When He Dances It Teaches Me to Dance–Finding Treasure in the Word

My baby boy has learned The Mommy Dance.

There’s some bouncing and kicking, throwing his body forward and trying to propel himself into my arms.  He throws his hands up and half-hyperventilates/half squeaks to get my attention.

He’s all eyes on Momma, two beautiful big and sparkly blue eyes speaking so loud, no words needed.

I know his heart.  He’s been playing on his own for a while or maybe he’s been cradled and rocked by someone else in the church nursery, and he’s been fine.  They’ve met his needs, changed his 972280_10202473255287243_4831672876409347931_ndiapers, helped him sleep.

But now he sees me and me is what he wants.

Mommy!  That’s what his dance says.

Mommy, come hold me!  Come love on me!  Come feed me and care for me! 

He knows I will.  He knows in his baby soul a deep-down truth that Mommy will reach her arms right out for him and hold him close.

More than that, I’ll probably kiss him 100 times in a minute and smooth the fuzz of his hair down and I’ll coo at him and whisper how I love him so.

He is wanted.  He is loved.  He is welcome here in my life, in my arms, in my heart.

But me, how uncertain I feel at times.  How shy, how vulnerable—when I feel needy, broken, empty, weary, and worn.

It’s God that I need.  It’s being in His presence, and only in that precious presence, that will restore my soul.

Yet I pause.

What if God is weary of my weariness?

What if He wants me to preach to myself for a bit, talk myself right out of my own need before I drop it all down at His feet once again?

What if He wishes I’d just pull it all together already and stop holding out my empty vessel for more?

But Hebrews tells me right there:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).

Come to Him with confidence…because Jesus is the High Priest who knows what it’s like to suffer and what it’s like to skip meals and to serve others and to lose sleep and to have to fight for rest and quiet—yes, even more than this momma of four does.

My baby boy doesn’t lift his hands to me with insecurity or self-accusation; he seeks my presence with confidence.hebrews4

So, I can come knowing that God will welcome me because this throne of His is a throne of GRACE.

And at the Grace-throne, I’m confident that I am forgiven and that I am beloved.

Confident that He isn’t rolling His eyes at my needy heart or sighing with frustration at the mess I’ve made of things.

Confident that right then when I need Him the most, He’s offering the grace and mercy I’m so desperate for.

Confident that my emptiness isn’t disappointing to Him and isn’t too much for Him to fill.

No more hiding in the shadows of the throne room doorway or pressing up against the wall and hoping that God doesn’t notice how I’ve stumbled on in.

That’s what I cling to today when I’ve slipped into that place again and I’m so timid in His presence at first because I just want to hold that empty cup right up and it feels so bold, so brazen, so demanding to ask Him for more….

But I think of Jesus’ first miracle.  Such a trivial thing it seems, saving a wedding party from the social faux pas of the season by turning empty vats into vessels filled with the best wine at Cana.

In Whispers of Hope, though, Beth Moore says,

“Christ fills empty vessels.”

This is the miracle I need.  It’s no sideline magic show or performance, no preface to the great miracles still to come.

Filling empty vessels is what Christ did.  It’s what He does.

It’s what I still need Him to do.

And the beautiful promise in Hebrews is that when I raise my arms up, when I ask for His help, when I reach out and beg for His presence and hold out that empty cup, I don’t need to ask ashamed.

For at the throne of grace, I am:

Welcomed.

Loved.

Forgiven.

Filled.

And it’s here I will find the mercy and the grace in my time of need.

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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

 

Once in a Lifetime

“The soul is nurtured by beauty.  What food is to the body . . . pleasing images are to the soul” (Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul)

I grew up not far outside of Washington, DC.  At the time, a $5 Metro fare and a 20 minute train ride opened up a world of free museums and monuments.

I could easily Metro in just to see one exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library or spend a day slowly walking the halls of the National Gallery of Art or meandering through the presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery.

We could day-trip in for the Cherry Blossom Festival exactly when the cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial were in full bloom.

And I did all those things.

Everything was simply so accessible, so convenient, so inexpensive, and perfect for someone like me who finds these experiences to be spiritual and a refreshing deep breath for my soul.

Our Creator God designed beauty and placed in human hearts the longing to create beauty ourselves.  So, I worship God amidst art and architecture.

Yes, I had access to a spiritual retreat with little effort or cost and I didn’t even know it.

Then in middle school, we watched an episode of one of our favorite shows, Saved By the Bell.  The show’s heartthrob, Zack, desperately wanted to win a contest with a fabulous grand prize— a week-long trip to Washington, DC.

This was unimpressive to me.

Who chooses a grand prize that is just 20 minutes away from my house?  Why not Disney World?  Hawaii?  London?

Of course, we don’t often appreciate what we have, not until it’s gone anyway.

Now, I live just far enough away for a trip to DC to be inconvenient and easily deterred by a busy life and tired children.  A week-long trip to the city would be fabulous!

When we live close to something, when it’s easy, when it’s inexpensive and effortless, it’s easy to overlook it’s value, becoming complacent and unappreciative.

That’s true about time in God’s presence, too.

For us, being with God is as simple as a one-sentence prayer while driving or singing praise songs while washing dishes.  When I’m worried, I pray about 100 times a day over one particular problem.

But it used to be far more complicated and rare than that.  In Luke 1, a priest named Zechariah was chosen by lottery to burn incense in the temple.

He won the grand prize.

Priests were the only ones who could perform this job, the only ones allowed beyond the outer area into the holy places before God Most High.

Even Zechariah, who God declares was “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1:6) would only burn incense before the Lord once in his entire life.

One chance to be in God’s Holy presence.
One opportunity to stand before Almighty.
One moment of intimate communion with Him.

Beth Moore writes:

“The responsibility of the priest on duty was to offer a corporate prayer.  Furthermore, the priest’s intercession for the nation undoubtedly included a petition for the Messiah, Israel’s promised Deliverer and King” (Jesus, the One and Only, p. 4)

Zechariah prayed for the nation, prayed for a Messiah, and maybe, just maybe took his one and only chance before God and prayed for his own family’s brokenness.

He and his wife Elizabeth were childless and “very old” (Luke 1:7).  Their dreams for a family seemed hopeless now.

But an angel appeared in that private moment between God and this aging priest.  The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 7:12).

Which prayer?  The one for the nation?  For the Messiah?  For himself?

Yes to all of them.

He and Elizabeth became parents to John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, the hope of the nation.

One powerful moment in the Lord’s presence brought Zechariah the answer to all he had sought for so long.

If we only had one brief opportunity to be in God’s presence, how would we act and what would we do?  How would we worship and what would we request?

David knew exactly what he desired:

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4).

God’s presence was his “one thing,” the deep longing in his heart.

Praise God that because of Jesus we aren’t limited to one single moment in God’s presence!

We have access to the throne of grace at all times and anywhere we go.  We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, communing, comforting, counseling, teaching, convicting and bringing peace.

But let’s not let easy access breed complacency.  Let’s treat our times with God as precious as they really are, remembering that it is only because of Christ that we can come before God at all.  Let’s thank Him for the that.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

The Big Anniversary Giveaway!!! and “I Needed That”

Today, is a day of celebration for us!!  It is the one-year anniversary of this devotional blog.  You can even read the original post here, The Reluctant Blogger, written on 02/10/2011.

Can you believe it’s been a year?

An anniversary like that seems like the perfect chance for a giveaway to me!!!  It’s also a great time to say, “Thank you!”  Thank you for the many, many emails and notes and even gifts you’ve given me this past year to encourage me to keep this blog going and not give up.  I’ve gotten special surprise hugs in stores and beautiful emails in my inbox on some tough days.

You bless me all the time.  Thank you!

My friend, Rita Taylor, has made this fabulous necklace and bracelet set for the giveaway. Isn’t she incredible?!  If you’re interested in seeing more of her creations, check out her Etsy page here: http://www.etsy.com/people/bigmomma4542

A huge thanks also to Ana Isabel for the photos showcasing Rita’s jewelry designs!

Also, to celebrate the new series of Devotions from My Garden, I’m going to give away a gardening gift basket with some spring-time goodies for you!

So, that’s two great gifts up for grabs!!

Here’s how it works.  Every time you do one of these things, you are entered to win one of the two prizes:

  • Comment on any page in the blog or on the Facebook post from now until next Friday at noon.
  • Become a follower of the blog (Go to the Homepage and enter your email address in the box to the right).
  • Share this page on Facebook and then leave me a comment on this page telling me you did.

Easy peasy!  I’ll pick a winner in one week—on Friday, 02/17, at noon and then post the winner announcements to the blog that day.

Now, onto today’s devotional!

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My middle daughter had the middle child blues.

Over Christmas break, my older girls and I discovered a new-to-us series of books by Daisy Meadows about fairies.  There was a fairy named after every girl on basically the whole planet and a book about any possible interest or hobby she may have.

Poppy the Piano Fairy
Samantha the Swimming Fairy
Cara the Camp Fairy
Ally the Dolphin Fairy
Heather the Violet Fairy
Stacey the Soccer Fairy

We practically did a jig in the middle of the library when we discovered a book named after my oldest daughter, Victoria the Violin Fairy.

And then we scanned the shelves for a book for my middle daughter.  Lauren the Lollipop Fairy?  Lauren the Lilac Fairy?  Lauren the Crazy Fairy with a Wacky Sense of Humor and a Love of Stories?

Nothing.

Mia, Juliet, Holly, Kate, Helena.  A hundred girls’ names on that shelf and yet no Lauren.

It was the total middle-child disaster.  How come Victoria has a book named after her, but I don’t have one named after me?

She cried.  I tried to console and comfort.  I searched Google and Amazon for any book named after a girl named Lauren and failed.

Then I gave up and hoped her five-year-old heart wouldn’t suffer permanent damage landing her in a pyschiatrist’s office some day.

Almost two months later, I was driving in my car and praying for a gift of grace.

My husband and I were preparing for some upcoming medical testing for him.  Finally, after wrestling with God and throwing a few “righteous” tantrums, I prayed with submission.  “Thy will be done” and “thank You for the assurance that You’ll be with us in all things.”

The day before the testing, I drove around town, running errands with my two-year-old strapped into her car seat behind me.  I was praying and trying not to cry so I wouldn’t walk into stores and the library with red eyes and streaking mascara.

Dear Lord, we’ve submitted to Your will in this.  We’ve asked You to be glorified.  I’m not fighting You or Your plan for us, even if it’s hard and even if I don’t like it. But I’m asking for some extravagant grace and mercy today.

Then I made a request—that God would protect the hearts of my children.  They are so blessed by their Daddy.  By his faith and example of Godliness.  By his Christian leadership in our home and church.  By his firm, but loving discipline.  By his prayers for them every night and the crazy rides to bed he gives them—on his head, on his back, carrying them upside down, flying them through the air.

Lord, please take care of my daughters if their Daddy is sick.

The library was my next stop.  I checked my face in the mirror to examine it for signs of red, splotchy tears.  It wasn’t great, but oh well.  Who needs to look like a super model at the public library?  (Not that I ever look like a super model!)

We had participated in a book exchange program at the start of the year, bringing in books we no longer wanted and then picking out new ones in February.  Today was the big day we could choose new books, so splotchy face or not, we were going in.

My two-year-old and I jumped right into the goodies.  I glanced at the stacks on the tables and in the piles.  Then, in a box on the floor I glimpsed the wings of a fairy on a book cover and picked it up.

I expected a fairy named Abigail or Ava or Gabriella.

Instead, I held in my hands Lauren the Puppy Fairy.

I did another little jig in the library.  They must be quite accustomed to my praise dancing by now!

I rejoiced, not just because I found a book named after my middle daughter that I didn’t think existed on this earth.

I rejoiced because God gave me the grace I needed at the exact moment of my need.  It was a reminder to me that my daughters’ hearts are in His hands.  He cares about them enough to let me find a second-hand book with one of their names on it at a library exchange program.

Surely He will care for their every need, walk them through every hurt, and show them the fullness of God’s great love and compassion for them.

The day before I had copied this verse into my journal:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Do you realize what a promise is in this verse?

It means God invites us into His presence. We aren’t unwelcome intruders there.

We don’t have to crawl in with our face to the ground either, waiting for condemnation or banishment.  He says we can come “boldly to the throne of grace,” knowing that we will be received.

Then, God promises to extend to us the very mercy and grace we desperately need exactly when we need it.

I didn’t find Lauren the Puppy Fairy a month ago or a week ago.  If I had, it would have been fun, but it wouldn’t have shown me God’s incredible grace.

No, within moments of my prayer for my daughters, I reached into a box and found a sign of God’s grace and mercy for me and my family.

That’s the promise for you, as well: He will give you the grace you need when you need it most.  Don’t be afraid to ask Him for it.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King