let the evening come . . .

laurinburg sign

“Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.” –Genesis 28:10-11

 

Certain places. We’ve reached a new one—a God-ordained assignment just an hour south of our last one. My number nineteen; pastorally speaking, our fifth appointment with the United Methodist Church.

Like Jacob on a night so long ago in Bethel, we’re stopping here for a season. The sun has set on our previous day’s traveling (our six months’ worth of running), and now we have the great privilege of rest, of living and breathing in this new place landscaped by open fields, few stoplights, fresh peaches, and neighbors who drop by with fresh vegetables . . . just because.

Certain places. We’re well-suited for this one. Sometimes a heart just knows when it’s home. And this morning as we worshiped alongside new friends in filled church pews, my soul was stirred at the deepest level. First Sundays rarely go as planned; there are always a few hiccups and a few whispers, but none of that mattered to me on this first Sunday of my number nineteen.

What mattered?

blue flowersThe peace of knowing that I am home. That I can rest my head upon this stone named Saint Luke and can find a stairway that stretches straight forward to the heart of God. Like Jacob, my soul proclaims, “Surely the Lord is in this place …” (Gen. 28:16).

It’s not that the Lord hasn’t been present in my preceding eighteen places; it’s simply a great soul-relief knowing that he resides here as well. That God has already graced this place with the present of his presence long before my arrival.

I’m grateful for the setting sun, for a tangible sign that a previous day’s laboring is finished. It’s a good thing to shut my eyes and pull down the shades on the struggles of recent days, knowing that even as I rest, God is at work . . . ascending and descending on his ladder of mercy, making certain that I don’t miss his whispers of grace. I imagine he will tell me great and unsearchable things in this night’s pause (Jer. 33:3). Divine disclosure is a guarantee for the children of God. As we are faithful to rest in God’s house, our Father is faithful to entertain our hearts with his.

red carnationsI want nothing more.

I just want to know God and then, out of that knowing, lead others to know the same. This certain place is the right place to do both. With God’s help and because of the heavenly generosity afforded my soul, I pledge my affection to this new ministry soil. I’ll put my hand to the plow, alongside my husband’s; together we’ll sow kingdom seed, and we’ll trust God for the harvest.

And so I pray,

Let the evening come, Lord. Let the stars shine brightly in this night’s rest. Slow me down and show me your glory. May the labors of my yesterdays serve as a strong foundation for my today, as well as an anchoring remembrance for my tomorrows. I thank you for this stay in Bethel and for this stone upon which I lay my head, my heart, and my faith. Make this pause in my journey count for your kingdom. Keep me on my knees, and awaken my heart to yours. Thank you for the struggle that has brought me thus far, and thank you for the grace that has kept me moving forward. Home is within reach. I can see it from here. This certain place is the right place for my heart. Amen. So be it.

yellow flowersPS: There was a beautiful flower arrangement on the altar this morning, given in honor of our arrival. Thanks to Mr. Bill, I have fresh cut flowers all around my house. It’s good to be welcomed!

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23 Responses to let the evening come . . .

  1. So many lines here speak my renewed commitment to where WE are. “I pledge my affection…”

    I pray that the glory of God you pray to see will be as sure as the beauty of Mr. Bill’s cut flowers filling your new home.

    • I thought of you and your husband while worshiping yesterday morning. You are in my prayers, sister-preacher wife!

  2. And there you are, right where God has brought you, to this new place. I am so excited for this as yet unwritten chapter Elaine, for you and Billy and your family. I sense your peace, and I ditto it in my own spirit. Blessings will abound. 🙂

    • So glad to pack you with my belongings in this move, Sonja! Blogging buddies are the best.

    • In many ways, Terri, I think we’re on a similar journey. I also thought about you as I moved around my little town this weekend. I think we’d make fabulous coffee buddies.

  3. Praying you have a refreshing stay. That this will be still waters for your soul. God bless you and your family settling in. I know your new family will be blessed. 🙂

    • And the Lincoln print is already hung in my kitchen. Morning table time will include thoughts of you!

  4. Praying you are able to build a nest there… and find birds of a feather, too.

    • Nest building is strenuous work, but I’m getting there, Sheri. I love the little touches of framed photos, pottery, and new dishes! We’re off to a good start. Come see me!

  5. So good to hear that you are feeling so at home and so at peace with your new place, Elaine. So glad that you all received such a warm welcome. You’ll continue to be in my prayers!

  6. Dear Elaine,
    For some reason, this simple but heartfelt post brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I’ve read your stories for more than four years now. Yes, I’ve gotten to “know” you quite a bit. And somehow, something tells me that this 19th chapter of your life brings you to a much higher level, much closer to His heart. I sensed the joy in your words… I can “see” the peace in your countenance.

    Rejoicing God with you…

    Much love
    Lidia

    • I look forward to continuing the journey with you, Lidia. I hate that an ocean separates us, but I’m glad for the God that connects us in our hearts. You are my dear friend, and I love you.

  7. So happy that you have nestled into your new home. I am eager to hear more about this place and space where God has you and Preacher Billy. BTW, send me your new mailing addy so I can update my book. Blessings to you, sweet friend.

  8. So happy that you are all settled and that God is working already there for you and your family. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you move through the next days, weeks, and months to come as everyone there gets to know you and your wonderful family even more. I KNOW they are going to LOVE you all!!!

    Much love my friend!!!

  9. As I suspected and I am delighted! Thank You, ABBA, for these gifts to my sister!!
    And thank you, Elaine, for sharing with us.
    Love and holy hugs,

  10. “This certain place is the right place for my heart.”

    I could not have said it any better…

    And oh, how I have learned this lesson in the past year. My mountaintop has finally become home, and I am more convinced than ever that it is EXACTLY the right place for my husband and I.

    God is here – and we are where He wants us. That is peace.

    GOD BLESS!

  11. Oh, a place of rest, you deserve, have earned and will continue to earn while God opens up new opportunities for His heart to be shared through yours!! The photos you shared on FB of your walk, so beautiful, so peaceful, So happy for your precious family! May God be Glorified 🙂 Blessings

  12. Nineteen moves. I can’t imagine. God so uses you He can’t keep you in one place for long. May you settle in peace as you commence with His work.