A couple of months ago, I accidentally interrupted my own my blogging routine without even so much as an "excuse me." I'm not sure where my manners went! (This is where a person might ask, "What, do you live in a barn or something?" To which I reply, "Actually....I DO.")
While I finished up a couple of book projects, there were some important things on my calendar, such as:
I was invited to speak at a retreat in New Hampshire...
....one with a donkey decor theme no less!
How CUTE is this?? I love all the daisies!
Most of women of The Orchard Fellowship Church in New Hampshire had read Flash the Donkey beforehand, which created a really awesome space for conversation. Plus they already "got" me, so they weren't too surprised by the offbeat way I tend to look at things.
I loved that we connected as we talked about finding God at work in our interruptions, and seeing His purposes in our everyday moments.
You see, I've come to believe that experiencing God is often as simple as pausing.
Pausing to breathe.
Pausing to give thanks.
Pausing to ask, "What do You have for me in this moment?"
Truthfully, I've felt a little frantic recently. I did not meet my book deadline on time. Gulp. I missed some appointments. I forgot things, some big things. I let some people down. I was playing catch-up a lot. I could not find the wherewithal to blog.
I forgot to pause.
But in the midst of all this, I've been thinking about the way God is WITH US. He is called Emmanuel, "God With Us," and His presence brings peace to our very real situations. Each person I encountered at the retreat and in my various activities was (and is) experiencing something real, maybe even impossibly hard. I'd be the last to say that God magically makes every hard thing go away. I'm old enough to know it doesn't always work that way.
But He is....with us.
And He redeems all things. He brings us through.
He holds us.
And, I think, He waits for us.
After my trip to New Hampshire I found myself in California, accompanying my husband to a conference. We stole an extra day to explore Yosemite National Park.
In such a wondrous place, it was easy to pause. It was easy to see His handiwork! It feels much more difficult to see His handiwork in our everyday life, amidst the dishes and deadlines.
But His work IS there, even when we don't see it.
The mountains reminded me that He is not in such a hurry to accomplish His purposes. His work takes time...and patience.
Each interruption, each struggle, each heartache and each joy....layer upon layer is heaped with His presence:
God with us.
And we can trust that He makes all things beautiful in His time.
On our way to the airport, we stole a half hour to walk along the beach. The beach was not on our itinerary. The beach was not in our window of time.
But the highway was so close to the beach, and it was so pretty outside, and I thought how sad it would be to be *this close* to the water and not put our toes in. I know, right?
I'm very glad we did. The sea felt spectacular!
I immediately began looking for a heart-shaped rock, my favorite thing to collect...as a memento of this whole busy spring.
I found the perfect stone, its edges made smooth by eons of waves and sand:
A pause in the journey gave me something to put in my pocket, and along with it, something to put in my heart:
Emmanuel – God is with us,
no matter how busy or distracted we may be.
Let's do a Small Thing together, remember those?
Today's Small Thing is to simply slow down...pause...give thanks. Let His grace fill your moment, and spill over into the rest of your day.
How will you pause? What do you give thanks for?