The Chair

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“For the next 3 hours, this is a quiet campground. You are to find a place alone and meet with God. Here is your devotional guide for this time. Remember, across this whole camp it is silent.” As I listened to the words of the Inter Varsity camp leader, I thought, what am I going to do for 3 hours? We all stood up and left our separate ways. I wondered around for about 10 minutes, watching as everyone dispersed in their own direction seemingly knowing where to go and what to do. Finally, I turned to my left and saw a little dock on the small lake that was unoccupied and away from others who might notice my uneasiness. I walked out, sat on the rough wood, and pulled out the contents of my backpack. Taking a deep breath, I exhaled and said very, very quietly, “Okay God, I’m here!”

I was 19 years old, a hardcore liberal New Englander, sitting on the edge of a tiny lake on the western bank of Michigan. Having just finished my first year of college in a small town in Ohio, my life was definitely changed. Leaving for college, I sought to find myself. Instead, I found my future husband, my best friend, and most importantly my Jesus. Joining our campus InterVarsity group brought me to this Chapter Camp Week and to silence.

I opened the devotional and my bible to Psalm 23. “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters” (vs 1-2). What? “He leads me besides quiet waters.” I read it over and over, as I looked up at the quiet water. How did you know God? Tears flooded down my cheeks. The 3 hours flew by. Over the course of that week, with an hour of quiet each morning, I laid before God my high school years of shame. As a terribly confused teenager, I made numerous mistakes that damaged myself worth and embarrassed my parents. However, one week of alone time with God, healed and transformed me, as I realized that there is nothing more precious than sitting at God’s feet.

In 20 years, a lot has changed. In fact, I feel old just writing that. Marriage, a full-time job as a teacher, and 3 kids later, those moments by the lake are a mere memory. The quiet alone time, in nature with the Creator, is a lustful memory of my first love.

For years, I had a chair in my living room. My quiet time chair. I’d wake up before my husband and sit. However, as time grew, the quiet chair was filled with the activity of a growing family, and I was too busy and tired to get up early and sit. It turned into the family chair, the tv chair, the dog’s bed… I needed a new spot and a fresh change. I needed a place to draw near at any time of the day. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

Where amongst the insanity of 3 kids, a dog, a lovingly loud husband, a full-time job, and church ministries, could I “Be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10). I’d try sitting on our deck, but that was only good in the spring and fall. I tried my bed, but most moms know how that went, I’d fall asleep. Finally, in the midst of the grief of losing my grandma, I brought her old chair, lamp, and tiny side table home. I moved some furniture around in my bedroom and found a corner, that I did not think would work before. The chair, lamp, and table fit perfectly. Adding a basket for books, and I found my quiet waters again.

As life changes, we may grow weary, but God is still with us. We need to pursue Him, and sometimes that means looking around and saying very practically, “ok God, where can we have our special time now?” I encourage you to find your chair or your spot. Where can you sit and seek God? And then, let the family know, when I’m in my spot, I am praying.

As I sat down today, my almost 10 year-old was bouncing around. I said to him really quietly, what is mommy doing, “You’re in your chair,” and he sweetly closed the door.

God’s word says He is always with us, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20 NLT) “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  So, where do you meet Him? Where it is just you and God? Where there is no other focus but God’s word? I can tell you, that I pray to God in the car. I worship driving to work. I listen to podcasts working out. I know God is with me in all those moments.  But, my alone time is in my chair; it is my quiet waters. My chair is where is receive rest, peace, strength, and comfort from God. It’s where I meet my Father and receive His love and encouragement.

Find your chair.

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Knit Together- Introduction

Knit Together- Introduction

Here is to fresh starts! I am work at developing a new blog called Knit Together, by revamping the little blog I started in 2015, with a refined focus.  I chose the name, Knit Together, because in so many ways that screams, “JESSICA!”  I love knitting and get super excited any time the words “knit together” are used in the Bible.  “Knit together” has a whole new meaning when  working a strand of yarn into a project.  One of the first verses, I ever read in the Bible (before I knew how to knit) was Psalm 139. Verse 13 tells how God knit us together in our mother’s womb.  Before I was formed, He knew me! (Jeremiah 1:5). So, yes, Knit Together!

Vision:

“I want to encourage and knit together strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.”-Colossians 2:2

To see women from all walks of life come together, and know that they were created for such a time as this, the 21st century!

I want to share things I am passionate about with you. Jesus. Being a wife. A mom. Teaching. Knitting. Diversity. Healthy eating and exercise. Church.  We are multifaceted people.

I believe in Jesus Christ.

A relationship with Jesus is what drives me and sustains me. I was and am a complete mess!  But, I know I have a God who loves me, cares for me, created me, and desires the best for me. So my faith in Jesus is who I am.  I believe we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In other words, we all are a mess and can not come before God, because He knows no sin, no mistakes. Yet, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). We have to admit, no matter how hard we try, we can’t clean up our mess. We try to make something right, but mess up again and again and again. We all make mistakes and carry hurts. We have to come to realize, that it is beyond us to fix our mess, we need a God who makes all things possible.   Therefore, “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raise him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10). Thus, we can come before God by confessing our messes and accepting that Jesus died on the cross to make us right before God; this is a beautiful thing. No one can come to God the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). I believe in Jesus, and am thankful He cleans up my messes!

Life Scriptures.

Below are a few of my Life Scriptures. We need scriptures to stand on.  When I need to remind myself who I am in Christ, this is where I turn. When I am in the midst of a rough season, I look to God’s word for encouragement and strength. I often speak these verses to myself throughout my week. Especially, Psalms 19:14- “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight. O Lord, my rock and my redeemer!” I need that reminder more often than most people.  Do you have scriptures that you stand on often? What are they?

Psalms 139

Isaiah 40:28-31

Philippians 4:6-7; 13

Jeremiah 29:11

Isaiah 61:1-3

Esther 4:14

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Psalms 19:14

Psalms 91

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9

Proverbs 3:5-10

As I wrap up this introduction, I want you to know that this blog is a journey of faith. Navigating life as a woman in 2017 is not easy. Often the busyness of life places us on our own little islands of endless to-do lists, where we lose sight of the innate human need to fellowship and belong in community; and social media does not cut it. I hope this blog encourages you.  My prayer is to see women knit together closely with those around them, leaning on the love, grace, wisdom, and strength that only comes from God.  I pray this for myself too. May we encourage one another in love!