Andy and I got a chance to go out to Eric's ranch this weekend. It was such a great retreat, and perfectly timed by God. Unfortunately, I left my camera card in my computer at home so I am without pictures!
But, I want to write down a very precious moment from this weekend now, because dwelling on the goodness of the Lord doesn't need to wait. (Although, Andy is waiting on me- so that we can watch our latest Netflix, so I will be brief).
The ranch is 100 miles outside of Austin, away from any large cities, which means the sky is dark at night- no artificial lights- only stars. Andy and I had a pretty busy day Saturday, so we passed out on the sofa after the World Series game ended. We had planned on sitting out underneath the stars, but exhaustion carried us up the stairs and into bed instead.
But a little before 5 AM, I woke up to check on the dogs, who were crying in their pin. But after a little mommy and daddy consolation time, I could not go back to sleep. I saw the moonlight bright outside the bedroom window, and felt the Lord urging me to go outside. I went.
When I got outside, I was dazzled at the brightness of the pre-dawn sky. The half-moon produced so much light that I could walk around the front of the house to a rock that was perfect for sitting. I leaned back and stared up at the bejeweled sky.
"Papa, that is beautiful!" I said. I thought about how massive those sparkling dots actually are, and then thought that the Holy Spirit inspired a most amazing thought- He knows every atom of every star, all those light-years away!
I sat there a few minutes, staring into the sky, contemplating the beauty that my Father is capable of creating, and also His tenderness that He would want to share that with me. I could hear coyotes howling out in the hills and a rooster announcing the morning, before it bothered to show up. I was in awe of Him, and thankful that He had gone to the trouble to beckon me out there.
Energized by His beauty, I went inside and spent some time reading Psalms. He had a few things in mind, I think, when I asked Him to help me find the passages He wanted me to read- the main themes were: He is on His throne. And, He knows hearts and minds. We had a great conversation, while I sat in a leather arm chair in the corner of the ranch house's great room. He disciplined me a little bit, letting me know a specific sin I needed to seek forgiveness for (and did!) once the morning broke. And then affirmed me with words of assurance.
I cannot tell you how much those words have meant to me today. He is so faithful! He knew what I would face as the dawn broke, the sun running its course aligned by Him, and finally setting in the West. He knew that I would need every word He chose for me this morning. And I am still treasuring them in my heart. My God is on His throne. He knows hearts. He knows minds. And He is my shield.
I'm writing this because I am amazed at my Papa's tender mercy- to wake up His child because He knew He had something that I would want to see, that we could enjoy together, and also, that He had words that He wanted to say, words that would strengthen me as the day unfolded. What a Dad, my Papa. Jehovah. Creator, but Abba too.
It reminded me of when I was a little girl and snow was in the forecast. My mom would stay awake, vigilantly watching the sky. When the first flakes began to fall, she would come to my bed and wake me, "Meredith, it's snowing!" She knew I would sacrifice sleep for the wonder of falling snow. We would stand together and watch it in the kitchen, watching it in the soft glow of our porch light. My Heavenly Father did the same last night. "Meredith, come, look at the stars! Remember how majestic I am! Look at the Creation, I want to enjoy it with you."
We did enjoy it. And I am enjoying Him. When people and circumstances increase in complexity and disappointment, He shines brilliantly in His steadiness, and His incredible care.
I'm writing this because I love my Papa. And I want to thank Him for His sweet invitation to look at the stars with Him this morning. Papa, you are on your throne. And you know this heart- that you have had to severely chasten, but that adores You.
Stars looking at our planet,
Watching entropy and pain,
And maybe start to wonder how the chaos in our lives could pass as sane.
I've been thinking of the meaning of resistance,
Of a hope beyond my own.
And suddenly the infinite and penitent begin to look like home.
I've been looking at everyone, everyone, you look so empty,
But when I look at the stars, when I look at the stars, I see Someone Else.
When I look at the stars, when I look at the stars, I feel like myself.