In these sacred spaces

I didn't know there was a word for the space between an ending and beginning, but I have felt the realness of it.  I first heard the term "liminal space" in church this past Sunday, and today it showed up on a blog that is delivered to my inbox.  It describes perfectly, the revolving transitions that my family has experienced for nearly the past three years.

The theologian, Rohr describes it as this, "where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown.  There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence.

That's a good space where genuine newness can begin.  Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible...

This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed.  If we don't encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.  The threshold is God's waiting room.  Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect an appointment with the divine Doctor."

I have struggled a lot with not feeling “normal” anymore. Every single day, in different ways I grieve the life that I use to live, both in Cincinnati and in Nicaragua. It catches me off guard, and I find myself retreating into the safe places of my mind.  I’ve been trying to find my way back to normal, but as each day passes I am learning that these in between spaces, these wilderness experiences, are teaching me to wait expectantly for God to move.  I hold onto a lingering hope.

I feel it deeply, a certainty that God is not finished with us. It is unexplainable, this assurance, and yet I cannot even guess what that means. My visions for the future are abstract and confusing, but I know, that I know our God is faithful.

Does it take faith to move your family to a foreign country? Absolutely! And it also takes faith, perhaps more, to believe that He is still faithful and just and good when life doesn’t play out the way we hoped or dreamed or prayed that it would. We think that when life is easy then God is good and we are #blessed, but when life is messy and broken and lacking, well what do we think of God then?

When He falls silent we move into the quiet spaces, the unknown, the abnormal.  Can we believe that He still sees and knows and cares for us? Can we believe that the same God who answered our prayers in the past is still present in these moments of pain and loneliness and grief?

Christmas is just around the corner, and the season of advent, the coming of Christ, is upon us.  We prepare our homes, and trees, and our gifts for the awaited day.  But it's our hearts that are really lacking.  

I know I'm not the only one who feels a little out of place right now.  I know that grief falls slowly all around the world, and lingers through a season that may only remind us of all the reasons that we shouldn't celebrate.  Maybe some part of your world has come to the end, and you have no vision for the future.  Maybe you're in a liminal space, too.  It's a hard place to be when you only see loss.

It's a hard place to be until we surrender that loss, and have faith that God is in control and He sees and cares for every tiny detail of our life.   And I am learning that it must be done day, after day, after day.

Christmastime should be a reminder, not of what we lack, but of what we've been given.  That is, Emmanuel, God with us.  He is the one who crawls into these dark and lonely places that we have fallen into, and He is the light who will lead us out.  

Let these spaces be reminders that we have a divine appointment with the Healer of our hearts.  He has come to change us; he has come to make us new.


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