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I wander along this path called life.

Stumbling forward, falling backwards, circling around.

Then I remember— I’m not wandering aimlessly.

You designed this path.

I have purpose and direction. I walk in the steps you’ve laid out for me.

I am following Your lead and it is truly a wonder.

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Wonder

The Birds Figured it Out

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When we moved into our home two years ago there were two huge pine trees with lush green needles in our neighbors yard that oversaw our yard. Whenever I looked at the vibrant trees,so full of life and beauty, I instantly felt happy. But something changed along the way.

For some reason, a few months after moving in the rich green needles on the pine trees began to die off.  I assumed they would turn green again but they never did.  Two years later, all that remains on the branches are dull, brown, crunchy needles with seemingly no life in them at all.  Now when I look at the pine trees overseeing our yard I just feel a bit sad.

That familiar feeling hit me again when drinking coffee in my backyard a few mornings ago. I glanced at the lifeless-looking pine trees with its dried up needles and branches and wondered, What purpose do these trees have now?

The answer came swiftly when I looked up.  There, at the very tip-top of the brown pine trees were a handful of birds perched on the branches.  They were chirping and fluttering about, enjoying what God had provided them without any apparent sadness over the lack of green pine needles.  As I continued watching, the birds took turns weaving in and out of the twigs and from what I observed, they were having the time of their lives and more importantly they seemed content.

It dawned on me then, that while the outside of the pine trees did not look the way it once did, though now they appeared dry and lifeless, in truth, the trees are actually bigger than they were when we moved in which could only mean one thing,  Despite outward appearances my neighbors pines trees have strong, beautiful life growing on the inside of them.  The life inside them cause them to stand tall and firm and also give the birds a special place to enjoy with ease.

All this time I had been focusing on the wrong thing.  I looked only at what seemed dull, brown or dying on the trees instead of focusing on the deeper beauty growing on the inside.  With the right focus, I would be just as content as the birds.    If they figure it out, it was time that I did too.

One Word…Enough

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The word “Enough”  can stir up various feelings.  Feelings of strength and resolve such as, That’s enough! I’m done!  Or feelings of vulnerability and weakness as in, I’ve had enough, I just can’t take any more.

Throughout my life I’ve felt both of those versions of “Enough” many times but as I get older, not so much in age but in my walk with God, I’ve come to a different understanding of the word.

God is enough: When circumstances arise, as they often do, that cause anxiety, worry, frustration, anger and so on verses like, Philippians 4:9, “God will meet all our needs,” ring true.  Regardless of any circumstance we may face, God is enough for all of it.

I am enough:  Everything from culture, society, peers, church, work family and friends have challenged me more than I would like to admit with a burning question, Am I enough?

I wasted much time thinking I wasn’t enough, that I needed to be more or do more  in order to be valuable in this world.  Eventually I found my way back to the very beginning—God’s creation and that settled the question once and for all.

Genesis 1:27,31, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created male and female…God saw all that he made and it was very good.”

Am I enough? Are you?   

Yes.

Not because of what we do, or what we don’t, but because God created us and when he did, knowing everything good and bad that our life would entail, he still agreed his creation was very good.

God is enough. I am enough.

One Word…Believe

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Believe

When I was little Santa Claus was much more real to me than God.  I felt pretty certain God existed but He was somewhere up in the sky, uninvolved with life on earth and uninvolved with me. But Santa Clause, that was entirely different.  He lived in the North Pole with elves and reindeers. He was a jolly, fat man who loved cookies just like me. He was involved, he paid attention,  he knew when I was naughty or nice.  Santa also knew I believed in him and once a year he would prove it by leaving many presents with my name on it under our tree.

My little heart was shattered when I eventually learned the truth. How could Santa not be real?  I took it personally and felt as if my foundation of belief had been broken.  If Santa wasn’t real then who was?

It would be many years before I came to understand that it was God who had trumped Santa all along. God was the one who was real, He was the one who knew all things, was intricately involved with life on earth and He was the one personally involved with me.  

This morning the chorus of a worship song I was listening to, moved me to lift my hands in prayerful surrender. “Take me back, back to the beginning, when I was young, running through the fields with you”  

Palms toward heaven, my memories were ushered back in time, first recalling the little girl who adminately put her faith in Santa Clause, then the age of disappointment that followed. And then later in adulthood when to my surprise I was overpowered by the reality of God’s  truth, grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, hope and healing through His Son.

This discovery of faith in Jesus, left me feeling like a child running through the fields, with not a care in the world.

Decades later, I still love the magic of Santa Clause, elves and reindeers during the holidays but experiencing a daily relationship with God, witnessing His faithfulness through the good and the bad of life has restored my foundation of belief, one that is rooted in Truth and that will never be broken.

One Word…Listen

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Listen

 “Listen to my cry for help my King and my God, for to you I pray.” -Psalm 5:2

 

When I talk to God and lay out all my requests, concerns or worries, I have no doubt that He is listening.  In those moments of prayer I know I have God’s undivided attention but that wasn’t always the case.  When I was young in my faith I would often stop in the middle praying, look around wondering, Is God was really listening or am I just talking to myself?

 

I began reading the Bible, studying it and quickly discovered that not only does God listen me but He longs to speak to me as well.

 

Talking to God is much easier than actually listening, but He desires that we hear Him the same way we desire that He hears us, if not more but listening takes practice.

 

To really listen to anyone, let alone God means we have to put aside our mind’s own agenda and just be still for a bit.  Choosing to be still on the inside gives God the opportunity to speak to our hearts.  And from there, just listen.