And as I took my first steps into that familiar hospital, I felt like a different person coming into battle. More readily armed and strengthened. Despite all the familiarities, I immediately took notice of something I hadn't before. It struck me enough to stop and snap a picture with my phone as a reminder, yet I don't think I've shared my thoughts about it with anyone until now.
During that first long stretch of corridor, as I was making my way to the North elevator with it's awful shiny golden doors (the ones that shine brightly in a rich hue of glistening gold, but remind you that they will not lead you to anything shiny on the other side), I looked down onto the polished floors of the hallway and saw a repetitive pattern of blue "swooshes" before me. And I felt God's presence.
With each step I took as I walked that long familiar stretch, I came closer to another patterned "swoosh" on the floor. I wondered why I hadn't noticed them before. And I couldn't help but be reminded of His grace. That swoosh of grace that sweeps in like an ocean wave and carries us along each step of our journeys.
Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh.
I was surrounded by them. Wrapped up in them. They went before and behind as I made my way to my destination. A destination I wasn't desiring, but one that had been assigned to me nonetheless. And in that moment I knew I'd be ok. I was covered.
Within my own extended family recently, there have been swooshes of grace that have come in and flooded the hearts of the ones I love and know best. Swooshes of grace that have swept into dark barren places where no grace should be found. Only God. With Him and in Him there is no separation from such grace. It's part of His divine DNA.
And as I reflect back and look at the experiences within my own immediate family of five, I realize that that those swooshes of grace were always there. I may not have noticed them in the thick of our storm, but they existed. My vision was just clouded. Those hospital floors hadn't changed in the past year. But my heart had. And a heart that has been awakened suddenly takes notice to the evidences of God that once were overlooked.
If you find yourself in a dark place, where the drought seems unending and the sun has yet parted through the storm clouds. Be encouraged that you are not alone. Even when you don't see, feel, or hear God, He is present. His grace surrounds. Your season will not endure forever. There is hope on the horizon. And when it comes...
Blinders are lifted.
We begin to find Him in ALL things.
His beauty. His work. His handprint.
And that mysteriously marvelous swoosh of grace.
"You hem me in behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me."