Thursday, March 5, 2015

God is With You

My friend and I sit on couches facing one another, sharing depths of our hearts and listening.  We hold sacred space as we read from spiritual books together, pray and dare to speak of longings and brokenness.  One phrase echoes in my heart:

God is with me. 

So simple and yet the strongest of tethers, this short string of words bound my wounds and instilled hope.  Life can be so unpredictable and relationships upend us without notice.  The impeccable and intimate timing of the Lord through the midst of trials brings the very words we need to hear to draw us nearer.  

I'm bringing up two boys.  Their lives entwine with mine and I feel all the ebbs and flows of what comes at them and through them - oh the growing pains of motherhood!  Through it, the echo persists:

I am with you

Just in this season, I picked up a book which I had dabbled into a few years ago.  I never made it past the first few chapters then and the message never permeated past my spiritual epidermis.  This time through I am sopping up the goodness.  Sitting in my chair at church I heard a quiet thought, "Read Leanne Payne again."  That same week in a conversation with my mentor she happens to mention, "I was thinking you might want to read Leanne Payne."  Then I receive an email that Miss Payne was very ill and needed prayer.  A week later I got the email announcing her passing and commemorating her ministry and her love affair with Jesus.  Sometimes God leads us so specifically

Miss Payne begins her book by celebrating smallness.  What a way to start!  A woman with an international healing ministry talks about the essential need to acknowledge her own insignificance.  I remember writing just a few weeks ago about what it means to find strength in weakness ... again God echoes His messages to me.

As significant as that was, the second chapter calls me deeper still.  Here she explores the need and blessing of practicing the presence of God.  

As I read about Henri Nouwen, C S Lewis, Mother Theresa, Brother Lawrence and others I hear the echo deep within me 

I decide to practice this discipline by repeating that phrase throughout my day.

I'm painting baseboards in our Living Room:

God is with me ...
I'm reaching out to my teen son as he navigates the hard roads of growing up:
God is with me ... 

I'm hosting children in my home:

God is with me ... 
I'm listening to a friend as she shares a burden: 

God is with me 
I'm discussing finances with my husband:
God is with me. 

It isn't just a mental exercise of repeating words.  This mantra awakens my amnesia-prone soul to the reality of what is unseen.  As Paul told us to "fix your eyes not on what is seen, but is what is unseen," these words give me spiritual binoculars to see beyond what presses in around me.  Elisha saw chariots of fire all around on the hills - He saw what was unseen and that seeing gave him peace, courage and wisdom.  When I remind myself "God is with me" I see beyond my circumstances.  I enter His presence and everything is transformed. 

After years of walking with Him, I feel like a baby all over again as I practice His presence in this way.  How often do I go through my day keeping Him at arms length or acknowledging Him on occasion or waiting until certain moments of the day to draw near - during devotions or prayers at mealtime or bedtime or when trouble crowds in?
By simply saying in my heart, "God is with me," I am brought to a moment-by-moment faith.
God is near.  

The deepest desire of our hearts cries out to be beloved, forgiven and held.  Like winter snow piling up over flowerbeds, our daily shuffle can crowd out His presence.  He remains, yet we can not sense how near. We have covered Him without meaning to and we long for what is hidden yet alive with promise. 

We are beloved, yet we live like those who need approval and fear rejection.
We are invited, yet we remain just outside the banquet hall.
We are chosen, yet we act like we never made the cut.

Just today, even this week, I invite you to join me in remembering.   
God is with you.Remind yourself in as many moments as you can.  Don't leave your bed in the morning without stilling your rambling thoughts and recalling how cherished you are - by the God who is with you always.  As you go through your day, bring to mind, "God is with me."  Allow the awareness of His presence to become like air to you.  It won't come easily at first, but as with any practice, in due time you will not even have to work at all at what had been a discipline.

I would love to hear from you as you practice the presence of God.  Feel free to share here or share on my Facebook page

Let's remember together:
God is with us.

Linking up with ... beloved_brews_faithbarista_badge “countingmyblessings"Picture Grace&Truth-300x300Fellowship Fridays 61 & Friends


Barbie said...

This was so needed. Thank you for the beautiful reminder that God is with me in this season. LOVE your art!

HeartsHomeward said...

I know your season is so wearying in many ways. It gets hard tying a knot and holding on and on and on. Each day your Good Shepherd provides your needs - for just that day. He does love us so. When we don't feel it, we can cling to the fact that we know it - "I am my Beloved's and He is mine." I'm so grateful for you and I continue to be led to pray over you on surprising little occasions when God pops you onto my heart. Rest in being loved more than can be measured.

Oh, and thanks for saying sweet words about my art! I'm loving the process so much - of just exploring art now in my adult years after denying myself the opportunity for so long.

Paola Collazo said...

Beautiful artwork my dear Patty. God is with me!

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you, sweet Paola. I'm always so glad when you come to Hearts Homeward. I am enjoying my new adventure of allowing myself to dabble in art. It has become a great way to worship and to play. Yes, God is with you! So grateful to hear you echo that truth.

Lux @ About Life and Love said...

Our omnipotent God. :)
Have a blessed weekend!

BlessingCounter - Deb Wolf said...

I'm reading Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God. I have to Leanne Payne's book. Realizing His presence in the small moments as well as the big is blessing my preparation for Easter. I love your artwork and your tender heart!

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you so much, Deb! I see we are kindreds. I am so grateful you came by and read and let me know you were here. Have a sweet weekend in His presence.

HeartsHomeward said...

Yes, Lux. His power and presence are everywhere. I only need eyes to see. Thank you for coming to Hearts Homeward. You are welcome here anytime.

Mary said...

Beautiful! Four simple words that can make all the difference in all the little moments of our day-God is with me! That is something that I will be practicing throughout my day because I need to give myself this reminder. Thank you for sharing words that ring true and go deep. Blessings and thank you for joining The Weekend Brew.

HeartsHomeward said...

Thanks, Mary. I didn't comment on your post there, but I read it and appreciated it. So grateful that you came here and were blessed.

Kaylene Yoder said...

This spoke ~ "It isn't just a mental exercise of repeating words. This mantra awakens my amnesia-prone soul to the reality of what is unseen." Amen. Such a beautiful read, Patty. Thank you for ahring at Grace & Truth!

Kaylene Yoder said...

I would like to share this post at the next Grace & Truth this Friday. Thank you! :)

HeartsHomeward said...

Thank you, Kaylene. What a blessing and privilege.

HeartsHomeward said...

I am so glad this spoke to you. God is good.