He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

12 February 2013

Encouragement for Today Devotions

I have been meaning to share this with you for months now. It's a rescource I found through Passionate Homemaking and it has been a drink of cool water for me since the day I signed up.
It's called Encouragement for Today and it is a daily email that comes to my phone of Kindle each morning and lifts me up.
I was finally moved to share this morning because it spoke so clearly to me that I couldn't ignore it. I have attached today's words below and if you take the time to read them you'll likely think what I do when I normally read this "type of thing". You hear it often "blahdee, blah, blah, blah".
Not today.
Today this was nourishment.
I have been going through several days of difficulty with Miss Mak and potty training.
I've lost my patience.
I've yelled.
I've become angry with her to the point of need to apologize and at time wanting to shut her out completely.
She's only three!
She's not some chick on the street that I can ignore. I have to face her almost eery moment of every day and I'm not handling it well.
I've been praying for peace and patience for me.
I've been praying for an obedient and willing heart in her.
I've prayed that we would be able to like each other again.
And yet I've run dry.
The words "you need Me" have been popping into my head regularly and my response has been something like "Yes, I know I do, but..." or "I'm just so tired..." or "I don't have enough time..."
And when I opened my email this morning I grazed my cursor over the delete button for today's email and though to myself "I don't have time to read this today and I want to get my inbox decluttered" and then I heard that voice again "What if today was meant just for you?".
Sometimes that happens, you know.
Sometimes the verse my Bible falls open to is just what I need to hear.
I hesitated because I figured it was unlikely to be one of those mornings.
And then it was...

Nicki Koziarz
February 12, 2013
When You Miss God
Nicki Koziarz

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8 (ESV)
It's 3:38 a.m. I stare at the clock and something inside me whispers, "You should get up." I toss, turn, and wrestle with my sleep-deprived thoughts for a few minutes before I finally climb out of bed.
Downstairs, I turn on the coffee pot and sit down in the white chair. Opening my journal, these words pour out of my parched soul: "God, I miss You."
Life has been moving at a warp speed lately. Work has been busy for both my husband and me, our three girls' lives are full, and someone always needs something.
Truth is, I would pay a lot of money for 28 hours in a day.
But mostly, in this stretched season of life, I'm experiencing how "it" happens ... how people move far from God.
It's not always intentional:
The kids are sick ... so church is missed.
Carpool has to start earlier the next morning ... leaving no time for quiet prayer.
Bodies need exercise ... reading the Bible gets pushed aside.
Meals must be prepared ... so worship becomes secondary.
Reports and projects have to be finished ... you get the idea.
The list goes on and on of what can keep us from the closeness of God.
I understand these struggles all too well. And I'm finding there is a great danger in these stretched times of life.
We can miss being with God, but we also can miss the movement God is doing in our lives. Missing God {either way} is tragic and threatening to our souls that long to thrive with God.
Recognizing how much I've missed God, I'm taking some time for reflection of this struggle. I'm burdened but also hopeful in the words He is breathing during these soul-stretching moments.
Maybe you too feel that tug in your heart, pulling you back to Him? I share these three things we can do to move closer to the heart of God, because maybe, like me, you're just as fearful of unintentionally moving too far from God ... of missing Him as much as I am.
1. Find our God-space.
Even if it means it's 3:38 a.m. When life feels busy, stretched and chaotic I can stay open to the Spirit's prompting on my heart to create God-space.
Obviously 3:38 a.m. won't always work for me, so I do need to be intentional about scheduling time with God. Finding the moments of white space where we can fully be with Him is important.
May we find our God-space ... everywhere, knowing He is always near.
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8 ESV)
2. Experience the awe of God.
The colors of the sky on the drive into the office ... experience it. The sun warming our skin on a chilly day ... experience it. Giggles from children, the way someone we love smiles, the praise of God's people ... experience it.
May these moments remind us what it's like to be fully alive and connected to Something much bigger than ourselves.
"... stand in awe of God." (Ecclesiastes 5:7b NIV 1984)
3. Have ears that listen {always}.
The prompting in your heart to slow down, to breathe in the moment ... listen to it. A nudge on your soul to say no when you really want to say yes ... listen to it [or vice-versa].
May we not want to just dream about the promises God has for our life, but want to live them by listening to His voice, always.
"And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (1 Kings 19:12 NIV 1984)
There is always an opportunity in the midst of our busy lives to be aware of God. As we find Him, experience Him, and listen for Him, our intentional steps will always lead us closer to His presence.
Lord, please help me to be intentional with my steps towards You. I can't always control the things around me, but I know with Your guidance I can still draw close to You when life feels so stretched. Amen.
Related Resources:
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
Visit Nicki Koziarz's blog today for a short video message of encouragement to help make it through the busy days of life.
For more encouragement to make space for God, "Like" our Facebook page.
Reflect and Respond:
Which do you struggle with the most: Finding your God-space? Experiencing the awe of God? Or having ears that listen?
What would you have to change to spend more time with God?
Power Verses:
James 4:8, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (ESV)
Ecclesiastes 5:7b, "... stand in awe of God." (NIV 1984)
1 Kings 19:12, "And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (NIV 1984)
© 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


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