“Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”-Hosea 6:1-2
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
Have you ever tried to put a baby to sleep and then leave the room? Whether you’re a mom, an older sibling or child care provider, you can probably relate to the following:
- Child falls asleep peacefully in your arms after rocking, singing, feeding, bouncing, etc.
- Child is transitioned to crib.
- Child immediately wakes up after realizing you have abandoned them in their slumber
- Begin steps 1-3 again until child falls asleep.
I’m always there
I have two children; both horrible sleepers unless they are snuggled up next to me. The ironic part of the whole, agonizing process of putting them to sleep is that I never really leave them. I’m always there, hovering, watching, checking their breathing, making sure they’re not too warm or not too cold. Even when I’m in another room, I’m obsessively checking the baby monitor, listening to every subtle sound. The child doesn’t understand that. They think they are completely alone because they don’t see us or feel our warm bodies. They don’t understand that their bodies need rest, sweet slumber and that we are doing what is best for them.
Focus on the Provider
So much like our relationship with God. There we are, crying and carrying on, complaining that we want our Father. We yell that we can’t hear Him. We yell that we want out of our situation or that we know our own needs.
If we were just quiet for a moment, we might actually sense His presence. We might understand that He never leaves or forsakes us. We may feel His breath in the breeze or hear a quiet whisper in our hearts. Instead of focusing on our problems, we might focus on the Provider, understanding He knows what is best, and knows our needs even before we do.
Read also: where is your God now
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
What Would Jesus Do?
Sometimes I don’t want to admit that I’m a Christian. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of Jesus. I’m not embarrassed to say He’s my Savior. I just don’t want to be identified with the hateful throngs of people who say they follow Jesus, but espouse hate, judgment and anger towards anyone who thinks differently than them. If you look at any political, social, or ecumenical issue, there’s always an angry group of people, calling themselves Christians, shouting, name-calling and claiming God hates the other side.
Can you imagine Jesus typing nasty comments on social media to someone who disagreed with Him?Kaity
Jesus never once did this, and He was perfect. Can you imagine Jesus typing nasty comments on social media to someone who disagreed with Him? Can you see Him outside of an abortion clinic with signs yelling and hating people inside? No, I imagine Jesus would walk up to those people, sit alongside them, and tell them He loves them. He would invite them to partake of the Living Water just as He did to the woman at the well. He didn’t scold her or judge her. He welcomed her to come walk with Him.
Behind Closed Doors
I have to admit, though I am not publicly berating or shaming others, I do it behind closed doors and in the caverns of my heart. I judge my neighbor, my husband, my friends. I mumble a sarcastic remark about my husband’s shortcomings. I’m impatient with my friends’ flaws. God has been gently teaching me to clothe myself in the fruits of the spirit, instead of acting out of judgment and self righteousness. It’s really hard! It’s my own natural inclination to act like the god of my little world and judge those around me.
“Lord, teach us to be more like You. Show us to show your love and mercy to those around us, instead of acting out in harsh judgment. Help others see the Light and Hope through our words and actions. Let us show a dark world what it means to be a Christian.”
Read also: Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Enjoying the stillness
Have you ever enjoyed the stillness? I most often find it in nature: on a beach listening to the crashing waves, watching the snow fall and gearing the hushes pelt of flakes gently landed on the earth, standing atop a mountain as the wind roars over the treetops, or standing in the woods, completely alone and silent
Stillness can seem elusive at times. We finally get a moment alone, away from work or family, and technology attacks. Dings and beeps of email, texts, and social media can keep us occupied and distracted. Even after silencing it all, are we able to silence our minds? I often have roaming thoughts, to do lists, lingering emotions and snippets of conversations coursing through my brain. I cant turn it off. I feel like there’s a constant buzz running through my mind.
Rest and be renewed
And yet the moments of stillness are when can finally hear God’s voice. I struggle with finding stillness and sometimes when I finally grasp it, I’m met with emptiness and depression, loneliness or anxiety. These are the moments when my mind says it needs stimulation or craves people. It mistakenly longs for distractions and busyness. Our flesh is weak. What our minds really need is stillness, to rest and be renew in God’s word.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Jesus often went to go pray alone. We must follow His example as we turn everything off and settle into the stillness. If Jesus can quiet an actual storm, He can certainly calm the storms in our hearts and minds.
Sometimes it’s uncomfortable; we’re so used to the noise. Sometimes it is so welcomed as the harsh din bombarding us fades away. When we enter the stillness, God’s voice becomes audible once again and we leave refreshed and renewed.
Read also Listening stillness in a busy season
Womanhood is difficult. I experienced as a single woman the pressures of school and work and dating. There was loneliness and anxiety as I moved away from friends and family for several years. There were questions about when I would get married and have children, because that is the pressure and expectation for women. Some cultures even define a woman’s worth by this, and these women often do not have a choice.
Community is one of the most rewarding and yet challenging parts of Christianity. God calls us into community with other believers in order for us to be challenged, encouraged and exhorted. We all have experienced the joys of community: celebrating a loved one’s milestone, laughing and breaking bread together, or sharing the bittersweet moments of hugs and comforting words during sickness or funerals.
Seasons are a part of life. Just as the leaves turn to rusty hues and the cold winds blow away the warmth, so do our lives change. There are times of darkness, times of light, days to plant and years to reap.
Death. Death might be the most difficult pain we face on this earth. It’s hard losing those we love, unable to see them or speak with them.
Why is it so hard to act out Christ’s love to the ones we care about most? Whether it be a spouse, parent, sibling, or even your own child, the ones closest to our hearts always seem to be the hardest to love. Mother Theresa was once asked what one could do to promote world peace. She responded: “Go home and love your family.”
Many people are in search for the meaning of life; my 18-year-old self was no different. Even the writer of Ecclesiastes felt that life was meaningless. Yet, God often reveals that there’s so much more than we can imagine.