God Moments

God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

God moments… what do they look like? Yesterday I talked about chronicling the spiritual markers in my life, and mentioned the BIG things God does. And of course those BIG things are important. But what about the small stuff? I’ve come to realize that some of the teeny, tiny details of our lives can actually be the BIGGEST God moments. Because once we see a teeny thing here, and a tiny thing there… they really begin to add up.

God moments… I had one Tuesday. That morning I was drawn to Zephaniah 3:17. I realized I had been seeing it frequently, so I wrote it down. Perhaps God was trying to tell me something. Later, my good friend told me that Zephaniah 3:17 was going around and around in her head that morning. She kept thinking about it. Now, to the cynic this may seem a coincidence. But I say no… it was a God moment! God knew we would talk on the phone, and He wanted us to know that He placed that verse on our hearts. Our conversation actually led to two more “mini” God moments. But in reality, isn’t any moment with God a BIG one?

God moments… I had one yesterday. Yesterday’s blog was inspired by Daniel 10:12. I later opened my Journey devotional for 2/27, there it was… Daniel 10:12! Coincidence or God? I say God. And when I stop to think about it, I can think of other small (but BIG) moments with Him. About a year ago, I heard a particular song on the radio and it brought to mind someone I used to know. We heard that song together when we attended a Beth Moore conference. As did King David, she danced joyfully and with all her might. I just had to watch her. And so, when I heard that song a couple of years later, I thought, “I should send an email.” Now, we’re not close friends, we do not email each other, and we live in separate states. But God brought her to my mind, and so I did send that email. Her reply? She said I was so heavy on her mind the afternoon before (when I heard the song), that she thought she should send me an email. When she saw mine in her inbox, she got chills. Coincidence or God? I say God.

And this morning there was another God moment. It was seven days ago when I remembered two events in high school. Both times I was deeply hurt by those I loved the most. Which was odd, because I do not think about that time. And to my recollection, I have never dwelt on those hurts. But all of a sudden, there they were. Two occasions, two separate years, but similar in circumstances. Both times, I was left at home when there was a BIG party. The first time, by my boyfriend and the second time, by my best friend. And so, I was left at home alone, while everyone else was together and having fun. I felt abandoned. And so, it was last Thursday that I wrote in my journal, “My hurts… when others got together and left me out… What to do with this? God brought it to me… what next?” The God moment made it’s appearance this morning.

While at the bus stop, I ached for my son because he shared something with me. He is in the first grade, and has an assigned seat on the bus. But he said he’s not sitting with his good friend anymore. He said his friend told his mom he wanted to sit with someone else, and so she talked to the bus driver about it. There is a reason (I don’t know that my son’s completely innocent), but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is how he feels today. He feels left out, and rejected, and unloved. I know exactly how he feels because I JUST thought about this in my own life. His heartache becomes mine. And so the question I posed to God a week ago is answered today. The “what next” is I comfort my son. Because I know! I know exactly how he feels because God reminded me of my own pain. My son feels just as I did all those years ago.

One more God moment? I write down the Psalms in my journal. I try to do it daily, but am not as diligent as I use to be. After the bus stop, my heart was so heavy. I just had to turn to the Psalms first thing. And wouldn’t you know the next Psalm happened to be Psalm 23. This Psalm is the first Scripture my son memorized. Coincidence? No… it’s God. Psalm 23 is one of the most comforting Psalms I know, and God gave it to me today so I could pray it for my son. I prayed that God would restore his soul, and that God’s rod and staff would comfort him. He’s so young and I don’t know that he’ll recall these words on his own. But I can. Because I love him, and because I’m his mother, I can pray it for him… to comfort him.

God moments. They’re everywhere.

Your words were heard…

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”  Daniel 10:12

What a powerful verse. I came across it this past fall, and it stopped me in my tracks. It’s amazing. Daniel set his heart to understand, and his words were heard… by God! I have an index card notebook, so I quickly jotted down this verse. I also wrote the stirring words in my journal. I was thoroughly moved and captivated by this new verse. But wait a minute… hadn’t I taken the Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel several years earlier? Yes, I sure did. So I must have read Daniel 10:12 then. And come to think of it…. it’s a pretty well-known verse. In fact, it’s likely that I ran across this verse several times in my life. But you know what? I didn’t remember it. When I read it this fall, it felt like the very first time.

Which brings me to what I want to write about today. This week, a dear friend brought up the spiritual markers of both our lives. She mentioned that she wanted to keep a spiritual marker journal, so that the BIG things God does won’t get lost in the mix. I actually had a similar thought about a month ago, but thought about making a timeline to show the BIG things. However, I’ve sat still. And now that it’s been brought to me again, I think God means for me to do it. Because what my friend said is true. A journal is a great tool, but depending on how much one journals, it would be hard to find the BIG things amidst hundreds/thousands/millions of words. And in my journal, it’s really hard to find something because I star and underline just about everything!!! For me to find those God moments, I would have to sit down and read every single word. So thanks, dear friend, you’ve given me a new direction… backward. Which is funny, because I’ve been looking back for a couple of years now.

This past fall, God pointed out just how easy it is to lose our spiritual markers. Oh, how quickly we forget! Fortunately, as I said yesterday (I think), God never forgets. It was this past September that He brought something to my mind. He wanted me to realize something HUGE. So He pointed me backward. He wanted me to face something specific from my past, but in a roundabout way I was brought right back to the Spring and Summer of 2010 (when everything really took off with God & me).

I’m sure you’ll soon notice I mention the Spring and Summer of 2010 quite a bit. It actually branches out into the fall. That’s because I believe a span of about six months was one spiritual marker in my life. That time period is when I had my God & me moment, it’s when I came to the realization that God is my homeland, and it’s also when I purposed to know Him. It’s when I purposed my heart to understand. And Daniel 10:12 assures me that my words were heard… by God!

Sure enough, when I look through my journal from September of 2010, there it is… Daniel 10:12. It spoke to me this past fall, and quite clearly, it spoke to me two years prior. How could I have forgotten? It was a major spiritual marker in my life. Perhaps it didn’t compute then. Maybe it’s only in looking back through our journals that we can find those defining moments. But the fact is, they’re there. We have to look for them. And when we find them, we need to remember them. Perhaps in a special book, as my friend suggested. Because how comforting would it be to pull that out when we’re feeling discouraged… and how amazing to see His very hand upon our lives.

Journals. I’m an advocate. I didn’t start one until the New Year of 2010. My first entries are sporadic at best, but over time, the pages get fuller and fuller. Later on, the writings include stars and underlines and circles. Yes, there’s a lot in there, and I’m eager to read them again. I’m excited about the task set before me. Although I read through them not that long ago, I must have missed something. Because God says to do it again. And so this time, I’ll look with fresh eyes. Through my own handwriting I’ll see proof of how the very hand of God has touched my life. And I can hardly wait to see what’s next. Because every day is a new day. With each new dawn, we’re given another chance. We can once again set our hearts to understand and come humbly before Him. And when we do, our words will be heard… by Him.

Seeking a Homeland

We’re all seekers. Everyone is looking for something to fill them. For me, it was Virginia. Two and a half years ago, I longed to return to my homeland. I wanted it desperately, but it looked as if I’d never get there. I left at nineteen thinking I’d never want to return. I wanted excitement, and thought the world would offer it. And so, I left. Over time, I married a good man and had a precious boy. By the time the Summer of 2010 rolled around, I had been away from my home  for eighteen years. And somewhere along the road, my homeland evolved into the promised land. I had to have it. I had to get there… I was seeking my homeland.

When God told me He would return me to my homeland, I was overjoyed. See, in 2010, I was in a very dark place. I was angry and bitter, and not content in my circumstances. I thought Virginia would “fix” me. I thought Virginia would be the answer to my prayers. I thought everyone else would feel the same as I did. So you can imagine my surprise when a loved one didn’t share in my prayer to send me home to Virginia. I mentioned “her” in yesterday’s post, but I didn’t elaborate. It didn’t occur to me till this morning that someone may wonder why “her” didn’t join in my prayer, but chose to simply pray God’s will for me. I had been seeking Virginia, and longing for it. By the time I received a word from God that He would send me back, I had been pining away for years. I wanted “her” to be happy for me. I wanted “her” to pray for me as I was praying. But she didn’t. And it’s only now that I can see why. She knew something I did not. She tried to tell me, but I DID NOT want to hear it. She tried to caution me, but I closed my ears to it. Instead of accepting words of wisdom, I filled my journal with words of anger.

Yes, God said He would send me home… I just didn’t know when. Soon after, He spoke to me through Proverbs 20:21, “An inheritance gained prematurely will not be blessed ultimately.” Thus, I knew my departure would not be imminent. And so I finally came to the point in which could settle down (at least a little). This is when I really began to dig in where I was. This also happens to be the point that I was so sick of myself and my complaining, and so mad at “her,” that I decided to seek God. I had no other choice. And so began the search. I sought God wholeheartedly, while seeking my homeland on the side. Probably for the first time in the whole of my Christian existence, I searched God’s word in search of Him. All the while, I cried out to Him for my homeland in Virginia. Yes, I wanted God… but I still yearned for that homeland of mine… the promised land.

In September of 2010, everything changed. It was like I had a split personality. I wanted two things at once. I wanted Virginia, and yet, I wanted God. And so finally, I had to determine which I wanted more. I cried out through prayer, “My God… why am I here when I call out to you to take me to Virginia? But You are holy! Be near me… rescue me!” It was only two days after this prayer that God showed me something huge. It was through Hebrews 11:13-16 that God spoke volumes to me. I penned what spoke the loudest in my journal. “They were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth… they are seeking a homeland… If they had been remembering the land they came from, they would have had opportunity to return. But they now aspire to a better land – a heavenly one.”

On September 15, 2010, God showed me what “her” had been trying to say. She knew the truth. She knew that nothing aside from God would fill me, and take away the darkness of my soul. She knew that a return to Virginia would not cure me. She knew I needed to find peace right where I was. I didn’t want to hear that. But when God showed me the truth through His own word… there was no denying the message. Virginia is temporal, not eternal. I believe God was showing me that Virginia was not the answer for me… He was! He still is! He is my heavenly Father and my inheritance lies with Him. As lovely as the land is, my inheritance was not and is not in the soil of Virginia. There I was, a child of God, and rather than seeking Him, my Father, I had been seeking a temporary lodging. It took me THIRTEEN years to get to that moment. It was then that I knew (at least in my brain) that Virginia would not fix me. That’s what “her” had been trying to tell me all along.

See, we’re all seeking a homeland of some sort. It’s what we fixate on. My hometown is what I fixated on for years. But God said to fixate on Him because He is my homeland! And so, two and a half years ago, I knew the truth. It’s evidenced by my own handwriting in my journal, “I am here (earth) but a short while. Eternity is forever, and that should be my focus… not here on earth. Temporary… I want Virginia, but that’s not my final home.” I’d like to say that I’ve rested in that truth since September of 2010. But hey, I’m human and far from perfect. Not only that, I am completely forgetful. Quite honestly, I forgot! Not just once, but again and again I’ve forgotten. But you know, my Father in heaven never forgets. And so, when I do and begin to fixate on something new, and start seeking something other than Him, He reminds me through His word:

You, O LORD, are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. Psalm 16:5,6

May we all seek Him, for He is our inheritance… He is our homeland.

God & me.

Me blogging? Crazy when I think about it. This is completely unlike me. If I’m not mistaken, it was not that long ago I actually voiced, “I don’t understand blogging.” And here I sit, mind brimming, thoughts churning, and my most pressing thought? What first? Where to begin? I could start with today, but for me, yesterday is so important. And by yesterday, I mean just about two and a half years ago. That’s where it really began with God & me. I became His child in February of 1997, but for quite some time, I was stagnant. I stayed a babe, desiring the milk of his word, never moving on to more solid food. But two and a half years ago, I got to a stopping point. I felt desperate, to be honest. And this is what this blog will be… honest, transparent, and a little scary, if you really want to know. Scary because I’m on a journey, and I don’t know where it will lead. I don’t know exactly what God will have me write about each day, or even if it will be daily. Just maybe I won’t want to share something personal, but He wants me to. Suppose I dry up, and have nothing to say? Suppose I’m criticized? All those what-ifs can add up if I let them. So, pressing all frightening scenarios to the background, here goes nothing (or something)?

Two and a half years ago, I was angry with someone. Well, with a few people. That’s because I wanted to return to my homeland (a small town in Virginia), and they didn’t understand. I had left when I was nineteen, and at thirty-seven, I felt desperate to go home. Over time, a twinge of homesickness morphed into depression. I missed my family! Everyone who knew me well knew of my heartache. How could they not, as I complained more than a time or two. And so, it was the Spring of 2010 when I felt a glimmer hope. I was certain God said He would send me back home when I read Jeremiah 29:11-14. The part that spoke to me? “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” – the LORD’s declaration – “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” – the LORD’s declaration – “I will restore you to the place I deported you from.” YES! God would send me home! He declared it! Okay, He was talking to His chosen ones, the Israelites… but I believe fully that God can use any portion of His word to speak to His children today. And you better believe I shared this news, that God would send me home, to all those closest to me. But I was met with skepticism and caution at every turn. And this made me angry. When someone really close to me said, “I’m not praying that God will send you to Virginia, I’m praying His will for you,” I went over the edge.

And so, I did what any hot-blooded female would do. I set out to prove to her wrong (note to “her”… if you’re reading this, you know who you are, and you know how much I love you!). But you know what, this proved to be the best thing she could have done for me. Through setting out to prove “her” wrong, it set me on my path to really finding God. This is exactly where it began with God & me. See, I wanted to prove to a loved one that God’s will can be accomplished anywhere. Whether in North Carolina, Virginia or Saskatchewan, I could accomplish God’s will. But first, I needed to know what the basics were. Just what does God require of His people? Really and truly, I felt like I was starting from scratch. And then, I stumbled upon a verse that was truly a life changer for me. It was Philippians 3:10, “My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person.” Okay, for all you seasoned Christians out there, I’m sure you know this verse is about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. But for me, two and a half years ago, I read this verse with God the Father in mind. When I read this, my heart shifted. I thought, “Yes, my determined purpose is that I may know Him…” This, my friend, is where it began with God & me. And honestly, this is what we all need. We all need a defining moment in our lives, when we realize that we really NEED God. We all need to get to that point in which we sincerely want to know Him. And the only way to know Him is through His Son.

Two and a half years ago, I was desperately seeking God. I wanted to return to my homeland (the promised land), but I finally came to a place where I could put that desire to the back burner for a bit. I stopped seeking Virginia, and began seeking God instead. And although my search began in anger, I changed through the process. I began to really want to know Him just because I wanted to, not just to prove a family member wrong. I wanted to know Him simply because, He’s my Father. And what child doesn’t want to know their Daddy?

God & me… without Him, there’s no hope. And my sincere hope is that through this blog, everyone who reads it will come to a point in which they desire to know their Father. My desire is that everyone can say, “This is where it began with God & me.” And I’m quite sure that’s His desire, too.