Let Me See You!

English: The Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

And God

Aren’t you here, right now? And can’t I see You, as You move in the every day? Are You not still the powerful Elohim? I look at Genesis and am still in awe of it….right from the beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 NIV

You created… out of nothing. No one else can do that. No one, but You. How mighty are the works of Your hands!

You are God, that created all things and called them good. You are the same God that creates all good things in my life.

On days when my eyes only see the gray of You, the dim image, only the shadowed essence of Your glory…

Father, place me in the cleft of the rock and open my eyes to You!

This life is difficult, full of pain, and all the not-good-enoughs.

Life on many days is ripped wide open. Gaping.

Let me see You!

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On some days my prayer is just like this one that I wrote.

Simple.

To the point.

“Let me see You!”

My prayer comes from the book of Exodus, chapter 33. Moses and God are having a conversation…and Moses tells God he wants to see His glory. God tells him okay, but He didn’t allow Moses to see His face, “for no one may see Me and live.” So God put Moses in the cleft (a crevice or crack) in the side of the mountain and covered Moses with His hand while He passed by. Moses was only allowed to see God’s back as He went by.

Moses was gutsy, wasn’t he? That was a big request… and yet, God said “yes” to his request.

This is one of my favorite stories of the Bible and, quite frankly, it is not one of the more common Bible stories… the ones that most people know. I like to think about Moses. He is told by God that He will lead the people of Israel. It is a big job. Moses goes back and forth with God about whether or not people will know that God is with them. He reminds God that, “this nation is Your people.” God agrees and says that His presence will be with them. Which leads up to Moses’ question about seeing God…and God telling Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Can you imagine how Moses must have felt? In awe? Honored? Excited? Nervous? Terrified?  No one can see God’s face and live. His glory is too much for an individual to fully comprehend. I, of course, wasn’t there and don’t know for sure, but my theory is that seeing God face to face would be so intense that a mere human body could not physically survive it.

His glory.

Who He is.

Overwhelming.

And still, are you like me? Do you want to see His glory? To know that His presence is with you?

God delights to reveal Himself.

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The Windows Of Heaven

Sun Rays Through The Clouds

Everything belongs to Him.

It is all His. Every bit of every thing that ever was, is, or will be.

God of the universe is also, God of the every day.

He called all of creation into being, with the sound of His voice.

He knows all the stars in the heavens, can easily count the grains of sand on the beaches of the world, sees the sparrow when it falls….

and He sees and knows each of us.

He knows my needs—

Personally. Intimately. Completely.

What He gives…

I realize, I am only borrowing for awhile.

God doesn’t owe me. He is not indebted to me. He is not required to stay in my good graces.

And yet, He gives freely to me.

 “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.

   “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7: 7-11 NIV

All that He gives, is out of His love, mercy, and grace.

Sometimes the gifts are glorious and abundant. Other times the gifts are small and scarce.

Sometimes I realize the gifts for what they are, and sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes the gift doesn’t feel like a gift. It might feel like a hurt, or a loss.

But He knows. He knows me. He knows the gift.

He knows how it will all work together, until my mind and my heart can see the gift for what it truly is.

Each of His gifts, no matter how big or how small, is a blessing to me, the receiver.

Don’t believe it? Don’t think He will come through for you?

God does not make a habit of telling any of  us to test Him. (After all, who are we to test the motives or actions of the Almighty?)

But this time He did….He said, “TEST ME”.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Malachi 3:10 NASB

God is not a smooth operator. He is not a player or a slick salesman. He does not cheat, lie, or mislead. He cannot. It is not His nature.

You can believe that if He says something…He means it.

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Thankful, this Monday, for…

* being able to trust

* my good eye sight

* hands that help and hold

* love that endures

* a heart that overflows

* the gift of realizing that it is all God’s

* storing up treasures where neither moth nor rust can destroy

* relationships

* learning…always learning

* good books

* thought provoking statements

* warm jacket

* miracles that occur in the mess

* songs that must be sung

* letters penned from long ago

* the ability to create word pictures

* living in His grace, and knowing it

* growing

* being able to look back and smile

* being able to look forward and smile

* being safe

Finding Rest

Spending my Saturday being renewed.

Finding rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No schedule.

No to do list.

Just…being.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep tothose he loves. Psalm 127:2  NIV

Have a renewing Saturday, my friends.

 

Taking The Joy Dare…It Might Never Have Been

English: Fall foliage - Berlin, New Hampshire ...

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, has challenged her readers to participate in the Joy Dare. I’ve decided to do it. I’m sure there will be days where I forget, am overwhelmed, or aggravated. Days when joy feels far from me….and yet, through it all, I continue the discipline.

Today’s challenge is: Giving thanks for three gifts that might never have been...

*** I met him for the first time, completely by chance. It just so happened that we, two 17 year old’s, were filling out applications for summer camp at the same time. Two soon-to-be counselors, writing out our basic information to our prospective employer. I noticed his brown hair, and striking blue eyes first. I was the first to say “hi” as he looked up from where he was seated and gave me a smile. As he left he said, “I guess I will be seeing you at camp?” I shook my head, yes.

That was the beginning of a decade(s) long friendship. Back and forth we would write and call, long before the simplicity of emails and Skype. Late nights of talking about everything and nothing, visits to see each other across the miles, and knowing that the other one would always be there to listen. Many happy memories are wound through the years of this friendship. I think about this man whenever I hear someone talking of lacrosse, New England in the Fall, books of poetry, or surprise trips to college graduations. How precious and valued time was back then.

As is often the way, time and distance drew us apart and we went our separate ways. The thoughts of those days, and the joy that they brought me, still linger. I’m thankful for that time in my life because I realize it might never have been…and I would have missed out on so much. Thanking God for paths that cross in the most ordinary of circumstances, that can change a person…… forever.

***I have an auto-immune disease of the thyroid. I was diagnosed with it when I was just 14 years old, so I’ve lived with it, and the frustrations of having a not so healthy thyroid, for most of my life. I remember when the doctor told me it might be difficult for me to get pregnant because of it. It scared me, because I always wanted and expected that I would be a mother some day.

The day I saw the plus sign on the stick, I nearly passed out. I was overjoyed to say the least. God, in His infinite mercy, gave me my desire and several months later my husband and I welcomed our little boy into the world. I always enjoyed being a mommy, from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I might have been exhausted, but I was content. When our baby was a toddler we decided to try for a baby brother or sister. Months became years… I didn’t understand. When our son was 4, his daddy was diagnosed with a chronic heart disease. My son was fatherless at the sweet age of 5.

I look back at that time and I mourn the loss of my husband, but also mourn the death of a dream. The dream of having more children. I was widowed at 32 and at that point I knew I probably wouldn’t have anymore. It was a sad time. As the years of widowhood went on, I came to realize that God’s ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my own. In all honesty, it was much easier raising one child alone, then it would have been, had I had two or three, or four. God knew that. He knew me. My heart learned to lean on Him, and know contentment with my circumstance. I am thankful for my son, because I realize that he might never have been, had it not been for God’s grace and mercy shown to me. He knew my heart, and he gifted me with a son.

***In my late 30’s I filled out an application for an internet dating site. What possessed me to do that, I still don’t know. I’m glad I did. It was through that whim that I found my second husband. A man, who understood what it was to be widowed. A man who shared my faith and values, and looked to God in his daily life. I have no doubt that God can, and does, work in mysterious ways. He can even use the internet to bring two souls together across hundreds of miles. Individuals that would never have met in person, drawn together by common circumstances, and intertwined by the Master’s hand. When I married for the second time, God gave me, not only a husband to share life with, but more children too! God is good. All the time.  I am thankful for my new family because I realize that it might never have been. My signing up for an online dating service, turned into a real life relationship, in the hands of the One who knows hearts.

Can you look back at your life and see divine appointments amongst the day to day? Are you aware of God’s providence? Aware of things that might never have been…but, looking back, you are so grateful…because they did!

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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8  NIV

Turning The Page

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller

Stepping out into the unknown…each day unfolding into an adventure.

Helen Keller's famous water pump at Ivy Green

The diploma in my hand was full of promise. I was chosen for the scholarship. I was leaving for school hundreds of miles from home.

The letters after my name. A degree. Four years of hard work had paid off. The future was full of promise.

Applications. Interviews. God had other plans…and they weren’t the same as mine.

I had moved back home. I was 500 miles away, when I received the call. Would I like to travel back to east Tennessee and take the job?

He asked me. I said, “yes”.  The diamond sparkled in the light.

Teaching. Learning. Changing.

The strip had a plus sign on it. The smile broke out across my face. I was going to be a mommy!

The first strong cry, mingled with my own. I took him in my arms and carried him in my heart.

My husband didn’t feel well.

The doctor told us that “things didn’t look right”.  A door slammed shut that day…and it never opened again.

Gray sky on a damp November morning. Freshly dug dirt.

Having to say good-bye and knowing it would be final.

Soccer mom. Church activities. Parent nights. Laughter.

Girls night out. Friendship.

Dating again. Nervous. Unsure.

Meeting new people. Hearing their stories. Making memories.

Falling in love again. Saying yes, to second chances.

Choosing to school at home.

Moving to a new state. New friends. New routines.

A new house. A job loss. Struggling to understand the why?

Life is a constant adventure.

Tomorrow is a new chapter.

Turning the page…

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Love In The Day To Day

Love for Arts

Today, at A Holy Experience,  Ann has her readers posting about the practice of love.

I just knew I would write this wonderful blog post about love! I thought maybe Hallmark might even want it for their Valentine card collection. Maybe I’d write something using the verses from the “love” chapter 13 in 1 Corinthians. The more I thought about my wonderful ideas on love, the more I felt drawn to write the real stuff. You all know what I mean. Not the Hollywoodchick flick” romance. Not the bouquet of roses and candy. Not the slick pictures in the magazines for jewelry companies. So, here goes. The real stuff. Not the fluff stuff.

Here is my take on love in 60 seconds. Ready. Set. Go.

The daily practice of love is usually not romantic, or cinematic…

nor is it cavalier or conceited.

Love can be gritty and hard…

Some days the walk is all up hill.

The battle is hard fought.

Love can be exhausting.

Miscommunication and boredom

march to the front lines ready to do battle.

Love must be tough…

if it is to survive.

Commitment, sacrifice, and sometimes…

hanging on with white knuckles and wobbly legs.

It’s not giving up, not giving in–

even when throwing in the towel might seem easier.

Love is messy, and crazy and frustrating

and serious, and funny, and happy and

sad.

Love is both time consuming, and energy renewing.

Some days it requires standing down and looking up,

on others, it is asking for a hand to hold.

It is fierce and all consuming,

soft and safe and starting again.

Love doesn’t give up.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13  NIV

Only A Short Time To Live

English: Canadian Horseshoe Falls with city of...

I’m currently watching a movie about a young man that found out he had terminal/stage 4 cancer. In the movie he takes off on his motorcycle, on a journey of self discovery across his homeland of Canada, seeing things through new eyes. It’s the knowing that he is dying that causes him to really live…to truly see. To appreciate.

His perspective changed.

What would I do if I was told I only had a few months left to live?  This question makes for a good movie plot, and allows for me to view some gorgeous scenery while watching this man’s trek across the country…..but, the truth is….

for all of us, it is the change of attitude that causes the change in action.

What are the things that are important to us? Are we thankful for what we have? Or do we take what we have for granted? Who do we thank for this day? This moment? This life?

Do you believe that your life is just a cosmic experiment, and therefore your life is not really important in the big scheme of things? That you are here and then you are gone? That death is final?

Or do you know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, by God that loves you? He that knows every hair on your head? That understands your motives? That catches all your tears? That sees and knows your heart better than you know yourself?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

It depends on your perspective…in how you choose to live your life.

None of us is promised tomorrow. Oh, we like to think we have 80 or more years on this earth. That we will die peacefully in our sleep. That we have all the time in the world to….live.

Not true.

The doctor gives the diagnosis. The other car crosses the center line. The heart stops. The brain ceases thinking. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The accident happens. Not waking up.

We are all terminal.

God tells us not to worry about tomorrow, not to live in fear, but to remember that our lives on this earth are like a vapor.

A mist. A swirling mist that is seen in the early morning, soon dissipating with the rising of the sun.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14  NIV

My life is for a purpose. I am here for a purpose…and so are you.

God chose each of us. There are no mistakes with Him. He is not caught off guard by surprises.You are no surprise.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17  NIV

That changes perspective, doesn’t it?

Although it is good, in my opinion, for each person to take stock of their life, to explore new and exciting things, to change what we need to change, to check off the wishes on the “bucket list” ….. it is equally important to be grateful for the life that we have.

This is the life we were gifted with.

I don’t need to travel the world, to see the sights, to know…

that God infuses wonder in each moment.

Whether a person lives only one hour on this earth, or lives to be one hundred years old…in the scope of eternity, it is all a short time.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIV