But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. ~Psalm 33:18,20-22
Something about a hurricane threatening your child makes one’s mama bear instincts kick in. Three weeks after our son went to college a potential hurricane loomed on his horizon. My pride in not worrying too much blew away as Tropical Storm Gordon blew close. Thankfully it bypassed his area and all was well, but for a nervous few days, I lived 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “never stop praying“!
Simultaneous to Gordon, additional family issues blew in and a few days rolled into a swirling month of life storms. On the other side of those life changing storms, I am simply thankful. Thankful to my God who through it all, never left me or mine. His presence was ever present. As literal and figurative storms approached, hit with fury and now in the aftermath, I always sensed and leaned into His presence.
When the words Present Presence came for this year last December, I anticipated they had to do with my son leaving for college and my dad’s failing health. I wanted to be present for both of them, the rest of my family, and feel God’s presence in all of it. Now approaching the end of this year, our son has indeed moved across the country to college and my dad and other loved ones have moved to their eternal home with Jesus. I miss them all in different ways, but one thing has remained constant: God’s presence with each of us.
For those of you anticipating a blog series on God’s presence as mentioned in my last newsletter, recent life storms have blown that plan away. But not even minor or major life situations could blow God’s presence from me. While my writing plan may have vanished with the wind, God had another, better plan for me-to show His presence even more powerfully than any literal or figurative storm of life.
Instead of writing about His presence, I simply felt it in so many ways. I found God was present in:
- Those who came beside me and mine. They prayed, gave up their sleep, helped with what was needed, or simply lent a hug and their presence. So many were His hands and feet as we weathered life storms. Another reminder to always be available because we may never know how a simple act can mean so much. (I sense another blog post from this lesson…)
- His Word. Multiple times daily His Word came to me with just what was needed in a daily devotion, verse of the day, scripture at worship, or Christian songs that came on at just the right moment. Don’t dismiss the coincidences of life-they may simply be God showing His presence.
- Prayer. His presence soothed as I whispered prayers for so many situations this last year. He heard me, lead me to solutions and comforted me in the midst of it all. As I prayed incessantly, I often would sense an answer or a direction afterwards. Even if the next step wasn’t always clear, I ALWAYS knew He heard me and was with me and those I love. One of my last memories of Dad was praying with him the prayer Jesus taught us. It’s a gift I’ll always treasure.
This year began with a desire to be physically present with those I love more. I feel blessed I did this in many ways. Most importantly, His presence was acutely palpable, often when least expected. I began seeking to be present and feel His presence and found so much more.
Winding down this year, there’s an even greater desire to be present for those I love, serve and find in my life daily. His presence continues to prompt me to be His hands and feet and encourage others along the way. I sense that will still include writing here on the blog, but not sure how that will evolve.
In the interim, I pray He continues to give me words to share and encourage. But for now, some time away is needed. I’m going to continue seeking His presence and path for me and mine, trusting in His timing. More than ever before, He has shown me His plan reins higher than mine, especially in life’s small and even hurricane force storms.
But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. ~Psalm 68:3
My hope is in Him alone. He is with me, my child across the country and my dad in heaven. He will never leave me or any of us just as Joshua was told:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Trusting in these promises, let’s continue to follow one footprint at a time. Keep seeking His presence and see how it changes you and your storms of your life. Need some more encouragement in seeking His presence? Check out this song I found over and over again this year. Please keep in touch and let me know how His presence helps you with a comment or on social media. Until we connect again, let’s keep following His footprints to wherever they lead us.