This is the Story Behind the Poem “Lead Me to the Water,” my previous post.
“Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”
They said, “We have not.”
I know the Father. I know the Son – but the Holy Spirit for a long time was the elephant in the room. You know what that is – the elephant in the room nobody talks about, ignores, avoids, doesn’t make eye contact, pretends it’s not there but everyone knows it’s there. Except nobody quite knows what to do with it, how to approach it.
I used the excuse that it was something for extra special people like David, Saul, Mary, John the Baptist, Jesus – but not for regular, everyday Christian’s like me.
I describe the Holy Spirit in The Power of One as “often the wedding gift most often left unopened. When it is opened, it is a gift no one ever quite knows how to use, so it is shoved to the back of a closet.”
An elephant now shoved in the back of the closet.
“What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” John 6: 62-63 (The Message)
I used to be like that with the Holy Spirit. I was a resister.
My pride was part of the problem with this elephant-in-the-room Holy Spirit. Kind of like when someone says, “You know, don’t you?” – and your cheeks flame red because you really don’t know so you just say you do.
Or maybe because your church didn’t really talk about it. I reasoned if my church didn’t teach me about it, then surely there was not more to it – for me at least.
I fell into a trap on that one. Relying on someone else to feed me scripture and knowledge of the trinity.
You know why public schools were created? So that every citizen could read their bible, so that no one would ever be able to take away their salvation by omission of knowledge. Being able to read the bible gave every citizen control over the destiny of their soul.
I was ignorant (not stupid, just un-educated) about the Holy Spirit – so I ignored him. Ignorance does that about things.
That elephant in the room that is the Holy Spirit? It goes everywhere with you.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall
and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139: 7-10)
Ignorance doesn’t stop the Holy Spirit from trying to get your attention, though. One day, I started going to a church that taught about the Holy Spirit.
That first Sunday, I experienced fight or flight during praise and worship, an out-loud type of praise and worship. Someone told me later, “When you’re in the presence of the Holy Spirit and you don’t know what it is – you can feel that way.”
After praise and worship I sat down. I didn’t leave because there were people on both sides of me, closing off any graceful means of escape. Sitting there, searching for a way out, oh, the sweetest thing happened. Something whispered in my spirit, ‘I am so glad you came. I have been waiting for you” – and peace infused me.
A few weeks later, I brought the whole family (back when we only had 3 sons – LOL).
This is where God took my hand to
“lead me through the water,
through the water ankle-deep” (Lead me to the Water).
This church taught about the Holy Spirit. It was not an elephant in the room. They encouraged reading about it – not just taking their word for it.
I will admit – I was scared to jump into that Holy Spirit river that I saw people dancing in, speaking in tongues in, living challenges – living 24/7 in that Holy Spirit River – but something in my marrow wanted me to jump.
I read about it, cracked open the door of my mind, but not wanting to be gullible. Until one day, I got a call from my brother. Our dad was in a nursing home – 56 years old and dying. I hadn’t seen him for over a decade. He had never seen my sons. We were expecting a little girl then.
God, my Father, “he took my hand to lead me
Lead me through the water
Through the knee-deep water” (Lead Me to the Water).
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives” (Galatians 5:25).
I pulled the Holy Spirit out of the back of that closet, let the spirit lead me through the nursing home hallways, into his room. I prayed that God would give me the right words, that maybe he would be saved, that there would be restoration and relationship.
The Holy Spirit surrounded me, protected me, comforted me – during the few weeks I visited with this man, my father, who was more interested in what take-out food I could bring him than in me.
The week he died, so did the little girl I was carrying, at 4 ½ months, her heart stopped beating the same day as his funeral. My heart broke in so many pieces, in so many ways.
I’ll be honest here. A tough honest. I didn’t believe I could be whole – but a daughter, well, maybe she would be whole, not broken through a father’s abandonment – and I wanted a front row seat on that.
But, God, He took my hand and he whispered, “I want you whole – you don’t need a front row seat on anybody’s life to do that.”
And once again,
“He led me
Led me through the water,
Through the waist deep water” (Lead Me to the Water)
I grabbed on tight, wanting Father God to be enough, to fill that huge gaping hole of growing up without a father. I grabbed on tight, knowing my little girl was in heaven. There was a lot of holding on tight there – believing in things I didn’t see but still feeling hurt, empty, abandoned.
Until one night in a Sunday School group, we talked about the Holy Spirit. Someone said, ‘If God has more for me, I want it.”
“If God has more for me, I want it.”
Let me say that again, “If God has more for me, I want it.”
It tore down the last vestiges of my resistance.
I took His hand
For Him to lead me
to immerse myself
in the river
in the over-my-head river water (Lead Me to the Water)
I dove in from the top of my soul to the very tips of its toes. When I dove in, healing began.
The Holy Spirit nursed me to wholeness, sat beside me the entire time, held my hand and coached me, told me not to feel sorry for myself, reminded me who I was to the Father.
The Holy Spirit – it’s not just for special Christians. It’s for everyday Christians like you and me.
The Holy Spirit is no longer the elephant in the room of my life. Ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep – until I was ready to go all out – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit led me there. God knew it was a journey – a journey there for each of us. I am so glad He loved me enough to lead me to the Holy Spirit water!
“The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught” (John 14: 26-27)
355) White trimmed in blue irises, yellow trimmed in purple irises, stark white irisis from my aunt’s flower beds
356) Yellow evening primroses that close up in the late afternoon, also from my aunt’s yard
357) Bergament, mint and a rain tree from a cousin
358) Coming home, planting them – some deep, some shallow and seeing perennial thoughts, from my grandmother (spider’s knot), lilies, from drive and dig outings with a friend on roadsides before the county mowed them over, and these plantings from a cousin and aunt.
359) Cardinals outside my window, stepping about for a spell in the evening, long enough for me to take pictures.
360) My little guy and I making Normandy Pies for a relay for life bake sale. Listening to him do the math to double the recipe. Whoever bought it, bought something filled not only with tasty things but stirred and cared for with joy.
361) Bed-time Q&As that never cease to warm my heart.
362) Cool weather for blanket wrapping – aren’t there days when the inside just yearns to be wrapped in a blanket but it’s too warm on the outside for that kind of comfort?
363) Schedules that work themselves out.
364) Smiles, seeing each of my sons smile, calm, relaxed able to let that joy slip out.
365) A mango, tangerine carrot smoothie over lunch with my daughter-law and grandbaby girl.
366) God quick-stitching the daily wear and tear on my spirit for quick healing
367) Standing on the soccer sidelines with other moms and friendship growing.
368) Soccer season winding down. I am always so excited when it begins and so excited when it ends!
369) A son growing into his legs, all 29-34 (blue jean size – LOL) inches of him, able to out-run anyone – reaching bloom time at just the right time!
370) The sweet aroma of grace-filled confidence when bloom-time happens.
371) My husband and boys working at the Family Plant Sale, Relay for life – helping the family raise money for cancer, so they and their children won’t have to face it (half the boys were there; half were here for school soccer tournaments)
372) My husband coming home after being away a week at his hometown, working on the Relay for Life Plant sale.
373) Sweet potato vines, purple trimmed in green flowers, blue and yellow flowers, Martha Washington geraniums – all for my pots.
374) Tortillini soup made on Sunday for Monday.
375) Blueberries picked in July for blueberry crunch in April.
376) The sound of children laughing in our neighborhood
377) Water balloon fights
378) Watching the littlest throw a water balloon corsage at his 6 ft. 3 brother, and then take off running.
379) Watching those legs on that 6 ft 3 in brother chase down his littlest brother with the left-over water balloon corsage.
380) Watching both of them laugh over it all.
381) Believing that all things work for good to those who love him (Romans 8:28)