough in the abyss of his Nature, which is so unfathomable? Sweet love, give yourself for Love’s sake fully to God in love.” ~ Hadewijch, 13th-century Belgian Beguine poet and mystic

Not my strength. But His.

Not my will. But His.

Ever deeper into this Love.

Nothing less.

 

Leaning into the Season of Change

Leaning into the Season of Change

How to live with arms wide open? Can I really do this?

It’s what God really wants for us… to live… to love… to be free… it’s what I’ve committed to do.

Here I am God, with arms wide open. Pouring out my life for you.

Draw me near, Lord… draw me near… and teach me.

I lift my hands up to you and I offer to you, my heart… to keep cleansing it… to keep breaking it open… to keep bringing to light the darkness… where the hurt is still too great… the worry… and the fear.

It’s easy to say I trust in you, God. But, holy holy holy it’s sometimes not so easy to actually live.

The seasons change, life changes. I know this. From the moment we are born… the moment we take our first breath, we begin the process of dying. We don’t live this way, of course. We don’t think of dying as we grow into the toddler, the child, the youth, the teenager… the young woman or man.

Not even as we have our own children… do we see… really see the changes… the inevitability of it all.

Our parents, they always seem old… it looks only the teensy bit different from year to year. We’re busy. We’re raising our own family. And mostly, we’re just busy at keeping busy. Striving to achieve our dreams, prove our worth, and make our mark in the world.

Then one day, suddenly they’re crippled… ailing… at least it seems that way… it certainly has for me.

My heart breaks in the wondering how it happened, so fast. Where has my living been that I hardened my soft heart. That I would resent them in their time of need, just when I thought I was finally getting my life together. Oh Lord, help me!

How backwards I’ve lived. What rocky ground have I been standing on? What lies have I believed… that would make me and my life more important than… what?

“We love because he first loved us.”

~ 1 John 4:19

 

But, you’ve called me to the alter. You’ve been showing me what it is to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of you, God… to drop to my knees in hallelujah of your grace.

My heart wide open now… feels their pain… their suffering… their ailing… as if it were my own.  Oh, the aching torment of it… so real. The inevitable is drawing nearer and nearer. And, to them you’ve called me.

But, oh Lord, it’s hard… again, you can find me praying… hard.

When my father tells me he’s lonely.

When my mother sobs in torment of her physical and spiritual pain.

When they stumble and fall. When dad’s got massive bruises on his body, blood vessels breaking so easily.

When my brother, sister-in-law and I take them to appointments, and they inch along, hunched, bent over, grayed with life ebbing out of them.

When I take my mother’s hand in mind… her crooked, weak fingers… and I caress them praying love into her, praying for comfort to flow through me. She’s afraid… she’s so afraid… of the unforgiveness she hasn’t been able to surrender.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of my parents! Please grant me wisdom and strength to care for them in a way that honors them, and honors You. Help me show godliness to them, returning to them a portion of all they’ve done for me. Help them see You, in me and through me, and give them a heart for you. In you comes my strength, for on my own it’s an empty well. Imprint in my heart Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’ In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

Two Sunday’s ago, in church, in the midst of feeling full of aching sadness, and near overwhelm with my empathic heart, I reached out in fellowship and found in a sister, one who understood as she lives in a similar journey.

It felt so good to share our stories, to support and encourage each other… to hold each other’s hand when the sermon spoke to us about LEANING IN to the seasons of change. Instead of fighting it, as we are apt to do, lean into it.

Lean into it…

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

Lean into it… lean into it…

Lean into loving… lean into caring… lean into the ache… lean into the unknown… lean into living all of it.

I am called into this leaning.

Resistance is futile. It is not of The Way, The Truth or The Light.

Resistance is a sign of where we are called to dive into… with hearts wide open… to experience the fullness of it… to be tested… to grow our character and strength… and our faith.

Do you know of which I speak? Are you faced with any changing seasons in your family or life that you are struggling with? Can I pray for you? Please share in a comment below, or send me an email.

What if we turn our eyes upwards together, open our hands and asked God to show us the way. He promises to listen and make our paths straight when we turn to him.

 

“Call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

~ Jeremiah 29:12-13

May our prayers be heard and may we be filled to the measure,

Kiernan

Love Broke Open: Part Three

Love Broke Open: Part Three

I cannot… I absolutely cannot… even after months… get through this song without His Grace and Glory coming up in me from the depths of my soul.

And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

In Part One I announce that something life changing was happening to me this year. In Part Two I plunged forward and revealed that I answered the call from God and was given new life in Christ through baptism.

There was so much more than I can comprehend taking place in between. But, these massive in-between bits led this former new-ager who struggled with guilt, shame, indecision and insecurities, into becoming a Christian woman of substance, deep conviction and fully ready to commit to the Lord and my beloved.

Always I found faults and looked for cracks… anything to excuse why I could not commit… to my heart, my passions, my relationships. Always keeping doors open in case I needed an exit, which I usually did.

Studying the Bible changed everything. It made me get real with myself and it made me get right with God.

The Word came alive in me. How is it possible for a book to come alive and know me so personally? Know my every thought and deed? Know where I’ve struggled, where I’ve fallen, how I’ve been broken, and the emptiness… the aching emptiness longing to be filled?

As I opened the pages to my first study assignment:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

~ John 1:1-5 NIV

I took slow deep breaths reading again… ‘In the beginning was the Word’…

My eyes drifted closed… my hands touched the pages… smoothing across… feeling something happening in the paper… ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God’…

My fingers caressed the Word… the silky, smooth skin of paper… my eyes sparkling grabbed hold and this book… it began to feel so very Holy… ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

I watched my hands bring this Holy Book up to my heart to rest there.

How did it know that Words were one of my most favourite thing, my most prized, delighted and coveted thing to behold?

And the poetic nature of it? What did it mean? What was it really saying?

So much more than what I was interpreting in those moments, I would discover over the months of continuing studies.

But still… the words… the Word…

How was it possible that I had been so critical and skeptical of this Holy Book that could reach down into the depths of my life and turn it into something new, without even having read it?

It quickened me.

It gave me hope.

It made me see.

It made me feel.

It provided me with a refuge to pour out my heart and take a good honest look at my life. I know that’s not an easy thing for many, because it’s so much easier to blame everything and everyone else for our circumstances, rather than take responsibility.

But the truth came a knocking and something deep deep deep inside told me that this was the Way… The Truth… The Light.

I prayed… hard… every day… to get right with God… to get right with my life and to get right with the people in my life.

Tangled difficult relationships with my beloved’s daughters, “Lord help me! Please help me create peace and harmony!”

And… I knew when the moments came… Holy Holy Holy answered my prayers, ‘I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused’ was what it took to soften, broken hardened hearts. Letting go of all my grievances brought me closer to Love and to God.

“Why, oh why Lord can I not be the daughter my parents need me to be towards the end of their lives? The daughter your Word tells me I must be in your house?”

Hmmm… Ah… I see anger… I see fear… I see… resentment. They are going to leave me one day… soon. I might as well put up walls and live behind them instead of love them well in the here and now.

The things that started becoming clear, one-by-one… a roadmap for living beautifully alive in the Word.

Looking into my heart, no stones unturned, but one. The scariest one. It shook me, rattled me, ravaged me.

In one breath… one realization… my heart revealed the depth of my feelings of unworthiness of love.

Love Broke Me Open… it spit me out and demanded that I know the truth… that God loved me and He will not forsake me… but I had a choice to make.

Could I commit… Would I commit… to LOVE… to Love… to love?

And so, the love story goes…

The music cued, and Josh Groban’s ‘When You Say You Love Me’ floated out on the breeze. As my son walked me to the alter, every emotion… every shade of love heaved in my chest, and threatened to spill over.

 

Then I saw him.

Standing there looking so handsome.

Waiting for me.

I witnessed us taking each other in, then our eyes locked, and the only thing I heard from that moment on was the song that was written in our hearts.

I saw nothing else but him… and the love and adoration in his eyes.

As God is my witness, the joy on this day is without question, without hesitation the result of His Word, His compelling, alive words, at work breaking me open to know love… all kinds of love.

Honestly, there’s no way prior to a few short weeks ago that I could possibly dream… or imagine… that this joy would be possible.

Yes, I feel deeply, as my favourite minister says. I wear my heart and my truth inside out… for all to see.

God has instilled me with a yen… a yearning… for the written word… how to describe?? Ah… here it is;

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,

sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

~ Proverbs 16:24

And, they seem to want to come pouring out now more than ever. More willfully than ever. That’s why my work and this website is undergoing changes. To make room for the Words, for the works that are waiting to come to this refuge to fill the empty aching place inside… for all those who need inspiration, encouragement, hope… for those hearts who are seeking and ready to be quickened.

May you be blessed by Love,

Kiernan

“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;

You make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;

Even at night my heart instructs me.

I will keep my eyes always on the LORD.

With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

~ Psalm 16:5-8 NIV

 

Love Broke Open: Part Two

Love Broke Open: Part Two

Without the LOVE I wrote about in Love Broken Open: Part One, what are we… really? Where are we? What kind of life is that? Is it living? Really living fully?

The Beautiful World Project came about last year because I was looking for ways to create deeper meaning to my life. I also began asking bigger questions seeking to understand why I was holding back; why I couldn’t seem to give freely to those I loved most in my life, and what prevented me from fully showing up to my life’s work. I wanted to matter in the world, and obviously I was feeling like I was falling short in that department. Way short.

I wasn’t who I wanted to be and maybe part of that was because I couldn’t seem to find my community… you know… the ones who get you, who see you, who embrace you, who make you feel appreciated just as you are. The ones who lift you up and shine a light on all your goodness, enough that you begin to take notice, and live as you were meant to, as you really are and even more. The ones who gather together and will move mountains in their hearts and hands to see you through whatever storms come.

So many paths and beliefs I explored and even adopted for periods of time. Trying to make them fit, when they didn’t. Believing they lifted me up and made me more, but in reality, left me drained… oh so drained and unfulfilled.

Is this mine? No. Is this mine? No. Is this mine? No… again and again.

Where was mine? This call went out from my heart again and again.

Where are we without our people? Who are we without our people?

I was the lone wolf seeking its pack, wandering the desolate mountains for so long that I nearly gave up HOPE. But, where would this leave me… in this giving up HOPE?

Under the crushing weight of this, something glimmered. It was like my heart was picking up signals of some kind, leading me somewhere I knew not. I began to take notice of something so close to home, it was in my back yard and front yard. It was before me and it was behind me.

Something I watched from afar, but never considered for myself as I had relegated it to my NOT FOR ME part of my brain, because it was so contrary to the beliefs I had adopted for over 20 years. But I began to ask myself, “Where have these beliefs got me?”

All the self-help books in the world, workshops, studies… all temporary fixes. None of them could make me feel REAL… or fill me with any sustaining strength or confidence. If anything, they weakened me and they betrayed real LOVE.

Because somewhere inside I knew that nothing I had explored so far brought me closer to knowing, breathing, living and being that THING, that LOVE that was marked in me before I was born. I was closest to it in the unlikeliest (in my mind) of places. As a young girl I felt it, but could not comprehend it… could not see it… until recently.

As the dear man who put me under said in recounting the night my life changed… forever, “It was a snowy night, on Christmas Eve…and Kiernan came… and never left.”

Family together for dinner. I knew what they had planned later, and I waited. Having spent much time contemplating their lives and our lives, I wondered if there was something to it. Something that explained why they were happier, shined brightly, and were living lives of deep meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

So, I HOPED for a moment, an opening.

Never give up HOPE. Please never give up HOPE. For miracles do happen for those who SEEK.

The moment did come; “We have to leave soon for Christmas Eve Service…”

Something in my eyes must have traveled into her heart and mind, and she asked tentatively, “Do you guys want to come?”

GOD bless her. GOD bless her. GOD blessed me.

Smiling shyly, I said looking at my beloved, “Well, I’d kind of like to go.”

To my utter amazement he replied, “Sure, let’s go.”

My heart jumped in delight. I didn’t know that night would change everything… or did I?

A service they had never done before… a lovely woman spoke, an angel with a message, with conviction of her prayers answered years and years ago. It was her story that I understood, because somehow, she was speaking about THAT place inside of me, and I knew that this was where I could be, would be understood. If she felt this way, then others must too… for I had seen it in all of them that night.

The gleem in their eyes. The genuine caring and warmth. The light that radiated out from within… and the strength… oh my word the strength I felt… and I thought, ‘That’s what I’ve been seeking!’ I was being shown IT was possible, this THING that had been calling to me, it was real and it grew bigger… wider… deeper… it took up more space inside of me that night.

Person after person, pulled me in for an embrace… a genuine real embrace. Who are these crazy people who seem to be really alive, really living, really lit up from something indestructible and eternal?

It and they were like no other church I had ever been to, not that there were many as I was raised to figure it out on my own. I danced to the glory of the music and though I tried to sing, my voice could not rise above the swell of emotions in my chest.

It was the same feeling that I had when I was a little girl, on rare occasions in a church. SOMETHING inside me would make me FEEL that LOVE…and now I’ve come to believe it was the Cross, for what else could it be? I knew nothing of any of it, but it was already inside of me…. Waiting patiently for the day I would come to seek it out… To seek Him out.

Despite all this pull, it took two more months of daily, and I mean daily because this would not leave my heart and my mind alone for a moment; contemplation… consideration… pondering… before I would reach out to voice my interest in learning more about the Toronto Church of Christ.

This community who I had been hearing about for years with stories of people uniting in fellowship as a family, caring, supporting, encouraging and uplifting each other in hours of need. Missions… outreach… LOVE in action.

This year everything I think and believe has radically changed… because God has taken my life; my mind, my heart, my lungs, my blood, my bones and my relationships… all of me and made it new.

He has blessed me in countless extraordinary ways because I have devoted myself to living his teachings, his Word… His roadmap for living well and fully. Okay, perhaps not because of this, but rather maybe because he put His mark in me, to answer his call when the time was right. For I tell you, it was nothing short of a call my heart and soul absolutely could not turn away from and ignore.

The time came… and I am answering His call with all of me… how can I not? What He has done in my life in seven short months is nothing short of miraculous and I am in awe and gratitude with every breath I take, with every morning my eyes open and every day I get to live so alive because of His grace.

Right now… in mid-sentence here when the phone rang and it was my Aunt; one of my relationships healed and restored by his Grace. She was calling to find out how my baptism went… LOVE in all things and tears flow.

Kiernan’s Baptism from Toronto Church on Vimeo.

Nothing in this world has restored, filled and completed me like the power of the Holy Spirit. I feel like a different person in so many ways, and not a day goes by when I feel anything less than I’m living more fully alive than I thought myself possible.

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;

he heard my cry for mercy.

Because he turned his ear to me,

I will call on him as long as I live.

 

The cords of death entangled me,

the anguish of the grave come over me;

I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the LORD:

“LORD, save me!”

 

The LORD is gracious and righteous;

our God is full of compassion.

The LORD protects the unwary;

when I was brought low, he saved me.

 

Return to your rest my soul,

for the LORD has been good to you.

 

For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling,

that I may walk before the LORD

in the land of the living.”

~ Psalm 16: 1-9

 

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