In the car, my boys and I play a game – “the yellow car”. The first person to see a yellow car and call it gets a point. It’s got to the stage that even if I’m in the car myself I’ve caught myself yelling “yellow car!” The thing is, now we’re so used to looking for yellow cars we see them everywhere!
It’s the same with seeing the presence of God in our day to days lives. When we intentionally look to find Him in our day, the more we will see Him at work. We will see Him weaving His way right through our day.
I love the Faith trigger cards by faith4families.org. Faith Talk triggers for families to use at home. At the bottom of each card is a section named “God Spotting” with questions like
- Where did you glimpse God today?
- Where were you led by God today?
- Has a friend been the presence of Christ to you this week?
Brother Lawrence wrote “The presence of God is the concentration of the soul’s attention on God, remembering that He is always present.”
In our every day God is very much present. Renee Swope wrote recently “Evidence of God’s presence surrounds me. But I have to decide if I will look for, listen to: and notice Him.”
When we look for God, we find Him.
“The hands of the Almighty are often to be found at the end of our own arms.”
(Call the midwife)
One day two friends, trying to learn how to minister the love of God to others, prayed a simple prayer in a restaurant.
“Who do you want us to tell that you love them?”
After asking this of God they believed that they should tell the waitress – so one of them said “ma’am we just wanted to let you know that God loves you.” Instantly the waitress threw down the menus and stormed off. A few moments later she came back and demanded “ who told you to tell me that?” The boy replied – “ma’am I’m sorry. We did not mean to offend you. We were just praying and asked God who He wanted us to tell He loves, and he said you.” The boy stood up and said – I feel like God wants me to give you a hug. Is that alright?” As he hugged her, she had her first encounter of the love of God.
She told them her story. “This morning I woke up and said “nobody loves me. Nobody loves just me. God, if you’re out there I need you to show me you love.”
Because 2 young men made themselves available to God – a woman encountered God.
People all around us are wanting and waiting to hear the voice of God. We just need to speak up.
Have you ever watched people in conversation and observed people leaning in closer to hear everything that is being said? Intent on catching every word. Or perhaps you have watched children playing Chinese whispers. Each child leaning to the next to whisper the sentence. Leaning in, showing intentionality to listen to what is being said.
As we go about our days, we have the opportunity to lean in to God. To hear His whisper, His prompting and decide to lean in to listen to what He has to say.
Once on an ordinary day Moses saw a burning bush. But more than he took time out from his job – tending the sheep – to look more closely at it. And that proved to be a game changer.
“So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from with the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said “Here I am.” “ (Exodus 3:3-4)
Moses then went on to have a powerful encounter with God that not only changed his life but also the life of the Israelites. Moses’ encounter with God was precipitated by him pausing and intentionally taking a closer look. He took time from his day to stop and see, to lean into a conversation with God.
In an ordinary day was an extraordinary encounter waiting for him to notice and see.
Take time in your day to pause, to ponder, to lean in and to see what God is doing.
“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!” (Isaiah 43:19)
Sometimes I think I’m a walking advertisement for spec savers. For all the wrong reasons that is! I have cheered on the wrong child in a race. And when I exit the school hall after an assembly I wave to, well everyone, in the hope that my boys think I’m waving at them…
I look, but don’t see….
Sight. Vision. And if you’re like me (and need glasses!) you’ll understand that looking and seeing are two different things. The same applies to our lives. How often are we looking at our lives, our circumstances but not really seeing? When we don’t see the eternal perspective, when we don’t see ourselves as God sees us.
“When we see with the eyes of our hearts instead of just our natural eyes we not only begin to see the things which are eternal but they become more real to us than the things which are temporary.” (Rick Joyner)
“Me: What could go wrong? Anxiety: I’m glad you asked.”
I had a little chuckle at this quote. I’m sure Anxiety had a lengthy answer! But in all seriousness it’s true. Everyday most of us fight anxiety everyday at some level. We fight its lists of no hope, worse case scenarios. Quickly we can be hit with a deluge of negativity and worry.
And the thing with anxiety is that it doesn’t travel alone. Fear is its bestie. It comes slithering into our hearts and soul. Always whispering lies that things aren’t going to work out and we’ll fail, that things are bad and only going to get worse. Seeking to control us by impacting our reactions and actions in life.
But God doesn’t want us living a life dominated by fear. That means replacing fear with faith. Changing what we think or say when motivated by fear to faith filled thoughts. Fear increases the same way as faith increases. We need to feed our faith not our fears. And as Joyce Meyer once wrote “when fear knocks on the door, send faith to answer.”
So you, brave one, showing up to life, fighting your anxiety and fear, know this! God is on your side! That’s why the Bible says, “Fear not!”
Don’t give up!
Most of the world it seemed, stopped to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. A wedding filled with so many beautiful and poignant moments. Pomp and Pagentry. Royalty and stars. But who can forget the impassioned sermon delivered by Bishop Michael Curry on the redemptive power of love.
“Imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way. Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive. When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again…When love is the way, poverty will become history.”
Bishop Michael Curry began his message with this quote from Dr Martin Luther King, I choose to close with it.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.”
Dr Martin Luther King
Imagine a world that follows the way of love. For where love is, God is, for God is love.
How does one start to write about Mother’s Day? The Day that encapsulates so much. It’s one of those things that brings every single emotion to the table. Every. Emotion. Good and bad. This one day on the calendar brings with it so many different experiences, so many different reactions. I can think to only borrow the opening words of Chares Dickens to his novel “A tale of two cities”.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
That really sums up motherhood. There’s So much joy and love. Highs and lows. Good days and bad days. Days when you think you really nailed it. And days when you want to hide in your wardrobe!
Mother’s Day intensifies all those feels! A day filled with love and cuddles, visits of family and breakfast in bed. But it is also a day of loss and heartache. To some of us, this day is empty, void. A spotlight on the loss of a mother or of a child or fractured relationships. To others it is a hollow day reminding us of dreams that are broken. Or it’s a day that just reminds you that your Mother’s day is a lot more complicated than the adverts would have us believe.
There’s a mother in the Bible whose life hadn’t turned out how she imagined. She’s not your pin-up, go to example of a great woman in the Bible. She’s not Mary, Hannah or Sarah. She’s the other woman. Hagar. The other woman to Sarah. The mother of Ishmael not Isaac. The example of, perhaps, how not to do life. But yet she has an incredible encounter with God.
We find her in Genesis 16. Pregnant and mistreated she flees her home, her employment, her life. But God meets her in the desert, comforts and reassures her.
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13)
God sees you. Whatever this day holds for you. God sees you. YOU. You with the baby that won’t sleep, you with the crippling morning sickness or daily IVF injections. You with the silent loss. You with the juggling of motherhood and work. You as you guide your children into adulthood. You whose children have grown up and left home but still you worry about them.
He sees you. For He is El Roi – The God who sees.
Wherever you are, whatever this day holds for you – the good, the bad, the ugly, the happy tears, the sad tears – God sees you. And He comes with an abundance of grace and love specifically for you and your season.