Please be patient with me because this blog is changing.
Not to worry. I’ve received so many beautiful and gracious comments here, via email, or in person that it has been very encouraging. I’m not going to stop writing but I do have to change some things and I’ve gotten the “go ahead” to tell you.
Part of the reason I started writing the series of “Time with my Father” was because of this very blog and those nine little words. I questioned how I could possibly bring my beloved Father all due credit for what was happening in my life, in the lives of others. So we spent a lot of time together and He showed me many things. With every little thing He showed me, my eyes opened wider and my heart grew bigger.
I want these stories to be about these beautiful people and how God is pouring Himself into blessing me in the process. I don’t want to write the stories about these encounters for the purpose of writing or recognition. I want others to feel bold and brave enough to do it also...and feel His mighty love.
In addition, if for whatever reason someone I had asked happened to come to this blog, I don’t want these individuals to ever feel like I exploited them for my purposes. That is why so much time is between each encounter and post. I allow their requests to soak in so I can love on the individual in private prayer.
I also wait for God’s lesson.
The stories are all so different from each other but what remains the same in every experience is that the blessing I receive is immediate and the lesson I learn lingers. For some time afterwards I feel like I am walking in another dimension, as if I have stepped into the lives of those I have spoken with. I become less petty and less critical, even if for a moment, of my life over what I have or don’t have. It’s almost as if I am experiencing the truth behind when Jesus was speaking to a religious leader about loving God and your neighbor as yourself.
Hearing Christ's words he responded, "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." [(Mk 12: 32, 33) emphasis added, mine.]
Oh! You mean not just going to church, and giving, and talking the talk but actually LIVING by serving and LOVING by walking the walk in our communities...our neighborhoods?
In asking the question “How can I ask God to bless you today?”, I am having the unique opportunity to see the heart of the one I ask. To see what is not talked about. To see what they carry hidden. Maybe it’s not a secret that they share but a hidden burden, concern, worry or even joy. I also feel God's heart for their request.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen tears well up or how many times someone has laughed. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked away and wondered how in the world I was able to see God’s heart for that person. His heart? A complete stranger? Just by asking a question? How is that even possible? I certainly do not understand it but do you know what Jesus said to the religious leader who understood what He was teaching?
“‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.” (Mk 12:34)
Out of so many pharisees who dispised Jesus, this one got it! He got the heart of everything God has ever said. Care enough as you would yourself. Care enough to love and you will experience His heart for those around you. Experience His heart and He is magnified in your life. You can't help but to fall deeper in love with Him. It is a glorious circle of loving God, loving people, and feeling completely loved in return. You can't get any closer to heaven on this earth than that.
No wonder those listening to Jesus in that moment didn’t ask anymore questions. I don’t know how I feel God’s heartbeat when I ask those nine little words, but I do and I don’t dare ask anymore questions. I let the experience fill me.
Which brings me to what is changing about the blog.
These very private moments are between the person I ask, myself and God. At first I told my sweet and caring Papa God that I no longer wanted to write any of these stories because I feel completely inadequate to do it any justice. I felt Him speak to my heart that this mini- adventure I am on is to be shared. But I was still...afraid.
Don't worry. I didn't stop. I have spent weeks asking people those nine little words and debating whether I should share or not or even how. Needless to say, my Creator and I went on many walks and spent a lot of time talking. He’s been very convincing…in the gentlest way of course.
So, I will continue to share the stories but I will no longer tell you the details of where I had the encounter. Yes, I will give you the names because I believe in the power of praying for a person by name. I will also let you see my stumbles and self discoveries but in order to honor the privacy of these people God clearly loves and cares for, I will focus more on what I learned through the process.
Here’s to being “not far from the kingdom of God” by stepping out and pushing away my fear in order to experience the blessing of feeling my Father’s heartbeat…one beat at a time.
I believe it will be a beautiful thing.
Photographs of Monarch Butterfly in various by Lisa Arnold