Monthly Archives: October 2016

Seeking God Day 19

haldenI’ll never forget the day that almost ended my life. I had been struggling with pain in my leg and shortness of breath for weeks. I had finally arrived at the understanding that something was really wrong with me. It wasn’t going to get better on it’s own. I never connected the two symptoms until someone else connected them for me and even then I found it hard to believe.

That morning, the walk from the parking lot to the reception desk was only a few hundred feet but it might as well been a mile. By the time I reached the door I couldn’t breathe, let alone speak. I was having a hard time seeing. Putting together the words I needed to tell the receptionist who I was seemed nearly impossible. Even then, once I had been ushered into an exam room I told all the medical personnel around me that they didn’t need to worry because I had everything under control. I was sure they were over reacting.

After an in-office EKG, which I thought was overkill, and a few words with the supervising Dr, I was told that an ambulance was on it’s way. The hospital they were taking me to was within view of the parking lot I had just come from but no one was going to let me get in my car and drive even two blocks. As I retell the story, I can see the wisdom in their cautiousness but as a participant I was annoyed with all the drama.

After an extremely short ambulance ride I sat in the ER and waited to hear the diagnosis. I had received 100% Oxygen on the ride over and was feeling a lot better. I could breathe again and thought I would soon be on my way home. The truth of what was going on was more serious and more life threatening than I could have ever imagined. Only now, do I truly recognize the danger I was in. I had two blood clots in my legs and multiple(too many to count) pulmonary embolisms in my lungs. My lungs were filling up with hard blood clots and that is why it was becoming more and more difficult to draw enough breath.

The real and present danger I was in was that one of those clots could come loose and find it’s way to my brain or my heart. I was put on strict bed rest. The kind of rest that required that I didn’t move one inch off of my bed for the next 5 days.

I was having a hard time really soaking up what I was being told and wondering to myself if I would comply with this prescription. It was then that the nurse said to me,

“These are not just idle words for you, this is your life!”

I ran across those words again today as I read the story of when the Israelites were about to enter the land that God had promised them. Moses, the only leader they had known, was not being permitted to go with them. He was leaving them with instructions for their future when he said,

Deuteronomy 32: 45-47 “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you-they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Do I treat the Bible as if it is my very life?

Honestly, many times I read the Bible out of habit, or obligation or because it’s expected of me. I skim it or look for the highlighted parts not really soaking up what it says; not even wanting to really understand what it says.

What would my life look like if I treated it as if it is my very life?

As a young adult, I remember seeing the Bible of a man I highly respected. It was laying open on his desk in the middle of the day as if he had been actively consulting it. It was full of highlights and post it notes, it was tattered and the pages were curled. I could tell that it was well read and I desperately wanted to pick it up and inspect it.

What I knew about this man and his character aligned with the Bible that I was looking at on his desk and in that moment I set a goal for myself. I wanted my Bible to look like his one day.

I’m still working on that goal. Sometimes I hit the target and there are other whole seasons of my life that my Bible has laid collecting dust in a corner.

Today, I’m writing out a card that says, “These are not just idle words for you, they are your life.” I’m going to put it on my mirror to remind me of the truth. To remind me that I have been given the gift of Life if only I would open it. Not to comply would be to reject “life” itself.

One of my favorite songs, Word of God Speak by Mercy Me 

*My refection today was inspired by the book, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. This is a wonderful devotional/journal for daily Bible reading.*

Seeking God Day 18

haldenA few years ago we bought a new couch that was going to solve all of our seating problems. That sounds extreme I know but before the new couch we had seating for 5 and I have a family of 6 and that was a problem. If we all wanted to sit in the same room someone had to sit on the floor and no one wanted to. The term, “seat lock,” was screamed often and ignored even more frequently on a daily basis until Doug and I just couldn’t take it any longer.

The couch we bought now takes up two entire walls of the family room and seats 9 people shoulder to shoulder. There are two reclining seats, one on each end and the back of one cushion even folds down to make a tray. It’s really quite wonderful to be able to have the whole family sitting in the same room without touching each other. It is the SUV of couches.

Here’s the problem though, Doug sits on one side of the couch, in one of the recliners and I sit on the other side of the couch, in the other recliner. This doesn’t sound like a problem, I mean we are both really comfortable with our feet up in the air however, we are 7 seats away from each other. We are literally sitting on opposite ends of the room.

I remember when we were dating and first married and the thought of sitting that far apart wouldn’t even have crossed our minds. We always sat close enough to hold hands or share a blanket. I don’t remember when we started sitting further apart?

I’m preparing a speech for a MOPS group next week on the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a fantastic book that encourages the reader to examine themselves and their spouses to discover what their primary love language is. It also challenges them to speak to their spouse in the language their spouse understands. My language is Quality Time: giving someone your undivided attention. Doug’s is Physical Touch: using your physical presence and touch to communicate love.

It occurred to me yesterday that because of our couch, neither of us are in a position to give or receive love in the language we understand best simply because of our seating arrangements. I can almost hear Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”

Last night, much to Doug’s surprise, I left my wing and headed over to sit on his side right next to him. It was nice. He could put his arms around me and I could lay my head in his lap and we were close enough that we felt connected in a way that I haven’t in a long time. He watched TV, I read and I just enjoyed being close to him. Sitting silently together and knowing he was right beside me.

Position, posture and silence are three things that can bring us closer to the people we love and to God or they can unintentionally keep us apart. Where I position myself, what type of posture I take and how much or how little I say builds a wall or breaks a barrier.

What is your position to God right now? 

What is your posture with God right now?

Do you know what it means to just sit and breathe in His presence?

There are plenty of times that the Bible tells us to pour out our hearts to God and to bring our requests to Him, there is nothing wrong with that. But the Word also instructs us to be silent, to wait patiently, to listen for the “still small voice.” What type of environment do you need in order to do those things?

Today, set a timer for 5 minutes and sit before God in silence and listen. Quiet your inner voice, demand that it stop speaking so that you can hear.

The Bible says:

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

There is an element of confession in here. When we come near to God, I believe we can’t help but feel His holiness. When we enter His throne room, we can’t help but to notice that we come to him broken and tattered in need of forgiveness, in need of love.

The Bible also says:

Psalm 145:8-9 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 

Don’t be afraid to come to Him, to sit close and to be silent. God is good to all!

Here is a song to help you slow down and breathe in His Holiness, the song before the silence that you need to hear Him. Holy God by Brian Doerksen

 

Seeking God Day 17

haldenEye sight is something I have taken for granted my entire life. I have never known what it was like to look at anything far away or close up and have it appear “blurry.” I use quotations because up until about 4 months ago, blurry was just a concept to me, one I didn’t understand.

I remember going to the eye Dr when I turned 40 and having him tell me that although my vision was perfect on that day, that didn’t mean it would stay that way. He went into a long speech about aging eyes and focus and how everyone eventually succumbs to needing help with their vision.

I listened to him politely all the while thinking to myself that I didn’t need to worry. I remember him saying that some women find that they go to bed one night with perfect vision and seem to wake up the next morning with problems. He even told me about a few patients who swear that after a strong sneeze or coughing attack there eye sight worsened. These were all interesting stories but honestly, I didn’t feel the need to worry.

Then one morning I noticed that the light in my kitchen just didn’t seem bright enough. The next morning I had to keep rubbing my eyes because they seemed so tired. The following morning, I had to keep blinking slowly in order to see the suddenly tiny print in the Bible I was trying to read.

My brain had to process what I was struggling with because it had never encountered this problem before…was I struggling with focus? Was this what it was like to see something as blurry? Honestly, I thought, if I just rub these eyes hard enough I think it will fix everything, but it didn’t. I finally relented and broke out a pair of readers my girlfriend had given me to see if it would help.

Whelp! It did help!

I have no words.

Blurred vision is distracting, it is uncomfortable and it is discouraging. The experience can be unrecognizable at first which seems strange doesn’t it? Once it is recognized however, it has to be fixed. Who wants to live knowing that they aren’t seeing clearly? Suddenly something that was just a nuisance becomes something that can’t go unnoticed any longer, even if you have to humble yourself and wear a pair of awful readers.

Seeing God clearly is much the same way I believe. We try to see God and know Him by filtering Him through our experiences and understandings, our vision of this world. Each of us brings our own unique self to the relationship and because of that there are things about Him, His character, His love, His provision that we either see clearly or we see blurry or maybe we can’t see at all.

I recently got a text from a good friend that read like this:

I honestly never believed I’d be able to see God this way.  I was blown away at the comfort and warmth and love- it was what I imagined it would be like leaning into a dad that truly loved me, and feeling safe and warm and strong and loved and like I was held…

When we seek God, we are humbling ourselves and trying on different pairs of “God readers” to see which ones help us see Him more clearly. Seeking God means that we lay down what we believe and ask Him to help us understand who He is and who we are because of Him. Seeking God opens up a whole new world of possibilities that weren’t even imaginable before we saw Him clearly.

I take my readers off and put the on all day long. Sometimes I need them, other times I don’t. When I look up, everything is blurry when I look down the world in front of me is in focus. This on/off dance is frustrating. Part of me can’t wait for my eyes to get bad enough that I can just wear glasses all day long. I wait for the day that I can be relieved of these readers.

I also wait for the day when my vision and understanding of myself is so broken that I can clearly see God. I desire to know God so fully that I don’t have to wonder any longer if I’m seeing him in focus or if I’m “blurring” some part of His love that I still don’t understand.

Ephesians 3:17-19

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

The More I Seek You by Kari Jobe

Choreography: Edouard Lock
– Ballet: La La La Human Steps
– This video made by: Birdiej89

Seeking God Day 16

I’m out of my routinehalden today. I slept in, ate donuts for breakfast and now everyone is awake and moving, the TV is on and it’s way past 8am. I still haven’t found any space or quiet to listen to God yet today.

I’m out of routine this month. This is the second Sunday we’ve skipped going to church, 2 weeks in a row. I know that next week it will be even easier not to go, to find something interesting to read or watch on TV and to stay in my PJ’s and sip hot coffee. It will be even easier to convince myself that it’s ok and that we are busy people and we deserve a break once in awhile. I know that we will have been out late the night before and we have a football game in the afternoon and I know that I will rationalize the need to stay in bed, for everyone’s sake.

Being out of routine is dangerous territory…at least for me.

Routine is where I’ve learned how to seek God and find him. If left up to my own devices I will find all kinds of things to distract me and divert my attention from my relationship with Jesus. I don’t come by regular quiet time easily or naturally, it’s always a struggle. Years ago I started setting an alarm to wake me up early before the kids would wake up so that I could start the day in the Word. I hated it, hated it! I liked to sleep, I needed to sleep, I was sleep deprived! Someone told me to ask God to wake me up and if it was truly important to Him that He would not allow me to sleep past my alarm, so I did. Guess what? He woke me up! No joke! I really woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep, even if I tried. I’m not sure if that’s amazing or annoying?

The apostle Paul talks about this in the book of Hebrews. The title given to this passage in the NIV Bible is “A Call to Preserve In Faith.”

Hebrews 10:22-25

 

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I’m not sure how I can offer any advice or wisdom without sounding like or being a hypocrite in light of the truth I spelled out for you at the beginning of this post.

This, routine, it isn’t easy.

Just because it isn’t easy, just because I don’t always live up to the standard and just because I have and will and do fall, doesn’t make this passage any less True. If we are to “preserve”(protect, maintain, care for, look after) our faith, then we have to establish and hold to routine, even when it’s difficult. When we find that we have fallen out of routine, we need to lay down our pride and give up our comfort and be willing to fix it.

We just do.

I do.

This post is a mirror for me to look into, if you want to look into it too, you may.

God will still be God whether I’m in bed, I’m in church, I’m at a football game or sitting in front of my TV, my position doesn’t change Him at all. What my position does change is my ability to…draw near, be assured, confess, be encouraged and spur on others. My position, my routine changes me, whether I like it or not.

Here is a song by Francesca Battistelli, that helps me open my hands, close my eyes and breathe in the Holy Spirit. It reminds me that a Christian walk isn’t lived in solitude but in the presence of the Holy Spirit and surrounded by the church.

“Let us become more aware of your presence,

let us experience the glory of your goodness Lord.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here,

come flood this place and fill the atmosphere,

your glory God is what our hearts long for,

to be overcome by your presence Lord.” 

 

 

 

 

Seeking God Day 15

haldenLast night my husband and I walked our only daughter, number 2 in birth order down the track at her high school as she was honored at Senior night. I continue to ponder how and when this happened?

I never thought I’d have a daughter. I just never did. I’ve said so many times that when she was born and the Dr said, “It’s a girl!” he could have told me, “It’s an alien!” I wouldn’t have been any more surprised. A girl? We didn’t even have a proper name picked out for a girl.

The two of us had a rocky start, we moved across state lines 10 days after she was born and then a few weeks after that I was crushed with postpartum depression. She was the kind of kid who always needed to be held, always needed to be touching me. I remember many days when Doug would come home from work that I’d pass her to him and just run, desperate for alone time.

Those days were LONG! But as I look back those years were short. Suddenly she was 3 years old and had taught herself how to read. She was 4 and was in preschool, 5 and in full day kindergarten. I blinked again and she was in junior high school and now, she’s walking beside me as I hear from the loud speaker, “Senior Emily Bierma escorted by her parents Doug and Christine Bierma.” Where did the time go?

As I look at pictures from last night, already a memory, I’m so proud of the young woman she has become and I can’t wait to see where her life path will take her, what God has planned for her. I’m almost giddy with excitement even if I am a little sad that she is no longer small.

The Bible says that we were created in the the Creators image. What does that mean?

On nights like last night, as my heart swelled with pride because of my beautiful daughter I believe that God’s heart swells with pride because of us, his children. Our stories of family and raising kids and working through relationships is in the image of our creator’s. He has gifted us with a small microcosm of his creation in our families and friendships. He has allowed us to have a taste of His love through the love we have for our kids, parents, friends. I believe that the longing we have for relationships, to be connected with people who really know us is instilled in us so that we can know His heart; that we can know Him more. Every emotion we feel is an echo of the One who created us.

Genesis 1:27

 

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”

I’m so glad to be created in the Creator’s image, to be called His child, to be known by Him. To be loved by Him~it changes everything.

There is a verse in Isaiah that speaks of the Creator’s love for us in a way that expresses a love a parent has for a child.

Isaiah 49:16 

 

“See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

You my friends, are engraved on the palms of his hands…you are ever before Him. Run to his arms.

Forever Reign 

 

Seeking God Day 14

haldenI love to buy beautiful journals for myself and for other people. Leather bound, fancy covers, covers with cute sayings, spiral bound, book bound, big or little it doesn’t matter, they are all wonderful to me. I probably own 30. Some of them have only a few pages filled, a small few are written in cover to cover. I don’t often go back and read what I’ve written, many times it’s too painful. It seems that the times those pages call to me the most is when my heart is trying to process something it doesn’t understand. Before I die, I need to redact many of them because even though the words I’ve written are in black and white many of them aren’t truth they are feelings. Those two are not synonymous.

Two years ago in October I started a new journal with a new purpose in mind. Here is what I wrote on my opening page.

My life seems to be made up of a thousand beginnings and very few ends. I’m not sure if that means I’m just terrible at finishing or if that is just the way life is? I often feel as if I’m constantly chasing the sunrise only to experience the sunset is still so far away. Chasing is dangerous because I often miss the here and now and I miss the fact that what I’m doing with my life does have meaning. I also think chasing the sunrise keeps me from never accomplishing what I’m working on. Running after what I don’t have blinds me to the road already traveled as good and worthy and significant. 

This is why this journal will be so important. Here I will record the dreams and the realities, the things yet to come and the things that have already been gifted to me. This is my atlas, my trip plan. This is my attempt at intentionally dreaming, recording and being grateful for what God has given me. This is where I will be able to see that week #1 is different than week #10. 

This two year old journal isn’t full, it’s hardly started. I’ve only filled 26 pages. But to go back and read it…I’m amazed at what God has done in my life! If we want to seek God, we need to remember where we’ve looked for Him.

When I started this journal, I found some pictures on the internet that represented some ridiculous dreams that were hidden in my heart. I printed those pictures out and glued them onto the page where they would be stuck forever.

Squeezing my Elmer’s glue bottle and watching the white liquid drip onto the paper seemed so permanent. I remember holding my breath as I turned that paper over and smeared out all of the air bubbles and pressed it into my journal. This was one of the lowest times in my life and I was entrusting the dreams of my heart to God and recording this trust in these pages. I remember crying because I felt as if I had nothing to lose and yet I had everything to lose all at the same time. Gain was the furthest thing from my mind. This wasn’t an act of trying to gain something but rather it was my attempt at trying to take up some space in a world that seemed to be passing me by.

I wrote this verse on the first page:

Psalm 25  

Show me your ways

O Lord

 

Teach me your paths

 

Guide me in your truth

 

and teach me.

 

For you are my God, my Savior

 

and my hope is in you all day long. 

Today as I looked at the dreams I had entrusted to God I was amazed! I just can’t explain how overwhelmingly surprised I was to see that God had not only seen and heard my dreams but that He had improved on them. These “ridiculous” attempts at taking up space in this world weren’t crazy at all. In fact, it was as if God had been showing me how He already saw me and through these last few years I have been starting to believe Him.

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I wish I had the words, my dear friends, to implore you to entrust God with your heart and to write down the things you’ve entrusted to Him. Perspective changes how your perceive reality. When you are too close, it may feel like He isn’t there. Look for the Truth…write down what you are looking for and don’t forget check your atlas once in awhile…you may be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Click here to spend a few moments with God and let your soul sing how great thou art.

 

 

Seeking God Day 13

haldenIt’s fall in Illinois. There is something that happens to the color of the sky and the sound of the wind at this time of year. Everything changes. One day it’s Summer, it’s hot, sticky, oppressive and it feels like nothing will ever change. Then in 12 hours Fall sneaks in under the cover of darkness and when the sun rises nothing is the same.

As soon as the seasons bow to each other they come. The geese fill the sky with their formations and noise. I hear them before I see them and every year I stop what I am doing to watch and be amazed. I’m amazed at how loud they are! I wonder who is leading them? Where are they going? How do they know the way?

Each day they circle my house, some days they are so low I can hear the flapping of their wings. At first they are unorganized but in about a week they will be flying with precision and formation, getting ready to leave this place and go to where God is leading them.

These geese are quite ordinary and frankly they are a nuisance during the summer. They take over small ponds, they leave their “droppings” all over and make a mess of walking trails and they aren’t very nice. A mother goose will chase you if you accidentally get too close to her nest. I’m not a goose lover! You will not find a well dressed cement goose on my front porch!

However, I smile like a small child when they fly over my house. Watching them gives me a glimpse of the glory and majesty of God, the creator. These ordinary creatures are transformed into something beautiful when God says, “Take flight.”

I have never come across a goose having a long discussion with God about his timing, their calling or their doubts and fears. When God says, “go” they listen and obey. And when they fly…they are filled with joy! When I watch them, I know that they are doing what they are created to do. It’s beautifully simple.

I don’t think geese have to seek God, they just know him. Creation all around us knows God and it shouts loudly for all who will listen about the glory of God about His presence in our lives, about His holiness. Creation shouts to all who have ears to hear that God is and was and will alway be.

Psalm 19 1-4

 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Seek God today with your eyes lifted to the skies. Soak in the blue of the fall sky or the cleansing wetness of the cold fall rain. Open your eyes and watch as the trees explode with color, all for the glory of God. And if you see the geese today, stop. Stop and look with eyes that see…really see… the majesty and glory of God.

Here’s a song that will help you lift your eyes and hands to God.

Cannons by Phil Wickham

 

Seeking God Day 12

haldenMy oldest son was created to play the saxophone. When he picks up his instrument and puts it to his mouth he can communicate through his horn in a way that is much deeper and more truthful than words ever could hope for. One of his professors told him that he had “it,” that undefinable quality that moves people to their feet when they hear him play and offers them a moment of freedom to lift their hands and shout as they encourage him to continue. As his mom, I’m amazed when I watch others listen to him play and see how deeply they are touched by the melodies he coaxes out of his saxophone. I know he’s good, but I’m his mom. Seeing other’s respond to his playing confirms what my mother’s heart already knew, he has a gift.

He also has pain. Lots of pain. Every time he plays his jaw is filled with excruciating pain from his head and down his neck. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would God give him such a precious talent and then allow for him to have so much debilitating pain?

Late at night when I usually want to fall asleep is when he is the most talkative. Parenting a young adult requires that you sacrifice your sleep so that you can meet them during their ridiculously late hours! During those late night chats he has expressed all the questions that are in my own heart about why God allowed this and why the solution is so difficult and how can God possibly demand what is being demanded? The only advice I could give him because I don’t know the answers is to tell him to talk to God; to lay out his frustrations and grievances and fears to God with complete honesty.

“Mom, I have been talking to God, I’ve never felt so close to God and so far away from Him at the same time.”

Yes.

Isn’t that truth?

There is a phrase the Bible uses a lot “eyes to see and ears to hear.” Oh to have eyes to see and ears to hear, to have the knowledge of God’s presence in the midst of life’s struggles.

In 2 Kings 6:17 The prophet Elisha was facing a battle, a war with real soldiers, horses and chariots. He could see them, smell them and hear them as they surrounded the city Elisha was in. His servant was terrified. But Elisha told him,

 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

God was there, he had already provided for the victory but the servant didn’t have eyes to see. God had a plan, whether the servant was aware of it or not.

I can’t get the words of Psalm 139 out of my head,

Psalm 139: 7-15

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

There is nowhere we can go that God isn’t, whether we feel him or not, he is there. His presence has nothing to do with our awareness.

He created us. He ordained every single day of my life, of my son’s life, of your life before one of them came to be. And…if that is true, he will provide for every day of our lives as well, even when all we have is the question “Why?”

Jeremiah 29:13 is true yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

This is a beautiful old song by Sandy Patty called “In Heaven’s Eyes” Listen to it with your eyes closed today, trust what the words of this song if you can. Believe that you are seen and known, provided for and loved. Be amazed by the grace you can find, in Heaven’s Eyes.

 

Seeking God Day 11

haldenI really hate trains. In my hometown, I have to cross 3 tracks to get from the south side to the north side of town. 3 tracks! Depending on the time of day it is entirely possible and probable that I will encounter a train at every track. There are even days that as I watch the eastbound train that had originally brought down the train gates leave the station while a westbound train takes it’s place blocking the road I’m traveling on and increases my wait even longer. I hate trains.

When I’m waiting on a train I have two options. I can put my car in park and sit there knowing the train will eventually pass by. This option involves risk because so often the end of the train is blocked from my view by buildings or tall corn or trees, I don’t know how long it will last. My other option, of course, is to go around the train. This takes a little ingenuity and a commitment to the risk of failure. I mean, what if…what if…I decide to go around the train, take a detour and as soon as I turn my car around the end of the train comes and the gates go up. I will have lost the waiting game then and added extra minutes to my trip. Which is the better option? What should I do?

I encounter so many “trains” in my life, situations where I earnestly seek God’s guidance and yet I end up wondering what He wants me to do.

Oh Lord, if you would just make it clear which is the better option or what I should do, this would be so much easier!

Proverbs 3:21 “My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble, when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

Sound judgement + discernment = (no fear)sweet sleep

The equation looks simple. I know it’s not yet writing out this equation simplifies something.

Sound judgement is the opposite of pride. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between truth and error, right and wrong; the good the better and the best. God promises to give us both if we seek Him, if we seek to follow His thinking.

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Asking God and following His thinking are two different things. I can not follow God’s thinking if I’m full of pride, it’s not possible. I need to continually be aware of the temptation to play the “God card.” If I’m not humble, I can skillfully use God as my excuse to follow my own wisdom.

Psalm 119:25 “I am your servant, give me discernment.”

I’m waiting at these flashing gates and I need to decide what is next. I am certain God will never leave and that He will always be in control. But to decide between the good, the better and the best? I need His wisdom for that.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will ask your paths straight.

Lord, show me your straight paths, grant me sweet sleep and conquer my fear. I am your servant, give me discernment. Amen

Seeking God Day 9

haldenThe sun had already set as I flew down I 294 on my way home from a week long trip in Michigan. I was racing the clock, trying to get to my hometown in time to watch two of my babies perform in their first marching band competition of the year. They have been marching literal holes in the bottoms of their shoes every day for hours since June and last night was the night all of their hard work would be on display for all of us to see and celebrate.

The 3 hour drive proved to be a decompression chamber after an intense week of being challenged to explore and nourish myself and my dream. I haven’t fully realized exactly what that dream is however, I was confronted once again with the fact that God loves me enough to place a longing in my heart to become, to grow into more. Not only that, but if I am willing to take a risk there is so much more to learn than I ever dreamed possible. As I type, I wonder why I so often need to be reminded of my worth in God’s eyes? Why do I continue to be surprised by the way God lavishes his love on me?

He sees me.

Psalm 139: 1-6

 

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

 

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

“It is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God his prepared for those who love him’ but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

The Bible is full of verses that say, He sees you. He cares for you. He has a plan for you. He loves you. He came for you. He saves you.

The Bible also promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Why am I always overwhelmed with surprise?

Actually, I’m glad I continue to be overwhelmed with surprise. I want to be someone who continues to be shocked by God’s love. I want to live a life of wonder and continue to discover God’s holiness.

I want to be a woman who seeks God and what His will is for her life. Surprised, shocked, overwhelmed, learning. That’s who I want to be.

Close your eyes and listen to Bethel’s You Don’t Miss A Thing. I promise, it will be worth it.

Blessings my friends.

Continue to seek God.

Share with me what He is showing you.

 

 

 

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