One Slender Streak of Clarity

This morning I slipped out of bed before my alarm went off so that I wouldn’t awaken Keith. I’d slept much later than usual because I’d had a full weekend of taping sessions at Life Today for Wednesdays in the Word. Our church also has an 11:00 AM worship service slot which is a glorious grace for people who work many Friday nights and Saturdays and need a little sabbath in the worst way. I had my prayer time and several cups of thick dark coffee in the regular spot where Jesus and I meet on mornings when no one is up in my house but me. If Keith is awake, I move to my library to finish out but, if he’s sound asleep, I stick a little closer to the coffee pot. It saves considerable pacing.

Half an hour in, I glanced at the clock and knew I’d better get moving toward the shower or we weren’t going to get there in time to fellowship at all before the service started. Something is always missing in my Sunday when that happens. I don’t go to church for the service alone unless I’m in too much distress to want to talk to anybody. In that case, I might go in late and leave early, as much as I hate to admit it. But far more normally, second to participating in worship and the Word, I go with full intention to be with a family of believers equally frail and human but also pursuing a life of faith. I give and get hugs. I get and give words of encouragement. I pray for people and people pray for me. Sometimes my own daughter will lean over in the part of our service dedicated to prayer and whisper intercession in my ear.

This holy give and take. A community cannot exist without communing.  Church has never just been limited to a service for me. Nor has it been limited to Sundays.

 

But back to this morning. I didn’t want to be late so I stacked up the Bible I use for my morning devotionals, my journal, and my iPad and headed into my library to set them back on my desk. As I put them down, I hesitated for a moment before turning toward my bedroom. I knew I still had something on my heart that I had not brought to the Lord. When I finish my prayer time, the goal for me is that my heart would be poured out before Jesus in praises, confessions, intercessions, and concerns and then filled back up by Him with His own Holy Spirit.

 

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

 

Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

 

I pour out, He pours in.

That’s our deal.

 

Just minutes before in the kitchen with my Bible open, I’d talked around the thing that was on my heart but I’d not voiced it the way I really felt it. I had questions about it that I hadn’t exactly asked. Maybe I hadn’t asked them because I’d not really expected an answer. Or maybe I hadn’t asked them because I was uncomfortable being that raw. By raw I don’t just mean honest. Good grief, I hope to heaven that I approach God in prayer with honesty this many years into our relationship after the places we’ve been together. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that, if He hadn’t insisted that I learn to be honest with Him about my true estate, I’d probably be dead by now.

I’m pausing to stare at that statement to see if it really rings true in my spirit.

Yeah. I think my body would be cold and in the ground by now. I was headed for a full fledged implosion.

 

To me, raw doesn’t just mean honest. It means not having to think carefully about how I’m going to word it. Not having to frame it in godly terms. After all, I want to be godly. God help me, I want to be godly. But it’s hard to be godly with a lot of junk stored up in your heart.

 

Raw means, “This is the deal right here. This is how I feel. And why is it that…? What on earth is…?”

Raw means going ahead and putting out there how I really feel about something down deep, even if it sounds selfish or small.

Even if it makes me sound pathetic. He can see my heart anyway. And sometimes it is pathetic.

I glanced over at the gorgeous kneeling bench the prayer team at Tuesday night Bible study had given me and I walked over to it and knelt down on it.

Right there I pulled out that pine cone that was still down there pricking and sticking and crowding my heart and set it out before God, all jagged and bloody on the edges. Right there I brought my questions.

 

August temperatures in Houston are oppressively warm and the air is damp and wet even in the morning. Keith Moore likes his house cold and, if he didn’t, I would. The combination of competing temperatures in a humid climate means that every window this time of year is thickly layered in condensation until the sun comes up and burns it off. You have to go outside around here if you want an unhindered view of the dawn.

As I knelt on that bench, everything was a fog out that window especially with my forehead pressed to the glass. But, as I prayed for just those few moments, my eyes adjusted to one slender streak left by a heavy drop. Just one tear of clarity.

And somehow, it was enough. At least for today.

I didn’t get up off that bench with clear answers to my questions but I got up with something else. I rose from my knees with the sense in my heart that I’d been heard. That the questions were not inappropriate. That the matter was not irrelevant. And that, even if it communicated my flawed and small self, what better place to have exposed it?

Then I went to church and worshiped freely because all that had troubled my heart was out on the table before God and I was hiding nothing from Him. I fought tears for most of the service because I felt close to Him and not because I’d been godly but because I’d just gotten to be raw. And it had been okay.

I am struggling with some things and He knows it and not just from reading my mind but from hearing my mouth. Let’s just go ahead and admit it. There is relief in that.

I don’t know why some things are the way they are. It doesn’t change them to admit my bewilderment but it clears the air somehow.

Hostility grows where things are left simmering and unsaid. What I needed to say to Jesus this morning wasn’t about Him but its only safe place was with Him.

Go ahead, Sister. Trust Him with that thing. Go find a place to kneel and say it. Say it in humility but say it with complete honestly.

And I pray that, though the window’s still wet and blurred by the heat, you will open your eyes and there it will be.

One slender streak of clarity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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152 Responses to “One Slender Streak of Clarity”

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Comments:

  1. 101
    jodi hoesel says:

    I am listening to a cd by Sam Farina about worry. I have just begun and he is talking about purposeful prayer. And like you, talks about getting down on your knees (stop, drop and pray) before God and letting him know what is in your heart and not your head. If you are honest with God, he will be with you. I believe there is so much power in getting on your knees in front of God. Thank you for your blog…I think there is also a lesson to be learned when you hear the same thing from more than one person.

  2. 102
    Debbie Scherrer says:

    Thank you Beth. For sharing. I to have A Few things I struggle with understanding and have taken to Him. You are the best!

  3. 103
    Cynthia Singleton says:

    Oh Beth, that is exactly my heart also. Today 27 years ago my husband( 27 yrs)got up ,dressed and went to work and was killed at work. I ,27 yrs also was at home with a 10 week old daughter and a 2 1/2 year old son. We were married for 5 yrs before that awful day came and today I’m still a widow and this year’s anniversary of his death has been a very raw day !!!!!! Michael loved Jesus so much and I didn’t understand his relationship with Jesus , but I do now! Gosh I remember being jealous of his love for Jesus. I can remember saying to myself he loves Jesus more than me and when I heard of his death the first thought I had was he is with his first love and I was his second. Most years when that day comes around I’m fine, but today 27 years later and all of life’s lessons I have had this far has left me having a raw ,raw day. Thank you for your post it has helped me so much.
    Thank you,
    Cynthia

    • 103.1
      Beth says:

      Oh my goodness, Cynthia. You have been through so much. I pray that Christ will continue to sustain you and that He will reveal Himself continually to you in ways that are astounding.

    • 103.2
      Mary G says:

      Dear Cynthia,
      Almost two years ago now I lost my best friend in a workplace shooting. He was the person I thought I would spend the last half of my life married to. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief can make you feel like it was just yesterday. No matter how long. I will be praying for our dear Heavenly Father to wrap you in His arms, that you are able to rest in the shadow of His wing and know that you are never, ever alone.

  4. 104
    Ganise says:

    Rawness before Him. Yes… Oh Yes. I completely understand your statement; honesty with God is what has kept me alive as well.

    Thank you.

  5. 105
    Marie Gregg says:

    Yes and amen. My life has some real ugly, tough spots right now and God is teaching me how to get down to the bare bones. We’ve got to expose our most sensitive places to His truth and healing. We’ll never survive if we don’t.

  6. 106
    Deborah Maish says:

    A perfect ending to a perfect day. Finished Children of the Day today. My word picture for His Grace – “Grace is the breath of fresh air when you feel like you are drowning in doubt.” Thank you Beth Moore for being so real. For giving me permission to kneel before Him and admit my doubt and ask Him to fill me with faith that will move a mountain. But the LORD is FAITHFUL!!! Hallelujah.

  7. 107
    Elaine says:

    My sweet little sister, you are loved… Thank you that you simply cannot contain what He teaches you, and thank you for sharing so that we may know Him more!

  8. 108
    Cindy says:

    Wow! I never comment. But that spoke to the deepest parts of my heart. Thanks Beth for being his vessel

  9. 109
    Phyllis says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty. I lost my 26 year old son after a 3 year battle with leukemia on June 6. He left behind a beautiful wife, a 2 year old son and 2 month old baby daughter.
    I haven’t even been able to go to church because of my distress. I need to get raw with God. I have barely talked to Him. I had such hope for healing on this side of heaven. I know my boy is in heaven, but I have so, so many questions.
    Once again, thanks for your honesty. You are always an encouragement to me.
    God bless you Beth Moore.

  10. 110
    Laura says:

    You have spoken TRUTH. There is something about intentionally kneeling – you have taught us this by example Beth – that brings the rambling, raw, honest prayers to the altar. Thank you Beth. May God bless you as you seek Him for understanding.

  11. 111
    Heather G says:

    …and another slender streak of clarity.

    For me tonight, it was a tender streak of clarity.

    Thank you Father.

  12. 112
    Paula says:

    As always Beth, my heart and eyes are drawn to Jesus through your words. I have some things mended to bring to his feet this morning. Thank you for the nudge.

  13. 113
    Rosemary says:

    Hello Beth,

    There are no words to describe how much I benefited from your course Breaking free and am reading your book “So long insecurity you have been a bad friend”.You know the hearts of women because you have traveled the tough road of abuse and the resultant insecurity. At the age of 67 I have finally found material which describes my experiences and feelings. SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. Of course Jesus does too.I read other people’s experiences of doing such crazy things because they needed love. It was so healing to know I am not the most crazy person after all. The greatest thing I have learned is to realize Satan is hell bent on attacking us and keeping us focused on our past and anxieties instead of on Him. It is going to be a explosion of a fight to the end but with Jesus help I am going to be victorious. Thank you for opening yourself to us and exposing your pain. God bless you more than you can think, hope or imagine.
    Love you lots,

    Rosemary, in South Africa

  14. 114
    Anita says:

    Thank you so much for, once again, putting into words what I struggle with almost daily. I do pray, but I don’t often get to that place where my heart is spilled out before Him. I allow the day’s duties and the random, busy thoughts in my mind hasten me to the end of my moment of “stopping by His throne.” Thank you for sharing with us how to be more purposeful and intentional. You’re still teaching me and I’m still learning. Love you.

  15. 115
    Amy Beth says:

    I l-o-v-e-d this. Just last night, I laid awake for a good three hours wrestling with something. I have been holding back a small portion of my love and affection for my foster children because of fear (I have fostered before and just flat out know the pain that can come). Tonight, DCS workers are traveling 180 miles round trip to give my foster daughters life-altering news that is going to devastate them. From tonight forward, they are going to need a different kind of love from me than I have been allowed to give up until now and I so want to be ready to give it to them when they need me the most.

  16. 116
    Tilda says:

    Thank you Beth. I needed this so much, today. You said something that I would so like prayer for. I cannot seem to be free with people and am so afraid of them. Yes church people. So I cannot fellowship well because of fear that my heart won’t be okay with them. It’s not a bad heart but my heart has been so broken that it doesn’t feel safe anywhere and I am so grateful for the way you worded your raw conversation with God. He is the only One who I can be honest with and trust my heart with. I so desperately want to feel safe but I am so scared of people rejecting my heart. I feel so not “normal” because of the abuse I have suffered and the fear it has left me with that I cannot ever be loved just for who I am. I love people so much and I love to minister and pray with them but I get tongue tied afraid of fellowshipping. Terrified. I don’t want to blow the little I seem to have. Good tears flowing. Thanks for reading. God bless you!

  17. 117
    Ann says:

    That was SO precious….and oh, so true! I only feel “emptied” when I have said it all to Him….in whatever manner needed. He empties your heart and then fills it back up…with HIM, with His peace, and with His love. Thank you, Beth. I needed to be reminded of this. I KNOW this….I just sometimes STILL fail to do it. Thank you….

  18. 118
    christina says:

    Beth, I’m sorry for your “pinecone.” Thank you for permission (by example) to dump out our junk drawers before God. So many relationships are rocking from profound changes in this season, and I do need to take time to be “raw” before God about them. Why do I try to keep it together even with my Father?

    So, thanks.

  19. 119
    Warm in Alaska says:

    …thank you…

  20. 120
    Bonnie says:

    I know this is what I need to do but, I will not. If I do then somehow it will make me have to face the pain again. To bury it and wait for time to pass (time heals right?) is most comfortable to me. Where do I get the courage to journal? I can’t imagine myself writing down such words.

  21. 121
    Sharon j. says:

    Thank you! We have been through it lately! One thing after another I need to voice those concerns in my heart to Him! What seems impossible what seems so frustrating… I haven’t done that gone to Him with it all! Needed that Word! Gotta go tell Him thank you!

  22. 122
    C says:

    Dear Beth,
    I believe I needed this but I don’t know how to apply this to my life. My heart feels so heavy & full. There is so much to pray for in the world, in my family & in me personally. I feel so weighed down & chaotic & that I constantly let God down. I know that no matter what, I have to keep praying & that God knows what we need & He will take care of all His loved ones. I come to pray but I don’t know what to pray so I just end up saying “Please help us in Jesus’ name” & I read in the Bible. When I am reading or attending mass, I feel better but when I’m done, it doesn’t take long for my circumstances to weigh me down again. I feel so hopeless like nothing will get better again. BUT I do believe in God. I trust Him & deep down I know He will take care of everything in His time. If I didn’t have Him, I would be absolutely nothing. Thank God for Him & Jesus & the Holy Spirit.
    I was a very strong prayer warrior & now I feel like I’m nothing. Sisters please pray for me. Thank you.

  23. 123
    Max says:

    Thanks Beth… I, too have lost someone so special to me-my MOM. I understand why God chose her, when he did. I pray for more understanding and know my MOM is no longer suffering.

  24. 124
    Becca says:

    The words you used, the “slender streak of clarity”, brought me back to a time a little over a year ago… a “book-mark moment” if you will… where God placed me in a humbling position to need rescue through a friend due to physical manifestations of a health situation. In a blog post I think I referred to a particular point amidst the muddle in my brain as a “lazer shot of clarity”, only for a moment, to do what needed to be done in order to receive help. And if I’m being honest, it was a humbling streak of clarity for me spiritually as well.
    But despite that bookmark moment, I think it’s probably still one of the areas in which I go all Jonah the most… ignore the voice of God or even run from it…
    My husband was all up in my business in his sermon last night (ok, so really the Holy Spirit was all up in my business):
    “Allow yourself to love someone enough to get messy alongside of them. When someone reaches out a hand, you drop the pride and you take it. And you let. them. love. you. This will require you to trust them… sometimes the hand of God is the hand of a friend that He sent to you…maybe you need to be humble enough to go and ask someone to pray with you… let somebody love you enough to walk with you.”
    Truth is, when I don’t practice this with people, I find it’s pretty representative that I’m not practicing it with God. Thanks for this.

  25. 125
    Sarah says:

    It’s nice when you can share openly with God isn’t it? It’s nice to be able to share with family of origin and friends but this doesn’t always happen.

  26. 126
    lynda rickey says:

    Only three things to say:
    Thank you, powerful and love you Beth!
    Lynda

  27. 127
    Jen B. says:

    This message is so on point it isn’t funny. I have been holding on to a hurt that has cut me so deep…yet I know what the Word says about not allowing a bitter root to form…about not letting the sun go down on my anger. I show smiles and I laugh like things are okay before the person who has hurt me but inside, I am so angry. I am so conflicted because while in action I feel I am honoring God, I know He sees my heart and is displeased. Thanks for this post, I will be sure to get raw before the Lord and I feel confident in doing so, there will be healing.

  28. 128
    Elisabeth says:

    As usual………Beautiful!!!

  29. 129
    Jonni says:

    Last night, overwhelmed with burdens too numerous to count and too trivial, compared to the state of this world, to mention. I cried out to The Lord. In the midst of praying words I didn’t know to pray that sounded more like grumbling, I remembered Beth’s example: Help me Jesus! Only then was I able to becomes quietened enough to sleep. Somewhere in the night “Psalm 34″ kept coming to my mind and was forefront this morning. My troubles haven’t gone anywhere but Praise God I’ve been heard! Thank you Beth. You are mightily used!

  30. 130
    Amanda Goff says:

    Being raw with God throws us to His door time and again. It is that deep, deep need that we have that is out of the reach of our own understanding that throws us to God’s threshold. Revelation 3:14, 20 says “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: …Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. JESUS KNOWS OUR NEED, EVEN IF WE DON’T! He is knocking, and asking for a chance to clarify it to us. Each time we are thrown at the door, we need to answer.

  31. 131
    Amy says:

    I too can also say thank the Lord for prayer and a compassionate God and thank you for the church. This weekend was one of intense emotional unrest and I also have been wrestling for peace but I always eventually find it in the lap of Jesus. I believe in being raw too not only with God but also with people. I don’t know if I am right in this but I totally spilled my heart out to God first but then also to others and I confess it made me look very foolish but I feel like it broke that hidden hostility with humility.

  32. 132
    Magie Wolfe says:

    Thank you Beth, your honesty and authentic walk continues to reach me. Bringing my heart back to my Jesus, my only hope, my trustworthy kinsman redeemer. He has prompted me to hold you up in prayer every time you bless me through bible studies, the blog or living proof live….girl I have been praying for you a whole bunch! Again, thank you for being just who you are.

  33. 133
    Pam Burkham says:

    Dear Beth,

    Just when I need it most, I find one of your blogs. You are gifted by God Almighty to use just the right word for what so many of us need. Yes, we need to be Raw before God. Personally, I am so blessed, yet so concerned about our world and the brutality of those opposed to Jesus. His word screams to us to be anxious for nothing. I will get raw before Jesus and beg for the faith He deserves, knowing HE is in complete control.
    You are loved, Beth Moore. Thank You!

  34. 134
    Alisa Beets says:

    Understood.

    This one was mine. All mine.

    Thank you Beth!

  35. 135
    TeriElizabeth says:

    I had forgotten how well you understand me (us), or rather, how well I understand what you articulate so beautifully.

    I STILL, at age 55, struggle with being honestly raw before Our Lord. Crazy, I know because if HE doesn’t know me better than I know myself and intervened on my behalf many times I would have imploded as well.

    Why do I think if I just don’t think about it or speak it out loud in my hearts cry and prayers to God, it makes it “not so real”.

    After knowing Jesus all my life (interspersed with periods of running from HIM) HE is the only one that I can trust to still love me with a passion after I mess it all up.

    Love, blessings and peace to you, Beth and your entire family. You are a true godly inspiration for me

  36. 136
    Nicki says:

    Thank you for this great reminder. I was searching today for this! (Even though I didn’t know it was this I was searching for) I hope you get me;)
    I have done several of Beth’s Bible studies over the years but I have never read her blog. Nothing personal I just haven’t been a blog person. Today I am struggling with some uglies and I mostly mean me. My husband is in full time ministry which means I’m right there with him. I find myself so lonely and today I was just looking for a neutral place. It’s not easy to always be transparent especially in ministry. I needed to be reminded God is in this with me. Thank you for sharing this much needed word.
    Much Love

  37. 137
    Marlys says:

    Amen! He knows my heart better than I do and I am always reconciled to His will when I submit to His prompting to just be honest with Him. So thankful that He is so faithful.

  38. 138
    Tricia says:

    While I have trusted and cared and been surprised by all of your blessings God. I just fail to understand. I am sad, I am sad that I lost this baby, I know it was only in the womb for 7 weeks but I was hopeful and for 50 months I really hadn’t been. You gave me that hope and I loved being in the state but I want that hope to endure. I love the 3 of us in our family, I really love us, but I know Charlie would be a good brother and I know that John and I are older but I think we could do it. I was excited and nervous and talked to you so much these past weeks. The bible study you placed on my heart all summer has become dear to my heart and challenged it, but this morning I’m just sad. I don’t want it to be all dramatic and people to be all hugging and want me to cry a lot but I’m just sad. A 3rd miscarriage, I don’t need to understand, I want to understand but I know I won’t till I join you. I’m just sad. Thanks for all you did with John this week. He was loving and kind and patient and supportive, just the husband and father you want him to be. I’m just sad, and I want to be joyful and praying continuously but I’m sad. I know you have my good and I know I’ll be alright but I don’t want to cry all day and I don’t want my little guy to keep asking me if I’m ok, I wanted to be a mom again, I didn’t know how good I was going to be at it but I try my best and love our family, so I would have really tried my best. We will be fine, I have so much to thank you for!!! I will be better I promise, i will keep my chin up, my face and body will recover, I just hope my heart does soon. Amen.

  39. 139
    Pam D. says:

    Thank you, Beth. We can be raw and still be used by God in ministry. I had almost forgotten this. Don’t let the enemy make you feel disqualified!

  40. 140
    Pam says:

    Thank you Beth.

  41. 141
    Bridget Frederick says:

    Beth,
    Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I can truly say I understand that place with God where I am completely raw before Him… bearing my heart however painful the conversation may be, BUT always finishing with a sense of relief because a cleansing has just taken place. There is such liberty in being honest, RAW, even at the risk of pain. It’s never waisted before our Lord. There is always a peace on the other side having been poured out to receive His peace.