Why am I interested in the Presence of the Lord? At 4 a.m. on September 28, 1998, I was in the dark in the hallway at Mr. H’s parents’ house. Two of my children were not pleased to be in the hallway with me at that time of the morning. The Sr. H's lived in Ocean Springs, which was not a good place to be on that particular date. Hurricane Georges was coming ashore right over the house. Mr. H's mother was visibly upset at being in the eye of the hurricane. She was praying and more or less oblivious to the rest of us. I could see her at the other end of the hall, thanks to M the Flashlight Queen, age almost 4. I kept thinking: Why can't I pray like that? One reason was the 2 little girls jumping all over me.
A couple of hours later, both little girls were asleep, L (age 1) across my lap. As I had a chance to reflect, I realized that I had not been afraid during the storm. I had been aware of the wind and rain, but not afraid of it. Was it because I had been under the umbrella of my mother-in-law's prayer? I looked down at L, sleeping in my lap, and recognized that was how I felt during the whole thing. My child wasn't talking to me, or calling me, or pleading with me. She was just laying there in my lap, trusting me to be the mommy and do the things a mommy is supposed to do. She could sleep, trusting me to do what was necessary. That was exactly how I felt: like I was in God's lap, letting Him do what was necessary, since Hurricane Georges was bigger than anything my power could handle.
In the days that followed, I thought a great deal about the Presence of God. I realized that the majority of solos I had sung in church were about the Presence of God. I love patterns. I love to see how things fit together. A week or so later I was looking for a devotional book at a Christian book store in Mobile. That’s not the quiet, thoughtful activity it sounds like. L was screaming because I wouldn’t let her run loose in the store, and M wanted everything “Veggie Tale” that she could see. Amid this chaos, I spotted a book called Joy in Christ’s Presence by Charles Spurgeon. I snatched it up and took my screamers home. Chapter 2 of that book is called “Under His Shadow.” That chapter was inspired by a book of poetry by Frances Ridley Havergal titled Under His Shadow. I was excited by how this fit in with what I had been thinking about.