in the dirt

Some, if not most, of life’s most pivotal moments happen without an audience. No one to see. No one to listen, care or applaud. A life completely wrecked, transformed, and the world keeps spinning. The moment passes. Life goes on, forever impacted.

These moments, invisible earthquakes of the heart, leave one feeling alone staring at the rubble of their life, wondering what it looks like to rebuild. You live in the invisible wreckage. Meanwhile, there’s a world full of people oblivious to the natural disaster of the heart.

But one sees. One knows. One is there in the dirt where you stand.


Last year I spent months reliving the past, feeling entirely unknown in the silent earthquakes of my own life. It ate at me to know that no one would ever live those moments and understand the implications. No one saw the moments that shaped me, the moments that made me who I am now.

I poured this out to a friend who prayed a Spirit-prayer about how God was WITH me in the darkest moments of my past. He was WITH me in the dirt.  Not just looking down on me from above, but holding me in the mess, wiping the tears, promising hope. These Truths washed the gift of Immanuel over me in an entirely new way.

Realizing Jesus was in those moments, seeing me, feeling what I felt, changed the weight of them. Suddenly I didn’t carry the memories alone. I wasn’t alone then for His eyes were upon me. His eyes are upon you too.


He is there in the dust as you cut your flesh deep and the unspoken pain runs red into His pierced hands.

He sits in the dust with you as you frantically try to pick up pieces of your broken heart worrying someone will see you shattered. Someone will know who you really are.

When you just want to disappear He is with you seeing you for all you are and all you will become.

He stands under the dark cloud of depression with you, providing comfort you can’t ask for, light when you can’t see.

When Loneliness and his friends seem to be your only companions, He is with you. Your truest friend.

He lays beside you as fear runs a marathon in your mind. With you in every heavy breath. Every sleepless night.

He picks you up from the dirt, declaring it enough, when it’s gone too far. He won’t let you stay in the dirt longer than you can bear.

He stands strong in the wake of tragedy, loss and trauma. Your firm foundation.

When you are left behind, everyone running ahead into new adventures, He stays to run your race with you. Promising adventures for you too.

When you are covered in the dirt of self-hate, He shows up with clean water to wash it all away and show you who you are underneath.

He shields you in the storms of change, so that you can still see His face, His constancy through it all. And when the dust settles, He will be there to rebuild and show you the way through your new terrain.

He sees you as your desires, the secret ones you hold close, sift through your fingers, turning to dirt beneath your feet. He is there to remind you what can grow in the dirt. He reminds you of the beauty that comes from ashes and the streams flowing in the deserts.


I don’t know what your dirt is, where you find yourself sitting, but He does. He knows because He is right there WITH you. Patient. Gentle. Constant.

He was there in the dirt where you stood. And He is still there in whatever dirt you now stand in. He is WITH you always, the dirtiest King you will ever see, all for the sake of your heart.


HERE AND NOW

by United Pursuit

when your faith in perfect love
can’t explain the pain that you feel,
you will find you’ve looked for a sign up above
but he was there in the dirt where you stood

and there’s hope found
here and now, here within the real
in the midst of all we’ve done
all we’ve given up on
he was with us every step
feeling what we feel
when your soul was buried down
burden by the long road

and in time we will learn to grow
through and pain and into hope
for the storms they come
and swallow up the sun
but the light lives on and on

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mountains among skyscrapers

 

Walking the streets of Santiago with the hustle and bustle of millions of people. The air heavy. Cigarette smoke lingers. Voices, music, cars sound all around. Eyes down, thoughts all over the place, I block it all out. I walk with purpose, on a mission to catch the metro to continue the mundane, until I’m stopped at the corner. I hear myself audibly gasp. A smile spreads and I laugh aloud as I look up, as I look before me.

There they are. The mountains. The Andes. They stand before me, peeking between skyscrapers and above buildings. There they are in all their glory just like usual, but this encounter is different. This encounter changes me.


As I stood on that street corner, the Holy Spirit spoke boldly. The lesson learned, pondered, taught, nearly forgotten, but recently remembered. Full circle you could say.

The lesson was simple: I AM WITH YOU. The picture was breathtaking: the mountains among skyscrapers. The importance was more than I could have known or understood in that moment.


With my eyes lifted, a goofy grin on my face, I knew the truth. The buildings stand tall, but the mountains stand taller. The skyscrapers loom, but the mountains are still present. My fear, my uncertainty, my inadequacy rise to the heights of the Costenera Center. Anxiety and unknowns grow until I can’t see anything else, until lifting my gaze above them is too much. But there they are, those mountains, waiting to be seen. Amidst the chaos of the city, the Andes stand firm, unchanging. Amidst my overwhelming thoughts, God stands. Just like the mountains, He stands unchanging. He stands with me.

Fear grows, but the Lord makes His presence known. Commitments take over, but He is unmoved. Unknowns remain unknown, but He makes Himself known. Uncertainty addicts, but He refuses to give us up. Life overwhelms, but He surrounds with provision and protection. Everything is too much, but His “with-ness” is enough.


“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2

This verse and the picture of the mountains among the skyscrapers all scream this one truth to my forgetful soul: He is WITH me. He is Immanuel. He is GOD with us. It’s who He is.

As the Andes surround Santiago on every side, so does the Lord surround me, so does the Lord surround you.

There will be rooftops moments where the mountains clearly surround like the walls of Jerusalem and our souls rest, in unmistakably seeing their presence, and sometimes all we get is a glimpse of them between buildings. But no matter the moment, no matter the time, the mountains are there. They never change, never move. They’re constant. What changes is our posture. Are we looking up or down? Are we looking around, walking blindly by? To see the Andes around Santiago one has to look up. One has to choose a different posture, that of expectancy. We can always expect to see Him. We should always look up, ahead, between. It is only when we change our gaze to the steady, the unmoving, the Mountain in our midst, that the breakneck speed world turns slow and finally our souls can rest. For when we know the Presence before us, we know the One WITH us.


Despite seeing from the rooftop, I somehow forgot about the mountains, about their faithful presence despite the buildings in the way. I forgot about THE Mountain, the One that is bigger than all of my distractions and uncertainty. But a truth-telling friend reminded me, “When the distractions, the seemingly impossible tasks, the skyscrapers of life start to cloud our view, we are reminded of the mountains; never moving, never changing, never faltering. Just like those mountains, my God never leaves me, never changes, and is always WITH us. Remember THE Mountain, the Mountain forever WITH us.”

I’ll remind you and me now. Whether your view is from the rooftop or the streets below, your surroundings, the mountains, our God, remain the same.  We change. He does not. We move. He does not. We are easily distracted. He is always present. He dwells within and without. He is the Mountain among our skyscrapers. He is God WITH us.