Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

In 2000 Jeff and I bought our first ever home, Chad was 3 and was pretty overwhelmed with the move. After all,  we were moving from the only home he had ever known, that was maybe 1200 square feet, with average ceiling heights to a now almost 2000 square foot home that was built in the early 1900’s,  and was the first doctor’s home in          De Soto Kansas with 10 foot high ceilings. I imagine to a little 2 and a half foot kid that seemed huge.

It wasn’t uncommon the first week or so as I was be going from room to room, unpacking and decorating our home that I would here this little cry “Mommy, where are woo?,  Where are woo? I would hear this coming from Chad, and I would go to him and reassure him that “I am here baby!” and he would , either follow me around scared he would get lost again in the massive place he now called home,  or ask his question and return to playing, but often times he just wanted to know where I was and be close to me so he could see me.

In Genesis 16 we pick up the story of Sarai and Hagar, Sarai has taken matters into her own hands and decided to have Abram sleep with her maid servant (not totally a uncommon practice back then) so they could conceive a child. But because it wasn’t God’s perfect plan, Sarai becomes jealous of Hagar and well Hagar isn’t too pleased with Mrs Sarai either, because after all she thinks she deserves a little more respect than she is getting from the bosses wife, so they both begin to have second thoughts, Sarai is then so mean to Hagar that Hagar runs away to the desert. We pick up the story with Hagar at a spring in the desert:

8 And he (the angel) said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant

   and you will give birth to a son.

You shall name him Ishmael,[a]

   for the Lord has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;

   his hand will be against everyone

   and everyone’s hand against him,

and he will live in hostility

   toward all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 

Have you ever felt like you were in a desert place in your life? Have you ever felt mistreated or unappreciated? Did you want to run away from everything?  I am pretty sure that is how Hagar was feeling, and not only that but now she was alone in a desert, not knowing where she would go or what to do, she just knows she doesn’t want to be in that situation any longer. She has made a mess of her relationship with her boss,  and well her boss didn’t handle things well either.

I believe this is a story of hope, hope that no matter where you are, no matter what is going on in your life, God sees you!  Just like I saw Chad in that big old house that was totally overwhelming to him, God sees you in this big old world that is sometimes terribly overwhelming to you.

Hagar suddenly had an epiphany, that the God of her masters sees her. Perhaps it was a revelation to her? After all, being from Egypt she was not raised to know the God of Abram.

Let me remind you that God also sees you, We have the advantage of being able to look back on these stories in the bible and learn from them. We have God’s promises that says

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:6

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

And there are countless more we can find in God’s word that says He cares about us. But I think the real question is the second part of what Hagar says to us “ I have now seen the one who sees me” Have you really seen the God who sees you? Or is He just a casual acquaintance that you know from a distance? Like Hagar, who probably had no relationship with God before this point. She had seen Abram and Sarai talk and even pray to this God they believe in,  but back then there was so many Gods, she might not have even thought there was a difference, she obviously had never had a god become so real to her until that day.

The question is, have you seen the God that sees you? Not just a passing by casual wave,  kind of sees, but have you really seen God. So many of us walk around in some sort of fog,  being tossed around like the wind because we have no foundation to stand on.

If the weather is good, then we will have a good day. If everything goes right at work, then it is a good day. If our finances are at a place we don’t have to worry about, then it is a good day. If we get our coffee, it is a good day.  We allow all these little g “gods” of this world to dictate our attitude and worst of all our hope.

When the big G “God and creator of this universe has already promised you that He is watching over you and cares for you! He tells us time and time again that He loves us.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  I will build you up again…..” Jer 31 3&4

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Over and over again, we are reminded in God’s word that He loves us and cares for us. But yet somehow we still walk in fear, we are afraid,  this or that is going to happen. We look at the waves around us in this life, figure the probabilities of the circumstances of the situation and just know nothing is going to turn out right.

Because we do not see the God that sees us, we are like the disciples in the boat when we read the story in Matthew chapter 14. I image there was a fog, the wind was whipping around them it might have been raining so hard they could not see their hand in front of the face because the storm was raging all around them. You know how it is out here in this Kansas wind, even if there is not rain sometimes it is hard to even open your eyes outside when the wind is blowing.  Yet, one of them must of squinted his eyes looked off into the distance and he saw something. Was it a ghost? Was it one more thing that was going to make their day that much worst? I am sure some of them thought that. But there was one in the boat that saw Jesus in the midst of the storm and he called out to Him.

Can you see God in the midst or your storm. Do you see the God that sees you? Because God sees you and He asking you to trust Him. You don’t have to be afraid. You just need to trust Him. 1 John 4: 18 says  

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

If you are walking around in fear today, let me challenge you that you are not seeing the God that sees you! You are not seeing the God who knows every hair on your head and loves you with an everlasting love and if that is the case, let me encourage you to get to know that God.

Attend church with bible believing Christians to get to know His word. Spend time in His word everyday learning more about the love and grace He has for you. Talk to Him all the time. Then begin looking for how He is working all around you. That is the only way you will come to know and see the God who sees you.

 

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Which Girl are You?

Which Girl are You?

This past week I did something I haven’t done since the summer of 1991. I walked out of a cabin and at the same time, a friend walked out of the cabin right next to me. My mind flashed back to the first time she and I met. We were both scared young pastor’s wives who because of the position of our husbands, (or lack thereof)  were throw into circumstances we would never chosen on our own.

We were at Junior Camp! Now Junior Camp is a camp that happens once a year just outside Wichita. It is where all Kansas Assembly of God Churches send their kids for a week of spiritual renewal or what some might refer to it as Klingon Camp. Because kids ages 9-13 away from home for the first time, just might kling on to you as a camp counselor.

She and I first met walking out of our separate cabins and frankly, we were probably more scared than the kids. I am still not for sure if I was more scared of the primitive lodging or the fact I had to not only coral 15 girls for a week, but participate in outdoor sports, and don’t even get me started about what the bathrooms looked like. See for this girl, who considers roughing it going to a hotel without room service,  you might as well have dropped me off in the middle of the forest, like one of those TV shows that gives you a week to find your way home.

But this year, my friend and I were not at Wheat State Camp outside Wichita,  we were at Woodston camp, which is known for being a much more primitive camp. When we walked out of our cabins that first time, and met each other this year, we were not staying in the non-air conditioned/bunk bed cabins, where we shared the bathrooms with probably 100 other people at the end of the building.

No! This week things were totally different than they were so many years ago when She and I first met. This year, we stayed in new cabins with private baths, with air conditioning, carpet on the floor and nice queen size beds. This year we were not scared young pastor’s wives. This year her husband is now the District Superintendent of the Kansas Assemblies of God which in layman terms means he is the Pastor the all the AG Pastors in the state of Kansas and my husband serves on the Presbyter Board or in layman’s terms he is on the Board of Directors for the state of Kansas Assemblies of God and this year both of our husbands were speaking at this camp.

I couldn’t help but think of the difference in the girl that walked out my cabin door this past week compared to the one all those years ago. She has had so much happen over the years. That girl that walked out of the cabin all those years ago would of been impressed with the woman that walked out of those cabins doors this past week,  That girl would of thought these women have it all together and their lives must be of always have been perfect and full of peace and fulfillment. That girl would of desired to be who those woman are today. But that girl didn’t know what it took for this girl to become who she is today. This girl, isn’t the same girl that hid in the corner of the tabernacle at camp and cried her eyes out because she was so scared and knew she just wasn’t as smart and pretty as all her counterparts on the other side of those walls. This was not the same girl who had panic and anxiety attacks every time she went to a state event.

My friend and I reminisce about all the water that has went under the bridge in the time we have know each other. Some of the water was smooth sailing, some was pretty rocky and felt more like white river rafting, while others were more like babbling brooks.

See not only has our husbands positions changed, but we as woman have changed. I am not the same person I was back then. Oh! The changes are more than the weight I have gained, the wrinkles on my face or the silver streaks in my hair. I have changed because of the challenges I have face.  See, all those tears I have cried has made me stronger. I have faced obstacles both personal, physically and spiritually. I have faced rejection and victories, I have seen God’s hand at work in all of it.

It is those trials and tribulations that gives me the strength to do what I do today. See because I have made it through those test and I have come out on the other side. No! Not everyone of the outcomes was what I expected, in fact most were not what I had wanted or planned, I’ve been homeless, lost loved ones, lost friends, had failed ministries, been rejected by God’s people, family and friends. I had the rug pulled out from under me. I’ve made some really stupid mistakes, and faced challenges with our kids, cared for a handicapped mother and watched her die before my eyes. My marriage has struggled, and dealt with infertility..

My successes have been few and far between, but I count the most important ones as the children I have had, and the grandchildren added to my clan. But none if it is worth anything if my children have not caught the joy of living for Christ. See because they have seen my life and the challenges I have faced they have also seen the hand of God come along side and sometime even pick me up and carry me. They have seen the miracles He has performed in our lives, the checks that came in the mail, the doors that have open for us, the gifts He has given us. Time and time again God has shown up!

See this girl who used to strive for a title now, is no longer impressed with peoples status. She is more about where people’s hearts are, she is more about being who God has called her to be.

She is thankful for all that she has went through because it has given her the ability now, to look back and say….. “Bring it on devil, Do you see where God has brought me from?”. “If He can do that, My God can do anything!”, ”You can’t mess with me satan because my daddy is the King” , “Whatever comes my way, my God will take care of me”

So this girl now refuses to hide in corners and cry her eyes out. She refuses to allow man to define her. She stopped listening to those negative voices in her head, she now knows whose she is because her daddy God has showed up time and time again to rescue her. She is not the fear driven, people pleasing, person she was all those years ago, intimidated by everyone and everything. No! This girl has experienced the unconditional irrefutable love of God, not because He gave her everything she ever wanted but because He taught her that God’s word says “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. This girl knows that she can be content when things don’t happen the way she planned because it must mean that God has a better plan. (notice I didn’t say easier one?)

This girl also knows, what Deuteronomy 31:6 says,  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” See that girl knew what it said all those years ago, but until she experienced it she didn’t have to assurance that it was true.

This girl has had to learn to give up her will and follow after God. This girl has realized that He is not a God sitting up in heaven like the arcade game, whack-a-mole, with a big stick just waiting for me to mess up, so He can hit me over the head..  He is actually a loving God trying to direct my paths, because He knows the way that I need to go, He has been in the future and He knows my past, while at the same time He is my very present help in time of trouble.( See Psalms 46:1)

This girl who lived all her life in a church full of condemnation, religiosity, in fear and intrepidation. Learned that there is a loving God who is up their with arms outstretched bidding for me to come to Him, asking for me to trust Him, telling me that I am His child and He will take care of me I have nothing to fear. He reminds me I only need the approval of the audience of one and that is Him. That no matter what those around me think or do I am safe in His arms and if I will only strive to please Him, He will carry me through. He reminds me that, He is not half as hard on me as I am on myself. He tells me I am complete in Him and because of that, I now walk with my head lifted up, no longer ashamed or in fear. I have straighten my crown that He gave me and smile with confidence of whose I am. Not because of anything I have done, but because of who lives in me and loved me so much He gave His life for me.  So the question today is, Which girl are you?