Rachel shares a time she was aware of God’s presence

Rachel has been a leader at Glenalmond youth camp for the past 3 years. They have been sharing evening prayer with friends across the province over zoom. Last week she was invited to share an insight to her faith with Forres youth group who study the lectionary readings each week and she is now sharing it with you.

Before the session, invite a leader to come and share some of their own story, about a specific time when they have been very aware of God’s presence in their lives, or how they feel close to him in their daily lives.

I immediately thought of the connection, the hair raising moments during some worship where you just feel overcome by emotions and connections and a sense of joy that there is something greater at work. Warm inside, when I can’t help but smile.

A moment I have felt this and often refer to when someone asks me to share when I have felt close to God is when I was in a room with 30 or so other young people, Christians at a residential, we met together for night prayer. We talked about the different characters Jesus called to be his disciples and how they all had different character traits – how in a way we all have different gifts and they are all special to God but he also knows our faults, forgives us and sometimes they too are part of God’s bigger plan even if we still feel guilt for doing it or don’t realise it yet (Judas betraying Jesus to give him up to the guards before his death, Thomas doubting him). This was a message I needed to hear at 19 as I was going into second year of university, had moved out my family home, had a job, was trying to figure out how faith, church and many other things fitted in. We started to sing In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

I realised I was overthinking it – God loved me, Jesus died for any and all my sins – as long as I prayed, worshiped (in whatever way I could; even if I couldn’t make a church service due to the time and work or university) this wouldn’t change I can lean on God, talk to God, they are my strength; Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. So everything may be up in the air, changing, uncertain, scary, falling part, exciting, undecided, in lockdown – my faith is there through it all to sustain me and strengthen me – this revelation is something I had been told for years but in that moment something deeper moved me and I really trusted, believed, needed, felt it. Faith is about a journey and a relationship we will build over time and trusting God fully makes tough times less lonely.

how they feel close to God in their daily lives

Oh man are we in one of those tough times right now?! But most of us have some more time most days and I have been trying to find strength and faith that this will pass and some form of normal can resume.

I have really tried to focus on the lines;

My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

So I’ve tried to continue with my daily bible reading and reflection app and when I’m at home can even use them to journal which I’m enjoying.

I have meditated over colouring to count my blessings, helping me gain perspective, even though in the thick of it, things can be all consuming.

I’ve kept praying – using my Examen Ignatian prayer journal at times when I find it tough to know what to pray especially if my day has been uneventful.

I join in live services, morning or night prayer.

I’ve continued to listen to chilled out Christian music if I want to feel close to God.

I’ve started to read Sacred Rest –on days when I feel far from God or my mental health stops me from being chilled out it’s a good distraction and reminder

I’m also reading Is this It? by Rachel Jones – to remind myself everyone goes through times of closeness and distance from faith this is ok and normal.

Whether in a day I do all this or none of it I travel a little stronger, walk a little taller and my load will be a lot lighter knowing:

My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Please don’t take this as one of those lockdown moments where everyone else has life together and guilt yourself into buying a new bible, downloading 40 apps and then never use them – I just wanted to share some things that help me to connect to faith and organised worship on a Sunday morning is one of them but not the only way.

If you would like to share how you have been nurturing your faith in lockdown or any other article please email ku.gro.hcruhcytinirtylohnull@retsambew.

Thanks for helping us show a church is not a building it is its people during this challenging time.

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