2 a.m. In my bed, I wake to words that press in around me and won’t let me sleep. I get up and make my way to the quiet basement with my laptop and a journal, the tools I use for extracting words from the air around me.
The walls smell of fresh paint. The room is as warm and cozy as a summer evening, the lamplight full of moonglow. The couch is soft and deep like a friendly forest. I settle into the throws and pillows as if they were leaves and grass and begin to reach out and scoop up the words, like lightening bugs, that flicker past and disappear.
Hope. This word rises up like a songbird within my soul. A memory of all the prayers I ever prayed flashing before my eyes. Now, sitting in this quiet forest, I understand that I have been seen and heard by God. That He bends to hear every prayer that I cry out in the dead of night. That no longing has gone unnoticed. I write the word and record the fluttering of wings and the one still song that lingers in the dark.
Grace. The audacious, lavish grace of God surrounds me like a roomful of strangers who have the collective genuine expression of my own loving Mother. Dozens of people, who want nothing more than for me than this moment. Where I am sitting in my own quiet house in the middle of the night and see the tenderness of God all around me. I am reminded of the smallness of my vision when I prayed to God for help. One more bedroom to make room for our new baby. And in answer to my prayers, He gave such an outpouring of his grace that I am left rethinking everything I have understood about the height and depth and length and breadth of His love for me. And how I have truly done nothing to deserve it. But He gives it freely. Because this is the way grace comes into our lives. This is how we are saved. He gives us so much more than the bare walls and concrete structure of our earthly existence. He gives us beauty at every turn. He remodels our lives to such an extent that we do not even recognize we are living in the same house.
Light. The light of Christ, which surrounds me, even in the deepest of darknesses. The memory of the light of this room, which floods my entire soul with a longing to be light.
Rest. God has given me a place to rest. A home. He came in the literal sleeping dreams of a stranger and passed on a vision for my life that I was unable to carry on my own. He revealed the secret longings of my heart to another soul while she slept. And as she labored on my behalf, as she rallied a whole community to step into my mess and chaos and my great need, He told me to rest.
Faith. The stories about mustard seed faith and casting mountains into the sea are not just parables. They can be lived out. Sometimes God tells stories with our lives that seem too impossible to be true. Too good. Where his presence with us is too tangible, too physical, to intimate to be believed. I am the main character in such a story. I told him secrets about my life. I wrote them in my journals. I poured my heart out to God, asking him for help. I needed a way forward. But there was no path before me. Every door was shut. Every road a dead end. I prayed in desperation. I prayed with ink on paper. Page after page of my journal. I stood at the foot of a great immovable mountain. With only one resource left to my name: faith.
Home. This is where I live. In a house conceived by hope, built by grace, illuminated by light, created for rest, forever-fixing my faith in a God that sees and hears what is prayed in secret. A God who has access to the dreams of strangers. Who has resources that we cannot even begin to think or imagine. Who can create a reality for us that surpasses by far what we could dare to hope or dream. These are the miracles that are built into the walls around me. These are the words that offer themselves in the middle of the night. And I know I am truly home.
2 a.m. I am sitting in a holy place. It isn’t a cathedral, but I can hear the lingering whispers of angels. There are no stained-glass windows, but even in the dark of night, I can feel the warm glow of golden sun that has illuminated this room just today. There is no holy water, no table for the sacraments, but here the body of Christ walked. Here his hands reached down into my need and chaos, my complete desperation and helpless estate. He met me here at the foot of a great mountain that could not be moved. He asked me for nothing more than my tiny seed of faith, which I clutched tightly in my hand. I opened it to Him and He took it. And by His grace, He took the mountain before me and cast it into the sea.