Falling in Love For the First Time, All Over Again

by | Jan 27, 2014 | Encouragement, Identity


Writing can be like solitary confinement to an extrovert. You feel as though you might lose the essence of who you are to the sacredness of the craft. With every opportunity to unfold from the cocoon of the muse and fly free before the masses, there is a lurking fear that the part of you sidelined in isolation, will eventually be lost forever.

I fear I will forget how to be myself among crowds of people.

The cramped space between seats on an airplane last week provided comfort for my worries, a dress rehearsal on my calling.

Camouflage from head to toe sat next to the window and brushed my elbow. I thought he might be a cousin in the family of Duck Dynasty, sans a straggly beard hanging over his chest. Both hands holding the pages of a hunting magazine over his lap, he asks if Atlanta is my final destination, breaking the awkwardness between strangers.

I learn he is headed to Kansas for a duck hunting tradition with a group of friends, despite a wind chill of forty below zero.

“It’s not about the hunt, you know,” he leans into my shoulder, keeping his neck straight, “it’s about the camaraderie, always has been.”

Yes, life always goes back to relationship, I thought for a minute. He turns the page, skims an article while I push my purse underneath the seat in front of me. Gradually, we wade into conversation, each topic dangling in the atmosphere like cloud fragments outside the oval window.

“I’m in the forestry business,” he says, “and the Farmer’s Almanac has never been wrong about the weather. We’ll be getting snow at the beach during the first two weeks of February.”

I tell him my kids would like that very much.

An hour later, Jesus enters the conversation. That one word changes everything doesn’t it?

He mentions how he has learned how to listen for the voice of Jesus and regrets not practicing sooner. When I tell him I’m writing a book about that subject, he turns his head toward me, looks in my eyes for the first time in our conversation and insists that I contact him when I publish.

Now I am listening differently.


There is a part of myself that comes to the surface when inserted into the sea of humanity. Like a bucket of cold water pulled from inky depths, my soul is satiated with engagement after endless days of thirst. It’s as if the whole world shrinks away and all that is left is the incarnation of Christ flowing through each of my five senses.

I am drowning in an uncorked dam of Christ’s love spilling out from the beauty He creates within each one of us.

My final destination is Houston, where I gather with people from all over the world. From that first conversation until the last, I experience the embodiment of Christ in each divinely orchestrated conversation like the strings of a marionette guided by God’s fingers.

Upon downloading the events of last week with my daughter, she walks to the front door in her bare feet to retrieve a notebook from her car parked in the driveway. Stopping abruptly, she turns around in a swath of daylight outlining the frame of her figure from the back and says “Hey Mom, did you know we’re supposed to get snow here this week?”

And I can’t talk for the lump in my throat.

Sometimes God tucks you away in isolation, not because he’s forgotten and left, but because he wants you to recognize his love language among the masses. Like the first time a flurry of butterflies lands on your stomach and your flesh faints with desire.

He waits to be wanted, writes Tozer. And it’s beautiful when you notice the way he courts you like a gentleman.

In community with Laura, Holley, Jennifer, Angie

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Diane Bailey

    “Sometimes God tucks you away in isolation, not because he’s forgotten and left, but because he wants you to recognize his love language among the masses.” That is beautiful, Shelly. I love the picture of the lover watching his beloved, waiting for her to recognize him. Wow!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Diane, I’m humbled by your comment.

  2. MsLorretty

    You know Shelley… the longer I remain vulnerable and awake and alive out here … the more I see and experience this. It’s the golden thread binding the remnants together.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m glad you are feeling it too.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Let me tell you, Shelly, writing can also be extremely isolating for an introvert. I will never forget the first time I realized that–not that I”m an introvert: I’ve known that for a long time. Rather, until I started writing in earnest, I never realized I would have to do it alone. It was a sobering realization–shocking, really, even though it should have been obvious. But I also came to realize that God knew my address, and that He could locate and connect me whenever He wanted (I think, for example, of how you and I met)! And I also know that you can hear Him singularly in solitude. But isn’t it wonderful when He also orchestrates meetings amid the masses? Actually, that aspect of His sovereignty–His orchestrating those split-second, soul-to-soul meetings–is nothing short of miraculous, when you really think about it….of all those people in the world, and He times it just so perfectly and precisely that two people will meet and connect and the one is promising to buy the other’s book! And I love how you share all the wonder with Murielle!!! So perfect. May I say, too, that I love your Tozer quote. I’m reading The Pursuit of God again for a seminar I’m writing. He’s breathtaking, because he is so passionate about our breathtaking God!
    Love you, dear one.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m learning that even when we feel he is absent, he is using the silence to speak to us as well. Maybe that seems pollyanna or pretentious but I’ve never felt abandoned by the mute of his voice during seasons of hardship.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        not at all. you are right on target!

  4. Elizabeth Stewart

    It’s like you found the exact right words for things I too have felt and experienced but didn’t myself know how to put into words. Your words blessed me so much.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m not sure if I could’ve been given a greater compliment Elizabeth, thank you. I’m so glad.

  5. jenni ho-huan

    Hi! the line ‘solitary confinement’ caught me. it is so true. i sometimes only just manage to sit and write – then i love it so much – and hate to leave it. Ever since I waded deeper into solitude, and then, writing, everything is more luminous but also a new dread of the masses comes over me. Each time i get out and my hubs asked, ‘did u have a good time?’, i don’t know how to answer him!

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, Jenni, I get this. I do. It’s a bit of a wrestling match at times isn’t it?

  6. sandy

    Solitary confinement! Fear of forgetting how to be myself in crowds! I relate! For the past 3 years I am caregiving my husband of 45 years as he courageously battles cancer. Writing only in my heart, but not with words one can read…some how your words have really encouraged me to now write those words…Thank-you Shelly!….as you have reached one in solitary confinement!

    • Shelly Miller

      What a gift Sandy. If what I shared here can encourage you to write out your heart, then it was worth every minute. I think you will find journalling a wonderful way to process what you are feeling and you will probably be surprised at what comes out. My heart goes out to you as you take care of your husband. Thanking God for those 45 years together, not many can say that.

  7. Linda@Creekside

    The introverted me learned a few lessons from the extroverted you today, Shelly. Thank you …

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m thankful Linda.

  8. Lisa notes...

    A beautiful story, Shelly. So glad God set up that divine encounter.

    “Yes, life always goes back to relationship.” That’s why my husband hunts–to be with his dad and brother. He enjoys the hunt itself somewhat, but more important to him is time spent with his family. I’m proud of him for that (because it’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make! ha). I’ll just spend time with them when we eat what they killed. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Hunting is quite a popular hobby where I live Lisa, and I’ve always known it was more about the actual gathering than what they actually killed. It was fun to hear him say it though.

  9. Christie Purifoy

    This is beautiful, Shelly. I can tell we hear God’s voice in similar ways. Of course, the introvert/extrovert thing means we’re very different, but I love how a well told story can allow me to see the world through an extrovert’s eyes – even for a moment.

    • Shelly Miller

      I think we do too Christie, I feel that way when I read what you write as well. You often say what I’m feeling and cannot express.

  10. Paula

    “Love language for the masses”…so beautifully written. Would like to have seen you at the moment Murielle said that snow was predicted!!

    • Shelly Miller

      I know. I stood there in my jammies, holding my tea cup, smiling at her longer than usual. She furrowed her brows and said, “What?” and I told her “I’m just aware of how profoundly God is speaking right now.” She gets it, thankfully she doesn’t think her mother is a whack job. (I actually had this in the original story, then took it out for length.)

  11. Lyli Dunbar

    I love it when He gives you a divine appointment like this one. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Lyli, what a gift.

  12. Kendra Roehl

    Love this post Shelly! Thanks for sharing your heart. Love when God shows up in the everyday things, like conversations on an airplane.

    • Shelly Miller

      I had another on my second flight Kendra . . . but this is a blog, not a book. *wink* Thanks for stopping by.

  13. bluecottonmemory

    Shelley – I love. love this – and the last line – oh-my – that is a book, friend – that needs to be written!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you for the kindness expressed in your words and in sharing my post. I appreciate you.

  14. Angie Ryg

    “I am drowning in an uncorked dam of Christ’s love spilling out from the beauty He creates within each one of us.”

    Oh yes, this beauty of His making. I love this and I loved that comment down there about your daughter knowing you are not whack job. Mine is like that too. I pray I am passing on the baton for sweet expectations from God.

    • Shelly Miller

      You are such an encourager, you know that, right? Thanks Angie, love having a visit from you anytime.

  15. Dayle Allen Shockley

    One thing God is and that is a gentleman, never crashing into our world uninvited, always hoping we will open the door.

    Joining you from Laura’s link-up, which I just found, happily.

    • Shelly Miller

      Dayle, so glad you found Laura’s link-up, that Laura is a good soul and a heart friend. And thankful you stopped by my place, hope you’ll come back and visit.

  16. Laura Boggess

    Oh, this is just lovely, Shelly. I found myself sitting next to you and your new friend, longing to take part in the conversation. You always shine Jesus so well, my friend.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Laura, you bless me, always.

  17. Nancy Ruegg

    Tozer was the first (to my knowledge) to recognize that we become acquainted with God through the five senses of the heart, just as we learn about material things through our physical senses. We see his love through the beauty of creation, hear his voice in scripture, feel his kindness through the saints around us, etc. And like you: when I recognize his presence in such gifts, a lump often does come to my throat!

    Thank you for your heart-touching, poetic voice, Shelly. I, too, will look forward to the publication of your book!

    • Shelly Miller

      That Tozer is one of my favorites. The Knowledge of the Holy rocked my world the first time I read it and it still does when I revisit. Thanks for being here Nancy. I value your encouragement about the book, I’m excited about the whole process.

  18. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    What a great story. As a fellow extrovert, I so get this struggle. And then to see the stories that come through relationships – see how this is God’s very hand through the relating and story telling both…You bless.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh Ashley, there are so few of us in the this world of writing, its wonderful to have lovely you as a sojourner extroverting beside me.

  19. Sarah Knepper

    Beautiful story Shelly! Visiting from Holley’s link up 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Sarah. I’m drawn to your blog name since we share Redemption in it.

  20. Mel

    Such beautiful words…love this. And as a fellow extrovert…yes. {Raising hand and jumping up and down!} Thank you for this today. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Yay, I love that your waving your hand on the extroverting side of the word river Mel. Its fun to find out which of us are baring the burden of all the quiet when we want to be talking to . . .anyone. *wink*

  21. Lanette Haskins

    Love this Shelly! Such a beautiful message!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Lanette, that means a lot to me friend. Glad to see you here.

  22. Tresta Payne

    Shelly, this is stunning. God makes so many connections for us and what a joy to see them come together! So glad I read this today.

    • Shelly Miller

      Tresta, I tried to leave a comment on your post three times and finally gave up. I wanted you to know how much it means to me that you left a comment and tweeted my story. Appreciate you so very much.

  23. Mary Gemmill

    Oh Shelley- this comment touched my heart today: He waits to be wanted, writes Tozer. And it’s beautiful when you notice the way he courts you like a gentleman.

    I also heard you when you said: He mentions how he has learned how to listen for the voice of
    Jesus and regrets not practicing sooner. When I tell him I’m writing a book
    about that subject, he turns his head toward me, looks in my eyes for the first
    time in our conversation and insists that I contact him when I publish.

    Now I am
    listening differently.

    It’s good to learn to listen- and I am glad you will teach many how to do so 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest