Where do you see God?
Over the last few years I began a habit of talking to God before falling asleep. It started with small thoughts of gratitude. Some days are exceptionally difficult and it always helps to think of things to be thankful for. Once you begin listing things you don’t often thank God for, it becomes so incredibly easy to establish a long running list of thankfulness.
I like to talk, but I’m awkward. I always end up saying something weird. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and I lost count as to how many men wished me a happy mother’s day and I boisterously bellowed, “You too!” followed with a face palm. I dip my toe into weirdness when I speak and then jump in headfirst as I keep talking to somehow redeem the awkward interaction, only inevitably making it worse, silently hoping that people will find it endearing rather than alarming. A few months ago towards the end of my lawsuit, after a full day of arbitration, eight hours of my being questioned alone, I regrouped with my attorney and his first words were, “You talk too much.” Exactly what you want to hear in that moment, right?
As a kid I was often mistaken as shy, when in fact I’m quite the opposite. I’m generally just trying to not leap in and make a total fool of myself because my filter is broken. It was destroyed and lit on fire long ago. Anyone who has ever been in a group setting with me has likely heard me go off on a tangent spiral and heard the words, “sorry I talk too much,” from my lips.
As a result, I journal, and even that can be taken liberally. I don’t journal in a traditional “Dear diary…” sense. In one I usually reflect on what I read in scripture that day, and the other is a hodgepodge of prayers, thankfulness, blog ideas, and reflections. I try to use it to guide my blogs, but sometimes the Holy Spirit shifts my focus. The last few weeks I have been trying to focus on a gratitude of sorts. Where is God? Where do I see him? Where do I feel him?
I asked the same question to those around me and most of the answers I got were similar. Many first respond to seeing him around us in nature. There’s no doubting that. Our world is beautiful, especially in areas untouched by human hands. Spring is an exceptional representation of the way God creates beauty. The other common response was in our families, especially our children. Our very own little miracles bestowed upon us to give us both immense joy and incredible, agonizing frustration.
Some of the things I noted myself where I’ve seen, heard or felt God were: being able to run following a nasty virus, hearing “See a Victory” by Elevation Worship at the end of that very run, in the yellow finch flitting about in front of me, (also at the end of that run), in the rain cleansing the Earth, in the way I read “The Screwtape Letters”, (which I despised by the way), through the discernment he provided while reading and the same ability to approach others around me, in the devotionals Cady now prompts herself to read with me every night and the conversations that follow, in the Share the Table dinners at church and the community within it, in the privilege of leading worship and watching him move through the congregation on Sundays, in getting Gus and myself safely to his speech therapy class, (despite everything working against us that day!), in my little container garden, in this blog and the people he brings me to interact with on any given day, in the hard days, in the way he sends someone to call, text or check in when I am at my lowest, in worship rehearsal when we all feel beat up and like we’re less than enough, in the hills and valleys of my marriage, in new births, in Cady’s friend asking me if she could start attending church with us, in Cady’s friends running around our house like miniature lunatics, in my first failed attempt at making communion bread and the laughter that followed.
All of that was just one week, and listed in the order noted in my journal. Since then, I’ve had many more and every day the list grows and grows. On Wednesday I took my little girl to check out the middle school she’ll be attending next year and within 5 minutes of walking in I was fighting back tears. A year ago we were in a very different, dark place. Now I look at the giggly, confident, obnoxiously loud, hilarious kid in front of me and grateful isn’t powerful enough to describe how I feel. There was a day that I wasn’t sure if we’d be here with her celebrating this milestone, and not only are we celebrating, she is running headfirst without looking back. She has found her joy and God has everything to do with it.
As a kid and teen I used to wonder how pastors could see God in everything so easily. Now its so clear. It’s impossible to not see God in everything when he is your everything. God is everything.
The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. For he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24: 1-2
But now, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our Potter, we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64: 8
God is in everything because he is everything.
Have you felt the mountains tremble beneath your feet? Have you felt the heavens open up at his falling grace? He is a mighty wind and will carry you to the open skies of the bluest dawn.
He is all around you and within you. He is everywhere at any time, in everything always because he is.
I challenge you to start a gratitude practice with God. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
So I ask again, where do you see God?