Have you ever had a moment where you pause and sit in wonder at what is transpiring? Those moments where you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit so acutely. Or perhaps a moment shared with another where your heart is elevated to rejoicing at just being in each other’s company?

I like to think of those moments as Visitation Moments. The joy of the moment when Mary and Elizabeth embrace is a true overflow of the Holy Spirit, filled with wonder and awe. I have experienced similar moments, although on a lesser level for sure as I have not embraced the beautiful human tabernacle of my savior, yet. God willing, I will in heaven….

I have however had moments shared with dear friends, sitting on the porch watching the sunset, where hearts are shared and trust is built and you realize God is present in this moment. I think it’s just so important to stop and recognize God’s presence. I like to think of Him smiling, being welcomed into the shared moment.

I’m pondering this and thinking perhaps Visitation moments are not just wonder and awe in a joyful moment. Visitation moments are where we recognize and stand in wonder and awe of the presence of God in any moment. I remember standing by my son’s hospital bed after one of his more challenging surgeries, and thinking how on Earth are we going to help him through this? How are we, Ryan and I, going to both walk through this valley and also shepherd our family and friends through this? Tears falling down my face, I looked over at Ryan who was standing at the head of the bed, wiping Gabe’s hair back from his face and clearly pondering this as well. We shared a look, one of many through our intertwined life. This look was of understanding, of breath. There were no smiles. There was no exalting and yet a strong recognition that we were together, surrounded, sheltered, and strengthened by the Spirit, walking forward and we rejoiced. I think Visitation moments can be like that.

Visitation moments can of course also be incredibly intimate between husband and wife, the recognition that God sanctifies and joins us and blesses this union. They are tender, beautiful and holy.

Visitation moments can be personal and sweet; like an embrace we see people share at airports. I am waiting to go home from a writer’s conference and am imagining the embrace I will share with my husband when I walk off my plane. I picture many of those embraces I have seen at airports over the years and wonder what if. What if we stopped and recognized that God is in those moments? In my attempt at using my children’s language, we “level up” the moment by inviting and recognizing Jesus in it all: grandparent to grandchild, brother to sister, friend to friend.

I will be spending the morning of this Feast Day with one of my dear friends celebrating. I remember when I first met her. It was a lightbulb moment for me. She spoke truth into a conversation and called everyone gently back to holiness and I looked up from the group and literally thought “This one.. You Lord have gifted me with this friend.” From that moment on, no matter the distance or life’s events, whenever we gather or have the gift of conversation, my heart is elevated to wonder and awe. It can be just a quick request for prayer, or the gift of a meal shared together, the wonder I have for the gift of her in my life, the way she resets me and reorients me, I see Mary and Elizabeth sharing the same moments. Both of them reorienting the other to Christ, calling each other closer in trust and into a deeper surrender; the better version of themselves. Isn’t that what true friends do for the other? Again, husband and wife, sister to sister, brother to brother, friend to friend, when we recognize the presence of Christ in the other, He becomes part of the shared moment, and it is made more beautiful in its gift. I am blessed to be gifted with a small handful of these relationships in my life and oh how they sustain me.

The feast of the Visitation is a gift we need to celebrate. Perhaps we take a moment to ponder who in our lives have we shared these encounters with? Maybe we gift that phone call and catch up. Perhaps we write the note or if close in location, we meet for that cup of coffee and look up at each other and share the wonder that God is present in it all and it is so so good. Happy Feast Day friends.

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