Alternate States of Being: love of The Shepherd

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. ~ Isaiah 40:11 (niv)

IMG_0396The first seven weeks of my hospital stay were spent in an induced coma. During that time I had many dreams and hallucinations. And I could place each one on a timeline with out missing one. Each have their own characteristics that allow me to distinguish between them. There are five more events that I would place on that time line; they are my divine encounters. Of the five, I only had one encounter with Jesus.

I have come to this place because someone has told me that I can have anything I want here. My desire is to find Zak and Emma and bring them home. I am clad in simply a thin hospital gown. I am very cold. People are milling around a fountain; I ask them questions, but they pay me no mind. I stop and stand still mesmerized by the beauty and serenity of this fountain. I need a rest; it seems I have been walking for a long while. A blanket of warmth wraps itself around my shoulders and I am pulled into an indescribable peace and I breathe deep and long wanting to linger in this place. Jesus and I sit down on a bench by this fountain. I confide to Him that I have come to bring my children home, but I do not know how to set about finding them. And He tells me, “child, you may not have them back.” As those words fall on my ears, confusion swirls me and exhaustion consumes me. He puts His arm around me and I lie down with my head in His lap.

I hear my husband’s voice. “Bethie, Zak and Emma are in Heaven.” I begin to cry. Jesus’ hand smoothes my hair and wipes my tears.

IMG_3758My physical body was laying in a bed in the dimmed lights of a Trauma ICU with my family gathered around; my spirit lingered in a sacred haven as Jesus held me close. My husband would later describe to me the scene in the room and how the tears would begin to fall and roll down my face, but how then they would simply disappear.

The moment Jesus wiped my tears, I understood that no matter what happened, no matter what crossed my path, I could take it because Jesus was going to be there with me. No matter how angry, how sad, how grief-stricken, how lonely I became, He was going to walk me through it.

We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ncv)

IMG_4091There are times when grief is all-consuming, when tears replace prayers because words are elusive and the brain imprisoned. It is in those times, God appears inexplicably. Grace folds us into this perfect agape love and there we waft as the Divine breaches our earthly realm.

One perfect Spring Sunday afternoon, I find myself sitting on the edge of my bed after church. That morning I had cried through the entire service. The only explanation I can give is that my heart was broken. Just plain broken. And the sadness poured out like a breaking dam. I sat alone. I could not pray. Not a thought passed through my mind. And a light broke through – brilliant and warm dimming the rest of the room around me and engulfing me in peace. My head was held in a bow and I made no attempt to struggle against it.  I just melted into the warmth and the light and rested there, held by God completely enveloped in His love and His peace and His holiness.  That afternoon, God became someone who I could feel.

This is the fourth blog in a series of five housed under the Testimony category.

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