Witnessing the Active Presence of the Lord ~ Part 2

The Journal

In a recent post, I wrote about my desire to share the reality of God’s active presence with a few people that are dear to me. After spending much time reflecting on His presence in my life over the years, there was no doubt of it’s value and how it strengthened my faith, even in the most difficult times. I wanted to be able to share with them the knowledge, the experience, and the treasure of the Lord’s presence. I did not know how to do it at first, so instead, I did what any other God fearing christian does when they just do not know how to do something, I prayed.

It was then, as I prayed, that I had a vision. It may have been a divine vision from the Lord Himself, it may have been my own mind fashioning a solution to my plight. Ultimately, it does not matter, the vision was perfect. I was going to keep a journal, not for me, for them. It was to go beyond that though, I am to give them the gift of my time spent in prayer for them and then keep record of the whole journey. Over time, the journal will be gifted back as a written testament of His active presence in their life, witnessed and recorded by me.

My early thoughts focused on the treasure that such a gift would have been for me in my younger years, before I began walking with the Lord. The knowledge of someone committing their time to pray for me specifically, would have been gift enough, but the beautiful documentation of the evidence of His presence in my life, actively, would have been simply indescribable. Wow! Can you just imagine with me for a second what it would be like to read the historical details of answered prayers, needs being met, healing taking place, and even the little things like the Lord showing His great love for me over the simplest of things? Beautiful.

As I prayed about this gift, I realized that I was being boldly confident that God will answer prayers and meet the needs of these people that I will be bringing before Him. Now, to be clear, I am not talking about a name-it-and-claim-it journey, I am talking about genuinely praying for His will in their lives. I knew that I knew that He would show up and that He desperately loves and cares for them and it is His desire to make that known to each one of them. I needed to do my part, the rest I get to leave up to Him.

Now for the nitty gritty. Although the whole idea seemed to fall into place on it’s own, the process of bringing it to fruition left some details that would need to be figured out. I did not want this to be a surprise of sorts for these individuals that I was committing to prayer. I wanted each of them to know about the gift and also that I would be taking this journey. To me this important because it would allow the opportunity for them to be more cognizant of His active presence in their life during the journey, not just as a review through the written testament of it later. Another important detail was that I wanted their participation. Simply put, I needed them to be on this journey with me. I was going to need to be kept abreast of their daily lives to know how best to pray for them on an on-going basis and to also be able to witness how and when the Lord would show up for them. I decided to purchase a basic journal for each of them. I really wanted to create a special journal for this historical document, as I believe it would become priceless for them at some point, but I just did not have the time or the resources to make that happen before Christmas when I was going to give them the gift.

Once I purchased the journals, I spent much time in prayer over each individual recipient. I decided to write a letter and I wanted it to be personal. I think this was an important step, one not to be overlooked. I then took the time to write the individual letters right on the first pages of the journal itself. It was there that I explained the gift. I also expressed my love for them and my desire for them to witness just how valuable they are to our Heavenly Father. Each letter was as unique as each individual receiving the gift. At first, I wanted to write the same things, however the Lord led me differently, reminding me that His plans are different for each of them. There is no one-size-fits-all with His active presence in our lives, except in the matter of the gift of salvation.

On the pages following my personal letter were some leading questions for them to answer. I wanted a starting point for my prayers. I also wanted to get a glimpse at where their hearts are at and where God may decide to move. I figured that although the questions asked were the same in each journal, the nature of a leading question is that each will identify their own genuine need. I asked them (in the letter) to complete these pages, letting them know that can be as detailed or general as they want. The did not have to share details if they did not feel comfortable doing so, besides God already knows every minute detail of their life!

An example of some of the questions I wrote are as follows, each were written on the top of their own page, allowing enough room for their hearts to be shared.

I do/do not feel close to God because… If I could ask God for a miracle, it would be… I need physical healing in… The thing that worries me the most is… I wish I could… If only God would… I am scared that… I feel… I really feel like I need… If I could ask God for another miracle, it would be… If I could ask God a question, it would be… I feel happiest when… My heart has many broken pieces, some are from…

After the question pages I wrote at the top of the following page *Please write me a letter.* Then I started it for them…  Dear Nancy,* I was hoping that with the opportunity for them to write me a letter I would get a chance to hear some of their heart about the whole journey.

The final instruction was for the journal to be returned to me so that I can start to pray individually and specifically. My final remarks to them were that their life was about to change!

This is an exciting journey to be on! I know that many people desire to pray for others and diligently do so. Many Christians that I know had someone praying for them long before they accepted the Lord (for me, it was my grandmother). I am often reminded that we simply forget many of the finer details of our lives that are not documented. Occasionally, we will look at old photos and see snapshots of our own personal history and I find myself exclaiming, “I forgot about that!” Without the picture to trigger my memory, that memory could have nearly vanished. If you are taking the time to pray specifically for someone, especially someone that does not recognize the Lord’s active presence in their life, consider taking this journey with me! At the very least, take the time to write down many of your prayers and the answers. It is powerful to be able to remind someone how He has been right there with them all along. At some point, I will share some of my testimony of how the Lord was actively present in my life, long before I accepted Him.

Be blessed! Change someone’s life… pray for them!

 

Stories of the Lord’s Active Presence – The Cradle

The Cradle

After walking with the Lord for over 25 years, I am able to look back upon many moments where it is absolutely clear to me that the Lord was right there with me. I have been asked throughout the years the reason for my faith. It is these very stories of His active presence in my life that gives me strength for the faith that I fervently hold on to.

As I begin to share my current journey of witnessing His active presence with you, I will also share stories, glimpses of that presence. Some of these stories will be my own, some will be stories shared by others, all will be true events. If you have a story to share, comment below or send me an email at nancy@homeschoolonpurpose.com. I would love to hear your stories and share them with your permission. I think that we often forget how valuable these stories of God’s active presence are in another person’s seeking of the truth or strengthening of their own faith.

I have many memories of God’s direct provision, protection and presence but it is the small stories that touch my heart the most. I think that is because I think of my own life as a mother and how I meet the needs of my children and provide protection for them. I do this absentmindedly – although purposefully – it is something that needs to be done, because I am their mother and that is what a mother does. However, when I want to really bless my children, I do something special just for them. I listen, I pay attention and I discover what it is that my children desires. Sometimes it is something big, sometimes it is simple, sometimes almost trivial, yet every time my child beams because I paid attention and gave them something that they desired. There is just something about being blessed with a simple heart’s desire.

Today, I share one of my favorite stories.

When I was pregnant with my third child, with only weeks left before her arrival, I had an amazing experience that humbled me as I literally felt the Lord’s arms wrapped around me. We had just moved to a new apartment in Jacksonville, Florida. We knew no one other than two nearby young mothers that we met in the apartment complex. It was a new city, a new apartment and a whole new adventure.

I was busy unpacking our boxes, attempting to make our apartment a home. Like many young families, we did not have much in the way of possessions. We were driving or limping around in a twenty plus year old Dodge Maxi Van. We did not go out much. We often worried about whether or not we would even have electricity the following month. Simply put, we were struggling, barely getting by with each passing day. Despite our struggles, I clung to the knowledge of God’s presence and provision. I knew that I had nothing to worry about because it was Him that sustained us.

As I set up the girls’ bedroom, I found myself with a decision to make. We had a twin sized bed for our soon-to-be four year old and a toddler bed for the nearly two year old. Setting up the toddler bed would require the use of the crib mattress, leaving the coming baby without a bed of her own. Although, It was a seemingly easy decision to make, I still cringed about the fact that I would need another crib mattress for the crib, as well as a place to set it up in our already busting-at-the-seams tiny apartment.

I have lost specific details of the timing of these events over the years. I can not recall if it happened the same day or days later, but I can still hear the knock on the door. Keep in mind, we knew no one other than the two neighbor ladies, which both happened to be there at that moment. As it occurred to me that someone was at the door, I remember wondering who it could possibly be as my only two friends were there with me. I opened the door to a stranger, a woman who introduced herself as my upstairs neighbor’s mother. The conversation was short.

“Hi, my daughter lives upstairs and is going through some of her things. We were wondering if you would be interested in a cradle for your baby?”

“Of course… yes!”

Moments later she was back at the door with the exact cradle that I had wanted, coveted even, over the last few years with my previous two babies. Had I had the opportunity, I would have already owned that same cradle, but a cradle is not a necessity. It is a short-term baby item that would have been an unnecessary use of money. It was a white cradle with round lathed spindles and hung on a base that made it a perfect height and size to be close by our bed.

Also distinct in my memories, forever engraved, is the love I felt as I witnessed the Lord’s active presence in my life. He was already meeting all our needs, and here He was giving me a precious gift, one of my heart’s desires. I knew that no one else knew that I wanted a cradle, exactly like the one I received, certainly not the neighbor upstairs whom I had not before met! No one, but the Lord Himself knew the desire of my heart.

This memory was one of the first times that I remember experiencing the Lord caring about every tiny little detail in our lives. It brought to life for me Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” It was a request of my heart, not even something that I had ever asked the Lord for, yet He knew me. He knew what I wanted and He blessed me.

What an awesome God we serve!

This story alone is enough for my faith to be strengthened. I know many that would think it a coincidence. What is not a coincidence is the fact that this is just one example of many many examples of the Lord’s active presence in my life over the years. Compile them all together and the only explanation is clearly God Himself, loving me just as His inerrant Word says that He does.

 

Witnessing the Active Presence of the Lord

The Gift of Time

As the recent Christmas season rapidly approached upon us, I was contemplating a special gift for a few very special people in my life. Each of them walk a fine line between believing in God, but not. Simply put, they are lukewarm. My heart continues to be heavy, aching for them.

https://emmyk.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/hot-nor-cold.jpgAs I pondered them in prayer, I began to think about God’s active presence in my own life. You see, I do not believe in God because it is cool to believe in Him, nor because He is somehow my magical genie – both being statements I have been accused of by non-believers. To the contrary, I believe in God because He has made Himself known to me over and over again. For over two and a half decades, He has made Himself real and known through countless situations that are beyond the scope of coincidence.

Thinking about His active presence, I found myself longing for these dear ones. I wondered if they would make a decision if they, too, witnessed His active presence in their own lives. This is where it all began…

Through much prayer, I made the decision to give them each the gift of time for Christmas. The gift of my time spent in prayer specifically for them. You see, I know that God knit them together in their mother’s womb. I know that He knows them by name and He knows the numbers of hairs on their head. I know that He cares deeply about them and about every finite detail of their lives. I know that He provides for them and protects them, in ways that they do not know. I know that He longs to commune with them and have relationship with them. I know these things because the inerrant Word of God says so.  But I also know that it is not enough for me to know these things, they need to know them.

I thought about our life here on the Colorado prairie. We have an amazing unobstructed 360º view that includes multiple mountain ranges and the ability to witness sunrises as well as sunsets each and every day. We get to live our daily lives on the canvas of God’s creative and breathtaking handiwork. Unfortunately, we often have to spend our time carefully looking at our feet with each step we take because we live in the natural habitat for the Colorado prairie rattlesnake. Although we may go days, week, or even months, without seeing a single one, it is a frightening and sobering experience to find one in your path.

Despite rarely seeing rattlesnakes, we have developed humbling respect for them. We know they are there. Not seeing them does not in any way mean that we are safe to run through the fields with our chins held high as we fly a kite. Year round, when the temperatures are warm enough for us to throw on some shorts and enjoy the warmth of the sun, we are aware that we need to be cognizant of our surroundings. It has become a way of life for us, one that we have simple accepted. We know they are there and we give them space when we see them.

It is not normal (or even comfortable) for me to compare our Lord and Savior with a serpent, but this picture accurately depicts the fact that we are well aware of the presence of snakes in our midst here in our surroundings, even when they are not readily visible. The Lord, too, is present at all times, even when His presence is not recognized.

It is with this humbling reality that I prayed for a way to share with these precious people in my life that He is unceasingly actively present in their life. I prayed for a way to be a light, to be able to illuminate His light, for them to see and witness exactly that.

If you have someone in your own life that you desire to witness the active presence of the Lord, then stay tuned… I will share with you how I am doing just that. Better yet, join me on this journey!