Seeing God Across Your Years

As a child I talked to Jesus all the time ~ especially when I was sick, which was at least a couple months a year. I got strep throat with every change of weather. My nose tickled for weeks at a time. I was constantly scrunching up my face, twisting my mouth, and wiggling my nose to try to make it stop. So I was give yucky-tasting yellow medicine to get rid of my “tic.”  I had terrific allergies, but no one realized that was the cause.

Behold, He comes on the cloudsBanished to bed for weeks at a time, I read a lot and lived in my imagination. Often I’d stretch out on the bed, curtains wide open on my large window, and talk to Jesus. By day I’d ask if he was riding a particularly fluffy cloud. By night I’d ask if that bright star was him and was he coming down to earth.

I’ve no idea where these thoughts and questions came from. When I was 4 my parents joined a Presbyterian church where I was baptized. I went to Sunday School – or I think I did. Though I have a pretty good memory and remember things about my toddler years that surprise even my family, I have zero recollection of classes. I do remember standing in church next to my mother and loving when we’d sing the Doxology. The organ thundered the powerful, lively music; and I thought Mom’s voice was lovely. But I have no memory of actually being in children’s classes.

Grow in Christ Bookends from Guymon

Grow in Christ bookends from Guymon

We didn’t discuss Sunday morning sermons at home. In fact, Sunday was the day my father would take me and my girlfriends (Catholic, so we weren’t in church together) for banana splits or sundaes at the ice cream stand in town.

So church and the Bible were not part of my daily fare. I did go to Vacation bible School summers when I’d visit cousins in Oklahoma (hence these ancient bookends). And one Christmas I was given a children’s Bible story book ~ typical narrative recounting of Bible miracles. The book long ago met its demise in a flood or a flurry of mother’s spring cleaning. I have no idea how accurate the stories were.

As apparently minimal as my exposure to God was, in my heart we were close. I knew He was near, watched over me, and listened when I talked to him. How does one explain this?

I can’t.

I believe it’s a God thing. God never ignores a sincere seeker and is particularly tender with children. I believe he communicates with them in ways they can understand. And in Psalm 73:23 Asaph says he is always with God, so close that God holds Asaph’s right hand. That sounds as reasonable to me as any reason that I sensed God so intimately. And maybe that’s why, despite efforts to force me to use my other hand, I grew up left-handed!

Looking over your life, can you see: Was God ever taking care of you ~ even though you didn’t see it at the time?

I’m praying we have the vision to see God at work in our lives, our families, our world. Would love if you’d share ways you’ve seen God’s presence when you look back.

 

JOY in the Fractured Days

I had many goals this week and plans to reach them ~ until they were demolished.

We’ve had a fractured week, with conked out computer, busted car, blown up to-do list, and battered bodies. And we’re rejoicing. Why?

GLEN EYRIE - Garden steps

 

Because God has us. He’s got it all covered. Not one of these nuisances surprised Him.

 

 

He says to us:  “I am leading you, step by step, through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting me guide you through this day.

 

KARL plus crew in Sierras

 

Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy—even precarious. That is how it should be.”

Hallelujah! We’re right on target.  He continues:

 

Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is … doubting My promises to care for you … I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that and … Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.” [Jesus Calling, Sarah Young. emphasis mine.]

GATE - stone walled garden crop

FLOOD IN THE DESSERT

Ed at Yosemite - falls close up brtAre you needing guidance from God? Perhaps a word of encouragement, hope, or comfort? Sunday Johnnie Morris preached an encouraging message from Leviticus. (Yes, encouraging. Yes, Leviticus.) One point was ~

God leads us into a dessert to re-introduce us to Himself before he leads us to our promised land.

I asked God for a word for 2016. Then I asked for confirmation. I sincerely wanted his reassurance that I’d heard right.

Well, over the next days he flooded me with signs of reassurance. It was as astonishing and powerful as encountering a Niagara Falls in the dessert. So many Scriptures, ideas, stories, people, information that on Sunday evening I actually whispered, “I have to unplug. My brain is jangled trying to grasp it all.”

[Can’t help smiling as I write this next bit.] On Monday morning as I was working on this blog post ~ a gigantic wrecking ball flew out of nowhere and smashed through our family. The devastation is severe and will be long lasting.

It’s taken a couple of days to get back to writing this post. And though there are likely more consequences of our wrecking ball to be revealed, we are at peace. Also incredibly grateful.

Grateful that as each of us learned the hard news, the first thing we did was call to God, “Help!” And he did. Many of those lessons and words and Scriptures he’d poured over me on Saturday and Sunday were just what was needed on Monday. Amazing.

Grateful that, as bad as the situation is, we all see it could have been much worse.

And I’m so grateful that God flooded us on Sunday knowing Monday was coming.

Silly, childish me, fearing that the God who answered my request so wondrously might drown me with blessing!

TREE in Fog POSTER - No Vision 2 crMy word for 2016 is vision. God certainly gave me a glimpse of life through his eyes. I aim to remember it as we walk through this dessert. I fall into “Be Thou My Vision.” Here’s a link to a lovely version.

Our words matter to God. I hope you can take encouragement from this experience of ours. I pray you see God’s flood of provision over you and your family. Please, let me know if you have a need I can pray for.

Thorns and Roses

The Thorn by James Hayllar

An old-fashioned-looking print hangs where I see it first thing every morning. A young girl, clad in pink dress with white apron, pink hat with bow tied under her chin, and black-stockings and little black slippers stands in a wheelbarrow. She grasps a pink rose in the hand hanging at her side. Her other is held out to the tender ministrations of a tall, white-haired man. He studies her hand, whole body intent on her, as he removes a thorn. 

I love this picture, a gift from my husband. The absolute tenderness with which the gentleman attends the child’s wound is touching. A clear representation of God’s tender care. 

Roses in the painting have thorns. That’s realistic; they do. They’re also a perfect picture of God at work in our world—wrapping tough, painful things like thorns in the fragrant beauty of lush roses. And though the rose gardens of this world are lovely, we live in a fallen world, and thorns abound. But they’re not a mistake. After all, do you think roses had thorns in The Garden of Eden? Or did the prickly things only appear after the fall? Continue reading