Your first tooth…your first day of kindergarten…your first car…your first kiss…your first home. Life is full of firsts. We spend our lifetime taking first steps that lead to growing up and maturing into functioning adults.
Along the way, our souls are taking first steps as well. The first time we heard about God. The first time we heard the name of Jesus. The first time we saw an answer to prayer. The first time we acted on His behalf, in the care of another. And, yes, the first time it all came crashing down around us.
My very first memory of having thoughts about God was when I asked my mom, “How did we get washing machines?” Her response was priceless because she was the first one in my life to specifically point to God. She told me that God gave people the ideas to create the things we would need in our lives.
So my first ideas about God were that he existed, somehow he saw us, and wanted to help us out. Pretty practical stuff. He sees me.
A few years later, I was sitting at a table in a tiny kitchen, in a little home, in a very small town. I was 12-years-old, and the woman who had invited me to her home worked with the youth at our local church. She and her husband were quiet, steady, humble, loving people. She shared with me about Jesus and she asked me if I wanted Jesus in my life. I told her I did, and so we prayed together.
I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m sure something real happened in me, but I don’t remember any profound feeling. Looking back now, however, I know this – Jesus had me. He knows me.
I had taken another step on what was and has continued to be a life long journey of walking with Him. I am still learning the depths of His love and care.
Many years after the little kitchen table, I was attending a seminar lead by a group of men who wanted us to know how much Jesus loved us. They read from John 15. These phrases leapt out at me:
- Remain in me.
- Apart from me you can do nothing.
- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
- I have called you friends.
- You did not choose me, but I chose you…
- Love each other.
These words opened me to a new way of perceiving the love and care of God the Father and His Son, Jesus. I had read the book of John before, but not until that day did these words penetrate my heart. He loves me.
Each one of these encounters in my life was the deepening of the journey on which the Lord would continue to walk with me. He let me know he was there at a very young age and he continued to provide people who would act as Pointers of the Way…along the way.
He has had me in his process the whole time. I am still in process and I expect more layers of His love and presence will open to me as I continue to walk with Him.
If we pay attention, we will find that God is always initiating toward us. We can respond and continue to become more and more like him over the course of our lives.
Wherever you may find yourself in this journey with Jesus, my prayer is that you will take the step of embracing the love that He is extending toward you right here…right now.
You are seen. You are known. You are loved.
“…with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
By the way, on Monday, I introduced a spiritual practice called BREATHE on our Podcast. I want to encourage you to engage BREATHE in the time it usually takes you to read one of my posts. BREATHE is similar to another Unhurried Living practice I created called SLOW.
BREATHE is a little mini-retreat (six minutes) that you can enjoy in the middle of a busy day. You may not have time to drive to the ocean or mountains, but most of us have six minutes to remember God’s presence with us right where we are.
You can quiet your mind and emerge refreshed and ready to move into your next task or conversation.
I’m offering BREATHE to you in three forms:
I truly hope that in the midst of your busy day, you can take the time to pause and BREATHE.