Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Review: Waiting for Wonder

Waiting & patience have never been two of my strongest character traits. I’ve spent so many hours on my knees begging God to move things along and telling him exactly how He should and could as if he needed help.

This past month has a been an extreme test in patience as I watched my oldest endure some of the most intensive pain and suffering with complete TMJ replacement surgery. God and I have had countless conversations about why he was requiring my son to put his schooling and career on hold, why God would give such an amazing musical gift and then seem to take it away with a defective jaw, why it seemed that God is playing a cat and mouse game with my son? Giving him a passion for saxophone and music only to then yank it away as soon as that passion was realized seems like a cruel joke and a terrible plan.

If it was left up to me…and then I fill in the blanks with unrelenting speed and accuracy.

Waiting for Wonder Book Review

I volunteered to be a part of a book review this month, something I haven’t done in over a year. The book is called, Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky. The subtitle is: “Learning to live on God’s timeline.” Who says the Creator of the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor?

This book is a fascinating study of the life of Abraham and Sarah. The author combines a historically accurate yet fictional account of Sarah’s waiting for the promise of a child along with actual accounts from the author’s own life. I’ve never read a book in this form before and honestly I have never studied the details of Sarah’s story either. I learned so much from walking along side this hero of the faith as she waited and waited for God to fulfill the promise he had given her.

I have so many quotes from this book highlighted and underlined, I wish I could share them all with you. There are gems in this book when the author names truth so honestly it takes your breath away. She carefully reveals God’s loving nature in a way that shows a deep and profound understanding of Him. This is not a one note book but a symphony of love and patience and acceptance. Revealing a God who is bigger than most of us ever can believe. She also puts her finger on the painful truths that most of us privately harbor in our hearts and by naming them allows the reader to examine the holes in such beliefs.

“For a moment, I see God’s truth so clearly: he is the God who calls us at the very place of our deepest shame, our deepest pain, and transforms that place into something with breathtaking beauty. No one but God-no one but Elohim-would dare do such a thing.”

 

“God does not forget. He does however, sometimes let us wait. And in that interval between promise and fulfillment, in the “not yets” of life, we typically do not lose faith in God’s omnipotence; rather we lose sight of his love.”

Waiting for Wonder has been a balm for my weary soul. It has challenged and uncovered so many questions I have for God and it also has given me hope as I see how God fulfilled his promise to Sarah.

As we head into a new year, add this book to your reading list and allow the God to speak truth and hope to your soul.

“God sees us in the shadows of our tents, in the places we hide because we are afraid to hope anymore. He sees us and he speaks.”

Click this link to order your copy from Amazon.

 

The Empty Chair

the_empty_chair_91605860_2-2The empty chair has always been a “concept” for someone else… until this year.

Since June 6, when dad left us so suddenly, we have had an empty chair.

The first place I noticed it was walking into his house and seeing the place on the couch where he sat all the time. The blanket I made him last Christmas, draped over the back with no one to warm. It was startling and it took my breath away…and I turned my face so that I wouldn’t have to acknowledge the pain.

A few days later he wasn’t sitting next to my mother-in-law in church. She was there but he wasn’t. I pushed through the emptiness to encourage and lift her up and I turned off the pain so that I could be strong for those around me.

He wasn’t in the driver’s seat of his new car, a car that he never got to drive. I remember him in his old car, teaching my daughter how to drive. I see him in his van hurling down I65 as the rest of us hold our breath in fear. I see him in the ugly brown Pinto he used to drive. But not anymore.

He is not in my kitchen, he isn’t sitting on my couch, I can’t see him on my patio or in my pool or at any birthday celebration we’ve had since June; not at Emily’s or mine or Wesley’s or even his own. He wasn’t there. But I turned away and felt all the business of life and the attended to all the stresses on my plate because that was safer.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m afraid that I can’t turn away anymore.

There is an empty chair and it is his.

My tears fall with no end.

My tears fall for all the little things that won’t. Seeing him carry in a crazy amount of boxes filled with goodies, taking his coat, giving him a long hug, hearing him say “Happy Thanksgiving.” My tears fall because no one will be crowding me at the stove or asking “am I in your way?” or giving my dad that look that says, “I got her!”

Every day since June 6 has been a first. The first June 7 without him, the first June 8, the first June 9…etc… Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving.

Not once through his battle did he ever curse God. He wouldn’t even allow me to complain or express my feelings that God was being unfair without reminding me that God was good.

My reading today was from

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

These words describe dad’s outlook and his countenance. He would always tell me that I shouldn’t be consumed with the current circumstances but to rejoice in God’s faithfulness.

It’s not going to be easy this year.

I can’t turn away from this emptiness any longer. It will be impossible to not see his empty chair. It’s real. We are here, he is not.

Fighting against being consumed sounds almost too hard.

It is ok to let the tears fall, they must, right?

I will walk through tomorrow with my heart aching because I miss dad. I’m praying my eyes will be open though as well. Open to God’s great love and compassion. Open to the people who are still coming and praying they will crowd me in my kitchen, for dad’s sake.

The empty chair is no longer just an analogy, it is very real. It hurts.

Dad would tell me, “Life is hard…but God is good.”

Sometimes, that’s all you have.

 

Media Warning: The danger of listening to yourself

mediaI’ve been fascinated by the media coverage of the election for the last year and a half. As a communications professional and a self proclaimed student of politics, I’ve never seen or heard anything like the coverage that has been provided in America this year.

Journalism used to be held to a standard of objectivity, fairness and a pursuit of the truth. These standards have always been a difficult pursuit and with the advent of cable news and talk radio the quest has become even more difficult. However, what I saw this year was a complete and absolute abandonment of ethical journalism.

In it’s place, journalists forgot that their most valuable tool, their job, was to listen closely to everyone and they replaced it with a narcissistic infatuation of listening to themselves.

Harsh? I suppose it might be. However, I think as Americans, we can demand and should expect better from the media. If there is only one positive outcome from this election, I hope it is that the journalism profession takes the time to examine themselves and fix the issues that have allowed them to stray so far from their professional expectations.

Last night as I watched election coverage, I was amused to see looks of surprise on the faces of journalists who were stunned by the outcome they were being required to report. Phrases such as “unprecedented victory,” “shocking turn of events,” “we never saw this coming,” and “complete shock,” were uttered over and over again. “How did we get this so wrong?” was asked countless times.

You stopped listening. You stopped reporting and you got caught up in editorializing and that is why you are so dumbfounded.

Over the months of the campaign, it was shocking to me that to so many media outlets including radio, television and internet news forums seemed to band together to produce what I would term, “hit pieces” and disguise them as objective reporting. Radio DJ’s, internet reporters, and television news journalists alike created and sustained a media culture of distain, moral superiority and condescending discord. It was a steady diet that was served day in and day out.

In the process of hearing themselves talk and being ever more impressed with themselves, the noise they created halted their ability to listen to the American people. They sought out only those who looked and sounded and believed like they did and completely refused to recognize that there might be another perspective to consider. They closed their eyes to half of the American people and rendered them silent. Until last night.

The polls got it dead wrong. This Trump victory was not a narrow win. It was decisive. How was that not heard or seen or recognized? Am I to believe that there weren’t even rumblings of what was going to happen? That this was impossible to predict?

I don’t believe that. I believe you stopped doing your jobs. I believe you got so mesmerized by your own reflection, you refused to recognize that you weren’t the only ones in the room. Febreze coined the term, “nose blind” and I think it’s a perfect description of what happened to the media.

It’s despicable.

It’s malpractice.

It needs to change.

Journalists need to do better. I hope that as the whirlwind of excitement and disbelief over the results of this election dissipates, the media take a long hard look at themselves. I hope they rightly criticize and evaluate where they went wrong.

Take a look in the mirror and see how badly you have served our country.

Start reporting what you see and hear. Listen to everyone, not just the people who look like you or think like you. Stop trying to influence people’s opinions and instead, start informing the American people so that they can form their own opinions.

Whether you voted for Trump or for Clinton, please be outraged. From the primary elections to November 8 this media has failed you. You were either told you were in the clear majority, and you weren’t; or you were in the inferior minority and you weren’t. How can we begin to come together and understand each other if the media is refuses to represent us equally.

We need to listen to each other better.

The media needs to help us do that.

This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue.

This is an American issue.

 

 

Seeking God Day 31!!!

halden31 days has finally come to a close. I am so honored and humbled by the friends I’ve met this month, by your encouraging words and the sacrifice you made to read my blog all month. Its been a journey of discovery for me and I hope for you as well.

Together, we have taken time to contemplate and consider God. He has shown me through these last 31 days that his love is consistent and continuous. It covers me completely and is unfathomable. How will I ever be able to understand how deep, how wide and how great his love is for me and for you? We are considered his children and there is nowhere we can go to escape his loving presence. He will not abandon us and even when we can’t see Him he is always there.

The most amazing promise of all about seeking God is that he promises:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

When we seek God he will reveal himself to us. We may not always understand what he has revealed, we may not always agree with what he is doing but he will be found.

Jesus says,

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.

When we feel alone, afraid, confused, empty, separated or at our wits end, if we look to Jesus he will answer us. It’s a promise, an assurance that we can always rely on. It’s security. It’s rest. We are safe in his love.

A life with Christ will continue to amaze and surprise you if you continue to learn more about Him, more about what it means to follow him, what it means to be called his child. You will never come to the end of his love and his wisdom, there will always be more you can learn. There will always be more of Him to discover. He is endless. And that is amazing!

The words I want to close this series up with are from Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

If we live in the truth of God’s promises, our lives can not help but be transformed and become more like Him. Our minds, our hearts, our wills will change. We will become more true, noble, right, pure, lonely, admirable, excellent and we will be filled with praise. It just will happen. And when we are transformed like this we will be filled with joy. A kind of joy that has no definition because it can not be explained, it can only be experienced…lived.

This joy can be called contentment or peace. It brings space and the ability to breathe. It is clarity and vision, harmony and rhythm. It bursts forth with color and explodes with laughter.

My friends, keep seeking God.

Keep asking him to reveal himself to you.

Rest in his arms and breath in his spirit.

He loves you so much.

That is Truth.

If you have been blessed by these daily devotions, please let me encourage you to sign up as a member of my blog. By providing me with your email, you will receive new posts in your email. You will never miss an update and you will be helping me grow my blog. If you think your friends may be blessed by daily encouragement, please consider sharing this link with them on Facebook or Twitter.   

 

Seeking God Day 22

 

halden“It’s not God, it’s you!” That is what I had written in the margin of my Bible. I have no idea when I wrote those words but they caught my attention this morning.

I’m studying prayer along with James MacDonald from Walk in the Word and he referenced this verse in Isaiah. I don’t remember reading it before but obviously I had and it had convicted me enough to write something more in the margin.

“Actions affect access,” is what Pastor MacDonald said and then he read this verse,

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2

“Confess!” “Confess!” was also written in pen in my handwriting and underlined in my Bible. When had I written that?

Pastor MacDonald has been teaching about prayer and he asserts that unlike what I’ve always believed and been taught, God does not always hear my prayers. I’ve been chewing on this idea for awhile now. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But here it is in black and white.

I don’t believe that God isn’t aware of my prayers but here it says that my sins can keep me from seeing him and plainly it says, “he will not hear.” I don’t like that at all.

Proverbs 28:9 says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”

I don’t like that one either.

I like the verses that talk about access to God and receiving wisdom and Him knowing my name and being an heir. Those are comforting and kind and soft. But these verses are bare and harsh and require something of me and quite frankly I’m turning my nose up.

 

I want God to always hear me, to always answer me and usually I want him to answer me on my timeline. The idea of him not hearing me or finding my prayers “detestable,” is disconcerting. He can’t do that, can he?

The Bible is full of descriptions of God’s character and his love. We can pick and pull out all kinds of verses that will make us feel good and loved and warm and fuzzy. But what about the other stuff? What about the commands and instructions for how we are to live? What do we do with that?

I Peter 5:5-6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Pastor MacDonald said that prayer is “the process of becoming fit to receive from God what he is already ready to do.”

James 4:2-3 “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.”

I want to just want to say, “Uh, no! Don’t judge me!” and then drop the mic.

It’s uncomfortable to be examined this closely. It’s like looking at myself in one of those mirrors that are magnified. I see way too many wrinkles, sun spots and pores. I can try to cover them up but I know they are still there. Don’t look too close.

Psalm 103: 8-12 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

 

This truth is his word says that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. They are no longer there. He does not harbor them. But I think they can certainly paralyze us.

We stand in our own way. Our pride, our love of self, our wanting will keep us from seeing, hearing, reaching God. Jesus is the bridge. We are told over and over to be holy like he is holy. It’s a process, an on-going process as long as we are on this side of heaven.

James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I want to have a powerful and effective prayer life. I want to seek to know God. Please Father, transform me and change me and make me more like you.

From the Inside Out by Hillsong

 

Seeking God Day 21

haldenI’m tired. It’s not just because I stayed up late again to watch the Cubs win. It’s not simply because I woke in a cold sweat last night at 3:30am from a nightmare. It’s not even because there is more laundry again and the dishes are dirty again and the bathrooms need to be cleaned again. It’s a soul- deep tired. The kind that weighs on my shoulders and makes me long for easier times.

Do you know this kind of weariness?

I find myself praying, “Father, give me rest.” Yet, I’m unsure what the rest I’m asking for looks like. I’d love to go on vacation and escape from my everyday life here for awhile but that doesn’t seem to scratch the itch that is making my soul so irritable.

So I close my eyes and breathe, Feeling my diaphragm expand and fall. Silently pleading for God…

…to come

…to fill me

…to answer me

..to be with me.

I’m not afraid. I’m not alone. I don’t feel forsaken or oppressed.

I’m just tired.

Matthew 11:28-30

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I just recently heard someone describe what a yoke was. I’ve always known it was the collar that oxen wore when they plowed a field, at least that what my Sunday school teacher told me. Truth be told, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and I’ve never plowed a field with oxen. Actually, I’ve never plowed a field.

The inside of a yoke has many hard barbs or spokes, sort of like the metal dog collars some people use on big dogs. If the animal pulls it’s head to far to one side or the other, the yoke makes the animal uncomfortable so it will learn to keep it’s head straight. This allows the farmer to keep the animal walking in a straight line. When two oxen are yoked together, then they both need to work in harmony, synchronizing their steps and keeping their bodies aligned. If one animal pulls to hard to one side or the other it will be uncomfortable and their progress will be stunted or even halted.

Jesus says that his yoke is easy. I wonder what he meant by that? I’m sure that there is a lot more to what he said than what I understand.

Today, I’m wondering if I’m tired because I’ve been plowing alone. I want to be the second ox, I want to be connected to Jesus and walk with him. I know my yoke isn’t easy but he promises that his is.

He knows the path.

I’m tired of being poked and prodded by these dang spokes in my yoke. They hurt!

I need rest.

An easy yoke and a light burden sounds like rest to me.

Jesus promises rest for my soul if I will only learn from him.

Lord, I’m listening.

Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher

 

 

 

 

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 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.

a827fcc5f98662f58daafb3dfee1b34c

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 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

« Older Entries