Seeking His Presence Now: Anne (Mama)
In the fourth grade, I failed a Spanish test, and my mom took me to get ice cream to celebrate the fact that everyone is human and that I had just survived my first academic failure. In high school, she drove to fourteen different colleges in four days because I was certain I would "just know" when we visited the one that I would attend. A few months ago, during a particularly epic meltdown, she picked me up from my house, took me to dinner, let me talk until I ran out of words, and made sure I was laughing before she dropped me back at home.
My mom will tell anyone who asks that the best parenting advice is to know your child and to parent accordingly. And that is what she did. And that is what she still does. At some point (I think it was when I was about 18 months old), she became one of my very best friends.
But she has also always been my mama, and she always will be.
She is wise and compassionate and the most honest person that I know. She is humble and gentle, but she will fight for what she believes in. She will fight for her friends and her family. She will fight with her friends and her family when it's needed. She will laugh with you or cry with you. (She will also occasionally laugh at you and cry for you.) She welcomes. She forgives. She embraces. She hears from the Lord like no one else I have ever known, and she actually does what she hears Him say. It's no wonder He continues to speak.
I delight to be her daughter. Our Father delights to have her as His daughter.
Her words are below...
More of God
Each week as I read my daughter's words about her life, and her heart, and our God, I am humbled and amazed! I'm equally awed by what God is doing in her life and her willingness to be so transparent and honest about what He is doing! I cannot read her words without tears filling my eyes and my voice cracking if I dare to read it outloud. I marvel at her maturity and wisdom at 29 - but then I've always marveled at her! When I was 29, I was buried in the challenges of young kids and proving my worth as a stay at home mom. While I yearn for a mate and family for Cody, I am secretly jealous of the way she spends her days seeking her Creator and trusting His ways. Oh that I could be more like her! [Side note from Cody: It's a little awkward to include this on my own blog, but she's still my mom, and I asked her to contribute to my blog so I suppose I have to let her say what she wants to say. Cheers to awkward.]
That said -- I'd like to share with you a tender moment when I first began to experience the sweet presence of our Lord.
I've spent most of my life in the church, loving Sunday school as a kid, serving in the church as a young adult and bringing my children to Sunday school to complete the circle of life. But something inside of me was always screaming for "more" - there had to be "more" than just going to church? Where was that God from the Bible stories I heard? Where was the God who I knew had sat behind me on my bike when I was a little girl? Then, sometime in my late thirties, God decided to show me the "more"! I joined a group of women who were seeking God's Holy Spirit. And God honored our seeking by introducing us to Himself.
One of my first and favorite times of seeing the "more" of God took several years to come to completion. I was part of a ministry in our church designed to walk side by side with a fellow church member suffering through a difficult time. My job was to be supportive and encouraging, pointing my partner to Jesus in all things. My first (and only) receiver was coming to our church but was not really a believer in Jesus Christ. That was not my judgment of her -- she told me that from day one. But my job was to be supportive and encouraging and point her to Jesus -- so I was for FOUR years! I walked with her through Native American religions, agnostic days, divorce, challenging relationships, and even Wiccan or white witch spell casting. I remained supportive and encouraging and pointing her to Jesus -- loving her in spite of all the weird belief systems she tried out over the years. Until....until I finally got frustrated and lost my temper with her when she was once again sabotaging her life with poor decisions! And she got frustrated back and "fired" me! I was devastated! All my hard work was seemingly negated in one moment of anger!
Tail between my legs and head hung low, I sought out my fellow God-seekers for prayer. During the prayer time, I sensed the Lord telling me that I was like Moses--I lost my temper and it was going to keep me from walking into the Promised Land with my friend. Then I sensed Him asking me to pray for "Joshua" for my friend. So I started to pray for "Joshua." I'd like to say that I was so obedient and dedicated to my prayer for "Joshua," but in reality, my prayers amounted to "oh yeah, God, Joshua, Joshua for my friend."
Fast forward two more years. I'm home alone one afternoon and the phone rings. It's my friend and she says something like this: "I know I haven't talked to you in a long time, but I wanted you to know that I've converted." Sadly, my response was "To what?" She confirmed that it was "To Jesus." Heart bursting, I couldn't resist asking her what had happened. She said, "I was sitting in the movie Joshua and everything you had said about Jesus just made perfect sense, so I gave my life to Him."
Needless to say, God amazed me that day! As I danced around my living room, He amazed me by reaching someone I thought was too far gone! He amazed me by letting me be a part of His work! He amazed me by telling me how to pray and then answering that prayer in such an unexpected way!! He is so amazing!!
Since those beginning sweet times, God has been showing me all about the "more"! I have been privileged to witness and be a part of God reaching down from heaven and touching His children--physical and emotional healings, words of encouragement, manifestations of His Presence, a restored marriage, richer friendships and peace beyond compare!
And it all started from an emptiness and longing for more of God. If you have those same questions about "is this all there is?" The answer is NO--there's more, so much more. Let Him know that you are ready for more and ask Him to fill you anew with His Holy Spirit. Pray for friends to walk alongside you as seek our God who loves to be found.
"'Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD..." Jeremiah 29:12-14