Last night my oldest daughter and I experienced a night out together hosted by Pathway Community Church. We were encouraged to write down how we were feeling and how we’ve been aware of God lately. It was a unique, creative activity when we were then invited to use mixed media art to visually capture what we wrote.
We both began to write out our thoughts and were well on our way. As my daughter began to move on to the visual piece, I found myself stuck. I was having a hard time landing my thoughts and discerning my emotions and feelings.
The picture above captures what I was feeling at the time. I felt as if I was not only staring at a blank canvas, but an empty canvas with little hope to ever reflect the artist’s heart. And to be honest, I was a little frustrated. However, instead of giving up, I decided to settle in and invite God to help me understand what was going on. I’m so glad I did.
God began to help me understand that longings evolve, even if we’re not fully aware of them. This was not completely a surprise to me, however, it was helpful to me to begin understanding some of the things that I’ve begun to wrestle with.
I’m not sure how much this all makes sense to anyone else, but it’s been helpful for me to put it in writing. Bellow you’ll see Maiah’s wonderful artwork on the left. She was explaining to me that she chose those words because she feels that they are what God wants her to be focused on right now. Peace is the biggest because that’s been the most challenging for her.
To the right is what I created. It’s a little haphazard, but it communicates how I feel like I’ve been looking out the windows in my life trying to determine what’s next…what’s on the horizon. And although I’m able to see beautiful things, at times all I see is dark, empty spaces.
Am I okay with the dark, empty spaces if God promises to meet me there?
Today I am thankful for the opportunity to exercise by playing racquetball with good friends.
How about you, what are you thankful for?
Yesterday morning my family sat down together at 8 AM, as we regularly do. This is the time of day that we pray together and take a look at the calendar to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands what’s expected of each person for the day’s activities.
I began our short discussion with the statement: “Today is a normal day.”
My wife quickly chimed in and said, “No, I don’t want today to be normal.”
Wow! I quickly perceived what she was really saying. You see, lately the norm around our home has included pesting, complaining, arguing, fighting, lying, and all sorts of other behaviors consistent with selfishness.
To be honest, it’s exhausting for my wife and I to be on our game as parents with this being the norm. We long for the day when normal for our family is seeing our kids choose to be a blessing to each other, encourage one another, choose first time obedience, and pursue peace. We certainly have glimpses of this from each of our children from time to time, but it’s far from being the norm.
As we concluded our time in prayer together, I took a moment to remind us that choosing to move beyond what has become normal for us is not something that we can do on our own. On our own we choose to be selfish. We each desperately need to walk in the Spirit if we want to see the fruit of the Spirit on display. So we began to pray and each of us invited the Spirit to come alive in us and to help us in specific ways.
My youngest and oldest children each asked Jesus to help them to focus. Another asked Jesus to help him listen. The others became aware that they needed Jesus to help them resist fighting and pursue peace.
Here’s to following Jesus into a better than normal day!
I’m a morning person. I love waking up while the rest of my family are still snuggled in their beds so that I can ave some uninterrupted time reading, journaling, and talking with God while I enjoy a hot cup of coffee. My goal is to be fully present with God.
My goal doesn’t always happen. I get distracted. I remember things that I need to do or forgot to do. If I’m not as awake as if like to be, my mind wanders or I fall back to sleep. Sometimes my phone can get in the way.
So, in many ways, I’m still learning how to position myself to be fully present to God in these moments. I know that I need to make sure that distractions are at a minimum. I know that journaling helps me to remain focused. I know that choosing to implement some spiritual practices that I’ve been learning allows me to encounter God and hear His voice in new and fresh ways.
How about you? What is your morning routine like? What helps you to be fully present with God?
Last night at our LifeStation Church public gathering we enjoyed sharing faith and life as we spent some time communicating stories of wonder and opportunity. For me, this is always the highlight of our time together. When I hear how God is at work in the lives of others, my faith and stirred and my heart is awakened again to my own story of how God is at work in my life.
Have you considered how God is at work in your life lately? Take a look around today and ask God to heighten your awareness of his presence in the places you live, work, learn and play. And then get ready to share that story with someone else. Blessings!
Would you rather live where it’s always 20 degrees or colder or 100 degrees or warmer?