Pursuing His Presence: Because Being Still Is Not Enough

I found her with untied tap shoes on her feet and eyes red from crying.

We zipped into the ballet studio, one mom and three girls (plus one baby boy) on a mission.exodus33

Three daughters in four back-to-back and sometimes overlapping dance classes during observation week.  This means instead of huddling in my minivan or zooming around town doing errands in between classes, I sat in the corner of class taking pictures.

We all piled into my youngest daughter’s class except for my tap-dancing girl who left to change into her tap-tap-tappy shoes.  I watched the clock carefully and slipped out just in time to check on her before her tap class began.

She wiped her eyes and explained, “I couldn’t get the ribbons on my shoes tied and I didn’t have anyone to help me….”

I tie the ribbons swiftly and then smooth down her hair with my hand.  Then I say it so she knows it’s not just about shoes anymore:

You didn’t trust me to come help you.  I knew you’d need help and I came just in time.

She’d been frantic and upset and all along I had a plan for her rescue and I was right on time, not a second too late.

So, all her fretting had been unnecessary drama.

And when is fretting not?

I started this year with intentionality: 12 months of pursuing the presence of Christ in the middle of the noise, mess, and busyness of life.  Today, I finish January’s journey, learning to be still and know that He is God.

For months, I dreaded this start to the year, knowing it would be the busiest and craziest of our busy and crazy schedule.  I feared the stress—-as in, tearful eyes, breathless suffocation just thinking about it.

But here we are.  We made it.  God is gracious.  When I felt that familiar strangulation of fear, I heard that still and small reminder: Don’t worry about that.  Just think about today.

So I did.

And, as much as I whine perhaps about winter, the overload of snow days has given me unexpected rest when we needed it most.psalm46-10

God planned the perfect rescue at the perfect moment for me all along, but I had been fretting and worrying.


Because I didn’t trust Him.

So often, we read that familiar Psalm—-BE STILL and know—and we focus on the stillness (Psalm 46:10).

Yes, stop with the flustered activity, the desperate attempts to fix things on our own, the frantic search for help from everyone except the only One who can truly save….

“Cease striving” it says in the NASB.

So, for a moment we pause.

Here’s what I’ve learned this month, though—“Being still” is not enough. It simply tells me what not to do.

I can’t forget that after I’ve ceased that striving and calmed my heart, God tells me what I should be doing in the stillness:

Know Him, Know He is God, Know that He’s got this under control and I can rest in the knowing that He cares for me.

Ann Voskamp reminds me of this….to remember He is I AM.  His very name is the reminder of His Presence here in this present moment.

Like Moses, I’ve asked in the boldest of ways that God will show me His Glory this year.  And, like Moses, I’ve told God that I don’t want to move from this place until His presence will go with me.

So, like Moses standing there on a holy mountain before a Holy God, I pray this also:

If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you (Exodus 33:13).

Because, God, in order to dwell in Your presence day after hectic day, I must be still and know You more, know You as I AM, know You as God present with me.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me next month as I focus on Praying Simply?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

How Pioneer Women Were Superheroes and Why I’m Baking Bread

I measure out the honey, heap it onto the tablespoon and let it drip slowly (as honey does) into the warm milk.

I could have grabbed a loaf off the grocery store shelf.  One loaf in a plastic bag, pre-sliced, and BAM–bread.

Not this time.

I pour in the bread flour.  One cup, now two, now three.

Why not just keep this simple?  Why not a box of crackers from the store?  A bag of pita bread?

I can’t explain it exactly, but I want to push elbow deep into the dough and knead it with my own two weak hands.

Surely I’ve been kneading for 10 minutes already.

It’s been two minutes exactly.

I think maybe my clock is broken.

Those pioneer women were superheroes, performing muscular feats of miraculous strength everyday at the kitchen table.  Maybe not leaping over skyscrapers and flying through space, but baking that daily loaf of bread, that takes power.bethmoore

I’m a modern-day wimp, so this pounding out the dough and stretching it and pounding some more is breathless work.

But it gives me time to think about this:

In the Tabernacle that Moses and the Israelites packed up and toted around the wilderness, God set His Presence right in the midst of His people.

He told them how to craft the Holy objects, the washbasin, the altar.

And He told them to place fresh bread on the table once a week, the shewbread.  But I read in my Bible its other name: “the bread of the Presence (Exodus 39:36).

The priests placed that bread on the table and there it sat every single day, not in the Most Holy Place where the High Priest entered once a year.

No, in the Holy Place, where the priests came in day after day to worship before God.

They walked in that sacred space and there was the bread.  There it was.  There it always was.

The moment it started to crackle with staleness, they brought in fresh, warm bread, baked new and placed it once again, a daily reminder of the daily presence of our God.

This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant (Leviticus 24:5-8 NIV)

I set my own bread dough on the oven to rise and sit down to my Bible study book and cup of tea.  That’s when I read it… Beth Moore tells me in her study on David:

The Hebrew term for presence is paneh, which means ‘countenance, presence, or face.’  The everlasting covenant symbolized by the bread of the Presence was a reminder of the pledge of God’s presence to His people.

That bread on that altar reminded God’s people that He was with them, yes, even there in the wilderness.

Even there with David as he ran from Saul, hiding in caves, feigning madness, running for his life.  He used that same Hebrew word–paneh—when he wrote:

For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help (Psalm 22:4 NIV).

My bread is in the oven now, giving the whole house a domestic smell, a fresh and warm aroma.

As it bakes, I consider Christ, because He’s the Bread of Life—God in the flesh, God in our midst, the touchable and tangible sign of God’s presence, the way we could see the face of God.

And Jesus, when He broke that bread and passed that cup around the Passover table, said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Every single time you eat the bread and you drink the cup, you remember Christ’s death.  But also His presence. 

“Christ is the bread of God’s presence to us” (Beth Moore, David).

Steven Furtick asks if this Communion we take could “also be an invitation to constant communion with Christ?  For each of us, everywhere, each day?”  (Crash the Chatterbox, p. 152).

So, if I’m feeling the staleness, the crusty or even moldy sign of old bread, then what I need to do is remember. 

I need to renew the Bread of His Presence right here in my life.

I slice off a piece of this warm, newly baked bread.

I pour out the grape juice in my tiny tea cup.

There I pray,  My Lord, I remember what You have done for me.  I am so thankful.  So unworthy.  Will You cleanse my heart?  Will You remind me of Your Presence here in my life?

Communion, this sacred act, becomes personal, a way for the holy to invade my daily: this home, this kitchen, this kitchen table.

God’s presence in this place.

How do you pray before taking Communion?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Made it to the bus with 30 seconds to spare

“I think it’s Career Day at school today,” she announces.

“No, I think it’s tomorrow,” her older sister explains.  “I wrote it in my agenda.”  She pulls out the book as evidence and shows us where she penciled it in.

“See….Dress like what you want to be when you grow up…. That’s tomorrow.”

“Who told you it was tomorrow?” I ask.

“My teacher.  She had it written on the board like this and I copied it in my book like she said.”

“Okay,” I turn to the other sister, “did your teacher tell you it was today?”

“No, but all the smart kids in my class except for me heard it on the announcements and they said it was today.”  She lists the name of every “smart kid” in her class that she can think of.  It’s a long list.

I turn back to the oldest girl.  “Did you hear it on the announcements?”

“No, but my teacher said….”

We’re right back where we started.

Easy enough, though.  We have the largest dress-up collection on the East Coast.  (I really need to check into whether we can get into the Guinness Book of World Records or something).

I ask the daughter who thinks Career Day is today (as in starting 20 minutes from now when the bus will pull up in front of our house) “Okay, what do you want to dress up as?”

A magician. Or maybe a clown. Or maybe a rabbit who has his own children’s show and entertains kids on TV.

Magician it is.

I find the black cape.  I scramble through the largest dress-up collection on the East Coast and find the hat (a little crushed perhaps, but still a hat).  I shuffle through the magic kit and pull out the magic wand.

Bam.  Magician’s outfit.

Then I fold it all up, pop it in the backpack and declare the solution to our entire morning crisis:  If Career Day is today, you can wear the magician’s outfit today.  If it’s not, keep it in your backpack until tomorrow.

I then zip up the backpacks, hand them to my daughters and toss open the front door.psalm16

It’s raining.  I grab umbrellas and hand them out.

We make it to the bus with 30 seconds to spare.

Thirty whole seconds.

Because we’re awesome like that.

The sky is that curious ashen white of winter and the rain drips rhythmically on the roof as I flop down onto the sofa, cradling my baby boy close and holding my Kindle in the other hand.

I’m looking at dishes in the sink and the aftermath of the morning whirlwind of pajamas, blankets, ponytail holders, brushes, and more.

But then I open that Kindle up and there’s the Bible.  It tells me right there that even when the world was a nothingness of empty void, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

Maybe that’s how I feel right then, like His Spirit hovers over the start of this new day.  Like He’s present and waiting for the invitation not just to enter in, but to roll up His sleeves and nehemiah8create something beautiful–something “good”— in the middle of the noise and mess and all the busyness.

Yesterday, my four-year-old pantomimed what looked to me like an outfielder in baseball, dropping a mitt to the ground and snatching up a ball.

As she did, she said, “God scooped up the dust of the earth and “whooo” blew His breath and made man.”

Just like that, she says it, like the sing-songy rhythm of a well-choreographed routine.

I read it this morning again, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7).

I take a deep breath, letting that air fill me up after the suffocation of the morning stress, and I pray—

Lord, don’t let it just be a day when Your Spirit hovers over my life.  Breathe Your breath right into me and let me feel Your presence.

Because even on the hard days, the sad days, the crazy days, ,the hectic days, the stressful days, the fun days, the unexpected days….

You reveal the path of life to me;
in Your presence is abundant joy;
in Your right hand are eternal pleasures
(Psalm 16:11 HCSB).

And you know something else, His presence isn’t just the  joy I need right here in the middle of  a rainy winter day after a morning rush.

It’s this:

For the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV),

In His presence, there is abundant joy, and that joy is the strength I so desperately need.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

What My Three-Month Old Is Teaching His Mama

I hear his sharp, startled cry.

It’s only been half an hour since I cradled him and tucked him into his baby bed for the night.  This awakening is unexpected.

I slip into his room and its deep darkness.  Even though I can’t see his tiny frame, I hear him squirming, kicking, tossing his face side to side searching for me and calling out for rescue and help.psalm46-10

The floor creaks under my footstep and he ceases the cries, lies still for a moment, just waiting for Mommy to reach in and scoop him up into arms that will soothe and fix and comfort.

He knows I’m there even though he can’t see me.  And for the moment, that’s enough.

I lift him out of the bassinet, snuggle him close and rock from side to side, patting his back and assuring him that “Mommy’s here, baby boy.  Mommy will make it better.”

Soon his muscles relax and his head droops down onto my shoulder.  His breathing slows and deepens.

Still, I sway back and forth in the darkness and quiet, cuddling this infant blessing, not ready yet to move and let go.

And I’m thinking about this.

After just three months of life with me, my son calms simply at the creaking floorboards that announce my presence in the room.

But me?

I don’t have an infant faith or a 3-month experience with my Savior.

Thirty years into this faith journey, still I scream and thrash and demand attention and rescue even when I know He’s with me, even when He’s assured me of His presence, even though He’s never once failed or abandoned me.

I cradle my son and continue rocking back and forth as God reminds me:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 NIV

It’s not a verse about quiet times or somber worship.  It’s a battlefield Psalm, written when circumstances crushed God’s people and their hearts were trembling. The Sons of Korah wrote a song to remind God’s people of this:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1 NIV).

Ever-present.  That’s what our God is.  He’s with us.  Even before He lifts us out of the pit, we can hear the creaking of His footsteps nearby and know He’s there in the darkness.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Therefore—-because He’s always there—-we need not fear, no matter what rumbles and falls to pieces around us.  Even if the foundations of the earth shake, He is our unshakeable Foundation.


The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:7 NIV).

So, “be still.”

Be still and know that He Is God. He will be exalted.psalm46

In the midst of any darkness, in any storm, in any crisis or struggle or pain, He will display His glory through the rescue and redemption of His children.

That’s me and you.

Those Psalm-writing sons of Korah say it again.  Maybe they know we struggle to understand.  Maybe they know that a three-month-old baby can trust his imperfect Mama, and yet we’ll fail to trust our perfect God.

So they repeat it for our stubborn, slow-to-learn shaky souls:

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:11).

It’s not just the earthquakes and battles that make me question His presence sometimes.  It can be as simple as the overwhelming rush of my minivan life.

But there, yes, even there on the busiest of breathless days, The Lord is with me and it’s His presence that gives me peace.

As I lay my sleeping baby boy back down in his bed, I find myself singing an old hymn, a favorite that I’ve sung through some of the hardest times of my life.

It’s a song I’ll be singing all month long as I pursue the presence of Christ by being still and knowing He is God.

What songs do you sing when you’re scared or overwhelmed and need to know God is with you?

Be Still, My Soul
by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below….

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last…

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Why I’m Serving Up Spaghetti and Brownies for Three Kings’ Day

I’m slipping ornaments and lights into Rubbermaid containers and packing the Christmas village into Styrofoam and cardboard today.

On the kitchen table, though, I place the three wise men from our nativity scene.

They aren’t glass or hand-carved from precious olive wood.  I have four kids, after all.

Instead, they are three little plastic figures that my daughters have been playing with for five Christmases at least, reenacting the birth story of Jesus with unbreakable Nativity toys.

Tonight, the wise men take center stage.006

My middle daughter announced this year that we should celebrate Three Kings’ Day on January 6th.  That it was important.  Necessary even.

She instructed us:

  1. We must leave our Christmas decorations up until then.
  2. We must have a special dinner with a special kingly treat.

I tried to ignore the pleading at first and then made futile attempts to explain that since January 6th was the day we return to the insane schedule we call everyday life, that perhaps we could skip Three Kings’ Day.

But no.

I did what any mom might do after that.  I Googled it and Pinterest searched and Facebook asked about how to make this happen.

I read about traditional dishes like “pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with grouts drizzled with water and sauerkraut juice, ” “broccoli accompanied by crostini with chicken liver pate” and “stuffed ravioli with rich duck or rabbit ragu.”

I’m not loving this holiday.

But a friend speaks truth to me.  It’s not about the menu.  It’s about the family time and the celebration.

So, I let my daughter plan the feast: Spaghetti with King’s Hawaiian bread and brownies.

Slowly, this Three Kings’ Day or Feast of Epiphany captivates me as we celebrate men who abandoned it all to seek truth—to seek Christ.

I read that it’s not just the celebration of “three kings,” but the rejoicing in the Epiphany, the humanity of Christ, God in flesh. It’s the reminder that He’s not a cold and impersonal deity too far out of photo by Ruud Morijn reach to care about the passions of my day-to-day heart.

He’s God come near.

God bent low.

God of compassion, who knows what it’s like to be hungry, tired, hurt, broken, sad, joyful, loved, and hated.

And I marvel at the magnitude of this, that when God’s infant Son cried out in a hay-filled manger, right there at the beginning of the salvation story, God sent the birth announcements to the whole world.

Not just to the Bethlehem natives.  Not to the religious elite or the most righteous among them.  Not even just to Jewish shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night.

For God so loved the world….

The whole world.

He sent a Messiah to the Jewish nation, but then announced redemption for us all with a star that Gentile sages could see and follow to find their Savior, as well.

These men, these watchers-of-the-sky, not so much kings as bookworms, as astronomers, as students and sages, they remind me to pursue the presence of Christ.

How long had they been seeking?  They knew the prophecies, knew that a Messiah would come, knew where He would be born.

They knew when they saw that star in the sky that God was at work.

How hard it must have been to explain to wives, to family, to employers, to friends, to the people in their hometown that they needed to journey far in pursuit of a newborn King.

Sometimes I’ve imagined them following a star without really knowing why, without knowing what it could mean or where it would take them. Yet, when they arrived in Jerusalem, they pestered Herod with questions:

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).

They couldn’t understand why everyone else could continue on life as usual when they were willing to rock their entire lives in radical pursuit of the Messiah.  It was so clear to them.  So simple.

See the star.
Follow it.
Find the Savior.
Worship Him.

Reality, though, can complicate the simple too often.  Life gets busy.  Radical seems too hard.  Maybe the journey will cost too much.  Perhaps I forget along the way whatever it was I was seeking to begin with.

Or maybe I’m too busy and distracted to seek at all.

The wise men saw that star because they were actively looking.  Too often, I’m missing God’s presence because I’m not bothering to look.

But I’m reminded tonight that God comes near and wise men seek Him.

Tonight I celebrate these magi who pursued the presence of Christ with wild abandon and focused determination. And I celebrate the God who promised this:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

Have you ever celebrated Three King’s Day?  How do you make it special?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

“Facts” About Mom and “Facts” About God:

It seems to be a Mother’s Day staple for elementary school children.  Both of my older daughters made these projects and, according to my Facebook feed, so did the kids of most of my mom friends.002

On Mother’s Day, my daughters presented their handmade creations:  An ice cream cone picture with six adjectives to describe their sweet momma and a worksheet with “Facts About My Mom.”

Mostly as various moms posted their own kids’ responses to similar projects on Facebook, we laughed over the outrageous things kids say about us.

Like when they get our names wrong (!!!) or guess that we’re either 15 years old or 100.

But I opened the handmade gifts on Mother’s Day and didn’t read silly, mistaken or perhaps outrageously funny comments from my kids.

Somehow my daughters got it right.

Sweetly right, but maybe painfully right, too.

(Well, other than the “fact” that I’m probably 20 feet tall and probably weigh 45 pounds.  That’s a little off.)

Yet there were other “facts,” too.

There was the objective data, of course.  Adjectives to describe her mom?  “Married” and “pregnant” made it on the list.  Undeniable truth.

My other girl included “musical, gardener…..and competitive.”

What second grader diagnoses her mom as “competitive?”  My girl.  The one who has heard me apologize for my struggle to her face, and the one I held close while confessing how wrong I was to fret and worry over foolish competitions and how sorry I was that I ever put even one ounce of pressure on her shoulders when I’m so proud of her just as she is.

What does your mom like to wear?  Pants and a sweater.

Simple and sweet truth-telling right there.  Those are my happy clothes.

What is something your mom always says?  Do your homework.  Play piano.  Hurry up.  Go to bed.

Oh, here I pause.  Because last year on this same little assignment, she wrote that her mom always says, “I love you.”  And now here it is in pencil on paper, how I’m always giving instructions, always directing, always focused on getting those daily tasks done.  Why is it so hard to make the words, “I love you” ring truer and louder than the drill sergeant commands of everyday necessity?

What makes your mom mad?  When everything is out of control and no one listens.

When everything is out of control…..

Yes.  Isn’t that what smashes down all of my hold-it-together personal strength? Isn’t it what makes me grumpy, short-tempered and anxious?

When I feel like I’ve lost control so therefore there must be no control, always forgetting that God is in control…. yes, that’s what makes me “mad.”  That’s what God uses to plow right through my heart and break up all of that well-tended ground covering over my insecurities and my deep-down sin attitudes and misplaced trust.

Second graders can be so wise at times.

But I wonder, given a worksheet like this, what would I say about God?

Would I get the “facts” right and answer the questions correctly?  Not giving the dictionary facts or the Bible study answers.  Not the good church girl responses or the pat Christian phrases that tie Mighty God up in neatly packaged paper with a perfect bow on top.

No: Would I know Him?  Would I know His heart?  What makes Him happy?  What makes Him mad?  What do I love about Him the most and why is He the perfect Father for me?

Or would I get it all wrong?

In the book of Job, one man lost family, friends, servants, status in the community, riches, property, and physical health.  And without sinning, he questioned God.  Why this seeming injustice, he wondered, why this tragedy and pain for a righteous man?

Job wants to call God into court and question Him on the witness stand.

Yet, God remains silent.  He waits.  He listens and doesn’t answer. Finally, after almost 40 chapters of Scripture, God speaks.

In her book Wonderstruck, Margaret Feinberg writes,

Instead of focusing on the Why’s of our life circumstances, God calls our attention back to Him and reminds us of the Who that controls everything (p. 37).

That’s God’s answer to the incessant questions.  He never answers “Why,” but He tells who He is in one thundering declaration of sovereignty and power over all creation after another.Wonder Struck

It isn’t until the taking away, the sorrow, the mourning and the grief that Job doesn’t just know about God; He knows Who God is.

And that is enough.

Job says, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you” (Job 42:1).  Yes, now he knew, not about God, but now He had seen God with his own eyes (Job 42:5).

Intimacy in silence.  Intimacy in the listening, the waiting, the mourning.  That’s how we know Him, too.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

A Message for Monday

My resolution for today:

To breathe in and breathe out, deep taking in of peace and pushing out of contentment.  No catching my breath in anxiety, hyperventilating stress, and rushing to the point of breathless exhaustion.

Just breathe.  Move through the day without giving into the push, push, push of “faster, more, do, accomplish, check off the list, get it done.”  Walk as I vacuum, walk as I put away the clothes.  Make that phone call without simultaneously folding underwear and t-shirts.

And spend time with Jesus for relationship not for task-completion.

The temptation is there, of course.  It’s the curse of Monday.  All of the spillover from last week, the messages to read through and answer after taking a Sabbath from all of that “connection” over the weekend, and the new tasks ahead clamor at me for attention.

What was that email I needed to send?
Wasn’t there someone I needed to call?
What did my kids need for school today?
Was I behind on my reading, my commitments?
Didn’t I need to print this for the week and pack that for tonight and fill out that form and mail back that letter?

It’s a million tiny things nipping at the heels of my Jesus-focused life, yipping and yapping until I turn my attention from Him.matt11

And then when I do sit down to rest at His feet, dear Father, oh my Father, I am so thankful to be in Your presence ….

Still I fail.  Still I pop up every few minutes for the ding of the laundry and the starting of the meal in the Crock-Pot (must give it 6 to 8 hours to cook!), and the reminder of something else needing to be done.

My time with Him becomes stilted, becomes stale, becomes necessary without being the fresh oxygen in my soul I need for very survival and beyond that, the abundant life He promises.  Necessary only because it’s an assignment, like homework for school.

It’s more like: Read the assigned Bible reading.  Check.  Read the passage in the study for this week’s group discussion.  Check.  Complete the other Bible study . . . while interrupted and racing against the clock:


I wonder if He’d prefer if I just skipped it all rather than flop down at this kitchen table half-hearted and thinking about 50 things clearly more important than He is to me in that moment.

This isn’t relationship.  This is business.

In his book, Prayer, Richard J. Foster wrote:

“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love.  He aches over our distance and preoccupation.  He mourns that we do not draw near to him.  He grieves that we have forgotten him.  He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness.  He longs for our presence…

We do not need to be shy.  He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely.  he invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun.  He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight….” (p. 1)

Maybe that’s my problem.  I’ve been barely acknowledging His presence at times at my kitchen table.  Perhaps I should take up His invitation to hang out in His kitchen.  To eat in His presence and share in good company and the intimacy of friendship, not on my terms, but at His offering.

In a similar way, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:

 “God always uses such intimate language when He relates to us.  He paints warm images of sheltering us under His wings, holding us in the palm of His hand, or drawing us close to His breast.  He’s so personal with us, why shouldn’t we be with Him?” (Diamonds in the Dust, p. 288).

At the Last Supper, the apostle John leaned against Jesus, drew in close and rested against the Savior, even while realizing that Jesus was about to be betrayed (John 13:25).

Why be more like Peter, who in shame and frustration, perhaps even anger at the destruction of his plans and agenda, certainly in fear…”followed him (Jesus) at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) after Christ’s arrest.

Sure, I’m always following, I’m a faithful kind of girl, trailing after God always.  But sometimes I’m just stepping into the imprint of His footsteps rather than walking by His side, following out of obedience only, mostly out of distracted busyness and duty.

Today I resolve to breathe in and breathe out, to linger here at the table with Jesus and lean into His presence.  No rushing up from the meal to pursue my own agenda.  No skimming through the page of Scripture to get to the end of the assigned reading.

Leaning into Jesus.  Breathing in and breathing out.  Then walking side by side with Him into my day, not tripping along behind: holding His hand and chatting along the journey.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, was released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King