As I sat on the airplane on my way back home, I heard the old familiar refrain of “you were so busy ‘doing’ that you didn’t connect with God as much as you should have this week”. When I hear this I’m always filled with a whole lot of sadness and condemnation – as if I’m not trying hard enough.

Anybody else experienced this?

My sister called me on Monday morning and told me the news. “Daddy just passed away.”

Even though he’d been in and out of hospital, I had just spoken to him 2 hours earlier and he seemed to be ‘on the mend’. The antibiotics were doing their job and he was in better spirits than I’d seen him for days.

Suddenly, he was gone.

Within 3 hours I had booked a flight to the UK, packed my bags and was on the way to the airport.

To say that the week I had was intense, would be an understatement. Daddy had a 2-bedroom apartment in an Assisted Living Facility and my sister and I gave ourselves 7 days to clear it all.

Selling furniture, paying bills, phoning services, sorting through memories, jetlag, grief – all such a whirlwind of activity and emotions. There was so much to do that I didn’t even begin to have time to process that my beloved Dad was no longer with us.

By the time I stepped back on the plane a week later, I was utterly exhausted.

So it was, as I sat staring out of the window, that I simply couldn’t hold it in anymore and the tears began to flow.

I felt so bad that in the midst of all the activity I didn’t stay as connected to God as I know I could have. I felt like I had no more capacity to deal with anything else besides the tasks in front of me and the deadline I had set – never mind have quiet time with God on top of that.

I know that the sadness I felt is because I so long to be constantly and deeply aware of the connection I have with Holy Spirit. I see this as a good reminder of the invitation He extends to me every moment of the day. The invitation to hear Him, rely on Him, be delighted with Him.

However, the condemnation and thoughts that had me feeling unworthy and miserable, were definitely not from Him. It literally felt as if my exhausted mind and body were being bombarded with guilt and shame and all I wanted it to do was stop!

The enemy has a way of delighting in attacking us even more when our defenses are weak. I was a perfect target.

I cried out to God saying, “I need Your help!”
Even though these accusations are true, I know they are not from You and I don’t have any strength left to fight them on my own.”

As I felt my mascara running down my face I heard Him say gently and powerfully, “Lisa, I have been holding you all this week. When you didn’t have the strength to hold onto Me, I was holding onto you”
(by this time, I was uggggly crying!!)

We walked through the week in my memory and He showed me the times when He kissed me. The times when the Carers and Residents would come in and share their memories of time with my Dad and how much they loved him. The times when He brought my friends around me to grieve with me. The times when I was refreshed by noticing the exquisite English countryside as I drove.

I was totally undone by the Truth that the Lord God Almighty is not only the Creator of the Universe but He is also my Dad who holds me when I cry.

His intentional kindness toward me led me to want to connect with Him even more. I said how sorry I was that I hadn’t put Him first and leaned on Him as He invites me to (Rom 2:4).

As I sat and let His love wash over me I felt like I could finally start grieving. I felt safe and secure in the love of a Father who ‘has me in the palm of His hand’

“What a glorious God! He gives us salvation over and over, then daily he carries our burdens!
Pause in his presence”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭68:19‬ ‭(TPT‬‬)

Where do you feel guilt and condemnation that you are not connecting with Father God as you ‘should’?

Tell Him how you feel, repent for being busy and distracted and give Him the lies of never enough that are trying to beat you when you are down.

Ask Him for the truth about how He sees you and feels toward you in this moment.

Invite him, right now, to show you where He has been with you this week.

Allow His peace and comfort to wash over you and pause in His presence.

Lisa van den Berg comes from South Africa and has 15+ years experience in helping people to practically develop their dreams.

She has worked in both business and church sectors and specializes in building systems that support building people. Her ability to see to the heart of a matter and put both pastoral and technical structures in place to aid growth, enables healthy life success.

Lisa is the Director of Heaven in Business Online, the online Marketplace ministry arm of Bethel Church. Her and her husband Frans, live in Redding, CA.