Writings of a Beholder 🌿 3.3.2023
We all need a hero
*Hello! If this is the first time you’re receiving an email from me, it’s because you opted in to receive these emails via The Grace In Real Life Podcast Birthday Giveaway. I’m so thankful you’re here and I believe that you were led to this space on purpose for a purpose.
I’m Celia, and every Friday, I send out a letter that encourages you to slow down, seek still moments, and behold God’s presence with you in the everyday. Sometimes, on Tuesdays, you’ll receive an email from me notifying you that there’s a new post up on the blog 😊 I pray this space for you would be a safe place you can come and seek the presence of God in community with other God-seekers as you discern the Spirit’s movements in your life.
With that being said, let’s gently lean into today’s letter.
We All Need a Hero
Psalm 71:20 says,
“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”
They’re words of hope, but I can’t help but feel the sting of my own lack and the ache of questions I’m wrestling with as I read them, Bible open in my lap, hands wrapped a little too tightly around my mug of tea.
We’re about a week and a half into the Lenten season. A season traditionally marked by self-examination, fasting, repentance, and spiritual growth in weary places. And I feel my own weary places groan and stretch as the awkwardness of this season settles in.
The awkwardness of holding questions I don’t know the answers to, wounds that ache to be healed but weren’t given a timeline or a roadmap, and the everyday challenge of trying to behold God in a life that sometimes feels a little too crowded and loud.
“How, Lord?” I whisper into the morning, desperate to hear His voice. “How do I find you here, in the moments where all I see is my own lack?”
I look down again at Psalm 71:20, praying for restoration, praying that in this moment that this question won’t be left unanswered.
But it’s right there, the answer, written plain as day for me in the text and I sense the Spirit hovering close, speaking gentle words of love and tenderness, “I will restore you. I will lift you up. Let me lift you up.”
Ella Mae Bowen’s lyrics from her song, Holding Out For a Hero, come to me now. She sings about needing someone, a man as this song goes, to save her, to fill her, to be the safe haven she needs out of the wind and rain of life. The chorus goes like this,
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong, he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be larger than life, larger than life
The song is sung to a slow, haunting melody that causes the God-sized hole in my chest to ache every time I hear it. The tears that spring to my eyes are a sure sign that I long for someone or something to fill me, too.
We all need a hero, don’t we?
Someone to save us from ourselves and pick us up and dust us off when we fall down. Someone whose strength is enough to carry us through when we can’t stand. Someone to protect us and love us. Someone who fills in the gaps where our lack meets the road between who we are and who we want to be.
We feel it when we watch a movie where the guy gets the girl or the girl finds herself. We sense it when we hear those fairytales read aloud that we grew up clinging to ourselves. That longing for wholeness, wantedness, enoughness.
Although Ella Mae Bowen sings about longing for a person to fill this gap, I know from hard lessons learned and scars down the back of my soul that only God can fill that hole.
Only God can restore and heal the ache we feel when our not-enoughness threatens to consume us. When arguments with our spouse ensue and words are said that can be forgiven but can’t be taken back. When our impatience or insecurity prevents us from loving the people in front of us. When the work becomes too heavy and draining, the kids are whiny and tired, the bills need to be paid, and the dishes need washing.
God meets us there, right here, in the middle of the mundane, lonely minutes of days that feel so small, awkward, and insignificant. In the moments when our emptiness is the only thing we’re certain of.
We are humans formed in the likeness and image of God, and we were created to be filled. God showed us the truth of this when He filled Adam’s lungs with His very own breath in Genesis 2:7,
“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (NIV, emphasis added)
To feel that lack, to feel that ache, doesn’t make us inadequate. It makes us human.
It reminds us that being filled is a part of our destiny and that we get to choose every day for the rest of our lives on this side of heaven what it is we fill ourselves with.
We get to choose to let God fill in those gaps between our lack and His glory. We get the choice of reaching for Him and inviting Him into our empty and lonely moments, our wounded and broken places.
Our awkward inadequacies — the dull ache in the center of our chest longing to be filled — can be a beautiful invitation to encounter God right where we are.
The truth is, we already have a Hero — One Who would woo us every day if we would only look for Him.
One Who restores, lifts up, heals, and fills us to overflowing. One Who sees our lack and steps through the front door anyway, wearing Love on His sleeve.
We all need a hero.
But I want a Hero Who fills me and leaves me whole and healed.
One Who meets me right here.
Peace be with you,
A Breath Prayer for Your Weekend
You, Lord, restore.
*if you’d like to learn more about the practice of breath prayer, check out this blog post I wrote titled, How to Use Breath Prayer.
Join the Sacred Spaces Community
Are you longing to be more attentive to God’s presence in your everyday life?
Do you have the desire to know God’s love and grow in deeper communion with Him?
Are you sensing the Spirit’s invitation to grow spiritually but don’t know where to begin?
Do you feel tired, worn out, or burnt out on religion?
Are you craving rest, refreshment of soul, and perhaps a different way of being with God?
In the Sacred Spaces community, we’re going to journey deeper into the heart of God together, putting our ears to His chest as we gently trod toward Homebase, by exploring different Christian contemplative practices that are designed to open our hearts to the Spirit’s leading and loving voice in our souls and lives. By subscribing to Sacred Spaces for just $5 a month, you’ll gain immediate access to:
monthly emails that will be sent out on the 1st of every month containing that month’s spiritual practice, action steps, and tools, outside additional resources, and weekly reflection questions
Soul Care Sessions, where you can book a 30-minute one-on-one Zoom call with me to talk about that month's spiritual practice, what the Lord is revealing to you, or what you're wrestling with. It's an invitation to come as you are as the Holy Spirit leads our time together and cares for your soul
a community chat in the Substack app where you can engage with me and other community members about that month’s email or whatever else may be stirring within you
Click here to join or read more about it:
Resources & Fun Things to Pick Up
Last week, I attended my first Ash Wednesday service and decided to compile my reflections about my experience into a blog post for you. Check it out if you missed it last week: Reflections on the Sacredness of Ash Wednesday
My new friend and fellow writer, Katie Kibbe, is offering some Lenten reflections on her podcast, Seasons. I listened to the first episode this week and it was so good for my soul: The Seasons Podcast
My friend and fellow writer, Kari Bartkus, is offering an 8-week journaling course called Journal Gently designed to help you experience God’s presence in the midst of grief. I went through the 8-week writing program myself, and it was incredibly healing and life-giving. Check it out here: Journal Gently
Grab some breath prayer cards, a journal, and other contemplative resources from my Etsy shop: The Beholding Co.
Grab a copy of my Bible study, You Are Beloved: a 21-day study on how to root your identity in the love of God, over on Amazon.
An Invitation to Pause & Reflect
A regular practice of reflection helps us recognize what’s going on beneath the surface of our souls so we can name it in the Lord’s presence. Because as we learn to name what we feel, what we need, and what we long for, we’re also learning to discern the Spirit’s sweet, gentle voice within our hearts and lives.
Take a few moments today or this weekend to journal or contemplate with the Holy Spirit the following question(s) or prompt(s):
In your heart and in your life, where do you feel the greatest lack? Where do you feel most inadequate?
Take a few moments and prayerfully read Psalms 71:20, and as you do, invite God to sit there in the emptiness with you. What do you notice? What do you hear Him saying?
Thanks for reading Writings of a Beholder 🌿 If you’d like to join the community of faith wanderers and beholders then subscribe or pledge your support below.