I wanted to write up a quick post yesterday but I had more work than time – sorry!
I’m particularly fond of the few days immediately following Christmas because they feel like an exhale to me. The days leading up to Christmas can sometimes be a frenzied collection of meal preparation, last minute wrapping, gifts, holiday bustle and manic hustle. But the days after Christmas seem to be more peaceful to me. Everything seems to get more calm, peaceful and manageable. Let me encourage you to take some time in these days to pause, reflect and rejuvenate. Drink deeply of God’s presence and nestle into God’s unlimited love for you. Jesus was born for us out of no other motivation than genuine love 🙂
On a quickie side note, please remember to pray for South Sudan – they’ve had close to 2 weeks of intense conflict and thousands have been killed there in the last 10 days.
I was having a nice conversation with a friend & we were talking about how much we enjoy our daily prayer times with God. She said something that stuck with me in a funny way. She said, “I wish I didn’t have to leave God’s sweet presence when I have to move into the day’s activities & demands.” It was an interesting comment that has lingered in my mind for more than a year. When she first said this, I readily agreed with her with sadness. But after thinking about this for a few weeks, I started to consider that if God is everywhere at all times, then we never leave God’s presence.
Perhaps we get to discover God’s presence in different contexts: busy, still, anxious, peaceful, uncertain, stable, clear, restless, hopeful, discouraged, hurt, loved, weakness, strength, joy, pain, . . . . . Maybe we are learning to sense God in lots of different ways & contexts not only in the normal & expected ways 🙂
Tomorrow will mark the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death & it’s been an interesting journey over the last year with some good & some not so good stuff. While I have no intention to ignore the “not so good stuff,” I think you’ll find it more helpful & interesting to read of some of the “good stuff” today (maybe I’ll do the “not so good stuff” in a subsequent blog):
about 2 months ago I had a really vivid dream about my dad & it was extremely comforting. I dreamt that my dad was hugging me like he did when he was alive & really healthy – super strong & caring
people have been exceptionally kind, caring, patient and generous with words, time and support
I find that God the Father seems more real to me now
I have grown more dependent on God for more things in broader areas of my life – good for an independent soul ,)
Lately, I’ve gone through some tricky situations that have the potential to turn out very harmful – cant say that I’m loving the “thrill”. But I’m also coming to the conclusion that these kinds of situations are exactly what I need to grow & learn in some very important areas. Getting stronger, wiser, more healthy & generally improving happens with effort & commitment, not usually with being passive, oblivious or apathetic. But here is something important that I’m learning: I need The Holy Spirit / Helper to help me. If I try to grow & learn without The Helper’s direction, input, wisdom & strength then my humanity can warp, twist & distort the lessons. These outcomes without The Helper become harmful & even destructive. I need Help to pass these tests 🙂
Today is my weekly Jesus Chick post where I get to briefly share some cool stuff about some of the amazing women in Jesus’ life. Of course Jesus had His 12 disciples & men are clearly an important part of Jesus’ life. But here’s an often over looked woman who caught Jesus attention: the widow’s mite chick.
When you read what’s happening around this nameless chick, there are lots of people giving offerings into the Temple treasurey & Jesus was not only watching the people, but He was watching the amounts that they were giving. Some were giving heaps & some giving what seemed paltry. Please keep in mind that in Jesus’ day, women were frequently overlooked as His world was primarily male dominated. So the fact that Jesus calls out a woman who was giving a very minuscule amount says something of premier importance – she caught Jesus’ eye more than anyone else. She caught Jesus’ attention because of her extravagant generosity, not because of the massive quantity. From watching this amazing & nameless Jesus Chick, we learn that is more a condition of the heart than the size of the gift 🙂
I was having an interesting chat with a friend, who is totally amazing. She is all things strong, bold, smart, hard working, loyal, compassionate & super incredible! In some respects, her talents are altogether different than my talents, which can be a wonderful adventurous friendship, as long as I keep my insecurities in check – smile 🙂
After having a great conversation, I hung up the phone & felt God smiling on me, affirming my value, talents & abilities even though they’re altogether different than my friends’. Let me encourage you that while you may be different than the people you admire, you are nevertheless just as valuable, important & significant as they are. When it’s all said & done, we need each other with our various strengths as complements to our various weaknesses rather than competition 🙂
The first time that Martha met Jesus, she was pretty wrapped up in performance: cleaning, cooking, busy with meal preparation & lots of hustle / bustle. I love how honest she is with Jesus: make my sister stop listening to you & get her to help me with all of this work!!! And for those of us who are caught in the same rat race, maybe Jesus says the same thing to us, “Martha, you’re busy & stressed out with many things, but only ONE THING is necessary . . . . ” One Thing. If we live our lives with a One Thing paradigm, I wonder if we would be more effective & fulfilled 🙂
The next time we read about Martha is in John 11, after her brother Lazarus has died. Again, she has a house full of guests who have come to mourn & grieve the loss of her brother. Despite having all of these guests, Martha learned from the previous One Thing conversation, left everyone to go out & chat with Jesus. Not only did she have an amazing discussion & learn new things about Jesus (I am the Resurrection), she also got to see her brother get raised from the dead.
Let’s make the One Thing adjustment – letting Jesus be all things essential in our lives, then fasten your seatbelt & hold on for the adventure of a lifetime!!
Have you ever struggled to pray because of various distractions? This morning happened to be one of those times for me & that can be really frustrating because if you’re like me, you really want to pray! So perhaps I can give you a few ideas that could be helpful:
tell God that you’re having a hard time praying because of the various distractions. I say something like this, “God, I really want to pray right now, but I’m having a hard time because I find myself to be distracted with all kinds of things, some things important & some things not so much.”
sometimes I will write down what those distractions are – maybe making a to-do list, or briefly writing out the various things about which I’m concerned
take a pause and listen / wait – often after I do the first 2 things above, it gets easier for me to pray, listen and to be more present with God than the various distractions
don’t get way frustrated with yourself – commit to have some prayer time in your life everyday so that on those few days that seem to filled with distractions, you can be certain that there will also be some totally amazing times with God that will be nothing short of glorious – all realtionships can have some ups & downs
sometimes it helps me to review a verse or passage from the Bible that has seemed to really capture my attention & thoughts – in these times, I give myself to exploring this verse or passage with God & I find these times to be particularly rich with God’s presence
If you take some time to be still & listen to God, you’ll hear that you’re deeply loved. You’ll hear that you have infinite value. You’ll hear that your life has amazing purpose as you live in synch with God. Listen, watch, be sensitive to God because you have yet to experience more & more of God’s love for you 🙂
With Mothers Day coming up this weekend, it frequently reminds of me about being generous & giving meaningful gifts. However, not all of us have access to resources to get some WAY cool gifts. So here’s a really wonderful gift that is extremely meaningful but not pricey: listening 🙂
Listening is a great gift because its wholesome, it gives respect & honor, it also means that you are present with then other person & that’s an awesome gift! So lets be generous & listen 🙂