[god in the yard] gone: presence

feet, planted, grounded, dirt, growth

Written by laura boggess

Laura lives in the hills of West Virginia with her husband and two sons. She is a psychologist by day, but spends her free time dreaming out loud--crafting stories that share the rich lessons a life of deep faith teaches. You can read more about her at the Wellspring (http://lauraboggess.blogspot.com), where she blogs about life and faith.

May 27, 2011

feet, planted, grounded, dirt, growth


Every day I practice looking for Him. I have read Brother Lawrence. He taught me to look. And Ann tells me how not to practice, but how to abide.

Still, I miss Him some days. No matter how I look. Or how I don’t. Some days my heart is a stone and the heaviness weighs down any presence of the Spirit. How can I abide in such cold? Some days, I run from Him, throw angry glares in His direction, stab at His heart with my knife words.

Still, I look. I can’t help it. I know He’s there.

Lord, let me learn the rhythms of presence, which include seasons of absence. Let me not be afraid, but remember that you and I are always together, even when it seems we are apart. (Week 7 prayer, L.L. Barkat, God in the Yard)

Sometimes all that I find is His absence.

The night is a season, not the whole, just a slice. Like shadows that sometimes fall across the lawn, a small and transient space…Night tends to slow us, ground us. In obscurity we can spread ourselves out, open our souls with a posture of renewed expectancy, focus and trust…There in darkness, the Spirit leans in, poised for our lying down and sleep—a seed on a smooth slim stem…(L.L. Barkat, God in the Yard)

I thought my feet were planted flat on the ground.

But when I check–roll around on the balls; spread toes to earth–I sink deeper. I become a seed. I am surrounded by dark. And so I reach, with the center of me; open my heart and rock back and forth until I feel a tiny reaching. Reaching for the light.

And then I grow.

I am a tree planted by streams of Living Water. Roots hold firm, silently extending down–drinking up depths and nourishment, anchoring me here…with Him.

I stretch branches up and rough bark becomes supple, velvet with moss…I  invite Him in and feel Him pass through leaves; rustle places long asleep–making music where there is none; creating beauty out of light.

In this quiet I hear His voice. What others intend to empty, He fills.

I am yours.

Soft, like breeze caress the words move over me.

El Roi…You see me. You know my heart.

Eyes close but His never do.

El Shaddai…All sufficient One. You fill.

He washes me–laps up against my soiled heart and carries away the dirt.

Jehovah Rapha…Healer. You tend to deeply wounded places.

I am whole.

It continues on, as I move limbs–bend and sway to His music.  Leaves lift, wave in joyous surrender as we dance.

I am more than bark and leaves…heart beats loud within this forest.  Blood rushes through me. His Spirit lives in me.

Sap oozes and the sweetness of His love drips from my pores.

He is here beside me; I see Him better with my heart–eyes closed to world, hands held loosely open.

He gives.

And gives.

I do not clutch these things tightly…but wrap my life around Him. Vines entwine, whisper into crevices, knotty limbs embrace…

This is the way I grow. I start as seed. Darkness all around.

It makes me miss the light.


This was written in response to week 7 of L.L. Barkat’s God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us. Won’t you join us?


    • Laraj


  1. Crystal Rowe

    I love this – I think I need to soak in it for a while.
    I never quite contemplated the balance between absence and presence until this chapter. And now – I think I’m left a little speechless.

    So I disappear to soak in the words you’ve shared …. thank you!

    • Anonymous

      Recognizing that there is a season of absence in presence was enlightening for me too, crystal. I think it makes absence less difficult…my faith that prasence will come back around stronger. I’m still contemplating the seasonal nature of it all. Of course, just because I feel a lack of presence doesn’t mean it is so. God is always there–mingling with my roots; so deep I can fool myself into thinking he’s not there.

  2. Krista Burdine

    Wow, I love this picture you paint of sinking into the soil and growing roots, then reaching high into the heavens to feel God’s presence. So often I think I am grounded in God, only to realize in a moment of upset that I wasn’t as grounded as I thought. So I too stop and really immerse myself, knowing his presence is there waiting for me. And the deeper I sink my feet, the more I grow. Thanks for this beautiful entry.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[god in the yard] gone: presence

by laura boggess time to read: 3 min