Finding Altars in the Strangest Places

Last week I posted words written by Barbara Brown Taylor about finding altars of remembrance in our every day doings. Those words have stuck with me throughout the week. They have caused me to ponder on altars of the past and how I could make altars now to remember God’s presence and His goodness to me and my family.

In thinking about my altars of the past, it occurred to me that the most heart-jarring remembrance of God’s presence in my life revolves around an altar that is not a physical object, like a stone, but rather this altar is a daily occurrence of nature. What a gift! Every day I am reminded by God’s grace and hope due to this natural occurrence.

Travel back with me in time when I was in my early twenties. I was in my second year of college. Due to a gazillion reasons, the summer before my second year of college saw me dabble in the practices of bulimia. This soon became both my haven and my drug of choice. By the time I returned to college I was in deep to bingeing and purging. As is par for the course with any addiction, keeping secrets and lying also became part of my arsenal for survival. Spring arrived of that second year and I was a mess. I couldn’t focus on my studies, all I could think of, obsess on was food–how I was going to fill myself up with it and then how I was going to empty myself of it. The guilt and shame that accompanied those behaviours are still crystal clear to me even 30 years later.

One morning, early, I was in my apartment, reading God’s Word. The words were swimming before my eyes in pools of tears as I prayed for healing and for sanity. I remember looking up out of my balcony door and was treated to the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen before and since. It took my breath away. I knew right at that moment that that sunrise was God’s way of telling me that I was going to survive this mess that I had gotten myself into, that there was hope, hope in Him. It took 14 years for healing to occur in my body. There were many times when I thought that I couldn’t fight this anymore but God would place that sunrise in my memory and it would give me the strength to keep fighting.

That sunrise has become my altar.

Every time I am treated to a sunrise (which in Sasktachewan is more often than naught) I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in bringing me out of a dark, horrible place. I am reminded of healing and of hope, things that could not have happened without God’s presence in my life.

Sunrises have become my Bethel, House of God.

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