Posts Tagged With: heart

Two Cents

wpid-062913_1419_youcanhaven1.jpeg Psalms 17:1-21:13

“Show me Your unfailing love in wonderful ways.” Psalm 17:7 NLT

“Wondrously show Your steadfast love” Psalm 17:7 ESV

Now normally I try to avoid the verses I’ve already written about in order to give you fresh manna. However, I came across something today that I just HAD to share with you!!!

show me your unfailing love in wondrous ways Ps 17 7

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a SHMILY Sunday post. I share pictures from my week where God has shown me His unfailing love in wonderful ways. (If you’re curious where the name SHMILY came from, here is my original post where I explain in detail, but in short it stands for See How Much I Love You.)

Today as I was juuuuust dipping my toes into the Living Water of today’s Word of the Day I came across a footnote that blew me away. I mean, here is a verse that has literally changed my entire life and the lives of several others and I learn something NEW about it???

The first time I came across Psalm 17:7 I read it in my NLT pocket Bible, with no footnotes or commentary. Today I found it in the ESV that translates it much like the NLT except for the order of the words, but that’s where the footnote comes in. The phrase, “Wondrously show” can also be translated, “Distinguish me by”. Making it possible to translate Psalm 17:7: “Distinguish me by Your unfailing love”!

To demonstrate God’s love distinguishing us, I immediately thought of what happened to Sean yesterday at the gas station. And so I asked him to write this one up for you. 😉

“I went into a gas station to get a fountain drink. My daughter went in with me so I decided to get one for her too. We approached the counter and the attendant rang us up. The total was $1.71. I handed her $2.00 and said I had a penny, thinking I would get less change back. 

Well before I paid her, another gentleman came up and started talking to her. I don’t know if she was distracted by the other customer, or didn’t understand what I had given her, but she only gave me $.28 in change. She shorted me $.02! 
Since it was only two cents, I wasn’t that worried about it. However when I turned around, I saw two shiny pennies, laying on the floor just inside the door. So I just bent down, scooped them up and continued on my merry way.”
SHMILY!
Sure, it’s only two small pennies, but it SHOWS us that God cares about the little details in our lives. I mean, you want to talk about attention to detail, fingerprints, hair count and numbered steps! (See “What is Man that You are Mindful of Him“) We certainly could have lived without those two pennies in our pockets. BUT GOD wanted to show us that even those two cents we had been shorted, He could, was willing to, and would restore. And really, if you think about it, if He can, is willing to and will restore two pennies then would He, being God – the Creator and owner of everything seen and unseen, not also restore to us the much larger amounts that have been shorted us if we ask? (And trust me, I have been asking lately!) Especially since He knows we need them (Matthew 6:32).
The first time I found Psalm 17:7 I was wowed by its concept and prayed it for myself. I loved the idea that God is willing to show me His love in a way that was unique and special to me. That verse taught me that Jesus loves ME and He wants to show me that love, not in an ordinary way, but a WONDERFUL way. And right then and there I prayed, “Lord, show ME Your unfailing love in wondrous ways.” And later that morning I got an apple with pink swirls and a heart at the core (see Unfailing Love for pictures and the whole story).
So today, reading it again with fresh eyes and new meaning I am realizing that not only is He ready and willing to show ME how much He loves me, but He’s ready and willing to distinguish me from the world by that very same love. He wants to show the WORLD how much He loves.
He wants to show YOU how much He loves YOU!
He wants to set YOU apart from the crowd and show them how much He loves YOU.
So I think that it’s only fitting that like my first time, we pray the scripture. Shall we got boldly before the throne and ask so that we may receive? (John 16:24  James 4:2)
“Lord, please distinguish me by Your steadfast love. I know that you do it every day, but I pray that You would do it in a NEW way today, one that is special and unique to ME. And I pray that You would open my eyes to SEE IT and recognize it for what it really is when it happens. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”
(Maybe this will be a new recurring theme for our little blog. 😉 )
Categories: 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Psalms, SHMILY! | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apart from Me

Joshua 10:22 – 13:23

Word of the Day:

“And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.” “And the land had rest from war.” Joshua 10:42 & 11:23

The other day I was feeling low and the phrase “apart from Me you can do nothing” kept popping in and out of my head. I felt like a failure, I felt like “no one” was reading my blog or my books and I felt like I was being a horrible mom. In frustration I flopped down on my bed and allowed my mind to go where God was leading it. I looked up John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” And as I allowed myself to really ponder on the message of that phrase a picture began to fill my mind’s eye. A large pink shiny heart made of rock became clear and defined. “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Next a small part of the heart near the bottom tip broke off and separated itself far away from the heart. “A part… A part… apart… Apart from Me you can do nothing“. But then the small part of the heart slowly slid back to rejoin the heart and re-attached itself in such a way that you could barely tell where the separation had been in the first place. And this is where the Holy Spirit really got me. “A part of Me you can do EVERYTHING!” My eyes flung open in surprise and delight. Everything. I can do everything, anything, all things through Christ who gives me strength! You know, it’s one thing to hear it, or even say it, but to see it and believe it, well, that’s completely different!

Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, BUT a part of Jesus we can do everything! It was amazing and wonderful, but He wasn’t finished with me yet. As I lay there with eyes now wide open to my own potential another figure began to emerge, a pair of the bluest most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Yet they were filled with sadness and pain. I immediately recognized them as the eyes of Jesus, pain-filled because of my current state of torment. I had fallen down into the snake-pit filled with mud and doubt-vipers that bite and cling no matter how hard you shake them. And these eyes had seen me struggling to break free from the torment of the fear of failure. He was there in the pit with me, all the time speaking the truth that would free me “apart from Me you can do nothing”. But instead of hearing those words as an assurance I received them as accusations “you’re apart from God”, “You’re not in Him”, “You’re never in Him”, “You can do nothing”…

But the love of God pursues like a dog on the hunt, that hound of heaven will not give up, on me, or on you. He will pursue you with the truth of His love for you to the day you die… maybe even after who knows!

When I finally exhausted from fighting the doubt-vipers I yielded to the Truth; apart from Him I can do nothing. Period. But I’m not apart from Him now am I? Because He has promised us to NEVER leave us or forsake us, “For I am ALWAYS with you” (Matthew 28:20)… so can we ever truly be apart from the love of God? Is it possible that height or depth, angels or demons, or anything else in all of creation separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus? NO!

This is the truth, there is no apart from Him once you’ve decided to believe in Him! There is only “a part of Him”. And when you are a part of Him, you can do anything. Anything is possible for those who believe and are called according to His purpose.

Did you know that He has a purpose for you? Really, He does. And while you may not know what exactly that purpose is, He does. He created you for a reason, to do something that only Y.O.U. can do. No other person in all of time has ever walked your path and worn your shoes, you are 100% unique. You were created to be you, so why would you want to change who you are?

Can a baby walk before it’s ready to? No. It can try, but the muscles in its legs aren’t strong enough to hold it up and it would fall. Does the parent scold the child for falling? Absolutely not! They congratulate the toddler for trying, they cheer the child’s near success, and they encourage another attempt.

We are all God’s children, mere toddlers in the faith, trying desperately to walk in perfect Jesus-sized shoes when we haven’t even learned how to walk barefoot yet! And then the Enemy, through self-condemnation and the judgment of others, scolds us for falling. And like the snake-pit we can’t hear the words of truth for what they really are because all we can hear is the hissing of snakes breathing “failure!” often times it is in those times of utter exhaustion where we allow ourselves to be cradled in the arms of L:ove that the beating of the drum of our heart stills long enough to hear that small voice of peace saying “Apart from Me you can do nothing…but you’re never apart from Me are you? For I am always with you, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you and NOTHING you do can separate you from My love for you. I have taken you from your hiding place, from the farthest corners of the globe. I have chosen you for My very own, My Beloved and My friend. I no longer call you servant, because servants don’t know their master’s secrets. No, I call you friend, because I want to share many secret things with you today… things that I don’t tell just anyone, only you – My Beloved, my friend. Did you know that I am yours – all yours? I am. Like a husband belongs to his wife, I am all yours; to have and to hold. The two of us, you and me, we are married, bonded in a way that is ever more intimate than any human relationship, because ours is a marriage of the heart. Where My heart touches your heart and your heart touches Mine. Nothing on earth can even come close to the intimacy and satisfaction that that brings us both. Did you know that I long for you? Oh how I do! I yearn for you in ways you could never understand. But do you know what I yearn for the most? To hear you say My name. I want to touch you in ways you’ve never been touched before that make you scream My name. I want to touch you in ways that make you whisper My name with a longing for Me that aches and begs to be touched more. I want to hear you say My name at work and at home, to your friends and your family, because I want them to know Me too. I want My name to cross their lips like it does yours, in love and respect. I want to light a fire in your bosom so bright that it can not be extinguished and it can not be denied. I want that fire of My love for you to burn away all the comments of judgment others say, all the cords of lies that have entangled you. I want that fire, My fire to fill you consuming all your fears and shame. I love you, for who you are, how I made you to be, shameless and unafraid because you have been filled to the brim and overflowing with how desperately I love you. How ferociously I hunger for intimacy with you, to be touched by you and to touch you in return. My dearest love, no matter how far you run, from the depths of the seas or the heights of the mountains, from my left scarred hand or to My right, no matter where you go, I will be there, waiting for you when you arrive. I may even ask you what took so long. I am God, I am timeless, I am limitless and I am yours all yours, just waiting for you to call, waiting to help, waiting to love you the way you deserve. My Beloved, you deserve Me. You were made for Me. I love you.”

As His eyes of absolute love floated above my face, He licked His thumb, and then reached out and wiped the mud from my left eye. He licked His thumb again and wiped the mud from my right eye. And then He smiled, because He knew His attention had made me better.

He really does love us, more than we could ever hope or imagine.

In Jesus.

Categories: 365 Life, Joshua, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Heart SMILY

So I’ve been fasting for the last few days, I needed some extra clarity in my life. Anyway, I am, right now, breaking my fast with a communion of orange juice and an everything bagel. Because, there’s no grape juice in the house at the moment, and just a plain piece of bread didn’t seem right compared to an everything bagel…because Jesus is everything right? So I’ve got my bagel all fixed up and ready to eat and I go to put it on the plate & realize there’s a heart in the middle! God loves me!

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Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

Heart Hug

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

How does GOD want us to worship Him? What is worship that is pleasing to God? These are the questions I left church with on Sunday morning. We’ve had a lot of changes in our church over the last few weeks, with no sign of the changes stopping any time soon either. One of the many changes has been the style of music that we worship with. This change has caused a HUGE disruption amongst the members of my Sunday school class. Many of them have started “double church”ing, as they call it. Where they’re attending Sunday school at our church and then going to a different church to worship. We ended our class this week discussing the things that WE thought our worship service should include, the things we wanted… And as I climbed into our car to leave after service the Holy Spirit knocked on the door of my heart and whispered “What about what I want? What about how I want you to worship on Sunday and every other day?”

I came home that afternoon and pulled out my books, filled with questions about how GOD wants us to worship I started by opening up my Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words and found that “proskuneo” is the most frequent word rendered “to worship”. It is used of an act of homage or reverence to God, Christ, man, idols, the Beast, etc. Proskuneo is from the Greek words “pros” meaning  “toward” and “kuneo” meaning “to kiss”. I find this particularly interesting since I find worship so personal. Just the idea that when we worship we are kissing toward the person, thing or god that we are worshiping.

In Romans 12 Paul encourages us to be LIVING sacrifices, to live our lives in a continual state of dying to ourselves and allowing the LORD to live through us. To allow Him to pour His love out on others through our skin, our actions, our words, our deeds. But what does this have to do with a Sunday worship service? As all the changes have been occurring, and I have to be honest, I have not been happy with all of them, I have been talking to God a lot about all of it. Wanna know what He told me? “This is not about you.” The Sunday worship service has NOTHING to do with what I want in the music or the theme or the lighting, the feel, the layout of the room or the altar, NOTHING about me. A “worship” service should be all about bringing GOD glory. What does HE want? What does HE want it to look like, feel like, sound like?

You know what I think? I don’t think He cares about any of those things. What He cares about is those hearts that are being lifted up to Him in worship of Him. Through this change I have learned something about myself. I can worship God to ANY style of music. Even the kind that makes me want to fall asleep. How? Because it’s not about the words I’m singing, or even the music I’m singing them to, but rather about how my heart opens up to the LORD when I’m singing them. THAT is what He is seeking, THAT is what He longs for day in and day out. For my heart (and your heart) to open up to Him. To His word, to His touch, to His Truth.

When my husband and I started writing True Intimacy we did not have open hearts. They were closed to each other and they were closed to the LORD. When your heart is closed, just like a door or a window, nothing can come in and nothing can come out. And the things that are inside become stagnant from lack of use. Things like love and caring for others, when unused become weak and useless. When your heart is closed the things inside become dusty and rusty. Making it harder the next time you want to actually use them. BUT, when your heart is open things can move freely from the inside out and vice-versa. Now, this also means that there is a higher likely hood that someone might come along and hurt your heart, this is true. But it also means that there is an even higher likely hood that someone might come along and hug your heart. Have you ever had your heart hugged? I have. It’s when, even though they aren’t actually touching you physically, it feels as if everything inside you is being hugged. Like your heart is going to explode from all the love that is being poured into it at the moment. God hugs my heart often, usually through my family and my soul sisters. Through the things that they say and do and just being with them, loving God with them. Sharing Him with them, telling them what He’s been doing lately and hearing what He’s been up to in their lives as well.

So I guess, as I work through this, I’m discovering more and more that what, I think, God would like to see in a worship service is community. A place where fellow believers can come together and hug each others hearts. Where they can share God with each other, lift each other up in prayer together and shout praises to Him through words and song.  The songs that are sung, shouldn’t matter, just that they are sung with open hearts ready to give and receive God’s love in whatever form He chooses for it to take whether it be reproof or acceptance. Open to hear His word spoken, open to the idea that these hearts aren’t perfect and are in need of a savior who is willing to do anything, including die an excruciating death, to make sure that these hearts get purified and forgiven.

He loves us so tremendously, HOW we worship Him shouldn’t matter to us. Just THAT we worship Him.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In

The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, You make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, LORD, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. Isaiah 26:7-9

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4b

I do not believe in coincidence. I’ve experienced too much of Yaweh to accept the myth of coincidence any longer. From my short thirty-two years of walking with the LORD I have lost count of the tiny details that God puts into my daily life. Small things that only I would notice. Growing up my mom always said “God is a God of details” but it took me a very long time to understand what that means. It means God CARES about the details in our lives. He CARES about the little things that get us down. For the longest time I would only pray and seek God about big decisions, big problems, big victories. Then I got married and realized that every night I would ask my husband, “So, what did you do today?” And he would always reply “work”. It would drive me crazy! I wasn’t asking because I didn’t know the answer, I was asking because I cared, because I wanted to hear him tell me about his day. I was trying to start a conversation with him! God is our heavenly husband and He cares about how our day goes. He’s trying to start a conversation with us every day. So we can’t frustrate Him with answers like “work”. Join in the conversation with Him!

Then, I got pregnant! While I was pregnant I would think very carefully about what I was eating and drinking, or not eating and not drinking. I was more aware of the things I was listening to and the chemicals and fumes I spent time around. Why? Because there was a life growing inside me that was being affected by all of those things. And I now realize that again all of those things are true spiritually as well! Because I have believed in my heart I am justified and because I have proclaimed with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord[1], His Holy Spirit that was given up for me on the cross[2], is now living and growing inside me[3], filling my belly with streams of living water[4]. Everything I expose myself to physically has an effect on me spiritually, on my relationship with the living breathing Holy Spirit within me.

He has PROMISED to never leave me or forsake me[5], but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for me to turn my back on Him or forget to consider Him. While there is no condemnation for those in Christ, there are still consequences for our actions. While everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial[6]. Sure we’re free to eat what we want, watch what we want and do what we want when we want to… but we need to always keep in mind that He is always IN us, He is always there. Acts 2:24 tells us that it was IMPOSSIBLE for death to keep its hold on Christ. If we remain in Christ, then it is IMPOSSIBLE for death to keep its hold on any Child of Light! Hallelujah! Praise the LORD that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ[7]!

In John 15:5-6 Jesus tells us “I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” You see, there’s a difference between Him being in us and us being in Him. Just like there’s a difference between having water in our bodies and our bodies swimming down to touch the bottom of the deep end of a swimming pool. He has promised to never leave us, but have we promised to never leave Him?

God told me the other day that prayer has very little to do with our tongues or lips and everything to do with our hearts. He lives in your heart, waiting patiently for you to look for Him in your own heart. He’s waiting for you to communicate with Him in an intimate exchange of lives. Prayer is more powerful than any of us could ever think or imagine this side of heaven. So, go on a date tonight with your heavenly husband, down to the depths of your heart and soul. Be intimate with Him. Show Him the pieces of your heart you’ve been holding back. Those things you’ve been trying to hide, like an elephant in the middle of the room. How does that saying go? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s all About Attitude

As a stay at home mom and nap-time writer (who doesn’t usually get a nap-time to write anymore) you could say I’m a busy gal. There are always dishes to fold and clothes to unload, kids to shuttle from here to there, a husband to tend to, church activities and Bible studies to do and attend, loved ones to care for, friends to love… *wipes the sweat from her brow*… it’s a lot to handle for one girl. I’m positive you can relate! With everything tugging at us from all sides how is a modern mom like me supposed to get everything done without forsaking my relationship with God, my daily quiet time? He is the only way I can get through my day, so how can I fit it all in? I know that I need to build my day around Him and not the other way around. I also know that we all make time for the things we want to do. BUT sometimes the things we feel we have to do start to push everything else off the calendar square. Our priorities start to get skewed.

When doing anything, our heart attitude is what matters most to God, because it is our heart attitude that drives our actions. (Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.) Lets pretend for a moment that we’re planting a garden. Our heart attitude is the seeds that are planted, our actions are the outward appearance of those seeds, and the end results of our actions are the plants that come from the seeds. If I plant a heart attitude, or seed, of “I have to” do this, rather than a seed from the “I want to” do this attitude, then the plants that spring up from those seeds will be completely different. Although the outward appearance of the seeds, or the actions themselves, were the same, the end results are drastically different. From the “I have to” attitude we generally glean very little from our time with God. Usually because we are much less open to receiving a word of insight or comfort or instruction from Him; we are simply going through the motions of religion. However, from the “I want to” attitude we glean much more from our time simply because we are more open to receiving and it has meaning to us from the very beginning.

I feel like I need to add another attitude phrase. The “I have GOT to” do this attitude. Honestly, that’s the attitude I have walked into my quiet spot with today. I spent a good deal of time last night snuggled in bed working on writing a morning prayer for myself based completely on scripture. I ended up with about 10 scriptures, all very long, and the more I read the more of them I wrote down, until I realized “Lord, if I could, I think I would simply pray the WHOLE Bible over myself every morning! They’re ALL good!” And at that point it was 11pm, my husband was climbing into bed with me and I decided I would work on it tomorrow. Famous last words right!?!

So this morning I jumped out of bed and hit the ground running, packing lunches, making breakfast, dressing kids and walking Gabe out to the bus – practicing memory verses because we hadn’t had time to read any because the egg stuck to the pan; I immediately came in and started Anna’s morning movie (the only TV she gets during the day) and then started attacking the disaster in the kitchen from the weekend, then bounced to my computer to look up something they had mentioned on the radio; but then, the phone rings, it’s my prayer partner Tammy to pray, so I get up, grab my Bible and get on the floor to pray; but she can’t pray long because she’s volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center today so I jump back up to finish the dishes I’d started earlier – but at the same time I’m feeling pulled to finish the new page on the website I’d started before the phone call, and well, there’s that morning prayer I said I’d finish today, and, WOW, I haven’t even prayed ANY morning prayer yet today, let alone write one; and then there’s that blog post I’ve got rolling around in my head that I’d like to start writing down, and I haven’t had my snuggle time with Anna yet – she’s a physical touch love language so, I’ve got to get that in there or she’ll be all over me later… AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! GOD HELP ME!!!!!!! I grabbed my Bible, notebook and pen and fled to my bedroom, closed the door, breathing “Lord, protect Anna and keep her out of trouble while I’m in here!” (remembering what happened to the Israelites while Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days; no golden calf messes here please LORD) and flung myself on the floor in front of our mirror with all my prayer notes at the bottom, praying “LORD! HELP ME! WHAT DO I DO FIRST??????”

An “I have GOT to” attitude… you know… those moments when I have GOT to pray or I’ll explode from being pulled in a million different directions at once. The attitude that comes around when you realize, hey, I didn’t have my “preventative” time with God earlier so I’d better do it NOW before things get worse.

So, in light of how the last 5 hours of my life has been, I have concluded that A) my life is a run-on sentence, and B) my morning prayer can still be based on scripture without being the whole scripture! And it was at that moment, like a breath of fresh air sweeping through the room, that God pulled the string to the light bulb over my head and BOOM! There was my scripture-based Busy Mom’s Morning Prayer!

Which I will share with you tomorrow. 🙂

Hmmmm…… maybe my day wouldn’t have felt quite so crazy if I had taken 30 seconds to start my day with prayer instead of jumping straight into the day…. we might just talk about that tomorrow too. 🙂

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Unfailing love

“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 17:6-8

Back when my husband and I were only engaged, I received a forwarded email about a “game” that this little old man and his wife had always played where they hid the letters S.H.M.I.L.Y. throughout the house for the other one to find. They would write SHMILY in the fog on the bathroom mirror, in the flour canister, even on the last sheet of toilet paper on the roll! When I read that email, which I now have printed out and in our wedding scrapbook, I showed it to my husband and told him that I would like to do this with him. And ever since then there have been little S(ee) H(ow) M(uch) I L(ove) Y(ou) notes pop up every once in a while. I remember one morning going out to my car before work and my front windshield had already been scraped clean for me. I thought to myself, “He is so sweet!” and then when I turned around to back out of the spot I saw a HUGE SHMILY scrawled across the frost in the rear window!

One April morning in 2010, I was having a yard sale with my friend Kelly. So I knew that it would be a busy day. I wanted to spend some time with the LORD before I started my day, but knew that I wouldn’t have time for a full-out bible study lesson, and I didn’t feel like a devotional was what I needed for the day either. So I sat down in the middle of my bed with my little pocket bible and prayed “LORD, I want to read what You would like for me to know today.” and I opened my bible to a “random” page. It ended up falling on Psalm 17. As I read I feel my heart swell with love for my God, through David’s prayer, I too was praying “Lord, I know you will answer me…” The idea that God bends down to listen to us, like a Father bending down to listen to His small child so that He can make sure to understand him properly. Our God does THAT. 🙂 But then we get to the part that really blew my socks off. “Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.” I’d never thought of asking that of God before! I mean, I know that He loves me, and that it’s a lot, but to ask Him to show me? Didn’t He already do that? Like a Father stretching out His arms wide from side to side and saying “THIS much!” when their child asks them “Daddy, how much do you love me?” Jesus did just that when He spread His arms wide and they nailed them to the cross. Yes, He DID already show us how much He loves us, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t still show us that love today too… in wonderful ways! That morning when I prayed after reading I prayed, “Lord, I KNOW You love me, and I KNOW that You show me everyday how much You love me. But today, will You show me in a WONDERFUL way, a way that You’ve never shown me before?” At the time I felt that it was an extraordinarily bold request, but I also felt confident that He would answer it as well. One of those times, when you just know He’s heard your prayer and is going to answer it.

Well, I went about my day, selling my “junk” as some called it, and I started to get hungry. In my haste to set up I had skipped breakfast, something I do often, so I grabbed an apple from the fridge. As I bit into the apple I found pink swirls throughout the entire apple! I had NEVER seen an apple like that before! I was amazed and kept Oooohing and Aaaaahing over how beautiful it was and how God had made that apple with the swirls in it just for me to find that morning, all because I’d asked Him to show me His love in wonderful ways. At the very end of the apple eating/marveling my husband walked past me and I just had to show him this apple with the wonderful pink swirls! I held it up for him to see and when I brought it back up to my own face to take another bite, a HEART was staring me in the face!!!!!

I about dropped the apple I was so surprised! Not only had God put swirls in my apple, He had put a HEART in it too!!!!! But not until the end, after I had eaten most of it, because I WAS hungry after all remember. 🙂 God had grown that apple in a particular orchard, in a particular way, so that it would go to that particular store that I was shopping at that day. He made sure that it was placed into a particular bag, and that the bag was placed in a particular position so that it would be the bag that I grabbed and took home. THEN He made sure that I grabbed that very particular apple that morning and had me eat it in a particular way so that when I was done I would be holding it in just the right way to actually SEE the heart that He had put in it just for me. THAT’S a LOT of planning to go into one little SHMILY! But it was from God, so that makes it a little different, because it’s unfailing love! Since that day when God opened my eyes to His unfailing love shown in wonderful ways He has given me hearts and smiley faces all over the place! From my breakfast one morning: (I filled the plate while it was sideways, and then when I picked it up to leave there was this FACE staring up at me!) to a grape in the bottom of a bag full of grapes! He’s even smiled at me from a rock in a friend’s driveway, and yet another apple! And then this morning a heart in a hair tie on the bathroom floor when I walked in . And those are just the ones I was able to take pictures of! There have been SHMILY faces in the soap bubbles of a soaking dish in the sink, SHMILY faces in the crumbs on the counter, and even SHMILY faces in the dirt on the floor! And you know what, I’m detecting a pattern!  Many of the SHMILY faces that I’ve seen have been while I was cleaning, often on my knees or doing a humbling act of service, God smiles on a humble servant. 🙂

(Feel free to pray this prayer with David and I today.) Lord God Almighty, I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Amen!

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