The Unglamorous Places (a thin place story by Sarah Markley)

Aug 1, 2010Family Uncaged, Find joy today, Heal from the past

This is the first entry in the Share Your Thin Place feature of my new website. If you’d like to be featured here with your story of when God came near, click here. I’m honored to have my friend and fellow blogger Sarah Markley share her thin place story with you. I promise you will be stirred and changed in reading it.


Wouldn’t it be grand if my thinnest place was at the top of a mountain {where even the air seemed more attuned to God} or gazing into the eyes of my newborn daughter {when times seems to stop}? Honestly, if I could choose a place that I met God and He met me, the most slivered part of my life between heaven and earth, I would choose something like that.

It’s beautiful.

It’s what creates books and sweeping movie scenes.

But reality is far less glamorous.

There was that thin place in the closet of my church when I was twelve and the fifteen year old boy touched me where he shouldn’t have after youth group. But I let him. The stuffy air was full of CHOICE, full of QUESTION, full with DOUBT.  And even, in that closed space, with God.

The space between the physical and the Other physical was electric, spinning with the awareness of God and His Words when I met Him with a paper and a pen in my hand. I sat on a cold piece of granite outside a youth camp, dusty and shower-less, 25 of us, all young and hopeful in God’s new grace met Him. The thin place was a community, a seat in front of a fireplace, a hand held across a meal for prayer.

I closed the door. The used honeymoon tickets torn in my new purse, we had little money left but two minimum paying jobs in our open hands. In our first apartment we stood just inside the threshold wondering What Do We Do Now?  Apprehensive for the upcoming months as newlyweds, we knew that the shininess of our relationship was beginning already to wear dull.  In an unbelievably precarious place we knew we had to make some choices together or we were going to fail at this.

Those were each thin places in my life. Nothing beautiful. Nothing wildly important. In fact, the thinnest place took place in the room of a church, a toddler Sunday school classroom where I was faced with my sin.

It was a room met with accident as the six of us, my husband and I with our pastors and their wives, sat down on low tables and preschool chairs after church six and a half years ago. No glamorous. In fact, the room still smelled of antibacterial wipes and graham crackers from the 7 three-year-olds who’d vacated just an hour before.

They asked. I confessed the adultery. And the distance between God and me narrowed to nothing. Immediate. Perfect.  God came to me and carried me through the next hours and the next year as my husband and I put our family back together.

It was the thinnest place I’ve ever inhabited. I saw Grace and Love and the Promise of future beauty flood the simple back room of my tiny church.

And that, although not a mountain top or the deep blue eyes of my daughter, has been the most beautiful moment of my life.