What Does Holy Ground Feel Like?

The question struck me as I sojourned through Exodus at a Come Before Winter Renewal last month. Moses went barefoot at the burning bush.

What does holy ground feel like?  

Was it rough gravel or fine sand?  Were there rocks poking Moses’s instep? Cockleburs he had to pick off of his robe afterwards? Did sharp sticks leave any splinters? Was it sunburn hot or dessert night cold?

It wasn’t the quality of the ground that made it holy. It was the presence of the Living God in that moment.

elliott-engelmann-53566-unsplash fi.jpgI realize this applies to me, too. I stand on holy ground in the place of calling to ministry.

There are rocks: my pride. Have I mentioned that I like being able to do things well? I was fully functional back in the states. Here on the field after 5 years, I still struggle to do life at times. My Spanish is so-so, and my government office navigation skills are worse.

There are cockleburs: my desire to be valued. I want my efforts to be seen and appreciated. Who doesn’t, really? But approval is like manna, it tends to rot overnight. Most mornings send you out searching to fill your basket again. God is the only reliable source.

There is definitely a burn: comparison. When I measure myself or my contribution up against those around me, I always lose. It doesn’t matter what the score says. If you pay the ante, you forfeit your chips.

christopher-sardegna-157-unsplashHoly ground is a one-on-one moment, face to face with the Lord. It’s my morning coffee over the Word, my prayer to want what he wants each day. It’s a worship song on my heart, a breath prayer to invite his presence to change me.

My toes are in the dirt. It’s humble. There is no other option but to need him here. He called us into the adventure of full dependency. Every day as I step out my front gate, every month when we open the financial statement.

He listens to my insecurities and excuses. Then he tells me who He is and what He will do. The staff may become a snake. The snake may reform as a staff. The hand may cycle whole, leprous, and healed again. He never changes.

I see his glory passing by in each child we pray healing into. I feel it shine in each team member we encourage out of their comfort zone sandals.

This is holy ground.

This is the place where freedom begins in me, and through me, in others.

Like Moses was, I am surrounded by everyday sheep—cooking, cleaning, discipling my children, homeschooling, loving, writing.

I can become distracted by all of the curly tails and wooly bottoms,

Or I can turn and focus on the burning bush calling me by name.

tim-marshall-121101-unsplashI choose the fire.

I accept the challenge to trust him and go higher up the mountain.

I’m kicking off my expectations of being perfect, and the trap of comparison.

I am going skin to skin with holiness, instead.


The Lord calls each of us to holy ground, wherever we are in our relationship with him. What does the spot you’re standing on feel like?

Beach Walk Photo by Esther Wiegardt, Desert Scrub Photo by Elliott Engelmann, Footprints Photo by Christopher Sardegna, & Valley Road Photo by Tim Marshall  on Unsplash

Facing the Freefall: Should I Write?

I have a confession to make: I have no idea what I’m doing.

Sure, I’m geeking out and learning like crazy. Books on writing line up on my Kindle like an auntie’s Precious Moments collection. Some credit their author’s skill by being helpfully hilarious. Others give solid scholastic advice. I’m forging ahead, gleaning wisdom, and conquering chapters.

Stepping off my beaten path, I joined Instagram. It happens to be awesome. Who knew? Everyone else, right? Now tell me why I should start Twitter. I’ll listen.

I’ve wrestled and fought with words, held up my end of the dream the Lord put on my heart in April: one blog post a week. This will be #12.

I thought it would get easier as I went along.

But still it happens. Every time I put my words in this space.

It’s like the moment I walked onto the field at Family Camp and saw my firstborn being hoisted higher and higher, the intersection point of three ropes. Wow. That’s my girl up there so brave.

Then two ropes let go.

My heart leapt to my throat as she fell. I thought I was witnessing her death. But the last rope caught her in a beautiful, life-giving arc. She swang. I began to breathe again, realizing that was the plan all along.

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This writing thing?  This is my “Do Hard Things” thing. It takes major effort to lift and pull words off the ground. Editing bingo is a compulsive pastime; I lay ideas on the board and look for patterns, praying for connections to bridge the gap between what the Lord is doing in me and what might encourage others.

Then there’s the transparent moment of publication—when the only thing to hold onto is the Lord’s goodness. Freefall, where his truth alone turns the splat into an upward arc.

I want you to like my words because I want you to like me. But those ropes don’t hold.

And I realize this was the Lord’s plan all along. How better to know his heart than to learn to let go of everything else? Stats of my site views and visitors. Likes and comments on Facebook. The little red hearts on Instagram. I cherish each one.

But the only support that can hold the weight of who I am is Him. He’s the one who changes my falling into flying.

I love words like my boys love legos. I get lost for hours in their colors and shapes, trying to create something special.  At times, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, spending so much of myself on what doesn’t come easy. Does it make a difference?

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A friend messaged me a giddyup the other day, screenshots from Jen Hatmaker’s latest, Of Mess and Moxie.

“Doctors put in the work to be good doctors. Teachers do the work to be phenomenal teachers. Budding creators cannot imagine themselves beyond the need for development or unworthy of the investment, paycheck or no paycheck. Worry less about getting recognized and more about becoming good at what you do. Take yourself seriously. Take your art seriously. You are both worth this.”

Does it make a difference? Does beauty or struggle, obedience or surrender in any area of our lives matter to the one who sees and supports it all?  I have to say yes. And if it pleases him, then all the rest is wonderful grace.

I may still not know what I’m doing, but I know the one who does.

Guess what just jumped to the top of my reading list?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV


Is there a struggle you are pressing through to engage a dream? Please leave a comment and share your story.

Swing Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash