May we SEE You as More Than Enough

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an amazing morning of worship I was allowed to experience through God’s grace.  It was a rainy Monday morning, which usually would cause me to have feelings of dread and sleepiness, but on that particular Monday, God opened my eyes to see Him in spite of the circumstances around me.  Oh how I wish I could remain on those mountaintop moments!  There is nothing like experiencing that kind of intimacy with your Creator.

But like all fickle humans, whose feelings and attitudes can change on a dime, today is a much more subdued kind of day.  I am finding it hard to focus.  My mind wanders during prayer.  The words of the Bible seem to blur together.  And I find myself just staring at my computer screen unable to write the words to my next curriculum lesson.

I begin to get frustrated with myself, thinking things like: “What is wrong with you?,  Some writer you are!,  It shouldn’t be this hard!”

I haven’t left my family room, and yet, I feel as though I have been engaged in a battle all morning.  Satan’s accusations fly at my heart like arrows shot with expert accuracy.  My heart takes a few hits before I realize that I am under attack.  But then something extraordinary happens; a shield appears and begins to deflect those arrows.  Somewhere in my head I hear the words of Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and Romans 8:34, “Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

As the arrows seem to slowly fade away, I suddenly remember that His grace is all I need, and that His power is made perfect in my weakness.  I feel as though the battle is temporarily over, and instead of being left weary and tired, I am renewed and strengthened.

I may not have the same intense feelings of worship and happiness that I experienced on that rainy Monday, but I have a deep sense of peace and quiet joy that will allow me to write in Jesus’ power.  I may still feel fuzzy and easily distracted, but my head has instructed my heart to trust in Jesus’ strength and give Him my weakness.

Considering He could turn five loaves and two fish into a lunch fit for well over 5,000, I am confident He can turn my distracted thoughts into the words of a curriculum lesson.

From one distracted child of the King to another, my I encourage you to submit your weakness to Him and trust in His strength today.  And may we all SEE God as more than enough.

May we SEE You as our hiding place

“I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1b

OK, so the psalmist probably was not talking about the flu when he wrote about disaster passing, but our entire family coming down with the flu this weekend (when we should have been celebrating our son’s 12th birthday) has felt like a bit of a disaster. I’ve  never had the flu before, and I pray that I never will again.  One by one, we each fell to the fever, cough and body aches.  Birthday plans had to be canceled, doctor visits had to be arranged, and ridiculously expensive medications had to be picked up. (Side note: a family flu event is not the best time to have an HSA…ouch!)

I was so sad for my son. I had planned such a fun weekend for him and was looking forward to celebrating his last “non-teenage” birthday weekend.  But none of us had the energy to do much of anything.  Instead, we piled on the sofa, passed the tissues and had a movie marathon.  We napped together, snacked together, and even occasionally laughed at our pitifulness together.

It has felt like we have been in a cocoon for a week, and while I resented that at first, I have come to appreciate it and even SEE God’s purpose in it.  Our bodies have demanded rest, likewise, shouldn’t our souls have times of rest?  We have gone into what we term “survival mode” doing only that which has to be done.  It has helped our bodies tremendously.

Maybe every so often we should take a soul rest where the only thing we do is spend time in God’s Word and rest in Him.  Just as my bed has been my refuge this week, I long for the wings of the Almighty to be the refuge the psalmist described.  I pray I don’t have to experience the equivalent of a spiritual “flu” to cause me to slow down and rest in the Lord.  I pray that every once in awhile, I will stop the striving, working, and pursuit of good things in order to focus and rest in the best thing: seeking refuge in the Lord and seeking only His face.

I am so ready for this flu to be just a memory, but I pray that taking time out to rest in the wings of my God will become a way of life from this point forward.

May we SEE Him as our hiding place today.

May we SEE You in the Rain

“The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad…..clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne…..The LORD sits enthroned over the flood…” (Psalm 97:1-2, 29:10a)

Mondays are hard enough, but a Monday with and cold temperatures, should have caused me to pull the covers over my head when the alarm went off. I am not a morning person. I loath the sound of my alarm clock and will negotiate with myself on how much time I really need to get my kids up, lunches ready, and get out the door. I often later regret my estimation as we are all racing to get out the door on time.

There was nothing about today that should have caused me to get out of bed when the alarm went off. But yet, I did; almost as if I couldn’t help but get up. I wasn’t even tired, in spite of staying up too late reading. I came downstairs and went straight to my Bible. It honestly felt as if I was being drawn to God’s Word. I usually have my quiet time once I get back from taking the kids to school, but it was like I needed to meet with God before I did anything else today. Yet, I hadn’t planned on doing that. It felt like a gift. I had a sweet time in His Word, and then a wonderful conversation in the car with my kids about imputed righteousness (don’t be too impressed: I am writing curriculum lessons from Romans and needed to run some concepts by my kids to see if they could understand the analogies I was thinking of writing 😉

After dropping the kids off, I turned on some of my favorite worship songs and sang my heart out to the LORD. But here’s the thing that I found most interesting: nothing about my circumstances today seemed to match what was going on in my heart. The sky was gray. The rain was pouring. I wasn’t staring at a beautiful landscape; I was staring at the back of a long line of cars. And yet, I felt the presence of God in a powerful way as I simultaneously felt my heart bow before Him.

That’s when I realized that God had indeed given me a gift: the gift of seeing Him in spite of my circumstances. The gift of recognizing that true worship has nothing to do with circumstances, but it is the heart’s response to the truth of who God is. My current circumstances are: confusion over a possible new opportunity, being torn over how much to intervene in a situation my middle schooler is facing, financial questions, a packed to-do list and lessons needing to be written. If I looked only at my circumstances, I would feel lost.

Yet, as the rain poured while I sat in traffic, I felt nothing but complete peace. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will hold fast to the One who holds the future. My worship has nothing to do with my circumstances, but everything to do with my Savior. The rain pouring reminded me of God pouring out His grace on us. As I looked at the puddles forming all around, I saw them as pictures of the overflow of God’s presence in the lives of His children. He rains down His grace on us and then fills us to overflowing with His presence so we can share His love with those around us.

By God’s grace, and nothing more, I was allowed a glimpse of His glory in the midst of a rainy Monday morning. I am so thankful and humbled by the time I was able to spend with Him today. And I know it was not coincidence that my Bible study lesson was on David’s complete and total worship of the LORD when he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

Seeing God in the pouring rain, sure made a glorious start to a gloomy Monday!

I pray that you will SEE God in the rain today.


May we SEE You in our interruptions

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

I felt more at peace this past Christmas season then I had in years.  Writing the daily blog was a great way for me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus during the craziness of Christmas.  But then unexpectedly and without warning my hard drive crashed, and writing on my computer was no longer an option.  While this might be seen as a minor inconvenience by some, it was an anxiety producing disaster for me.  All of my curriculum lessons were on that hard drive, along with all our photos and videos. The uncertainty of whether the data could be recovered was a cause of great concern.  And the guilt of not having backed my computer up sooner was eating away at me.

Suddenly, my peaceful little world was disorganized and uncertain.  Writing anything became difficult.  Arranging to borrow my husband’s computer to do edits and essential writing became bothersome.  And my attitude became defeated.  I wish I could say that I immediately turned to God’s Word and found peace in the trial, but it took awhile.  Instead, I found myself sleeping more (always my preferred stress coping technique).  Worry crept in, and I resented how far behind I was getting on everything. It was going to take 4 days to get an appointment to have my computer looked at!  All I could see was what I was not able to do.  It took a visit to a library and a sweet prayer to remind me to focus on what I could do.

Over the Christmas break, we went to the Billy Graham Library.  I had never been before and all I can say is that if you get a chance to go, Go!  It was such a sweet place.  I wish I lived closer and could just sit on a bench there and write everyday. There are a few places I have been in my life where the presence of the Holy Spirit seemed palpable and this was one of them. It was so encouraging to hear the story of God’s calling on Billy Graham’s life, and how He used a simple farm boy to proclaim His message to millions.  It was an inspiring day and like balm to my soul.

God reminded me that day that He is bigger than computer problems, and any interruptions He allows are for His purposes.  I began to ask Him what His purpose might be in my getting further behind in my lessons, and in the possibility of losing so much data.  The answer didn’t come right away, but it did come.

I was sharing with my prayer partner at Bible study about my computer woes and how far behind I was getting.  She prayed for me and as she prayed she said, “Lord, we trust that You have allowed this to happen so that Jen will be able to see You work in big ways.  I ask You to bring those lessons to her mind in such a way that she has no doubt they are from you.  What seems impossible to her now, will be obvious to her that it was only through Your power that it was accomplished.”

Wow! I hadn’t even thought about it like that before?  Could this interruption be God’s blessing so that I can SEE Him in a new and fresh way?  I have been praying that I would SEE Him more clearly this year.  I have been asking God to reveal Himself to me in small ways and in big ways.  Could this interruption be an answer to prayer?  I couldn’t write my lessons yet, but I could thank God for the interruption.  I could spend time in His Word.  And I could trust that He would provide.

How many interruptions have I viewed as a burden when they were meant to be a blessing?

My computer is now fixed and my data was saved (thanks to God and my genius of a husband).  And I am still 6 lessons behind.  However, I am trusting that God will provide and that His will is far more important than my comfort.  I am slowly learning that God’s peace is very different than my illusion of peace.  My peace depends on my circumstances, but God’s peace is constant and will sustain me through my circumstances.

“Lord, thank You for interrupting my mundane routine with Your majesty. Thank you for allowing me to SEE You in this challenge. I ask that You hold me close to You and give me the strength to trust in You and not my circumstances.”


(Photo of the Billy Graham Library)