God’s Silence Does Not Equal Stagnation


Recently I was in a beautiful place surrounded by the sights and sounds of God’s creation.  My children and husband were with me, and we drove up to a beautiful beach that had an area lined by ocean rocks as if to create a safe, swimming hole for would be snorkelers.  I did not feel like getting in the water this particular morning, but my kids wanted to try snorkeling.  It was their first time, and they were curious to see what they would find living just below the surface of the emerald blue water.

I found a shady spot on a hill with a peaceful picnic table that looked down over the majestic beach.  I could not bring myself to leave the refuge of the picnic table, so I assured my children I would watch them from above and they could go ahead and snorkel. I watched as one child put on her equipment and swam off strong and smooth like a fish in its natural habitat. Then I sat and watched as my son, who has dyspraxia, struggled to get the mask, snorkel, and fins on.  It felt like an eternity of him trying over and over again and not succeeding.

Eventually, he began putting his head in the water and trying to coordinate all the necessary steps to swim and breathe. He would lower his head into the water a minute and then come up for air, never mastering the required motor coordination skills needed to put it all together, the skills that just come naturally to most of us. My heart was bleeding as I watched. Tears filled my eyes telling the story of my hurt for him as they trickled down my face. I was rooting and praying for him but painfully witnessed him fail over and over again. I wanted to rescue him. Running to him and helping felt like the loving and natural thing to do, but I knew delivering him from his struggle was the worst thing I could do because he would quit trying and rely on me.  Fixing the situation for my son would stunt his learning and crucial growth skills he needs to function in life.  As much as I wanted to intervene, as heart-wrenching as it was to watch, I had to sit and silently pray for him and watch over him from above the water.

It occurred to me at that moment that this was such a picture of our walks with our Father.  He looks down on us from above and often sees us struggling, sometimes drowning. In our estimation, it feels as if he is ambivalent to our struggles and suffering.

God seems silent, but His silence does not equate to stagnation.

Just as I was watching over my child, He is looking down and watching us, His children.  Our Heavenly Father is supporting us and working outcomes that are for our ultimate good.  Many times, though, He does not provide an immediate and noticeable rescue or His relief looks like more struggle and pain to us.  We don’t have the whole picture.  We feel like we are drowning, but God is there.  His heart must hurt as a Father like mine did as a mother watching his children struggle, but He knows just what we need.

Sometimes no rescue is the best rescue.

As we drove away from that beautiful place this thought occurred to me, my child didn’t fail.  Sure, he did if it I measured it by what I saw, but in God’s economy, the only failure is the one you didn’t trust Him in.  Be encouraged, friends!  God is looking down on you.  He sees you, and He has you.  When it feels like He is letting you drown, remember this, “All that is given is necessary.  All that is withheld was not.” ~Timothy Keller

You are loved.❤️

Tears

Large trees in snowy climates are designed to drop their branches when the weight of falling snow gets too heavy for them to bear. It is like a dance planned by a Director that is out of the trees control. The Choreographer knows exactly when the branches need to release pressure so they don’t break. Our tears are a lot like that, also. They are not on our timetable, and that can be both frustrating and sometimes awkward. Like the beautiful tree branches, though, we were designed by God in such a way to let go of building burdens so we may bend but not break. Isn’t it amazing that our Father was so attentive to every little detail, even the timing of our tears? He crafts exactly when they will fall so He will be there to capture them all. He is holding you amidst your burdens today, friends. He is the Creator and the Caretaker of every last tear. Rest in His arms today. You are loved.❤️

Footprints 

A few days ago I left my footprints in the sand. I was walking in search of Jesus, reaching for his nail scarred hand. This countenance, a plea and praise on my heart did land. When I wander forth from you, Lord and my veers, direct me back till Your Light in my view appears. May my steps always follow your trail for that is the only way my flesh will fade and allow Your Spirit to prevail. You are the Light of the world. You shine in the heavens, on the waters and among the tiniest grains of sand. There is not one spot under the sun that Your light can be undone. May your glow always lead me to look up and ahead, never back where my transgressions in your sight are dead. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying for me; it is only because of you that my blind eyes are allowed to see. When I needed a friend it is you who has always been there; and because I required a Savior, it was you who my sins did bear. It is finished you did cry, so that I may live with you forever, never to die.

Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

The Little Life of Fear

Fear causes me to live a small, sheltered life.  She tells me lies like, you are in control by suffocating your existence into the fangs of an illusion.  I don’t desire to look back on a little life that reads, she was shackled and scared.  Fear will guarantee that outcome.  Faith assures me I can do adventurous, big things because my first breath and my last are already determined by a Father who loves me and desires me to live free not frightened.  I live proportional to my level of belief.  When I forget my destination I am incarcerated.  Not all prisoners live behind visible bars.  It is only when I remember where home is that I live the life that was ransomed for me. Today was about leaning into fear, and saying, not today pesky, friend!

 

Not What We See, Whom We Know

Sometimes saying it is well with my soul guts us to our core, even still, we can say they will be done. It is not well because our circumstances are favorable, but because our Savior is faithful, and we have experienced His character enough in the past that we trust Him with the present. Lord Jesus, present us a faith that is constant, not circumstantial. Sometimes we are The Israelites, needing to see to believe. As we walk through the hills and valleys, help us remember you are the same yesterday, today and forever, (Hebrews 13:8), and when that truth reigns in our hearts, we can persevere. Whatever you are confronting today, friend, I pray you keep believing not in what you see but in Whom you know. You are loved.

The World Or The Word

What are you chasing today that is seemingly bigger, better, prettier or more satisfying than what you have?

I have written about our dog, Paisley, before.  She teaches me valuable lessons when I am paying attention. I often bring her a new toy, shinier, bigger and better toys. When she first gets them, she is elated.  She plays with them non-stop for a few days, and then they suddenly lose all their mystery, charm and satisfaction, only to sit untouched in her toy basket until the next better one comes along.  The cycle again repeats itself with each new toy.

I am a lot like that, too.  The world offers many distractions that capture my eyes and shift me from an eternal focus to an earthly one.  I become an exhausted runner, chasing, chasing, chasing.  Every time I attain what I am chasing, that deep soul ache is temporarily satisfied, until I realize the ache is still there and that next “better thing” did not come through for me either.

What I have learned after years of running is that I do not need to be running towards something, but to Someone.  If I am not chasing a deeper relationship with Jesus, I will be chasing something all my life that has a short return and fleeting satisfaction.

Life is a marathon, and I do not want to get to the finish line with only shiny medals that will rust and turn to dust.  I desire to cross that line falling into the arms of the One, who will always satisfy, eternally provide and forever be at my side.

What are you running after today, the world or the Word?

The Hunger of My Heart

With every week that rises and then retires, I realize that the one before was too short. Time evades my craving for every place I want to go, people I long to visit, books I want to read, quiet time I crave, laughs I want to enjoy, tears I thirst to taste, and memories I wish to create. In a flash, the week resigns, and I remember that time is a precious luxury. I yearn to minimize distractions. I want to live each day looking into the eyes of people, the word of God and the wisdom of books. Genuine intimacy and connection with people and eternal things are where the breath of life lives. Authenticity is both magnificent and messy, yet it is the hunger of my heart.

God Will Make A Path Through

If you need hope today, remember this, Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. ~ Exodus 14:21

God may not remove your “Red Sea,” but as He did for Moses and the Israelites, He will open up a path and lead you through it.

Trust Him for that provision today, friend.

You are loved.❤️

Peace

I have been on a mission lately to identify and minimize or eradicate the things in my life that compromise my peace.  When I started putting ink to this stuff, I was surprised just how exhaustive my list is, and I have not unearthed it all yet.  One thing that was at the top of my list is the bad habit  I have perfected of assigning thoughts and feelings to other people.  Not many things steal my peace like this destructive practice.  You know what I am talking about, right?  When a friend does not acknowledge a text or email promptly, I can easily allow my thoughts to sabotage me.  My internal dialogue goes something like this,
“She must be mad at me.” or
“Maybe she didn’t like what I said.”

I have found that the overwhelming majority of the time I. Am. Wrong.

There are hundreds of scenarios like this that vandalize my sanity.  It is plain ridiculous.  When I get honest, though, it is much more about an unwise behavior.  There is a deeper root to the problem.  I want people to be pleased with me.  I want people to like me.  I am a forever recovering people pleaser.  There should be a support group for this kind of thing!  I am no expert but perhaps going even deeper this is about the sinful pride that lurks in my heart that I need to pray for the grace to see and uprooted daily?

In his short, but stirring book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller says this;
“People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can’t be hurt! It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity.  Our feelings are fine. It is my ego that hurts.”  “Walking around does not hurt my toe unless there is already something wrong with it .” Well, a big ‘ole ouch and Amen to that!

When my identity, worth, value, and placidity are rooted in people, I am in trouble.  There will be no peace in my heart.  I continually have to put on the attire of Christ’s atonement that sealed all those things for me at a very high cost.  Otherwise, I am simply not living free in the abundance of my Father, but a prisoner to the perceptions and permission of people.