Seeking God Day 27

haldenI sat talking with a young mom today and even though I was a complete stranger she left no detail out as she shared her story. She and her husband had 3 kids under 4. He was in school. She was working part time at a job where she started at 3am so that she could spend the rest of the day taking care of the kids. He was gone, a lot. This was their plan but it was so hard. When he finally came home she wasn’t sure if she should run to the bathroom to spend some time alone, flee with her girlfriends for some adult time or say yes to her husband’s request to spend some time together. Nothing was easy. Marriage, parenting, budgeting, surviving, it all seemed impossible.

As I listened, I realized that I had forgotten. I forgot how it was when we were newly married and the kids were small. I like to call those days the “pressure cooker” days. Doug and I were both physically exhausted. We were trying hard to fill the roles of mom and dad, husband and wife. It was all new.

I can’t believe I forgot. I look around now at our family and everyone has grown so much. There aren’t any primary colored toys on the ground. There are no sippy cups growing mold in my van. No one sleeps in a crib and I’m the first one up now days. Life is still hard but it’s different. Way more busy and yet a lot less harried at the same time. I have the luxury of sitting here at my computer, to think and write and contemplate life. 10 years ago that never happened.

As I saw the exhaustion and longing in her eyes, I realized a truth that I don’t want to forget. Nothing stays the same. Whatever you are dealing with right now it will pass. Now, I realize this isn’t new or ground breaking Solomon wrote about this in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

 

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest. 

Everything that we go through, the pain, the struggle, the joy, the confusion it’s all a season. Being single, being married, raising young children, caring for aging parents, tight budgets, cold weather…you name it. Wherever you are, you will not stay there. You are not stuck there forever. Things will change, seasons always do. God promises that they will.

Being knee deep in today often blinds our ability to see the bigger picture. God always has a bigger picture. Sometimes we are allowed to see it, other times He asks us to just trust Him.

It’s not easy.

Today will pass, tomorrow will come.

In the end God is always in control and He promises to give us what we need to move forward. He will never leave, no matter what season you are in. He is there.

 

Seeking God Day 26

haldenI sit in the front row of the balcony, the lights in the house go down and the lights on the stage come up. My son, walks out on stage with his saxophone and the world around me fades away. I only have eyes for him and nothing else matters. I can’t decide if I want to close my eyes and listen to the music he is playing or keep them open so I can watch. I’m in love.

Each one of my children can command my undivided attention like that. It doesn’t matter if they are on the ball field, in a pool, on a stage or simply playing with their friends. I love to watch them. I love to see them being them. It is a joy to see how they grow and become more of who they were created to be. They have no idea how I feel. How could they?

There is a verse in the book of Zephaniah that speaks of God’s love for us this way:

Zephaniah 3:17

 

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.

The song that is playing in my head on repeat is call Amazed. The lyrics are taken from this verse in Zephaniah,

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Have you ever imagined God dancing over you? Could you ever believe that He takes great delight in you? In You!

Even when we don’t know, don’t see, don’t hear Him, He is still there watching. I’m sure that he watches you the way I watch my own children, except more. God is more. His love is more for you and for me than mine could ever be for my own children.

He has gifted you. He has plans for you. He has a purpose for your life.

Philippians 1:6

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 

He is faithful.

Today as you seek God, examine how big you believe His love for you to be. And when you think you understand, think again. Ask God to awe you with the depth of His love for you.

Be amazed.

And then smile because You are His!

 

Seeking God Day 24

haldenRaising teenagers is like playing a continual game of red light/green light. You know the game right? The person who is the “caller” gets to stand a ways away from the other runners and intermittently turn around and face them and yell out “Red light” or “Green light.” The other players get to move or have to stay still based on the command of the caller. Eventually the person who advances the furthest and reaches the caller first is crowned the winner.

The thing about this game is that everyone is at the mercy of the caller. Your advancement depends on when and if the caller yells, “green light.” As a young mom I was the “caller” and my children were the runners. I’d tell them when to get up, when to eat, when to play and when to go to bed. I had absolute power. With teenagers, not so much. I can’t even figure out if I’m the caller or the runner some days! Say something or don’t say something. Offer help or be illusive. It’s a constant, ever changing landscape and one wrong move and your are “red lighted.”

The rules of the game seem to change as often as the weather and aren’t consistent among the 4 various teens living in my house. Just when one of them green lights me another is red lighting me for the same reason. I used to tell them when they were little, “It’s a good thing your cute!” I still think the same thing but now, I don’t say it outloud.

The game red light/green light has been on my mind a lot lately. I see similarities in my longing to understand how to live a Christian life with integrity and character. Do I say something or do I hold my tongue? Do I stay still or am I supposed to act? It’s frustrating. Unlike with my kids, I don’t think God keeps changing the rules but rather I just don’t understand the rules very well. Just like parenting, I’m still learning.

I love 1st and 2nd Timothy because these books are a “how to” manual for living a Christian life and how to be a good leader. My blog is entitled, “A trustworthy saying” in honor of these books. Paul says over and over again, “Here is a trustworthy saying.” When I read those words I pay special attention to what comes next because I know it will be important.

Here is what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:22-26

2 Timothy 2:22-26

 

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

It all seems pretty straight forward, right? And yet, if Paul, who is the author, felt the need to write these instructions out, that must mean that these lessons needed to be taught. I find it difficult to separate the foolish and stupid arguments from those that need to be argued. I have a hard time being kind to everyone and I’m certainly not teachable all the time. Earlier in the chapter he says:

2 Timothy 2: 14-17

 

Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. 

Much like red light/green light I hop, skip and jump through what sometimes seems like a land mine of conversations. Wondering where do I speak, when do I listen, when should I be walking away? Correctly handling the word of truth is a daunting and scary job at times.

Red Light

Green Light

Stop

Go

Lord, please teach me to be one “who does not need to be ashamed.” I long to live this way for your glory.

 

Seeking God Day 23

haldenHave you ever dreamed of something happening and when it did you can hardly believe it? It happened yesterday and then again today for me.

After 5 months of watching my two middle kids sacrifice their lives to learn and perfect what it means to be a member of the marching band, I watched them perform at their highest level. Every step, every note, every bend and flag toss was executed with the best they had to offer. It felt almost sacred to watch them because I knew what it had cost them to be out there.

It would have been enough for me to just have the opportunity to watch them. But that wasn’t the end, they were awarded the top honor in their class, first place and they also scored 3rd among the 45 bands that competed.

My heart is full.

At the same time band after band was taking the field to compete, the Chicago Cubs were taking loading the bases. A moment that up until last night had only been dreamt about and talked about in the terms of “some day,” became reality as the Cubs won the National League Conference and a chance to go to the World Series, the first time since 1945. Honestly, I’m not much of a baseball fan. It sort of bores me. But growing up I can’t recall a summer day when the baseball game wasn’t front and center in my grandparent’s house. I can still hear the crackle of their kitchen radio and Harry Carry’s voice announcing the play by play of the game. If it wasn’t the radio,  then my grandparents were seated in their tiny living room watching the game on their tiny TV. My grandma would watch intently as she wiped the sweat from her forehead in the heat of a summer afternoon and talk to the TV as if Ryan Sandberg or Don Zimmer could hear her.

Cubs baseball is more than a professional sport to me it is part of my heritage, part of who I am and the people who loved me. My grandparent’s never got to see their beloved team go to the World Series but I’m proud to say my kids and I will. My heart is full remembering my grandparents and knowing how happy they would be if they were still here.

After yesterday, I didn’t think my heart could hold any more but this morning I felt it over flow with happiness and thanksgiving as I watched Lucy Jean’s head sprinkled with baptism water.

lucys-baptism

It was a day that I’ve prayed for and one that I was afraid I’d never see. At 27 weeks this little girl breathed her first breath and cried her first cry even though she was only 1lb and 11oz. She entered this world small and frail but proved to everyone watching that she was fierce and brave and had more fight in her tiny body and spirit than would even seem possible. I’ve watched this precious child grow and accomplish feats that seemed out of her reach. She has defied all the odds so far and continues to blaze her own trail, challenging everyone around her to keep up.

My heart is full.

The lyrics to the song, 10,000 Reasons, keep going through my mind right now.

“Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I’ll worship your holy name. The sun comes up its a new day dawning, it’s time to sing your songs again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing till the evening comes. Your rich in love and your slow to anger, your name is great and your heart is kind. For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 reasons for my hear to find!”

Seeking God sometimes mean soaking in God’s blessings. Looking around you and being amazed at how He has lavishly poured out his love on you and everyone you love. Lifting up your face like you do on an early summer day when the sun is shinning and feel the warmth on your skin.

Seeking God sometimes means that you raise your hands to the heavens and say, “Thank you!”

Oh what a beautiful day!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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 20

haldenToday is the 9 year “friendaversary” on Facebook with my dear friend Carol. When I opened my computer this morning the Facebook elves had magically made a video that documented our friendship. As I watched the pictures scroll by, I was amazed at how many memories I had forgotten. I was also just as touched by the many memories that came flooding back to my mind even though they weren’t pictured. The video reminded me of how much I love her and how grateful I am for her friendship.

Whoever came up with the idea and program to bring old pictures into my current newsfeed was a genius. It’s the part of my morning that I love and sometimes hate the most. My heart melts seeing pictures of my children wearing diapers when today they need to be wearing deodorant. I instantly remember the clothes they were wearing, I can feel the weight of their little bodies in my arms and I remember the sweet sound of their little voices. For a brief moment, I can breathe in the memory like it was yesterday and it helps me remember who they and we used to be and who we are becoming. It’s bittersweet.

On a morning when child #2 was yelling at me because child #3 was late and child #4 was anxious because I hadn’t paid for his field trip and child #1 was still sleeping…it’s good to remember that at one time we were laughing at wearing giant Hulk hands or struggling with potty training or snuggling together on a small couch. It’s good to be transported to another time when things were either extremely good or impossibly hard. The ability to look back means that somehow time has passed and we have survived and we have become or grown or been transformed. We are no longer them, we are us. We are us because of them. Remembering is good.

I read today in the last book of the Old Testament Malachi. The verse that caught my eye is this:

Malachi 3:16

 

“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.”

The phrase, “a scroll of remembrance” just shook me to my core. It made me wonder what they had written on that scroll. What events or understandings did those leaders decide needed to be recorded? Whose names were written down? What made those individuals stand out?

All we know of them is that they “feared the Lord” and “honored his name.” Read that again and let it sink in. They feared the Lord and honored his name.

I want my name to be written on the “scroll of remembrance.” I want my character to be such that it is said of me that I fear the Lord and honor his name. I am so grateful for these Old Testament leaders. Because of them we are us. Look what is written next in the chapter:

Malachi 3:17 

 

“”They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

God spared these people because of their faithfulness and eventually sent Jesus, the savior of the world, through their lineage. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and reveals himself to us because God saved a remnant of his people who feared him and honored his name.

I am positive that it was not easy to be one of these few, to be a member of this group. I am positive that they questioned their ability to lead. That they questioned their strength in that time of adversity. I’m sure that they questioned whether or not they were the right people for the job. But I’m so grateful that in the end they stood, they stayed, they talked. I’m so grateful that they sought God. I’m so grateful that in the end they knew that the Lord had listened to them and had heard them.

A scroll of remembrance. A written account of their encounter with God so that all would remember who he was and is and will always be. An account of his faithfulness, his goodness, his love.

We all need that, don’t we?

A story of God’s faithfulness in our lives when we were able to know that he had heard us and listened to us. That story will serve to tell the next generations of what we have learned. It will also help us remember. When everything seems impossibly hard, we need to take out our scroll and remember who God is.

Here is a song to help you remember. Jesus by Chris Tomlin

 

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

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