At the beginning of this year, I had enlightening encounters with both Jesus and the Holy Spirit that deepened my relationships with them and heightened my understanding of who they are.
I uncovered just how much Jesus gets us in our pain and is our dark night companion. With the Holy Spirit, I was enlightened on just how much joy our delighted companion finds in journeying with us. I only assumed that an enlightenment of God was on its way at some point, too.
And it took a minute, but it did indeed come.
Church has looked different for my family and me as we are navigating life with a toddler. Instead of multiple in-person gatherings a month, our time with church is spent online or informally throughout the week. It’s been an adjustment, but it’s been helpful in one aspect I wasn’t expecting it to be.
I’ve associated God as the authority of the Trinity. Earthly authority and I have a weighted past that I have a hard time not projecting onto God. I’ve never seen God as a companion, rather He is the authority that I’m supposed to respect, listen to, abide by, and please.
Whenever I would have an encounter with God that turned relational, I always switched who I was interacting with to Jesus in my mind, because Jesus I did see as a companion.
Churches can unintentionally reinforce this with the common sermon structure churches have. Someone of authority preaches from God’s work and I am again in a position where I respect, listen to, abide by, and please according to the message that is being preached.
So, I was curious where this enlightenment was going to go when it came to God because I’ve never seen Him as a companion but that was the common thread between the other two.
In the midst of not having the traditional church structure I am so used to, I’ve been challenged to encounter God on my own and have been held personally responsible for curating conversation and connection with God. And much of this has occurred in the slowness with my son outdoors.
While conversations with God seemed to be picking up and occurring more frequently, it was when I began reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass,” that it all clicked in place. In her book, she notes when we look out at nature, God could have created everything much less beautiful than it is. But He didn’t.
And that’s when it all fell into place.
I walked back outside and I looked around with senses anew. The birds singing struck my ears with a sweet, new sound. The flowers around me were strikingly beautiful with their vast colors. And the feel of the dirt beneath my feet was pleasantly soft, a cushion for my bare feet. And I realized God made creation the way that He did because we are His companions.
I imagined God going through His creation process and chuckling softly to Himself as He created the mountains, knowing they would cause us to pause and stand in wonder. I can see Him giddy with excitement over the ocean as He knew its enormity and beauty would instill deep, reverent awe. And flowers. I can see him joyfully choosing all the beautiful flowers there are and deeply smiling as He could see all of us that would pause, slow down, and be present because of their beauty.
I could no longer escape that the part of the trinity I had always deemed the authority, God, was revealing just how deeply relational He is, too. I couldn’t pass this deep attunement over to Jesus because God has always been Creator to me.
Instead, I sat, and as the wind blew I noticed it felt much more like the Spirit of God than the wind. And with it, there was a peaceful chuckle as I was finally seeing what God had placed before me all my life. That He’s our companion. He is a loving papa who delights in us, wants to sit in the dark with us, wants the morning coffees, evening walks, work frustrations, family stressors, relaxing vacations, mundane housework, and so much more. He wants every part of our journey.
I find that through this companionship, He meets us each uniquely. So, I can’t guarantee that if you walk outside you are going to meet Him the same way I did. But, I can guarantee there is some way He is trying to be there for you. So may you be still, pause, and have eyes opened anew to see Him. Our companion.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC