Below the Stillness

It is zero degrees this morning here in the Northeast US. Zero. The cold wave continues another week. There is no frost on my car windows as there is no moisture in the air.

It is just bitter cold.

It takes forever for my car to warm up enough to take my mittens off. But at least my feet are warm in my big UGG-ly boots. (I had bit the bullet and bought a pair – well, a knockoff pair – but not because I thought they were even mildly pleasant to look at. But oh my, even these knockoffs are crazy-warm.)

And I am thankful for them this morning.

My neighbor’s house has the mother-of-all-icicles hanging off the side of the roof. It reaches nearly to the ground. Nature’s artwork at its frigid best.

My trees look brittle, their branches drooping, seeming to heavy-sigh into stillness, sensing even the slightest movement would break them.

We drove past a nearby pond over the weekend to see if it had frozen over yet. It had. A flock of ducks sat on top of it, a testament to the warmth of their down we so love in our coats.

I feel somehow closer to God when I am up close and personal with the first few days of His creation, before He even created us in His image.

The pond. Frozen. Still.

I have stilled and quieted my soul. ~Psalm 131:2

Its stillness reminded me that my life has often been like that. Unmoving on the surface, yet underneath, deep below the seeming stillness, there is movement of a strange and spiritual sort. (Ice-fishing is a real sport for a reason!)

Over the years, and in particular the last couple, I have experienced more growth in my faith than I have in decades. With retirement 5 years ago, life as I had known it slowed down to almost a crawl. Boredom became an unfamiliar companion with a too-close dependency on food of all bad-sorts.

But not lately.

Lately, the slowing has had a quickened pace, a redirection of sorts, to it that some may even consider neck-wrenching. But not to me. Regularly over the last few years, I get a faith-nudging (Holy Spirit whispers?) about something that has been niggling at me, something that has confused or confounded me, usually something that I have ignored because it just seemed too hard to tackle.

The prompt is never that I need to buckle down and figure it out on my own. The prompt is crystal clear: I need to do the figuring-out alongside His Spirit and the Bible.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26

Once the quest begins, stillness sets in quickly and remains until it’s done (which may mean that I have figured out that I will never understand this side of heaven).

I have stilled and quieted my soul. ~Psalm 131:2

Here’s my latest: who is Jesus to me? Personally to me. Knowing him, truly.

I’ve got all the facts and figures about him. I have read all the New Testament stories a thousand times. I can quote some of his more famous words. I am confident that my salvation is secure. I have a deep faith in my God and what Jesus did on the Cross, so I know where I stand for eternity. Yup, got it.

But Jesus.

Do I really, really know Jesus? Not OF him, but know HIM. There’s a difference, right?

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. ~John 14:6-7

This quest to immerse myself in Jesus has been no laughing matter, for sure. There have been some revelations about him that overwhelm (in a good way) every cell in my body; some that disturb me to my core; some that give me only-God-can-explain peace; and, some that make me wonder why I didn’t ‘get it’ sooner.

It is not rocking my faith, by any means. But it is putting a much larger rock under it.

Someone watching from the familiar, accomplishment-driven worldview would think me unmotivated, lazy even. But just like that frozen pond, the stillness on the surface belies the movement and life below.

And I know, in spite of that obvious stillness, life will move, it will regenerate. It will begin and grow and expand and stall and restart.

Deep under.

Below the stillness.

Sitting with God.

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Karchner
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  1. Rebecca Preston on February 5, 2018 at 8:40 AM

    Like this a lot. No specifics, just love the feel of it!!!!

    • Diane on February 5, 2018 at 11:41 AM

      Thanks, Beck! It’s certainly getting real up in here lately!

  2. Jen on February 5, 2018 at 3:39 PM

    I never thought about the stirring underneath the stillness, but yes. In fact, I realize after reading this, that when I’m not still I can’t distinguish God’s stirring from my own chaos.

    Lots to think about here. Thanks, Diane!

    • Diane on February 5, 2018 at 6:13 PM

      Interesting observation – when you’re not still its hard to distinguish his voice from your own chaos. Worth thinking through. Thx Jen

  3. Sarah on February 6, 2018 at 6:54 PM

    Prompts…quest…stillness…I’m digging your word choices. Our Savior is just as you describe, and so much more. Always more. Thanks for sharing some beautiful breakthroughs, too. I could totally relate.

  4. Cole// Cole Smith Writes on February 6, 2018 at 7:53 PM

    Love the image of stillness as a frozen pond–so much activity and life beyond our sight!

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