Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back to Basics

I am a Christian woman, but sometimes I feel light years away from the God in whom I believe. The bible teaches that God’s presence is constant. Yet, although He promises never to leave me, there are occasional seasons or events in my life  that seem to drive some sort of wedge between us and make His presence feel so far away. Recently, I’ve been in one of those seasons. Loss of a loved one can certainly be one of those events.

Lately, I’ve been feeling an intense desire to just pick up the bible I love and start all over, slowly working my way back into the warmth of God’s loving presence that I know has been there all along. But for me, sometimes approaching the scriptures of God feels like approaching a Geometry test. Let me just tell you, Geometry used to freak me out! Still does. 🙂

One morning,  I took advantage of my early arrival to work and tried to squeeze in some bible reading time. I began in the first of its 66 books, reading Genesis chapter 21. This is the account where Sarah, Abraham’s wife, finally gets pregnant at the ripe old age of 90 years old. The chapter begins with these words:

“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised.” Genesis 21:1 (NASB)

I never made it beyond the first verse. I mean I froze right there. It was as if these 21 little words leaped from the page and shoved a stop sign in my face. I posted that one little verse on my Facebook page. I even tweeted it. I was so excited about the indescribable feeling I received just from reading it.

“the Lord took note of…as He had said…” and “the Lord did…as He had promised.”

That afternoon, I did finish the rest of the chapter, but throughout the day I thought about the basic aspects of God’s character highlighted in that one simple first verse.

He thinks of me.

He keeps His word.

He keeps His promises.

I believe God stopped me at this one verse to teach me something. Sometimes I need to be just this elementary when it come to Him. I need to approach His word as a child and stop and dwell on the simple treasures of His word and His character. When who He is overwhelms me;  when His power and majesty make Him appear far too busy to take note of little ol’ me; when life happens and seems to send me floating aimlessly in the opposite direction of His presence – it’s ok to become like a child and simply revisit the basics of His character to lead me back home.

Today, if you’re feeling distant from God, I invite you to concentrate on Him with a child-like mind and heart. See how good it feels to dwell on the fact that He thinks about you. Then remind yourself over and over again that He cannot tell a lie. He keeps His word. He makes good on His promises. If He said it in His word, it’s a done deal. Those concepts are oh so simple, and sometime simple is just better.

Do you have a favorite simple bible verse that brings you back to the knowledge of who He is and how much He loves you? If so, will you share it with me in the comments?

Monday, January 30, 2012

I’ve Been Quiet Lately

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being.” – Proverbs 20:27

I’ve been quite lately. I’ve been quietly working on me.

So many people are afraid to work on themselves, and I think I’ve come to understand why. You see it takes very little to say you’re working on yourself. It takes quite a bit more courage to actually do so. Doing so means 1st admitting there’s something to work on – something unglued, out of place or undone about you. No one wants to be a wretch undone, including me. To the contrary we spend most of our lives masquerading as the one who’s “all together”. But I am that wretch undone. So, I’ve been working on me.

As I countdown to my 40th birthday (62 days before the big day, in case you’re wondering), I feel myself shifting. Does it happen to everyone around this age or what? I don’t know if it’s automatic or not, but I feel it. I’m starting to focus on what I want the rest of my life to look like, and that means giving an eye to what my life has looked like thus far. I’m considering my lessons, my writing, my priorities, my strengths, my weaknesses, etc. Although all of this introspection is challenging and can even be somewhat painful at times it also feels good.

It’s kind of like working out. Sometimes those 3 miles on an elliptical seem to pass like 3 years. The process is painful and severely lacking in the fun category. Yet, for some reason, each time I walk out of the gym I feel revived. I feel a sense of accomplishment that is absolutely priceless and that no one can take away from me. Because I am putting in the work, not only will I reap the benefit of a healthier, whole, FREE me, but so will those around me – my family, my friends, and even the people I don’t see. Somewhere there’s someone watching me, looking for one brave soul who is crazy enough to intentionally enter the no man’s land of self-exploration, to allow the lamp of the Lord to search the innermost parts of her being and expose all that is unlike Him and inherited from elsewhere. He already knows how you came to be in the chains you are in. His desire is that you will seek the key to unlock those chains.

So yes, I’ve been quiet. Realizing that I could write anything, but I want to write something that someone can relate to and receive from. I hope this was one of those somethings.

Completely me,

 

Friday, July 15, 2011

From the Pages of My Journal – An Unmarried Woman’s Devotion

1Corinthians 7:32 – 35 NASB – But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

The other day I stumbled across two loose leaf pages of a journal entry from May 23, 2010, just over a year ago.  I have no idea how this entry made its way outside the protective covers of an actual journal.  My guess is the words were first written in whatever notebook was on hand at the time, and the pages were later ripped from said notebook with the intention of relocating them to the appropriate journal.  Well, apparently the relocation never took place.  My poor words have been homeless for over a year.

Shame on me.

Of course I stopped for a moment or two to read the words I’d written so long ago.  It’s always interesting to look back to see where I was, what I was thinking, or what was the “it” thing in my life at any point in time.  Apparently, the words I wrote on this particular day were revelation from God’s word to be shared in the book/study I am writing.  As I read the words I’d written, I was a blessed once again by the wisdom God spoke to me at the time.  The words speak to an area where women, especially those of us who are unmarried, often seem to “miss it”.  I know I have.

Following is a short excerpt/thought from the journal entry I found the other day.  It’s mainly for unmarried women, so if you know a single woman out there who’s trying to find her way while waiting to be found, send her over  for a short read.

It’s so important for an unmarried woman to keep her eyes on the Lord and focus on doing the work of the Kingdom.  In a nutshell, this is what the Apostle Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34.  He was talking about unmarried men and women, but of course, I will be talking to the ladies.  Paul knew that once a woman gets married her devotion truly becomes divided.  Sure, if she is a follower of Christ, she still loves and is devoted to her Lord.  However, her love for Him is very often prominently exhibited through her serving the needs and desires of her husband. 

As an unmarried woman “divided devotion” should not be an issue.  Even in courtship she’s interviewing this man through the filter/sifter of the word of God.  She’s screening his personality and character, looking to see if he loves the things God loves and hates the things He hates.  Wow!  And the only way she can clearly see this is to maintain undivided, or “undistracted devotion to the Lord” (verse 35), keeping her eyes on Him at all times.  His (God’s) business, His assignment and His plans for her still come first.

Thank you, Holy Spirit.

This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past.  I was so excited about the companionship before me, the attention, and the prospect of being married until I lost sight of my Kingdom assignment to fulfill God’s purpose for us on this earth.  I got side-tracked. I wasn’t cemented, rooted, in what I was called to do, so it was quite easy for a man’s presence to derail me and send me wandering down a totally different track.  Wow!  Just writing this book, I can feel the roots growing within me.  That’s what 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 is all about.

That’s the end of the journal entry, but just re-reading it gives me so much more to say.  However, I will save something for a later day.  For now, what about you?  Is your devotion already divided and you’re not even a Mrs yet?  What (or who) is your distraction?  Do you need to regain the proper perspective so that you don’t lose sight of what the Lord is calling you to do in this, your “single season”?  See you in the comments. 🙂

Completely ME,