When I stumbled across this makeshift door of intertwined branches it made me think about the barriers that I place around myself daily making it harder to connect with God.  Just like the branches in this photo have been carefully placed together forming an obstruction, I do this, quite often, with sin and guilt. 

My first stick would be resentment, the second would be judgement, my third branch would be that little white lie that I told, the fourth would be proudness, and so on and so on. All these sticks and more, join in my makeshift barrier, and make me question why God would even want to spend time with a sinner like me.  Then when I question myself enough, I hear the dark words, like a grey circling cloud, over me, confirming my fears: why would He. 

So the devil wins, the barricade is up; I do not pick up my Bible, or reach out to God and pray.  Instead, I crouch down behind the barrier positioned between the Lord and I cry a little inside.

Then I feel a stirring - the Holy Spirit.  As I lift my eyes up slowly, I hear the faint whisper of God calling my name, reaching out to me, telling me so gently that I am his daughter, and He is my Father, and He loves me.  God picks me up from the dust, forgives me and tells me to have faith.  Faith that He loves, faith that I am forgiven daily, faith in the knowledge that I can walk freely with him because Jesus gave his life at the cross. 

Jesus carried the weight of my sin and yours so that we can have a life that is worth living.  We read in Romans 5:8 (NLT) “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”.  With God in our sight and beside us we can start to take down the barriers bit by bit.  We can pick up our Bibles and read just how wonderful and forgiving, generous and loving, faithful and kind our Father truly is.  As we wrap ourselves in the presence of God, His love abounds.  As we whisper in prayer, God leans in to hear us. This is sacred ground; this moment, this second, this relationship is all that we need.  

1 John 3:20 (TPT) reads, “Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and he knows everything there is to know about us”.

Dear Lord, our Father, thank you for hearing our cries as we hide behind our makeshift barriers.  We thank you Lord that your love is so powerful that sin can have no permanent hold on us.  Help us to stand on your Holy sacred ground as we breathe in your presence.  Guide us Lord, to the safety of your loving embrace where we can find comfort. Amen. 

Maxine Hallett writes the devotionals for Woman Alive magazine. Get the latest issue here or subscribe to get a full year of monthly magazines for jus £35.