Greetings, Dear Friends!
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. For the months of March AND April I will give away away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids" so leave a post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a fun treat this month!
A Quick Note:
I am thrilled to announce the release of my next book: Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places." Let me tell you, I am excited about the message in this book. If you have children at home (or grandchildren you want to influence spiritually), order a copy today. I do believe this book will equip you to parent from a spiritual perspective (but it's loaded with lots of practical application). You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired and encouraged (that was my goal, anyway). :)
Now, on to my topic...
A couple of weeks ago I was really battling a chest cold and trying to press through my back to back engagements lined up this spring. My body felt like it had been through the ringer. I had a little TMJ flare up (actually, a BIG flare up), a little vertigo, and to top it off, a nice, obnoxious cough. I was wiped out.
With my spicy hug around my neck, my cup of chai warming my hands, and my head resting back on the couch, I shared an update with one of my mentors over the phone. In response, she made a simple observation but her words brought back a vivid memory from my childhood.
I shared my memory with her: When I was about three years old, my brother and I were playing hide and seek with our other siblings. He was about four and a half at the time. We decided to hide inside a small but heavy cedar chest. Something happened and we were suddenly locked inside and stuck there for a long time. I guess my dad used some kind of crow bar to break us out of there; when he found us, we were red cheeked and listless.
Just recalling the story caused the muscles in my jaw to seize up and my chest to tighten up. My mentor suggested we pray through the memory of this experience and ask God to show me where He was during that time. Long story short, as I prayed and tried to imagine my brother and I in that cedar chest, I saw myself spooned up close to him, holding on, feeling terrified and out of breath. Just as quickly the Lord showed me a picture of Him spooning up behind us both and blowing His breath into our faces so we could breathe.
Now that may sound a little out-of-the-box to some of you, but that beautiful picture filled me with God's peace replaced the anxiety and fear that were so strongly attached to that memory.
This past weekend I talked to my brother about our childhood experience. Oddly enough, we've never talked about this particular memory. I barely got out the words when he finished my sentence.
I said, "Do you remember that time we were stuck..." and he chimed in, "in the cedar chest? Yes. I remember it perfectly. I think about it all of the time."
"What happened?" I asked. I was amazed at what he said:
Grandma was babysitting us. We were playing hide and seek. You and I decided to hide in the cedar chest. Before we pulled the top down on us, I stuck a ruler in between the top and the chest so we could see through the slit. Somehow you and I bumped the ruler and it slipped out. We were stuck inside. Grandma never checked on us. Mom and dad came home and asked where we were. They looked all over upstairs before they figured out we were inside the chest. Dad broke it open with a crow bar. We were in there for about an hour. We were listless when they got us out.
How is it possible that we survived for an hour? Or that we didn't sustain any brain damage?
I hesitated to share this story in such a public forum but I really think there is something for all of us here. And this is the point I am making today: God is always with us. He is intimately engaged with us on this journey. Nothing can separate us from His love. Terrible things are going to happen sometimes. The enemy gets his shots in there every once in a while. But God is always with us. He'll go to the deepest pit or the smallest cedar chest to save us, sustain us, and take care of us. The enemy cannot take us out until God is ready to take us home.
No one can snatch us out of His hand!
It's easy to question God when we experience traumatic events. But instead of getting offended with God and assigning a wrong motive to Him (which consequently blinds us from seeing any of His goodness), may we humbly and trustingly ask, "Jesus, where were you in all of this? I know You are good. I know You are near. Show me where You were. Show me how You intervened in this painful experience. Heal my memory. Remove the lies I've believed and replace them with the truth. I know that You are good and I will trust You with all of my tomorrows. Amen."
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).