Interactive Gratitude: When God feels far away

Knowing that Immanuel is the “God who is with us” has impacted my life more than anything else. The knowledge that He is with me has given me the permission to interact with Him instead of just “thinking” about Him as a far off and distant watcher. The conversations that I get to have with my Savior, my Friend, my Partner, my Father, and my Rescuer are more precious than all the finest jewels in the world. For instance, here’s one from this past spring after a camping trip I took with my daughter:

Me to God:

Words cannot describe how beautiful the views were this weekend! Thank you for everything you did for me! From the spot I found at Wiseman’s View to sit and rest while looking across the gorge at Hawksbill, to the sweet soft shower of pink azalea blooms blowing in the wind off the cliffs.
Thank you for the way you gave me the strength to climb that mountain with my pack, and the perfect spot we found to set up our hammocks… Father, you know I could go on and on…. Your blessings were beyond measurable. Thank you, I am overwhelmed by your expressions of love!

God to me: 

Deni, I had so much fun with you and Megan on this trip. Watching the two of you in this environment is something I cherish. You’re instilling in her a connection to my creation that will someday help her see that I’ve always been with her. I loved laying with you on that cliff and just taking it all in. Both in the daytime, and at night under the stars. We were having such a wonderful quiet together times! It’s so good to do that.

My response to God- topic for Thought Rhyming:

Yes, Jesus, those were some of my favorite moments. I also thank you for sending Maritza and Mimi up to see us at the beginning, and for what Mimi shared with me about the Father’s love It resonated within me Lord.
But I think I do know your love as my Father, but based on what she was feeling led by you to share, I’m wondering if there’s something more, something greater about the Father’s love than I’ve experienced so far? I’m open Lord, I am here with open ears, open eyes and open heart. What do you want me to know about You Father?

Thought Rhyming from Immanuel:

I can see you now remembering the great expansive view into the gorge and across all the layers and layers of mountains. I see your heart swell as you think upon it. Feel the bigness of it all Deni, this vantage point I brought you to doesn’t even begin to capture the fullness of my capability to love.
When I blew on the trees and sent the blossoms drifting down to you, that was a mere whisper of what I want to shower you in. Do you know that when I look at you I see you as my beautiful daughter – like the way you see your beautiful daughter -strong, determined, magnificent, confident, righteous, peaceful and ready to move forward into destiny.
I love looking at you my daughter, and seeing your head lifted in this confidence in the hope I’ve placed within you. And when you lifted your head to the sky and spread out your arms in the wind I was moved and all of heaven watched your heart grow fuller into who you were created to be.
I can hear you now questioning the impact of that moment-, because it was brief. But know this, first moments are the most exciting snapshots. As you reached out your arms in worship on that cliff edge of hawksbill, my wind was upon you, infusing you with a new confidence in me.
It was a coronation day my child. It only takes a moment to grasp onto what I’ve offered you, and a lifetime of living it out. Remember the strength beneath your feet on the rock. That’s where your confidence rests my child, on the Rock. And that is your destiny, to stand confidently on the Rock and know that my winds will lift you but not ever harm you.
As you soak in the memory and in the new understanding of it I also want you to be aware of me as your Father. I do hear you as you get and feel the impact of Jesus as your Rock and the Holy Spirit as the wind. But I wonder where I, the Father, fits into this image.
I understand how big this is for you my child. You’ve wondered where your father was since you were born. Even when you were given a new father you still wondered where your real father was. Even after you met him, you still wondered why all you ever had was brief encounters and then he was gone again.
Even now, your experiences with me, as your Father, are brief encounters and that’s not enough my dear. My child, I am your Father, I am glad to be with you always! I watch over you like the hawks flying from the high cliffs. I sit and marvel at how I love you all day and all night.
(At this point, as a result of that last sentence, I started to lose shalom and wrote to the Lord)
I feel disconnected from this Father. Why would you just watch me from afar? That’s not enough! That’s not a picture of a Father’s love. That might be a nice thing for me to have experienced (watching the hawks) but that does nothing for the hawks at all. They fly in their beauty unaware and unaffected by anyone watching them.

Immanuel replies

You’re right Deni, that was your thoughts taking over. That isn’t where I was in your moment. As your Father I am much closer to you than you realize. I am not just a distant person watching you from afar loving you.
That may be the only picture you have of what a Father does, but I am wanting to show you today that’s not who I Am!

My response to The Father

Then show me Lord, because I am aware that I really don’t get it! My head does, but my heart does not.
I see the image of myself with my hands out and head lifted to the sky. Feeling my feet connected to the Rock (Jesus) and embracing the wind (Holy Spirit) but I now also see arms in white clothing behind my arms. A man who is both big and gentle is right behind me, making sure that I don’t fall backwards off the cliff in the wind.

Final words from Immanuel

This is what I do: I protect you and stay by your side as you make each step in life. And when you can’t see, I lift you up on my shoulders so you can see. And when you’re feeling hurt I hold you in my lap and comfort you. And when you want to go on adventures I tie your shoes and prepare to journey with you. And when you are tired, I let you rest.

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