Saturday, January 27, 2018

How Can I Feel God's Presence, If I Don't Offer Up Mine?

Lately, I have noticed something missing from my life. Something missing from my heart. From my spiritual walk with the Lord.

I do devotionals. I listen to Christian music. I talk and share with Christian friends. I read Christian books, quotes, and Bible Studies.  I listen to Christian speakers on podcast. I go to church.

Yet - still - something missing.

I have felt… ‘dry.’  I have craved hearing God’s voice. I have craved wanting to feel His presence in my life.

For me, I pinpointed an area in my life that was missing. Despite all I was doing, all I was trying to live and BE for the Lord - I was missing out on actually reading His Word. For myself.

It’s easy to get ‘snippets’ of Scripture. Let’s face it, we are a “read it in 5 minutes and be done” kind of culture. But it had been a long time for me, since I had actually just pulled out a chapter of the Bible, read it, digested it, pondered on it, and let it speak to my heart.

The key. It was the key to what had been missing.

How can I expect to hear God’s voice when I don’t take the time to read what He has to say to me? 

How can I feel His presence, if I don’t offer up mine?

Christian music is fantastic.

Devotionals are wonderful and they help us prioritize and focus on areas of our lives. But, reading God’s Word? Irreplaceable.

My hunger - my cravings for the Lord - have led me right to what I need the most. Him!  Him through His words.

Nothing can replace the Bible. Nothing. 

And it is so easy to be fed bites of God through all these other means, without really getting full on Him. We go through the motions, but we still can’t put our finger on what we are missing.

Well, now I can. 

I’ve been filling up on appetizers, when I should have been filling up on the main course…. His Holy Word.

I pray I will continue to not get enough. Because I want to continue to crave - to continue to seek - and to continue to grab His Word. 

I don’t want to stop wanting. For it led me straight to Him….. which is exactly where I need to be. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sometimes We Just Need a Little Push

Some of us are very blessed. We just live, “blessed” lives. We have homes that we feel so “at home” in, children who we adore and love to hang around (and who enjoy us as well!), marriages that are vibrant and thriving…. Do you feel ready to throw up yet? No one has it that perfect do they? Well, yes, sometimes it seems that way. Some of us are just…… very…… blessed. 

We know we are blessed and we can feel thrilled about it all. So thrilled in our “blessedness,” that we get too comfortable with where we are sitting. 

Our lives are comfortable with us, and we are comfortable with them. 

What happens then, when we realize that we may be comfortable with where we are at, but God is not?

Sometimes I think we’re taken unawares by God because we so easily forget that it is HE that is in charge of our lives – not us. Even if we may feel like we are running them just fine, on our own. 

God has a purpose for our lives and at times; He needs to give us a gentle push to let us know that He feels its time to move us along to something else. To something new. In these cases, I’ve found that we can either go willingly as God directs, or we can fight Him on it. In which case, He can force us to move along – which is much more painful and uncomfortable!

It’s not that we’ve done something wrong, or that God is disciplining us when He sees fit to throw a curveball into our otherwise neat plan of a life. We can all get complacent. And being “blessed” is not wrong or bad. It may just be, that He has some special things to show us.  It may just mean, that He sees our potential and delights in growing us to become stronger, wiser, or more pliable in His hands.  I liken it to when you see a really smart kid start to coast in the classroom because the work is too easy for them. They need to go to the next level or they may never reach their full potential – as do we at times.

While I often find myself complaining when I think God wants to stretch my character or do hard things in my life, I think it’s truly an honor to be felt “worthy of the call” in His eyes. I think if left untouched, I would regret not learning and seeing the deeper truths and closeness that only He can give me. And to be honest, sometimes God just asks more of us for His reasons alone. I may never know the “why.” 

I think God wants me to try and see what He sees…. Not just in my life but in the life of those around me and in the life that He’s personally created for me. I can’t do that if I sit “comfortably” in my well-oiled, self-run life.

If you are one of the “blessed” that God has chosen to recently “shake up” – don’t fear and don’t despair. He loves you! He holds you, and your agenda safely in His hands. He knows what you value, and what matters deeply to you. The risks that He might ask of you, (or me), may bring more to your life than your comfort ever could.  So step forward with great faith, and trust. 

I promise you won’t fall. In fact, you just may soar on those new wings He has chosen to unveil to you. And you will be blessed, beyond measure. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Year of Surgeries

2018 has barely begun and I’ve already faced my first surgery…. An umbilical hernia. I got it when I gave birth to my first daughter, but it wasn’t a problem until this year. I jokingly told her, ‘“You DID this to me!”

I am facing another surgery in the spring. Jaw surgery. 

I am calling this, ‘The year of Dionna.’  And when I say that, I don’t mean that in a celebratory way. I mean it, in a “everything is going to happen to me this year” kind of way.

I don’t welcome it.  But I’ve been preparing myself to face it. I am ready to tackle it head-on.

Sometimes, we just can’t run from things. And believe me, I ran from getting braces and facing jaw surgery for years. YEARS. It didn’t help. It only prolonged the inevitable.

I am not one to hide. I’m not one to pretend.

Am I scared? Yes.

Can my mind run rampant with all the things that can go wrong? If I don’t stay intentional with my thoughts… yes.

Am I optimistic? Also, yes. I’m ready for some issues to be remedied. Fixed. I have lived with them pretty well. But I’d like to not just “live with them” but live WITHOUT them.

I am always thinking about these things. The upcoming surgery is always in the back of my mind. But I am asking God for HIs perfect plan to unfold through all of this. A skilled surgeon. A recovery that is smooth. Peace of mind. Rest. Encouragement. 

Won’t you keep me in your prayers? I hear jaw surgery recovery can be pretty tough. And I will be traveling a few hours away for mine.  As it draws closer, I will need courage, wisdom, discernment, and peace.

And hopefully, when the end of 2018 comes around, I will feel so blessed for all God has done for me through ‘the year of Dionna.’ May I be better, stronger, wiser, and humbled for how His plan triumphed over my own.