Through an Email

Where I See God Journal
Entry #7: In an Email

I saw it in my box. One of the precious ladies from our Wednesday morning Bible study group had sent an email. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I received was an outpouring of words directly from scripture sent to encourage me. It was a humbling moment. I spend Wednesday mornings trying to pour into others, and here she was pouring right back into me.

One of the passages jumped off the page at me. It was a verse from Exodus that I have hanging in my laundry room. She had added the verse prior, as well. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’” Exodus 14:13-14

I read the passage for a couple of days meditating on the words. “God, what are you trying to say to me?” I asked. Then I remembered a friend teaching me to turn scripture into prayers by placing my information into the passage. I gave that a try.

“Fear not, Kysia. Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the struggles you have in this moment, God will resolve. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

My struggles really are temporary, not just because life is temporary, but because God is fighting for me. I need only to be silent. To rest in Him. To trust that He is big enough to take on my troubles and desires to if I would only let Him.

As often happens when someone shares scripture, the word of God takes on a life of its own until an understanding reveals itself. That was the case with the email scriptures. Like a ping pong game, the scripture bounced back and forth on my heart.   I didn’t grasp what God was asking. But then understanding came. “Trust me enough to let me do the work, Kysia. See my salvation for you. I love you, child.”

A big encouragement from a humbling email.

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Friendships

Where I See God
Journal Entry #6: Friendships

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

This week I saw God at work in friendships. They were simple moments that spilled over with extraordinary love. A friend checking on another friend after the loss of a parent. A call of encouragement after a hard day. An email filled with scripture to build me up. Simple moments of God whispering, “I am here. Rest in me.”

I also saw God working through my daughter as she focused her energy on a friend. A friend moving to another state. A friend she will miss dearly. A handmade scrapbook, a gathering of friends and some yummy baked treats created special moments as memories were made to savor every last moment of a parting good-bye.

God moved through out these friendships this week, building fellowship and comfort for those mourning, hurting, and moving away. Through open arms, cheery hellos and home baked cakes people experienced love.

Our Postal Carrier

Where I See God
Journal Entry #5: Our Postal Carrier

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3

I put down my phone as the doorbell chimed. Answering, I was surprised to see my previous postal carrier standing at the door. “Hello, Mrs. Thornton!” He greeted me brightly. “I wanted to invite you to my book signing.”

I invited him in to catch up for a moment.

He shared with me how he had been forced to retire earlier than expected due to a health concern and hadn’t had the opportunity to say good-bye to his mail route. He also shared about when he was delivering mail, he would daydream about writing a love story. From house to house on his route he would think through creating an allegory of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us grasps God’s love for us to live better lives. He knew God had placed this dream on his heart to write but he didn’t have time with the heavy postal delivery hours. Then he became ill, ending up with a lot of time on his hands. He started and finished his project quickly. Now, less than a year later his project has been picked up by a publisher and is already being sold on Amazon. Amazing story!

He was so excited to share.

Then something happened, I really wasn’t expecting. He shared he came by to personally invite me to his first book signing because I had been kind to him during his work as a postal carrier.

I was so humbled.

As he talked I heard God speaking.

Kindness makes a difference.”

But it wasn’t my kindness I was thinking of. It was his. Every time this man delivered mail in my neighborhood – regardless of the weather, he did it with a smile. He said the cheeriest “Hello,” I’m sure, to every grumpy face he encountered. I was so grateful for that cheery hello, because it came during a season where I was ill and was struggling to be grateful for where I was in life. Yet, most days of the week, this man and his positive attitude despite the rain, sleet, or sweltering hot continued working without complaining. God used him to inspire me to be kind despite my circumstances.

Here he was rewarding me by sharing his story. Not only did he write me note of his news, he also hand delivered an invitation just because I had been kind to him. He did this with me and thirty-four other people on his mail route.

I am honored by his invitation; but more importantly, I am blessed from God using him to teach me to be nice through difficult circumstances.

 

If you are interested in reading his book, you can order it off of Amazon. The Enchanting Adventures of Christian Nature by James A Rousseau, Jr.

Prayer Meeting

Where I See God
Journal Entry #4: Prayer Meeting

“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

It wasn’t were I saw God this week, but instead where I met Him.

For a few months, I have been struggling. I’ve been getting by, but a spiritually based depression has been slowly working its way in. Darkness approaching closer and closer.

Before Christmas a new prayer ministry was announced at my church. I knew I needed to call and make an appointment. My need for acceptance was growing out of control; my constant hunger for affirmation clouded my self-perception. I had stopped desiring truth from God and was seeking my friends’ words to fill that spot. A stronghold needed relinquishing.

Christmas came and went. Finally I made an appointment.

I wasn’t’ really sure what my stronghold entailed, but I knew I needed help and prayer from other believers in Christ. Believers who were trained to help.

The day came.

I arrived early eager to get started. I hit a low point two days before and did some damage to my relationships with my son and his future wife. I desired their approval for something I was working on for their rehearsal dinner. Something that didn’t really matter and had nothing to do with me as person, but for me it had mattered. My self-worth had hungered for affirmation as a sign of acceptance from my son and his soon-to-be wife. Emotions from my end sky-rocketed and feelings got hurt.

I walked into the prayer room, made myself comfortable and sat while praying. “God, I know I need help. This fog of confusion on my heart is clouding my judgement and my perception. I love my son and his fiancé. I love my family. More than anything though, I don’t want all of this need for acceptance to damage my ministry or lead others from you.”

One of the prayer leaders came into the room. She was trained in the Celebrate Recovery ministry and was very good at listening before she said anything. Listening for what I was really saying. We first prayed for guidance and for God to reveal the stronghold. Then I prayed just talking to God. I don’t even remember what I said, I just tried to humble myself and get to work.

Then the second prayer minister arrived. We talked, prayed, talked some more. About half way through the process the second of the ladies shared a story about feeling like an embarrassment growing up.

I broke.

I recognized that feeling. The constant need for praise from others so I wouldn’t experience that feeling. As though people’s praise could somehow protect me from embarrassment. Somewhere along life’s journey, I bought into the lie, that I was an embarrassment to others, not good enough to stand on my own. The compliments of others had become my proof to myself that I was not an embarrassment. Unfortunately, praise was never enough. It didn’t satisfy long term. Only God could help me handle embarrassment. Only God could give me perspective and fill me with His truth.

I sobbed.

With tears running off my cheeks, I joked, “I think we found the stronghold.”

We prayed some more. God’s word was poured over me. Truth was spoken into my spirit.

Before leaving the prayer leaders armed me with scripture to read over and over for reassurance and truth planting. So I would know that I am created in the image of God. I was created for a purpose. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I met God in that prayer room as He held me close and told me I was a treasure to Him and that fear of embarrassment stronghold in my belief system had to go. He already approved of me. I was not an embarrassment to Him.

I entered the prayer room ready for battle. Two prayer warriors joined me and with bowed heads we steadied ourselves and took our fight to the foot of the cross. The battle was swift because God met us there to strike the enemy down and break my stronghold through submission before Him. Then God did something so beautiful. He lavishly poured His truth into me to strengthen and build me up so I would understand He wanted something far more amazing for me than I had wanted for myself. I had desired the praise from others, but He gave me acceptance.

I met a fearless, mighty, and compassionate God in prayer this week.

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NLT

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

 

Through a Social Media Post

Where I See God
Journal Entry #3: Through a  Social Media Post

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” 1 John 5:14 NLT

God surprised me this week when I went looking for Him.

I usually turn to social media to find out what everyone around me is up to. Social media captivates me with its beautiful pictures on Instagram  and quotes from Facebook that make me laugh and sometimes irritate me. However where God got my attention wasn’t from any of those kind of posts. It was in a cry for help.

The post simple read, “We need men’s winter tops and pants at the Genesis Clothes Closet. Help please.”

Most of our country has been experiencing the seriously cold temperatures this winter. Our area shelters quite a few homeless and impoverished. A cry for help came from a friend wanting to make sure our church’s clothing closet was equipped to help those in need. Equipped to help those she didn’t even know.

God, showed up in a simple social media post to alert others to a basic need.

I’m not sure of the response or movement that stemmed from that post, but I know it moved me to action.

Simple but powerfully making a difference. God at work.

Through a Friend

Where I See God
Journal Entry #2:  Through a Friend

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)

I sat on the sofa, eyes puffy, with several used tissues wadded up on the coffee table in front of me.  I had worked myself into a mess playing the “what if” game.  It’s not a fun game, I wouldn’t recommend it.  In my moment of insecurity I created in my mind several worst case scenarios. What if this happened? What if that happened?

Moments of wasted emotion and energy. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t snap out of it.

I repeat. “I” couldn’t snap out of it.

I needed help. First, I prayed asking God to send someone. He placed someone in my mind.

Yes, I sat there expecting them to call at any time. Kind of pathetic.

More tears fell. More tissues filled.

Then…I picked up my phone and called the person God had placed on my heart. She texted back letting me know she’d call in a bit.

The phone rang. The voice of reason came with a friendly, “Kysia, I’m so glad you called. I’ve been thinking about you. I have some things I wanted to share with you about that prayer request you had last week.”

Hanging up an hour later my sadness had turned into joy, the “what ifs” had transformed into confident plans and my battle with my momentary insecurities had been conquered with the helping hand of a friend. Conversations of encouragement and wisdom with listening ears had won the battle.

I saw God this week in a friend who lavishly shared God’s grace and love with me.

People’s Faith Stories

Where I see God.
Journal Entry #1: In People’s Faith Stories

“… a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7

Before Christmas, my son’s fiancé invited me to hear her mom share their family’s story at a women’s group one evening. I wanted to support, but honestly, I was really tired and selfishly wanted to stay home. However, something inside said, “GO!” That “GO!” wouldn’t quit.  So I went. Thank goodness.

Awkwardly, I entered the room unsure of where to sit, consciously aware of my own insecure social etiquette skills. Thankfully, my son’s fiancé was keeping an eye out for me and offered me a place to sit next to her and another friend I had met previously.

The evening started with a game Christmas Carol Bingo (which I stunk at) and then the main speaker (friend and fiancé’s mother) shared her story. I had heard most of the story before, a few years ago when we first met the family after my son had started dating their daughter. But I learned so much more this time. It wasn’t just the content and the focus on God answering prayers but instead in watching the other women in the room respond as the story was shared. When my friend shared a joke about something her husband had done, there were little giggles from the audience relating.  As she shared, people were drawn into her story. When there was heartbreak, there were shared tears. Finally, when the concluding words were spoken at the end of the evening each woman in the room was invested in the speaker, her family, and the God she worshipped.

God uses our stories in life, faith, pain, overcoming obstacles to grow not only our faith but also the faith of those around us. I was so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the group that evening. God blessed me with an affirmation in several ways through my friend’s story.

First, listening allowed me to be part of her story by showing me the work God had done in her life through a variety of circumstances. Seeing her vulnerability, made her real as she openly shared her mistakes and even a few misbeliefs that God corrected along the way. As she shared her heart hurts, my heart hurt.  Not because I had experienced the exact same pain, but because I had experienced pain I longed for God to heal. Then listening to the moments of victory built my faith that God has victory for me, too. Her humility helped me sympathize and come to humility myself thus experiencing what every woman in the room experienced. God’s love. Through hard times and easy, God’s love is working in us.

Second, I had shared my story with a small group of mom’s a couple of months prior. It took a lot of courage to follow through with the commitment and I left feeling grateful for the opportunity, but I wasn’t sure of my impact. Watching someone else share and observing the audience not only gave me a broader perspective, it also reassured me that God was using my story as well.

Third, I noticed when my friend was sharing that our stories give examples of God at work over a period of time, in a short amount of time. My friend covered a period of twenty years, in an hour’s time. When we live life we pray and make decisions based on moments; often the results come though over a period of time. When other’s share the time that it took to see God’s answers, we are given the truth about how God works. He isn’t always instantaneous. The living through the trial often provides greater lessons.

That night a week or so before Christmas, I saw God at work. I saw Him on my friend’s face as she shared. I experienced Him with others in the reactions of the audience. I heard Him in the prayer spoken at the end of the event. And, I was truly touched by Him in the words that fell on my heart.

Have you ever experienced God at work in someone else’s story?