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  • Denise Kohlmeyer


“The theological reality of God’s withness…needs to be welcomed into our lives, bodies, and minds As we do that, what is true becomes more true and our friendship with God deepens. That’s prayer.”


I love that quote from Strahan Coleman in his book, “Beholding,” which I’ve been reading and meditating on for the past month. Beholding has awakened in me a fresh sense of God’s presence, His withness.


That struggle is real for me, knowing if God is truly with me, if He really loves me…since He knows everything about me. I did not grow up in what some call a loving, stable home. There was always chaos, sibling drama, and, unfortunately, parental neglect.


When I surrendered my life to Christ in 1987, I was drawn mostly by the love expressed to me by God’s children/witnesses at the college I was attending. I like to say I was loved to Christ.


That small InterVarsity group was overflowing with compassion, acceptance, and love. I miss that group, and I am only in touch with one of them to this day, but the most important one, the one who introduced me to Jesus.


But since those days at Franklin College, living in the ever-present withness of God’s love and acceptance has ebbed and flowed. Sometimes I feel it, know it deep in my soul; others times not. I long for it to be a constant reality in my life, that I would never doubt my Father, Emmanuel, is always with me.


So, This is my prayer-goal for this year—I don’t make resolutions necessarily—to live intentionally in that abiding withness, to stand firm on, regardless of feelings, that God is forever with me, beside me, guiding me, singing over me. Loving me for who I am. I want a divine friendship that I never have to question or doubt, and one that will never drift with time, like that InterVarsity group did.


My unceasing prayer for 2024 is this: Thank you, God, for being with me always! Let me live, move, and have my being in the reality of Your continual, companionably withness.


Let it be your prayer too, for God is with YOU, too. Welcome it. Accept it. Abide in it.


Be encouraged. Be blessed. And I hope and pray you all have a happy and healthy new year!


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