My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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The announcement came forth, igniting a flame within. An upcoming sojourn, along the very paths Jesus and his disciples traveled – an opportunity to study, breathe, be immersed in the Land called Holy. Immediately, the nudge to go was felt, very real. Now, several months later, I still recall what God spoke into me that day as outwardly I gathered my purse, made way down the aisle and filed into the sea of Sunday’s best. His soft dialogue communicating vision, and by the time my car left the church parking lot, Israel had appeared on my horizon.

Time passed as it does, and in the juggling act of life I unknowingly missed the trip sign-up day. It was full. Just like that. My disappointment rang alarmingly deep. Doubt swooped in, and before a second thought, determined I had been wrong – it must not have been God’s voice all those weeks prior. It’s not my season… There will be other trips… Selling myself all the practicality in the world, the mirage of Israel faded from my horizon. Life, it presses on.

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Monday morning a message received – two spots have opened on the Israel trip, leaving in one month’s time – are we interested? Smoldering flame stoked, leaping up strong again. As I spent much of the day spinning in thought, the word “extravagant” came to mind several times. What an extravagant ask – there is almost shame in the typing of it. The excessive, the lavish, the lacking restraint, causing flushed cheeks and darting eyes to my practical, thrifty and realistic.  A good friend recently wrote about some extravagant asks she has made of God in her own life, and when I read her heart’s share I found myself smiling for her faith, her imagination and the unique ways God showers His love in her life.  I celebrated the extravagant for my friend without ever stopping to consider the lavish requests in my own life. Little did I know the Holy Spirit would begin to use those timely thoughts of a friend as revelation knocking on soul’s door. In the quiet, eyes start to see…in all my reasoning, in the practical living, I have boxed in the excessive, abundant gifts and the God who gives them. In all my singing of God’s Song of Wonder, full stanzas I have simply omitted.

But Lord, haven’t I prayed for the extravagant?

In humility the admission bubbles up…No, not for some time now.

‘You bring me your desperate, but not your extravagant.

We talk together, reason together, and battle together, and it is good…but late have we dreamt the bold and unthinkable together.’

God, forgive me.

At first sign of a barricade how quickly I dismissed the Holy Spirit’s lavish pull to Israel. Never imagining I had heard Him correctly all along, or believing God’s path to that horizon vision simply took a few unseen turns. Even further, never entertaining the absurd idea that the life-changing adventure could be had as not just me, but we, and God would pave a way for both Rob and I to go. Confession bubbles higher: In not wanting to face my own disappointment, I surrender fast and mild, and never make the dreamer petition for You to crush a few obstacles standing in my way of the extravagant. I never ask, nor allow myself to think beyond restraint of the realistic…I have not trusted You as the Giver of Good, Wild and Wondrous Gifts.

I have jokingly (while not really joking) said in the years since completing the long, at times dark, adoption process of our youngest, how I can never ask for another prayer, another dollar, another moment of time from anyone. We were loved big, lavished in intercession and extravagant friendship for a long, long time. And in some skewed place in my mind, it is as if I cashed in all my chips, mortgaged my life’s savings of support and kindness on that one experience. The world has heard enough of you, let them pray and love on someone else for crying out loud. These- the real and the ridiculous – thoughts that have warped, and twisted. But it was not until finally pausing this week in extravagance’s dissection, did I see not only have I believed the world has heard enough, but my God has heard enough. Buying the lie in full, I have spent more than two years with an extravagantly bankrupt prayer-life.

Revelation blows open doors, chipping solid stone away from cold, abandoned wells of creativity and hopeful imagination. Isn’t that how a life with Jesus goes – waking on a Monday thinking the day is about groceries and school uniforms only to have Him show up transforming years of partial, frugal thinking? Swimming, neck-high in Mercy, I began to write down the layers being peeled away, all while still unsure if the logistics of making a journey such as Israel would come together. Humbled in conviction as I typed, yet more free than just moments prior. Freed up to dream without restraint, to pray lavishly,

to trust with a desperate extravagance.

Is there an excessive ask flickering within you? Do you allow yourself the room and the risk to dream, pray and watch for the BIG? If you feel prompted to speak it out- share your extravagant prayer here in a comment or by emailing me- I would love to join you in praying for God to blow you away with His response.

Monday evening, we sat and combed through every angle of the incredible decision we faced. Pros, cons, ideas, fears, all there spread out on our duvet like piles of folded laundry. My sensible, slow to risk best friend and husband then said something I may remember forever. Almost as a final word on the topic he declared, “We are created for adventure!” Silently, the flame within replied,

“Well then, let’s go be adventurers together!”

adventurers

 

  • Jen - Aaaaand I’m crying. Thanks for posting this friend.ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Girl, you and Chris are incredible examples of going after the big dreams. I love watching your adventures unfold. xoReplyCancel

  • KrystalH - The timing of my reading this is out of control… Was just talking and dreaming with Alex yesterday and told him that I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to start asking Him for something specific and extravagant. Reading your beautiful words is just confirmation. Excited for the adventure 🙂ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Ahh! I can’t wait to hear about it! I will definitely be praying – thanks for letting me know to pray!ReplyCancel

Along the horizon, while the sun softly lowers the day’s curtain, an anticipation rises, bubbling up within. Quiet Hope in the evening hour of Saturday, growing throughout the dark night into shouts of celebration by Sunday’s dawn. The dawn of Resurrection, and I awaken early to meet Him. Watchful, expectant, brimming. Christ has Risen, and the party is felt across the globe, across my Spirit. By Sunday’s curtain call, body aches with Joy’s strain, as if I myself had sprinted to the empty tomb- muscles afire, lungs sucking in breath hard. My head hits the pillow, watchful, expectant, brimming. Grateful.

Monday’s waking hits rough, sandpaper to soul. The open windows of a country spring morning interrupted by man’s construction crew two miles down the hill. Before feet set on floor, senses assaulted by dump trucks, whines for breakfast and a reluctant 3-year-old toilet user. “What was the day after the empty tomb like for Peter? For Mary?” I wonder, as I pour coffee and sneak back to the quiet of my bed. “Surely the celebration continued – I bet they couldn’t even sleep from excitement,” I imagine. And then what about the day after that, and the next? How does the chorus of Joy cease to sing just as loud as Sunday morning when the Victory of Life is just as real on a Tuesday? I want to transport myself back in time, sit with my coffee and the disciples and hash this out, try to understand:

what does it truly look like to walk a celebratory life, post-celebration?

My wanting of, and my walking of said life, oh they battle. Butting heads of Spirit and Soul. In the reality of waking, in the carpool line, in the strain of a relationship, in the reading of one email too many, in the noise of dump trucks. The death of condemnation, of anxiety, of fear – still for my today. The resurrection of Love, of Peace, of Living – as real as the moment “Jesus said to her, “Mary.” (John 20:16). This I know, and this I grasp on to, knock myself over the head with, yell it out loud when the noise within grows too burdensome. Pushing down the chatter, my prayer rises,

God, Please show me celebration’s path. Give me the courage to navigate it. Help me to meet your every dawn and every setting of sun, watchful, expectant, brimming. Amen.

watchful

  • Chris Creed - Love this! You’re writing style has all the awesome 🙂 Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • sarahrichmond - Thank you Chris – that means a great deal!ReplyCancel

It was June, just about four years ago now, when I sat in that midwestern church, immersed in the fog that accompanies grief. Half listening, I tried to focus, as my beloved grandmother was eulogized there to somber faces and drab mauve decor. My thoughts ping-ponging between sweet memories and the present day’s events- the taxing of this life. And then something happened. My ears suddenly became acutely aware of the pastor’s words as he retold some of the things he had learned about my grandmother’s life in preparation for her memorial. Not having known her well, or really at all, the pastor had to seek out, ask, dig for her story. As he spoke, I began to hear God speak deep within me- gently answering decades-old questions I had never even given words to. Voice-less questions I had allowed to shape who I was. They were answers I did not realize I needed, but in those moments an unlocking took place, and I was given eyes to see just a bit more than the moment prior. A revelation of my true identity, who I was uniquely created to be, and how despite the years of feeling mis-placed, I in fact did belong. Thinking back now, it makes sense for God to have spoken reaffirming identity into me on that particular day as I honored the life of a woman who throughout my childhood had always let me know I fit. I can’t help but think she clapped her hands and laughed her fabulous laugh from Heaven as “Grandma’s princess” owned the title a little more that summer morning. And while just moments, silent to anyone but me, this was a launching point of sorts. A beginning, only recognized as such after the years that followed, and in the tracing back of Wonder. Just as a pastor speaking on a life he did not truly know, I had believed in a God of Wonders my whole life, but never really knew Him. The journey from that early-summer day became my seeking, my asking, my digging to discover and know my God.

In the days to come, I will share more of my story as I trace back the path of Wonder, in hopes it encourages you at whatever point your own journey may be. Uncovering the every-day wonder and living an Awe-full life are burdens of Joy within me. Burdens I am compelled to share, knocking knees, quivering pen and all. Writer and speaker, Rebekah Lyons says, “calling is where your talents and burdens collide.” This blog, these thoughts, these images on screen; God willing, is my collision.

xo,

-Sarah

 

May I never lose my Wonder

 

“May we never lose our Wonder.

May we never lose our Wonder.

Wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child,

Staring at the beauty of the King.”

Amanda Cook, Wonder

(Do yourself a huge favor and listen to this song. Let it unlock a hunger for Wonder in you.)

  • Laurie Moses - love being inspired by your heart words Sarah. It’s seems to be a pairing of my thoughts with yours and then beautifully written out for all to see. Thank you for sharing Sarah.
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  • Amy Olsson - I love you and your words, dear kindred friend.
    ReplyCancel

Years of wander,

Wayward, hamster-wheel living.

Seeking minus surrender; another turn of the squeaky wheel,

panting from a pace frantic, a nameless desperation propelling.

“Put down your net, and follow Me,” your invitation extended.

Step off the wheel, silence the rhythm of striving,

and let us Live.

We walk, we talk,

and in the surrender of status quo, seeking becomes finding.

Desperation granted trajectory; hunger handed an extravagant menu.

And Oh, how I feast.

On Your Grace, Your Power, Your laying-down-of-life sort of Love.

You call me by name, I come alive,

Hear you declare me as friend,

You call me by name…

Darkness descends, fear oppressively thick,

I hear my own voice- denial to ever having known You, My Friend.

In an instant Love squandered.

Shoving hard back from the Feasting table, my chair topples, I flee,

crawling back to the forsaken wheel,

squeaks of betrayal round and round in my ears.

And Oh, how I weep.

My Jesus, my friend-

Would you, Could you, still consider me so?

I ache with sorry.

Forgive my fickle, faint, Friday-Peter faith.

Please God, restore what I have broken- crush this wheel of shame, of self. Forever.

Finish it Jesus.

“Tetelestai!”

You find me again, there on the shore.

Beckoning me fireside,

You call me by name.

I break.

Joy for weeping,

Beauty for ashes,

we walk, we talk,

we Live.

Photo Apr 12, 4 27 44 PM