Just Breathe

Psalm 105:4-5 (NLT)
Search for the Lord and his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given…

My life, my relationship with Jesus, changed dramatically a couple of years ago as I grew weary with going through the motions.  I truly wanted to know God more but I kept trying to follow a protocol, I guess you could say.  I kept trying to go at it the way I saw others do it.  Guidance is necessary, for sure, but at some point we have to reach a place where we strip down the motions and protocols and offer him our bare, naked heart.  Come as we are.  Talk it out with Him.

That period of time for me led to many glorious moments sitting at this very kitchen table.  Tears of joy and freedom.  A release.  God-confidence and a stability I had truly never experienced in my people-pleasing, needy life.  Smile…My taste of Jesus, His daily presence…His nearness…soon grew to be my medicine and I would fairly say ruined me in the best of ways.  See, now that I have known Him in this untangle-the-knots kind of way, this healing my heart and marriage…now that His truly unconditional love and presence has oozed into the cracks and fissures of my soul like the sweetest sap, I cannot go back.  And so I long for Him…

But you know what?  The very ways God leads us into knowing Him more deeply can again become motions in time if somehow our intimacy with Him gets tightly latched to the new routines and ways we learn to reach Him.  Let me explain!  There was a time I clearly knew God was leading me to get up at a certain time in the mornings (I knew it was Him because I would not have volunteered to get up any earlier than I possibly had to!).  Because I was thirsty for His nearness, grew wondrously desperate for this Jesus stability, I followed.  In my obedience my hunger was filled.  It didn’t feel like work, really.  It felt like a rendezvous with my Creator.  Well, it was…

For a while now I have been coming to this same table.  Needing His nearness.  Longing for yesterday’s manna, or provision, in a way.  Almost like a schoolgirl, I miss Him.  I miss that kind of nearness.  Have I drifted from Jesus?  No, I really don’t think so.  Deep within I still sense His presence and peace.  I just think now I am in a season where like the verse above says, I must search and continually seek.  I believe somehow along the way my intimacy with Jesus became tied up in the motions of how He led me a couple of years ago.  And when deep inside I long for yesterday’s revelation of His grace and love, I sense Him saying No, we are not going back…we are moving forward.  See, above all I must hold tightly to my King, not the particulars of how He leads me in a given season.  Because as we all know, seasons change.

This past Easter weekend’s service at our church was spectacular.  As our worship team sang these simple words:  There is power in the name of Jesus, there is power in the name of Jesus…Break every chain, break every chain, break every chain…many different people came out on stage to participate in a “cardboard testimony.”  They walked out one by one with a huge poster board describing the “chain” such as abuse or addiction and then they flipped their poster board around and the other side described their freedom from bondage.  It was an on your feet, extremely touching service.  So much so I am including a link if you would like to watch the feed!  Our Sunday morning services are available live online so this Easter service will be replaced this coming weekend, but if you have time I encourage you to click on www.c3church.com and click on “live feed.”  I have never specifically referenced my church on this blog before but my heart was so touched this weekend and I want to share it.  Life change is what Jesus is all about…why we celebrate Easter…why Easter happened!  Why He died and rose again!

Anyway, as my Pastor spoke and I was reading the scripture about an empty tomb, I sensed that whisper to my heart say, Stop looking for Me in a dead place.  Stop looking for me in the place where I was…look for me where I am now.  I believe Jesus is just as near to me now as He was before, but I keep looking to the routine I had developed.  I keep looking back to what became comfortable and what I knew.  I need to do the work of finding and looking and seeking where He is now…how He is leading me today….the new ways He wants to touch and speak to me.  One way I am learning to do this, especially this past week, is to simply remember His miracles and breathe.

When I’m washing a few dishes in the sink, I stop to gaze through the window into a blue sky and remember He is there, on His throne. And I just breathe…

When I’m outside at 10pm helping my husband cover the garden plants in preparation for frost, I stop to look into that same now dark sky and marvel for a moment at the blanket of stars. And I just breathe…

When my brown-eyed girl turns five and wants to wear her two-foot-long Rapunzel wig and dress out to eat I let her and witness and absorb her exuberance.  And I just breathe…

When we pull out of carpool lane in the afternoon and go for ice cream I decide we can eat outside and take our time, no rushing. I slow down long enough to snap mental pictures of messy chins and sweet smiles. And I just breathe…

When I’m driving my girls along and a song they love and identify with the movie “Soul Surfer” comes on I quiet down to hear them sing…Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be the name of the Lord.   And my heart fills to overflowing.  And I just breathe…

When my baby daughter sits snugly stuffed into her little pink seat at the table as I cook dinner and I pause to look over and talk to her and she just beams and kicks her little legs in pure baby happiness, I drink in deep droughts of mommy-pleasure. And I just breathe…

When my husband and I have late-night discussions about whats next for our family, I sometimes remember a time we could hardly talk about anything at all. My love and admiration for this man grows. And I just breathe…

Sometimes we are looking at yesterday’s miracle, the ways God had with us in the past, and we miss out on what He is doing now because it doesn’t look or feel the same.  Sometimes our journey with God is an amazing season of spiritual-growth-on-steroids and sometimes things grow a bit more quiet.  In whatever season, Jesus calls us to stop looking back.  Stop staring into the empty tomb of what was and gaze into the horizon of now and what will yet be.  Remember His miracles.  Find joy in today’s gifts.

And Breathe…

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