the power of presence

Hearing from God is one thing...following through on what you've heard is another. As in my previous post I may have mentioned that my trip to the mountains was definitely a powerful one in that I really believe I heard from God on some things that required immediate action. Now let me premise this with the fact that my responding has been many years in the making (not sure if I have mentioned quite how hard headed I can be!). I believe my responding had everything to do with presence...hence the name of this post. My life it seems had gotten so full, so busy (of really "good" things) that the presence of God and for that matter, the power of God had been found lacking. As I posted last, in the vision of me hands up towards the sunlight, there was this essence of presence...HIS presence and the picture of living in and for that presence alone.

Coming home and living out the call that He absolutely spoke over me has been another thing all together. Basically, I felt that God wanted me to back out of some wonderful things that I have been a part of to focus on the best; HIS call on my life, specifically my being His first and foremost and the relationship that goes along with that and then my being Jeremy's wife and Zoe and Matt's mom. Every thing else comes after those core callings in my life. I believe the journey away from those things was subtle and somewhat unnoticeable until the Lord literally had to push pause on my treadmill in order to get my attention. Oh how glad I am that He did. Although He has asked me to let go of some things I really dearly loved I am expectant that by doing so I will experience HIM in a way I could not have I held on to those things. And see HE is IT. Knowing Him is the goal of life. Just as Paul said "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philippians 3:8)

Psalm 16:11 says "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever." The Lord brought that verse to my attention last week in the middle of my struggle with some of these decisions. How inspiring is it to know that as we give up our own ideas, goals, pleasures, etc... which are in fact counterfeit (so close to the authentic it is easily mistaken for it) we are actually gaining the real deal...fullness of joy, pleasures forever. This was a comfort to me...and a reminder, let the motive of your heart be HIM and His presence, not even "doing it for your husband or your kids," but because your relationship, your fellowhip, your oneness with your Father in Heaven is SO important that you just can't afford to do anything that may threaten that relationship.

Thank you Lord that you love us so much that You will not settle for us being mostly Yours...You want all of us. And why? Because as John Piper says "When we are most satisfied in You, You are most glorified in us." So may we dwell in your presence always and there gain the power to live out our lives in Christ.


simply be

This past weekend I went on a trip to one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people. Since I was a little girl I have been going to Hendersonville, NC and now my mother has a cottage in a charming little community there. My cousin Sarah and I planned this weekend as a spiritual retreat just the two of us...wow...what a divine appointment.

I realized just how divine an appointment when I called home to let Jer know I had made it safely and he tells me that Zoe (my 2 1/2 year old) was sick and throwing up (I had been sick several days earlier). I knew at that moment that the Lord wanted me just where I was because had Zoe gotten sick the day before I totally would have cancelled the trip to be home with her. It got worse: Jeremy ended up sick and Zoe ended up in the hospital needing iv fluids. All the while leaving me with this knowing that I was right where I was supposed to be and there was nothing I could do otherwise.

Long story short, the 48 hours I spent with my cousin were filled with sweet words of encouragement, inspiration, instruction and excitement. Sarah Ott is not only my cousin but my sweet sister and kindred in our Lord. There is such ease in being with someone who speaks your language, someone with whom no explanation is necessary. Such a sweetness and restfulness of no expectations and yet a mutual expectation from the One who can fulfill every dream and thought of the heart.

We met with HIM and HIS words are still coming to me in reflection. Perhaps the most crucial truth I took away with me is this: it is not "how" but "why." not "how" but "who." In Christianity it is so easy to get caught up in the "how" of things, the formulas to being this way or that or becoming more Christlike. In the midst of all of those well-meaning activities do we miss the point or should I say Person?

As Sarah and I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway I had a vision. As clear as day I just saw me, arms outstretched reaching towards sunlight, just me. Maggie. Stripped of all the "hows" all the "doing"; just me, desiring Him. I was truly happy in the simplicity of His call to me. "LOVE ME, KNOW ME, MAKE ME KNOWN." No formula. No mile long to-do list. Simple. The who. Jesus. A person. A reality.

Thank you Lord for this weekend. You are forever faithful to simplify my life and to radically shake things up at the same time.


keep it simple

I feel like I have entered the whirlwind yet again. I guess the whirlwind of daily tasks, babies pulling on pant legs, the eternal laundry mound, the to-do list that never quite seems to grow smaller, etc. I guess that is just the world I live in. But in the inner place I feel this groaning, this restlessness, this tugging that there is something more. There is a place of rest from which to live. Not a place of retreat but a place from which to do life. In desperation I read a quick devotional this morning (quick mind you because the whirlwind of the urgent was screaming at me to "hurry up"). In that rushed moment of communion He spoke.

"And this is eternal life, that they know YOU the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17:3

Whew...okay Lord. Just to know YOU. That's it. Your to-do list for me has but one item.
-KNOW YOU. Thank you Lord that it is that simple. Help me to keep it that way. And now let me step back into the whirlwind of demands and look for ways to know you through them and then to experience "eternal life" here and now.