When I look at this picture, I think about God's presence! I think about sitting on this hillside, overlooking this beautiful valley and feeling the sun on my face. It makes me want to draw close to God, listen to what He wants to speak to me and learn something new from Him.
It is places like this that have kept my relationship with God growing over the years. Finding a place in nature to go to, with the specific goal in mind, to get to know God more! It is these places that have challenged me, brought me peace and consistency in my life no matter where I have lived.
One of my most fondest places like this was in Billings Montana. I would run to this spot on the trail each morning after dropping my daughter off at Preschool. I would get to this cliff that overlooked the city to sit in God's presence. It is here that I believe I entertained an angel.
I had met with God each morning for an entire year, and now I was moving to North Dakota to go to Bible College. It was my last day to sit in this spot and I wanted to capture it with a picture. I brought my camera and set it up from a distance. I tried frame after frame to catch myself in the shot, but time and time again I only caught me running into the frame, or not at all.
In discouragement I sat in my spot and said my good byes to God in this place, when a man's voice behind me asked if he could take the picture for me. I was startled by his presence to say the least, because I had not seen or heard him approach. I was sitting in a place that would allow me to see on-comers, but I had not seen him at all.
I accepted his gift and showed him where I wanted him to stand to catch the shot. Acting like he had no idea how to use the camera I showed him this as well and then went to sit for the picture. After taking the picture He gave me the camera and then walked away. As I sat down again for what seemed like a moment, I jumped to my feet to catch up with this man. I wanted to see if what I believed and felt in my heart was a reality, that this man was an angel that I had just entertained. Did I really hear God correctly, that I had just entertained an angel?!?!
So I ran to the place I had just watched his head disappear down a small hill and found no one in sight. I looked up and down the trail, over the cliff and up the other side, but no one in sight! I went back to my spot and sat down to talk to God. I couldn't believe that God had really showed up to take my picture. That God cared that dearly for me and my pursuit to cherish the place we had spent so much time together!
Where are you connecting with God? If you don't have a place, find it! God wants to meet you there!
Have you ever prayed for patience and then given the opportunity to give patience?
This reminds me of my husband Travis. When we were dating he told me he had prayed for patience. At the time I was running a daycare and unbeknownst to him, God knew he would learn this patience he prayed for by helping me care for the 18 children I was licensed for in my home.
I find it funny to think about now, because I have never seen my husband as someone who needs patience. He is a peace maker and brings that peace with him naturally everywhere he goes. When we worked together in daycare, I watched this level of peace and patience he carried grow into even more, and I was so grateful for it myself. Because of the prayer he prayed, his obedience to God's teaching has been shown to me through him time and time again through his patience.
So how do we have patience for the children God has given us to care for? For me I have learned to realize that kids are kids. They are not capable of being held to the same standards as adults, and they should not be either. A child is going to make mistakes, and through that process of learning from them we can become an encourager as we extend patience, or a discourager if we extend something else.
Kids need us to love them no matter what! Give them a hug when they ask for it, and show them they can mess up and still be loved. Someone once told me to not "cry over spilled milk". At first I had to think about this expression, because I didn't think I would cry over spilling milk myself. But the challenge was not for me to not cry, but to understand if I respond out of patience and understanding the child that spills the milk will not cry themselves. If my response is, "oh that's okay, let's clean it up together" as I extend patience to them, then they know that the mistake they just made is just that, a mistake and not a reflection of who they are.
Patience comes in all shapes and sizes, but extending patience to the children in our lives is an example of love to those that receive it. Remembering that life goes on; that this is not the end of the world; and that they can make mistakes too; are all messages that have helped me to remember to extend God's patience when I need to.
I hope this will encourage you to extend patience to the children in your life that God has entrusted to you. Because remember it is your relationship with them that demonstrates to them how they will in turn view God, and then extend patience to others.
How do you stay focused on God? What do you do to remember to spend time with God each day? My journey with God began by myself in a travel trailer in southern Texas when I first asked Jesus into my heart. But what I remember when I think about where God has brought me from usually goes back to living in Las Vegas NV, when I lived the farthest away from God I have ever been.
It is times like these when we look back and remember the life of sin we lived in before knowing God that brings us strength and gratitude. For me it was this time of my life when my three year old daughter had an imaginary friend named Jesus show up, who reminded me of the commitment I had made years prior all alone in that travel trailer in Texas.
When we choose to set time aside each day to spend with our Father God, we should remember where we have come from. We must take time to thank God for what He has done in our lives and what He still wants to do. It is through remembering that allows us the ability to accept whatever task God places in front of us, knowing that if He brought us through before, He will do it again.
It is with this confidence that we focus each day on God and remember. As we focus on God and remember as He commands us to, we are encouraged and uplifted. We are reminded that we are God's children, and He wants the best for us. We are reminded that Jesus is with us every step of the way to give us God's peace, protection, provision and guidance as we live out our lives.
With this focus, we are able to set aside the things that don't really matter. The things that cause us anxiety or depression can be gone as we are reminded that God is in control and we don't have to be. Focusing brings us hope and joy as we remember that we are only here for a time and that this earth is not our home! We are reminded how much God loves us and wants us to be His hands and feet to others until He brings us home!
So where are you when it comes to focusing daily on God in your life? Wherever you are, God wants you to know He loves you and there is always more for you if you only set aside time with Him for Him to show you. As you choose to focus on God, He will bless you and renew you in ways that are only possible through Him! Focusing on Him will bring you closer to Him and closer to the person He created you to be!
Be encouraged as you focus on God today!
Is this you?
.Do you want to know God more? Do you want someone to help you do so? Do you want someone to walk alongside you who has been in your shoes? Do you feel alone? Do you want to experience the healthier and happier you?