When I need a strength beyond myself, I seek this face. (originally published on atlasoflight.com)

[Originally Published on 02/15/2017 on www.atlasoflight.com, the blog that preceded atlasartpress.com]

When life's storms are serving torrents and the raging seas are at war, I grasp for a massive strength outside myself to graciously and tenderly hold me above water and carry me to shore. I yearn to rest sometimes and push PAUSE on this life to breathe and try to figure out how everything is happening so fast, so swiftly? Pushing pause and resting in the silence--complete silence and timelessness--could relieve the pressure of life obligations, hardship, and fear swirling around me.

It is during my hardest trials, I yearn for a Great Love to literally hold me up, tell me I'm going to make it, and give me that rest. The kind of rest that instantly restores your heart, mind, and soul with a flood of illuminated understanding of the dark, difficult present. Illumination brings light into the dark. It breaks through and clarifies truth. When the darkness comes and goes--as it always will in this life--I say, "I'll be ready next time. I won't be surprised. I will be ready for the next trial." But I am not. I am not ready, nor am I in control of this life.  It will always be tossing messy, sloppy situations, circumstances, and people into my path.

When the trial comes (which it will, large or small), I seek the only thing I know to be constant, unchanging, and true. I seek the face of God and try to see that face (think identity) for who it is. I read the Word, sing, pray, and petition. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When I seek, I find...so much more than I was looking for. I discover Him new and better each time I seek. I seek pure goodness and I find it. I feel this love encompassing me during my trials. Not abandoning me, but enveloping me. It is in that face...that glorious, glorious face, that I feel the power of a lion's face--with crystal clear, determined gaze. Strength beyond a thousand armies. Eyes so captivating, I can dive into them with trust and feel safe. Eyes so deep, I will strive for my entire life to know their secrets of love and grace.

This face radiates compassion. Grace. It is slow to anger. Abounds in love and faithfulness. ABOUNDS. (Exodus 34)

Only through seeking this face, is this perfect agape, selfless, unconditional LOVE offered. Not but one serving, but an endless serving of love and faithfulness. ENDLESS, people. NEVER-ending. No matter how much you screw up. No matter how much you try to avoid him. He is there knocking on your heart to come meet you. Right where you are. No matter what. 

ABOUNDING LOVE. Plentiful, copious, ample, profuse, lavish, rich, liberal, bountiful, large, huge, great, overflowing, prolific, teeming. TEEMING with love for you. 

Maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving...  (Exodus 34)

The face of God I find through reading scripture. When I devour His words and soak up what I've taken in, I am solid again. I am a rock. I am worthy. I am ready. I am strong. I am prepared.

When I grasp this greatest love--my lion--I feel the undeniable, undeniable presence of pure love.  I say "my" lion, because I have a living relationship with Him--my friend, counselor, sovereign authority. I understand this unconditional love when I embrace these words I hear:

Before I created the earth, I wove your breath of life into it. I designed the blueprints for your soul. I knew when you would arrive, how you would arrive, and to whom you would arrive. When I dreamed up your body, your skin, your features, and your heart, I was creating something of great value. I was taking every detail--from the thumbprints on your hands to the chemical makeup of your brain, to the color of your skin--and sculpting it all perfectly. All of those details that make up you, make up my brilliant palette.

I am the artist. My art is you.

The intricate parts of you--your colors and textures of your inmost being--make up my masterpiece. I created your inmost being. (Psalm 139:13)

Did you hear me loud and clear and confident?  A MASTERPIECE is who you are.

When I dreamed up your intelligence and passions, your hopes and fears, your weakness and strength--your character--I wove it together into a perfectly formed being--you. I created you, my child, for this very time, this very era, this very place in history.

I love you, my child. I will continue to knit together your life as it takes place and evolves. If you come to me, I will help you fulfill your purpose. Regardless of the sin and circumstances that cause you to trip, stumble, or fall, I will take the threads and weave them into a magnificent tapestry that is your precious, meaningful, beautiful life.

I feel these words when I am praying. I have the lion on my side, whom towers over and diminishes my fickle self-reliance.

For I am weak, but He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Your memory is engrained with certain meetings...new introductions to people that are incomparable. The kind of meetings possibly from when you met your partner, your new baby sibling, someone famous, or the reunion of a loved one. You will assume things and think and judge regardless of meaning to or not. You will think: They are well-dressed. Tired. Shy. In great shape. Energetic. Happy. Rich. When you first meet a person or even see a person, you usually get a sense of something. Whether it is good or bad, entirely true or false. You may feel immediate attraction or feel you are kindred spirits. You may feel the opposite. Sometimes, you may even sense complete familiarity.

When you first meet, you don't know for a fact whether you will have a continued, life-enriching relationship with this person or not. You may be forced to have them in your life (ie. a new step sibling, a new boss or coworker, or a new neighbor) or you may have an amazing unplanned connection. The most incredible meeting I had was back in December 2014, when out of exhaustion and fear, the great love showed up to meet me. I saw a glimpse of the face of Love and had a connection. I asked for help, for strength, for peace, for direction and was met by the encompassing presence of God [= Love] through the face of a King.

... and all I had to do was SELAH (pause and reflect) to lift up a simple prayer of "Please, are you here?".