Surely the Lord is in This Place

I’ve thought a lot about the progression of life.  The Lord created us beautifully with such incredible stages and phases from infancy to old age and everything in between.  I am in the in-between.  I have young kids – but not babies.  I have older kids, but not yet in high school.  I am in a phase of overall normal health and strength.  I am strong enough to care for my home, and can reliably walk, carry things, pick up children – even as I watch my kids still learning about their bodies and how to play games and care for themselves, and also watch my older relatives and friends work on slowing down.  I am in an in-between phase.

And often I don’t feel well equipped to navigate the daily challenges of the in-between with grace.  I look at kids and long for my own early childhood when I had few responsibilities and all the time in the world to lie in bed and read a book.  I talk with people my parents’ age and I am amazed at the skill and the warmth and the practice that they bring as they face life’s ups and downs and I long for that knowledge and understanding.

I can get stuck feeling like this in-between is too hard. Everyday I pray quick prayers for patience and warmth and love throughout the day’s challenges.  I often read small parts of reflections, or sermons, or Bible verses. I go to church most weeks and get through each talk with at least a part of my brain listening as I support 4 wriggly kids.  But as I navigate this busy and chaotic time I so rarely have the space to focus deeply on turning to the Lord.  I almost never get to read a whole Bible chapter or listen to a full sermon.  And this can feel unfair to me – as though I NEED that time in order to follow the Lord. How does this phase fit in the system – what is this crazy in-between time of life? I can get trapped in feeling like the demands of having young kids but also not the full knowledge that another decade will bring me is somehow my fault.  

But somewhere over the Christmas holidays I was reflecting on the fact that maybe there’s no fault, its just that THIS is also one of the stages.  

Last Sunday in church the talk was about Jacob traveling – stopping along the way to sleep and having a dream of the angels going up and down many steps between earth and heaven. Then it says: 

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
…Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. (Genesis 28:16-21)

I got teary in church as the reminder came through loud and clear – Surely the Lord is in this place.  In every stage, on every step, as I’m moving from one place (either physically or emotionally!) to another, the Lord is there. Even when I don’t know it. 

It’s helped me feel more peaceful and accepting of where we are right now, confident that the Lord is with me, keeping me in the way that I am going, and caring for me through all life’s phases.

About Abby Smith

Abby is a person. She works at being an emotionally intelligent person whose main focus currently is being a happy and loving mother to four kids and wife to Malcolm. Born and raised in a General church minister's family, she has been exposed to the Bible and the Writings since childhood but is enjoying reading and understanding these books as an adult more and more. The amazing knowledge about love and wisdom and all of the emotions that follow have truly made her a happier and more self-assured person.

3 thoughts on “Surely the Lord is in This Place

  1. Abby – thank you for this reminder about a stage of life I am long past but that I remember so well! It reminds me once again to be grateful for where I am now. And yet I can get wistful and teary for the stage you are in, when I felt clear about my use in life and that I was very needed.
    Remember, the Lord knows well that you are in a very time-regimented stage with little opportunity to read/study the Word; He also knows this stage will pass and that your desire to do so will be able to become more of a reality.

  2. Dear Abby,
    How beautifully you put this and, although you are in the in-between stage, I am older and this still speaks to my situation. I never thought of Jacob’s dream quite that way so thank you for such a gift. As you say, “Surely the Lord is in this place. In every stage, on every step, as I’m moving from one place (either physically or emotionally!) to another, the Lord is there. Even when I don’t know it.”

    The part of the Word that has helped me many times in my life to know that “Surely the Lord is in this place” is Psalm 139 – the whole Psalm but especially the first part.

    Psalm 139 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
    2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
    You understand my thought afar off.
    3 You [a]comprehend my path and my lying down,
    And are acquainted with all my ways.
    4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
    But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
    5 You have [b]hedged me behind and before,
    And laid Your hand upon me.
    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    It is high, I cannot attain it.
    7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in [c]hell, behold, You are there.
    9 If I take the wings of the morning,
    And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
    And Your right hand shall hold me.
    11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall [d]fall on me,”
    Even the night shall be light about me;
    12 Indeed, the darkness [e]shall not hide from You,
    But the night shines as the day;
    The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

    He is always with us.

  3. Abby – your piece took me clearly back to that same stage in my own life. It was a time when a bunch of scattered NC families in the UK got together and asked our pastors if we could have annual or twice-a-year Family Weekends, so we could all specifically spend at least parts of those weekends focusing on spiritual things and how they related to our very busy physical existences – which we all found hard to do in our regular daily lives. Long-lasting friendships were formed, with treasured exchanges on staircases, in hallways, while chasing kids around outside. Those weekends have now evolved into what are called All-age Weekends (so everyone would feel welcome) and are still going strong.
    And it’s true, the Lord is always with each of us, despite our own feelings about it! He helps us all grow in all our life stages, as long as we look for His guidance in our core selves even if it feels to us like we don’t have time to do so. Hang in there – try to enjoy this in-between phase, because surely you’ll be in another phase before you know it!

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