Walk With Me

In this season it seems I’m continually asking the Lord for direction.  Am I going the right way?  Did I make a wrong turn? What should I do here?

There has been an enormous amount of change these last few months. And with it, there has also been great loss.

The “good Christian” in me wants to follow that statement with “But God has been near. He has been faithful. He is trustworthy.” And wow – are all of those statements so incredibly true, especially right now. But in the midst of it all, there has also been suffering and loss that Jesus has invited me to sit with, linger there…and to walk with him.

I felt the Lord’s invitation again this morning as I came to him with the same questions. At the heart of it was “Lord, I’ve done all that you’ve asked me to do. What is it that you require of me?” And I heard the cry of the prophet Micah echo in my own heart:  “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).  It was as though the Lord himself was repeating that last phrase to me: Connie, come walk with me. 

Walk with me here. 

I lost my beloved Aunt Cynthia in August. She was like my second mother. Aunty Cynthia taught me so much through her life. She was full of life, courageous and fearless. She was a trendsetter, a woman who seemed to be born ahead of her time.  My cousins and I looked up to Aunty Cynthia. She had traveled the world as a businesswoman and diplomat. She spoke French fluently – and with a thick Liberian accent. We’d often joke that she made French easy for English speakers to understand. She was the life of every party, always making us all laugh. She had the gift of presence. And she was present. To us and to her God.

Walk with me here.

I am learning the fellowship of his suffering. The greatest lessons I learned were in walking with Aunty Cynthia through her suffering. I had the privilege of caring for her in the months leading up to her death, and to her new life in heaven with Jesus. She certainly lived life with him here on earth. It was a sight to behold.

I have seen what it looks like to praise God in all circumstances. I learned what the scripture means when it says to offer the fruit of your lips as a sacrifice of praise.  When Aunty Cynthia could no longer communicate in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, she spoke one word constantly: "Hallelujah." Hallelujah, highest praises to her God. This was her final word. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. 

Walk with me here.

So much of my life's schedule had revolved around my professional work, and caring for Aunty Cynthia. By God’s own hand, both were now gone.

In June, after a long season of prayer and discernment – seeking the Lord and wise counsel – I resigned my position as Director of Prayer at IJM. I’d been with my beautiful IJM family for twelve glorious years. I walked and worked alongside the most Christ-like, passionate and compassionate believers you could ever witness. And God in his sovereignty and perfect timing called that season to an end. 

Little did I know that at the same time he was calling me to focus full-time on Unveiled, he was calling me to be fully present to Aunty Cynthia the last two months of her life. What a gift that was to me. All of the ways of the Lord are perfect, and he is always good.

Walk with me here.

This most important lesson I learned from Aunty Cynthia. His presence is everything. The Lord inhabits the praises of his people (Ps. 22:3). When we have nothing left, praise remains on our lips. Because His presence is everything. And he is worth every thing. 

Though he slay me yet will I hope in him.  How can that be our heart’s cry in the midst of suffering and trial? We learn right there in the middle of it this unyielding truth: Jesus is worth every bit of sacrifice. He is worth my most prized possessions. He is worth the entirety of my heart. He is worth my very breath, my every breath. 

In joy and in sorrow, I’m invited to come closer to this One that I love. I experience him in new and beautiful and deeply intimate ways. 

Walk with me here.

Jesus is always focused on coming closer to us. He is the lover of our souls. This morning when I heard his whisper to me “Connie, walk with me.”  It was as though in the cloud of my questions, his answer was simply – “let’s take a walk.” His presence changes everything. It is everything. 

In that moment, I pictured Jesus coming to me. As though I was sitting on the side of a curb head-in-hands, only to look up and find him with his hand outstretched saying: “Come, walk with me.” 

Walk with me here.

Can you hear the Lord’s invitation to you? What does He want to say to you on this walk? Maybe it’s a beautiful silent walk, just enjoying each other’s presence. I love how Oswald Chambers says it: “He will give you the first sign of His intimacy – silence.”

Or perhaps there are some things Jesus wants to share with you on this walk. In those latter days with Aunty Cynthia when she could no longer speak, I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was still speaking to her. She became my most favorite prayer partner. It was the strangest thing. I felt the closest to the Lord – his weighty and very tangible presence – when I prayed with a mostly silent Aunty Cynthia.

I felt the Lord sharing these words of encouragement with me this morning. Perhaps they will likewise encourage you. Wherever you are today in your walk with Jesus, receive these words of truth from the One who willingly gave his life for yours. 

Beloved [insert your name here],

I know you’re scared. I know you feel unsure. I know you’re wondering if I’ll show up with what you need. I came to you empty-handed, because what you need most is my presence. You need to look into my eyes and hear me say to you loud and clear:  I have you in the palm of my hands. I am with you. I am here.

There’s so much going on in your heart and mind. You’re worried and fretting about so many things. Come, come away with me. Walk with me. I want to show you the beauty of my creation. Look! A flower over there – I took time to paint it. Look! A sparrow over there – I took time to feed it. Look at me. You are my most prized possession, the splendor of all of creation. Of course, I will take far better care of you. Come to me.  You are weary and heavy-laden, and I am giving you rest.

So, what does the Lord require of you today? May He give you grace to walk with him wherever he leads you. May you experience his abiding presence as you trust in him. May you hear his invitation to you today. Come, walk with me here.

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