My friend and I sit on couches facing one another, sharing depths of our hearts and listening. We hold sacred space as we read from spiritual books together, pray and dare to speak of longings and brokenness. One phrase echoes in my heart:
God is with me.
So simple and yet the strongest of tethers, this short string of words bound my wounds and instilled hope. Life can be so unpredictable and relationships upend us without notice. The impeccable and intimate timing of the Lord through the midst of trials brings the very words we need to hear to draw us nearer.
I’m bringing up two boys. Their lives entwine with mine and I feel all the ebbs and flows of what comes at them and through them – oh the growing pains of motherhood! Through it, the echo persists:
I am with you
Just in this season, I picked up a book which I had dabbled into a few years ago. I never made it past the first few chapters then and the message never permeated past my spiritual epidermis. This time through I am sopping up the goodness. Sitting in my chair at church I heard a quiet thought, “Read Leanne Payne again.” That same week in a conversation with my mentor she happens to mention, “I was thinking you might want to read Leanne Payne.” Then I receive an email that Miss Payne was very ill and needed prayer. A week later I got the email announcing her passing and commemorating her ministry and her love affair with Jesus. Sometimes God leads us so specifically.
Miss Payne begins her book by celebrating smallness. What a way to start! A woman with an international healing ministry talks about the essential need to acknowledge her own insignificance. I remember writing just a few weeks ago about what it means to find strength in weakness … again God echoes His messages to me.
As significant as that was, the second chapter calls me deeper still. Here she explores the need and blessing of practicing the presence of God.
I decide to practice this discipline by repeating that phrase throughout my day.
I’m painting baseboards in our Living Room:
God is with me …
I’m reaching out to my teen son as he navigates the hard roads of growing up:
God is with me …
I’m hosting children in my home:
God is with me.
After years of walking with Him, I feel like a baby all over again as I practice His presence in this way. How often do I go through my day keeping Him at arms length or acknowledging Him on occasion or waiting until certain moments of the day to draw near – during devotions or prayers at mealtime or bedtime or when trouble crowds in?
By simply saying in my heart, “God is with me,” I am brought to a moment-by-moment faith.
God is near.
The deepest desire of our hearts cries out to be beloved, forgiven and held. Like winter snow piling up over flowerbeds, our daily shuffle can crowd out His presence. He remains, yet we can not sense how near. We have covered Him without meaning to and we long for what is hidden yet alive with promise.
We are beloved, yet we live like those who need approval and fear rejection.
We are invited, yet we remain just outside the banquet hall.
We are chosen, yet we act like we never made the cut.
Just today, even this week, I invite you to join me in remembering.
God is with you.. Remind yourself in as many moments as you can. Don’t leave your bed in the morning without stilling your rambling thoughts and recalling how cherished you are – by the God who is with you always. As you go through your day, bring to mind, “God is with me.“ Allow the awareness of His presence to become like air to you. It won’t come easily at first, but as with any practice, in due time you will not even have to work at all at what had been a discipline.
I would love to hear from you as you practice the presence of God.
Let’s remember together:
God is with us.