God Pursues

Come to meThe steam was just starting to disappear on the mirror as I prayed in the bathroom for God to help me.  I woke up to an intense bad dream, startled and shaken.  A cold Diet Coke and some time in the Word helped refresh and calm me.  The humming of the hairdryer stopped and a song starting playing on Pandora that I had never heard before…First by Lauren Daigle.

I listened intently to each word as I applied make-up and just felt this strong desire to fall on my knees and spend more time with the Lord.

But, I didn’t have time.  I was in a hurry because I had to give a five-minute speech in front of a live audience and a video camera for the first time.  I felt like I would burst if I stopped for one minute.

I told God to wait. “Not now, Lord.”

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Seek Him

After eating dinner with She Speaks friends, I drove away to check into my hotel.  I saw the sign and headed in that direction.  The parking lot was full and only a few dimly lit spaces were left in the back.  I decided to grab everything so I would only have to make one trip.  So I grabbed my bags, hangers, and a flat-iron and headed across the parking lot, then around the building to the front of the hotel.

I walked into the lobby and just as I sat the heavy bag onto the ground, I heard these six words:

You are at the wrong place.

Call it nerves or whatever, but I wanted to cry.  Can’t I just stay here?  Can’t you switch my reservation?  I thought this was where I booked?

No, you have to go to the other hotel about 15 miles away.

Maybe a tear or two fell as I picked up the bags that now felt heavier and I walked back to my car wondering how did I mess this up?

~You are at the wrong place!~

I heard and I felt those words. Did I miss something?  What if I am wrong?  What if this is more than the hotel that I got wrong?  I grumbled.  I doubted.  As I drove those fifteen minutes to the correct hotel, I pondered this question:

“Who wants to pick up heavy baggage and carry it only to hear – you are at the wrong place?”

Finally, I pulled into the much brighter parking lot, and parked closer to the door.  They were expecting me, and my room welcomed me.  I breathed a sigh of relief as my head hit the pillow – I was at the right place!

The next morning I sat in the parking lot drinking coffee.  It was foggy and cloudy, much like my head.  I held up my phone to take a picture and in the blue filter at the top of the windshield I was able to see the sun peeking through.

Look.

Look for me.

Yes, Lord.  Help me to see you.

Sun peeking through

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.  Psalm 105:4 

About halfway across the parking lot, I saw a praying mantis on the back of a car.   I passed it at first and then backed up to take the picture.

Pray

Talk to me.

Wow, I took the words to heart.  I needed prayer, especially today.

At our special luncheon, a new friend came and sat by me briefly towards the end.  We chatted and she said she wanted to pray for me, and later she found me.  Sitting alone in a large session, I felt her tap my shoulder and she sat and prayed such a precious prayer over me.  Only God.

I realized I left my phone charger in the car, so I walked outside and the praying mantis was STILL there.  I was standing in the hot sun frantically searching for my keys, while quickly retracing my steps in my mind to where I may have left them.  I started dumping the contents of my purse and still no keys.  I headed back to see if maybe I left them on the book table, and I stopped again at the Praying Mantis …

Pray

Talk to me.

“God I need my keys.  Help me find my keys.”  As I was praying, I looked down and saw a tiny pocket on the side of my purse and when I stuck my hand in the keys were there.  I didn’t even know that pocket existed!  There was a praise in my step – worshiping the God who hears me, when I call!!  He met me in a parking lot by a praying mantis over a set of keys!   He blew me away!  He prompted me to pray and he answered my prayer.  Only God.

I had meetings that afternoon, so I decided to leave class a little early and spend time in the prayer room.  As I walked into the prayer room all alone, the details left me speechless – again.

The fountain, the candles, the King is enthralled with your beauty, Whom shall I fear, the flowers, all details that took me back to times when God met me.  The rocks brought tears to my eyes.  Rocks have been significant to me not only as markers, but also just to hold onto in brave moments.  I picked up one and held it tightly and prayed.  As I was walking out, a girl was walking in and asked me if I was staff.  She needed someone to pray with her.  I sat and prayed for her before heading to my meeting.  Later, I spent over an hour in my car pouring my heart out to God, meeting with Him.

Pray

Talk to me…

When you are happy.

When you are sad.

When you a confused.

When you are angry.

I’m right here.

You can whisper.

I hear you.

I see you.

I love you.

I already knew how to pray, but this was different.  This was exhaling and inhaling His very presence.

It was breathing Him.

Not only at appointed times, or just in moments of crisis or thanksgiving.

This was an invitation to have a never-ending conversation with the one who never grows weary of me, who lets me say whatever I need to say, who guides and directs, who calls me His beloved, His daughter, His Princess.

Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

 I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.

 Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 138:3(ESV)

On the day I called, you answered me;

    you made me bold in my soul with strength.

I’ve been listening to this song (Came to My Rescue by Hillsong) lately.  I want to be mindful to call on Him, to remain in Him.  What is God teaching you about prayer?  How are you seeking Him?  Take a few minutes, and listen.  Be still, and lift Him high!

God, where are you?

Jeremiah 29:12-13 (ESV)  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

God, where are you? Are you with me?…please show me you are here.  Show me a …

I hit a very hard spot last week.  I felt like everything was falling apart around me.  I went to bed crying and when I woke up the next morning my heart was crushed.

Psalm 34:18    The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

As I walked out of my door into the sunlight with tears rolling down my cheeks, I whispered, “God, please show me you are here.  I need you.  Are you with me?  Please show me a… red bird!  Let me know you are near.”

Our home is surrounded by trees.  We have bird feeders, bird houses, and many mornings I have been awakened by a woodpecker outside of our bedroom window.  I don’t know why I said red bird, but for our yard, that was a simple request.  As I took the fourteen steps to my car, I looked in the front yard and the back yard and turned around again – and I did not see any birds.  Not One.  I got into my car and drove my short commute to work, and walked up the parking lot with my head down, fumbling for my keys.  Just as I was about to unlock the door, I heard chirping.

I turned around and saw the prettiest little red bird at the border of the parking lot in the woods.  I took pictures as he sang.

IMG_8041

My eyes laughed as I watched this bird and took pictures.  My ears smiled at the beautiful melody of birds chirping all around.  I was so thankful to see that red bird.  I posted the picture with this verse:

Psalm 63:1-4

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

 This wasn’t something I wanted to write about.  I didn’t want to admit everything was falling apart, and I certainly did not want to admit to asking God to show me a red bird.  But, the truth is this moment has come to mind often this week.  God is teaching me a lot.  And, the writing prompt from Faith Barista today is:

“What I’m Learning About Myself” 

This is what I am learning about myself, as I reflect on this beautiful red bird:

  • When something is not going well, I tend focus on something that is going well (instead of taking it all to Christ).  For example,  If I have had a bad day at work, I may focus on my marriage, my kids, my friends, and what joy I can get from that to help me get past the bad day at work.  But, when all of it is crashing at the same time, that is when I feel desperate and alone and I think, “help me Jesus!”  I am learning to turn to Christ and lean into him even when just one thing is going wrong.  I should allow Him to lead me and trust Him with the outcome.  I am learning I need to connect with Him in the small pieces and the big pieces.
  • I’m learning to talk to God with a sincere heart, and to be real with Him in saying what I think, what I need and what I think I need.  He already knows what I think but he wants to hear from me, and he is only a prayer away.  Always on call.  When I whisper my hurts and pains to Him, every exhale is replaced with his peace ~ even when the circumstances haven’t changed.  I’m learning to trust His answer is what is best for me and to trust His timing.  I’m learning to not linger in hurt as if I am in triage and trying to decide, should I take this to Him?  I’m learning to take it ALL to Him, the Great Physician.
  • I’m learning I need to be reminded, and that means I need to intentionally remember.  I have to keep seeking Him and remember the ways He has shown me His love for me.  Do you know how many birds I have watched and listened to this week?  I still stop and smile at every sunset – especially pink skies!  When the enemy tries to get me to doubt, I have to remember the truth.  Jesus loves me.  I have seen His Power, and His Love on brilliant display.  These are great reminders, especially those in nature ~His Marvelous Creation~ that engage all of my senses..to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to smell and know that He IS Good.
  • I’m learning that I can read about the Israelites and think – “Don’t you get it???  How can you doubt???” and then at the same time think, “Wait, do I get it? ”  I’m doing The OWNit365 One Story plan on the Bible app, and I was reading Exodus 17:1-7 about the Israelites.  These words stood out to me in those seven verses:  Complained, grumbled, quarrel, thirsty, cried out, tested…and I thought Lord, forgive me.   I worry, I doubt, I complain,  and I wonder as I wander.  Help me to focus on you, and help me to turn to you and trust you.  Help me to remember your Truth, to know that I know that I know.  He is with me.  He loves me.  He is near.

Philippians 4:4-9 (MSG)

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Wherever you find yourself right now, whether you are face down sobbing into your pillow or staring blankly ahead afraid of what is next, take a moment and close your eyes.  Alone.  Turn to Him.  Whisper the prayers and desires of your heart to Him.  He will meet you in the quiet.  Read His Word, and let it speak to your heart.  Listen to worship music.  Find a friend to pray with you and for you.  Comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to pray for you.