Heaven, Earth and a Great Blue Heron

It was late in the evening, and I had the house to myself. Chris was out on a bike ride in his typical fashion.

I was sitting in one of my favorite spots in our home, the three-paneled window in our kitchen. Watching the sunset behind the trees and enjoying the orange-yellow scene of dust on a beautiful fall day. Chris and I had been at The Anchor House most of the day, straightening up things, praying, and planning for post-flood repairs. Upon leaving, we had seen a Great Blue Heron fly over the property. It felt like a good omen to me to see the widespread wingspan hover over us and disappear in a seemingly Holy-Ghost manner. As the sizeable gray-blue bird left eyesight, I felt as if goodness would come out of the devastation of the flood. I believed that something lovely would fill our souls with delight and strength - and I was incredibly tired, at a loss of the reasons why it flooded.

As I sat in our kitchen, pondering with God. I wondered, "Are we to stay here?" The small southern town felt like an enclosure, highly conservative, far from gospel inclusivity, and weeded with an evangelical church structure that I struggled to jive with. I am sorry- not sorry- I just do not do well when pastors yell at me, tell me to follow the rules, and I am simply done, very done with lights and fog machines.

Our hometown felt far from home, as I struggled to embody my anti-trafficking work, my narrative as one with lived experience and the childhood trauma that happened in that very community. Everything felt close, enmeshed, and I did not want to raise a family within the town where people who sexually exploited me lived. I did want to move, and I did not believe it was possible.

I did not believe the kindness and care of God was genuine in my life. I had a series of questions that I wanted answered, and I desired the freedom to explore life outside of Eastern NC for the reasons listed.

I did not think God cared. Honestly, I felt that God did not want me to press into desire. I saw God with an iron staff that spelled out service and commitment. And I felt these longings were selfish.

As I pondered all of this, offering what felt broken and stuck to God with my unsteady hands. I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost rush over me, and God spoke, "It will not be easy raising a small child in a new city." The world Colorado pressed on my heart. In the next second a Great Blue Heron flew past my window, it's broad wingspan almost close enough to touch the glass. I was silent, in awe, and holding back tears as I watched the bird fly over the trees and into the distance. It was a surreal moment, a space in time where God moved heaven and earth to reach my heart in a way I would see and understand. Despite my unbelief, God did care certainly and was in pursuit of what would become an unexpected season of healing. I held that moment with God close to my heart days and weeks before I told Chris. What an odd word. A move across the country, a baby coming soon, and this all felt like a transition that would happen sooner than later. And this word felt fresh and alive to weary bones, conversation with the living Trinity who not shy away from a relationship with me. Here is where my bent towards who the Trinity is, really started to change and would continue to shift in the coming years.

Where it often feels second nature to hold space, hope, and dream alongside others is often our battle, also?


Isn't it interesting that where we are most called is the crucible of our very existence, too? Where it often feels second nature to hold space, hope, and dream alongside others is often our battle, also? For me, it's so much easier to look and see the goodness of God shine on someone else's life rather than mine. Part of this twist comes from deep patterns of the way I see God due to my upbringing. Fascinating though, the God, I am starting to know, is more wildly compassionate, with broad arms to hold my brokenness. Just in this narrative, my vision is changing not by choice but by the relentless compassion of God.

Grace and Love Dear Friends,

Anna



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