When God Showed Up


I’m sitting on a hill on a farm in Pennsylvania in late June with hundreds of other sweaty bodies. The speaker in the front is talking about reconnecting with his estranged father and for the first time, I realize that my faith has never really been my own. He gives a call for salvation at the end of this talk, and while I’m pretty sure that I’ve been saved my whole life, I stand up, because today I feel like salvation isn’t just about getting to heaven, but maybe about something deeper in the right now.


I’m in a church service, singing God of Wonders for the hundredth time. It feels rote and tired, so I close my eyes because I know that I can appear spiritual, even if I’m just trying to rest. I’m a mom with three young children and a fourth on the way and while my eyes are closed, I pray for that rest. Rest from the boring routine that marks my days. Rest from the depression that rears up during every pregnancy. Rest from the words from a previous church that still ring in my mind, telling me that there is something broken in me. In my prayer that is more silence than words, I see a porch swing and hear a faint invitation to sit and swing for a bit. To take a load off and rest.


I’m in a blueberry patch. My children are picking in another row. I hear their conversation – did you try this Minecraft mod, look at how many berries I have now, do we have any hair bands. The sun beats down on us, and I lament the fact that I forgot to spray us with SPF 30 before we walked out the door that morning. But as I pick, pick, pick the berries, each one softly landing with the others to fill my pail, my mind quiets and I am filled with peace. Maybe not the peace that passes all understanding, but at least a peace that passes a modicum of understanding. Today, my sanctuary is among the blueberry bushes, my altar, the sound of my children making memories.


We gather in our church, taking a moment to look back at our heritage. The music is not my favorite, the lyrics not poetic enough for my taste. At first I resign myself to this, but then I remind myself that this isn’t about me. And it’s not about the people who do like this music. It’s about the One who has been woven in the music of history, from the chants of medieval monks to the vast choirs of the classical era to the banjos of a small church in West Virginia. The One who is bigger than stylistic preferences. Today may be about remembering, but it’s bigger than a particular generation of music. Today we are remembering and honoring the One who is without age.


I often think that I want God to show up. But over and over I find that the person who needs to show up is me.

  • PricelessProject

    I enjoyed reading your post, it was refreshing and insightful. So, insightful I was going to send you tithes and offerings (SMILE). Ruby

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    This is stunning and exquisite. I am very moved. I recognize some of my own struggles in your words. It’s nice to not be alone. Thanks for writing this.

  • Gordon Duffy

    I remember feeling God in my life. Some of those experiences were pretty compelling. But I’m glad they are no longer part of my life.

  • rich_chaffins

    This. Is. Beautiful. Thanks, bestie.

  • SusanRogersStLaurent

    I love this.

  • http://www.twitter.com/teenbug Tina Francis/ @teenbug

    So beautiful, Alise. xoxox

  • Ashley N

    This is so lovely and moving. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://ear-sword-miracle.blogspot.com/ Miles O’Neal

    Remembering … it’s not just about the past. Sometimes it’s about reconnecting.

  • http://www.lookthrough.net Sonny Lemmons

    Reading this was…peaceful. I have to admit, the blueberry patch was the one that connected with me the most, as I tend to find God in nature more often than not. I struggle to think God would even want to come to church a lot of the time.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Yeah, me too. Which is why I have to remind myself often that it’s not God who does the showing up. When I remember that I’m the one who has to tune in, it makes it a little easier to find God all over the place.

  • pastordt

    I thought I’d left this comment already, but apparently it didn’t ‘click.’ Just wanted to send you a virtual hug and say that this right here is my very favorite thing of yours ever. LOVE EVERY BIT OF IT. Thank you.

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