After a Bad Dream

Where I see God
Journal 12: After a Bad Dream

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I woke quickly with a covering of irrational emotion suffocating me. A bad dream in the early hours set an icky, sticky set of yuck of irritations on my morning. Thoughts that pierced my heart and set every fear I had hidden deep down rushing to the surface.

In a funk, I laid my body out face down in the carpet and tried to pray. Nothing. The grip of fear held tight.

Opening the Bible to Psalms, I read until peace calmed my soul.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…

He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-3; 10-11

Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath inhaling the goodness of God’s warmth and provision, exhaling the fear and frustration. Silently, moment by moment peace entered into the crevices of my heart.

I prayed, “Thank you, God that you are Almighty. That you are real. That you are peace. Take these fears from me and restore your peace to my heart and sound mind to my body. Amen”

Let the day begin. Renewed. Refreshed. Whole again.


Spring Break Missions

Where I see God
Journal 11: Spring Break Missions

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Yesterday morning we dropped our daughter off at a bus with 30 or so other teens and chaperones from our church. They were headed to Mexico to build houses for farm workers. Across town on Friday, a team from a different church was headed to another part of Mexico to work in an orphanage. Same town still a different church group was leaving to work with inner city children in Houston.

It happens every year. Young people serving as hands and feet in areas of great need. That’s where I saw God at work this week.

Spring Break and summer both, provide time and opportunity for vast amounts of work to be done in the name of Jesus Christ. Teams from a few in number to many hop on busses, board planes and travel great distances or even stay local to work hard on building projects that will benefit the people of the area, volunteer to work with children in highly deprived communities, feed people who are hungry, and many other jobs in an effort to show and share love. Each student, chaperone, and volunteer is a difference maker in God’s Kingdom.

There is another place I see God working through these trips. It isn’t just the recipients of the work who walk away experiencing God. The workers do too. God does amazing things in the lives of those who say yes to doing His work. Volunteer after volunteer come back from serving sharing stories of how God changed their lives, strengthened their faith, and helped them understand better His will for their lives.

God’s work on these short term Mission trips provides love for those in need and growth for those who serve.

At a Funeral

Where I see God
Journal 10: At a Funeral

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

“Wanda died.” My husband’s words were brief, but packed with emotion. Wanda was his Great Aunt, like a second grandmother to him. Wanda had gone into the hospital and less than a week later was gone from our lives here on earth.

The car ride to the funeral was quiet. While my husband and I are usually full of conversation the two hour trip was practically speechless.

We hadn’t seen his Great Aunt in many years, since she moved from living across the street from my husband’s grandmother. But all our memories of Wanda were beautiful. She was a beautiful person.

Like Granny, Wanda was humble, patient, and loved so gently and tenderly. She embraced life with an amazing sense of humor and was always quick to bring a comforting smile.

During the funeral a loved one shared how Wanda had prayed for each family member  to know Christ. It was important to her. She felt confident her prayers had been answered before she passed.

We cried as we celebrated a life well lived.

God was present in the tears. God was present in the laughter. He was present in the hugs, stories shared and even in the silence of the car ride. There was sorrow for now, but victory for the future.

Within Creation

Where I see God
Journal 9: Within Creation

“For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!” Psalm 92:4-5

After lunch today, my husband and I decided to go hiking. Heading out to Devil’s Den State Park, we smiled into the sunshine as it warmed our faces. We were so excited to get out after being inside from all of the rain this past week.

Arriving at the park, we quickly realized we weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea. The trails were packed with people. Regardless, we started the trek towards our favorite path. Down the rock steps, around the bend, up towards the bat caves and back down beside the caverns. Then up and around another hill before we arrived.

Since the rains had come in so strong the last few days we knew we would enjoy the part we had just reached. The waterfall.

Sitting back into the side of the cliff we rested on broken bits of shale as we watched the falling water. The sound of peace with the breath of mists embraced us. Looking out through the hills in the distance we could see the rush of waters down below from the overflowing creek beds. The air was fresh as we saw new growth popping up throughout the forest.

Creation is beautiful. How is God not experienced when we are encircled in its marvel? All the details captivating all our senses. All the wonder engaging our curiosity.

Nothing like it.

Thank you, Lord, for such an amazing afternoon.

Turning Off Social Media

Where I See God
Journal Entry #8:  Turning off Social Media

“May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” Psalms 29:11

I love social media. It allows me the opportunity to keep up with friends and family all over the world. For me, however, it is addictive. Every time I slow down, I’m grabbing for my phone to check out the latest on Facebook or Instagram. Every now and then, I have to take a break to stop the cycle.

I am in one of those breaks. Sometimes checking for certain information about the organizations I’m involved with is necessary, but other than that I am off.

The clarity that comes from shutting off the social media noise is staggering. Instead of filling up my slow down times with other people’s thoughts, I’m able to sit still and listen for God’s voice.

In 1 Kings 19 Elijah is seeking God’s voice. In verse 11 God asks Elijah to, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him…”

I am constantly asking God for things. “What should I do? How do I handle this? What’s next?” Then I seldom stop to really listen. The noise of my environment keeps going. Television at night, radio around town and social media when I stop to breathe.

After distractions are removed, God’s voice becomes more clear.

Only in the still humbled moments is my heart ready to listen and receive the gift of peace so often offered.

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.


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.