Whenever I hear the phrase “You are standing on Holy Ground” two thoughts pop into my head. My first thought conjures up the sacred soil encompassing the deep seated roots of the bush that burned without consumption. This anomaly drawing Moses immersed in unanswered questions far beyond a bush unyielding to the roaring blaze; a loving God desirous to capture His son’s attention. His heart yearning to share the secret of a long awaited deliverance, while reminding Moses His intimate knowledge of every injustice and crushing blow dealt by his enemies. Unknowingly these promises were to be fulfilled, God beckoning Moses to unloosen his dusty sandals in order to stand in His Holy presence of destiny.
Secondly, when I’m not thinking about Moses my heart is stirred to sing the beautiful worship song, “We are standing on Holy ground and I know that their are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now, for we are standing in His presence on Holy ground”.
Lately I have been looking at Holy Ground in a whole new way. The Lord brought this to my attention when I stood on the grass of my childhood home this last December. It was not the first time I was near this house as an adult, for in July 2013 my friends Kelli and Cynthia were kind enough to indulge me on my first birthday without my mama. A trip to my childhood home took precedence over visiting her gravesite for it was too painful, too fresh since her passing away two months earlier; fearing I would throw myself prostate on her grave and weep. The weight and pressure of trying to keep it all together while she was alive was slowly lifting, yet finding myself not quite ready to see what that looked like at her gravesite especially on my birthday. Instead we opted to visit my old neighborhood in Woodstock, Oregon. Taking photos of familiar stomping grounds, including the now outside fenced yard of my childhood home.
There we were, three giggling ladies peering over the current owner’s fence, this no doubt stirred curiosity for it brought out Susan who was inside. She was gracious as we introduced ourselves and explained the reason for the obsession with her home. She happily shared information on the various neighbors I grew up with, while in turn I offered to make some copies of old photos of the home when we lived there.
December 2014 my promise was honored, finding myself swinging open the gate of my childhood home, feeling an overwhelming sense I was standing on Holy Ground. Endearing memories flooded my mind of the activities my family and I had shared there. Like sitting by my brother Troy as we watched the crackling fire my dad tended to on front corner of our lawn.
Playing in our above ground pool in the summer or the coveted mud puddles during winter.
Or the time when a car crashed into Troy’s bedroom; and as unbelievable as it sounds, he remained sound asleep amongst blaring headlights and broken glass. Though there are countless more to share, I will end with one that makes me laugh every time it comes to mind. During one particular blustery winter my mom bundled me up so I could barely move… basically my mommy made me into a Mummy!… Realizing what her zeal to keep me warm had done she commissioned my brother to assist me if I happen to fall and couldn’t get up. Becoming my own personal “Life Alert” system.
Precious memories flashing before my eyes in the midst of my loss… Holy ground of equilibrium where past and present mingled with pain and destiny. The great I AM that is the same yesterday, today and forever… comforting the afflictions of His daughter while promising a new beginning.
I’m not sure where life has you today, however, I do know, whether you are in the lowest valley or on the highest mountain top, God is your deliverer … you my friend are standing on Holy Ground.
“Life is the external text, the burning bush by the edge of the path from which God speaks.” Jose Ortega Gasset .
“Alis Volat Propriis” is the Latin words for “she flies with her own wings”. Discovering this little gem , written on my Albertson’s shopping bag while unloading it from our van. My eyes finally catching the full scope of the brightly colored bag’s design. Initially, the artist’s vivid scenes of Portland Oregon distracted me from the writing encircling the base. As a native Oregonian of nearly 54 years I may have already heard these Latin words when studying the history of Oregon. Forgetting that on May 2, 1843 the Oregon Country Settlers voted to make Alis Volat Propriis our state motto forming a provisional government independent of the U.S. and Great Britain. Whether I learned this once before or not, these words are fresh and relevant for my here and now .
May 1st will be indelibly etched in my mind as the day I lost my mother. Sorrowful thoughts of what life would be like without her deemed unbearable to ponder while she was alive; now have become my altered and difficult reality. God’s word is a comfort to me and to all those who mourn, promising in Psalms 27:13 * “that we can be confident to see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” His goodness descends from Heaven, gentle reminders of His love lessening the chasm of grief, bringing comfort to my heart.
On May 2, 2013 the day after my mama’s passing I wanted to get my mind off all that had happened, exhausted from mom’s illnesses, her death, and painful false accusations against me. I decided to watch American Idol that was recorded on May 1st. When the opening group song started I could not believe my ears… they were singing, “Mama told me not to waste my life she said spread your wings my little butterfly, don’t let what they say keep you up all night, they can’t detain you, wings were made to fly”.
Tears streamed down my face realizing that God had sent me a message about my mama; encouraging me not follow in her footsteps of worrying about what people thought of me. She is fully experiencing freedom from the fear of man that had become a snare, now in Heaven’s glory liberated from its’ restrictions.
My journey towards audacious liberty began at that very moment, albeit I didn’t know it at the time. This butterfly message fluttered once again and came into view a couple of months later. Appearing while my feet dangled out of the small opening into our attic. Staying seated close to the light as I sorted through the few boxes of my mom’s belongings. Grieving her loss was more stiffing than the attics dense, windowless air. While sifting through her stuff I became saddened she had thrown out a lot of her belongings before she moved from her last spacious two apartment, into a much smaller one bedroom apartment. One of those precious item’s I missed was her beloved roller skates. Having fond memories of my brother Troy and I taking turns skating around in our basement as children. The list of missing items was long, realizing her dementia probably was a factor in her out of character decision to toss them. Far beyond the scope of these earthly mementos was the loss of my parents. My soul felt darker than the farthest corners of the attic breathing in the stale air as a orphan. Intermittently, wiping tears from my flushed face as I divided mementos into designated boxes for family members that lined the attic’s opening. As I continued to gently look through her belongings I was suddenly surprised to see a bright pink butterfly on a 3X5 index card. Excitingly pulling it out to examine it closer I flipped the card over to read “All That the father Hath is yours.” My Little butterfly Love Al. My dad had written this to my mother on April 9th 1977, one of the few things she had kept that he had given her. This orphan girl finding solace in his simple yet powerful words
A few weeks after that profound discovery my sweet Bff and her hubby surprised me and my husband as I celebrated my first birthday without my mama. Debbie crowned me with a Birthday tiara and my eyes were masked to veil the secret of our destination. Once we arrived and mask removed, I was handed tickets to the American Idol concert. Joy and excitement bubbled within me as we made our way into the coliseum to our amazing seats. Just in time to hear this familiar opening song, “Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly”. God is over the top with his love and attention to detail , and Mama, you would be proud of me for I’m learning the true meaning of Alis Volat Propriis.
Perhaps your longing for more freedom in your life? Whether your weighted down by a loss, rejection, fear or shame. Whatever the need, God wants to set you free!… for those He has set free are free indeed. Go ahead, fly with your own wings because God is the wind beneath them.