Emily Freeman’s Thin Place: the bench of His love

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Emily Freeman has the most gorgeous blog, Chatting at the Sky. And she writes stunning words. I’m thankful to host her here today. What a blessing!

If you have a thin place story to tell (a time when God came near), click this link to share your story with the rest of us!

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I never liked my name growing up: Emily Morland. It didn’t roll off the tongue like I wished it would. It felt more like peanut butter. I always wanted a name like Kelly Jennesse, the most popular girl in the 6th grade. Jennessee, like Tennessee. She had a name to remember.

During roll call, the M’s fell right in the middle of the alphabet, blending in, just like me. I had brown hair, too straight to be called curly but too curly to lay straight. I never dyed or permed it because I heard it could cause irreparable damage. So I settled on my natural, mousey brown.

Much like my middle-of-the-alphabet name and my ordinary-unpermed-hair, I was a good girl who followed rules and did the right thing. I loved Jesus and I knew he so loved the world, but I didn’t truly know his love for me. Though my relationship with him was very real and full of true faith, it was often too structured and boxed in. I really trusted him. I really prayed and knew he was with me. I was a genuine believer. But I saw him as a faraway outline of perfection, a distant lover of the world, of the prodigals, and of the people who had real problems. But I was a good girl who did things right. I desperately wanted him to notice me while, at the same time, never really feeling like he did.

It is sometimes impossible to see the thin places in our lives in the midst of living them, in the midst of feeling looked over and ignored. But there are a few distinct times I can point to in my life timeline and say There. That is where God came near and showed himself right where I was and not where I thought I should be.

Like one night in early college when the drama of being 19 was overwhelmingly too much. I walked beneath a dark sky from the library to my dorm room, overcome with troubles and worry and angst. On my way, I passed a bench and was compelled to stop. I sat there waiting, tilting my head back to stare at a black, starry sky. I asked God as the tears came to show me what to do next, and I heard the words as if he was sitting beside me: I love you.

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted answers, solutions, and closure. Can you give me that? And as if it were written with stars on the canvas of a deep night sky, he spoke of love again and again. I didn’t fully receive it that night. I walked away frustrated and heavy. But that bench was a thin place for me, a place I have often looked back and pointed to as proof that the God who made the Universe not only sees me, but loves me; not because I’m good but because he is. For the rebels as well as the rule-followers, his love is the same. And he meets us in thin places whether we see him there or not.

Chatting at the Sky: http://www.chattingatthesky.com

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