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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Living By Faith

If you know Jeff and me very well, you know we love a good deal and we have tried to teach our frugal-ness to our children. It isn’t uncommon for me to go shopping for clothing or home decor and after going through the check out my receipt usually reads something like, “Total cost $80 and you save over $300.” I think my best deal, was the one time I bought a coat that normally cost over $200 for $2 from Macy’s.

Many people have asked me, how do you save so much money? To which I reply “I shop the clearance rack.” I typically don’t go shopping with a list when I am shopping for clothes etc. I simply go to the store and search for the clearance signs. Now, let me clarify here, the best deals are at the higher end stores, the ones that I would never even think of buying anything from at regular price because I know I couldn’t afford them. But I don’t let their high-end reputation intimidate me. Once I find the clearance rack which is usually at the back of the store,  I search them to see what is on it that will fit me and what I like,  out of those I decide what is the better deal,  then I decide what I can’t live without, from there I decide how much I want to spend and head to the check out. Because I have some pretty good solid basics in my wardrobe I can usually always mix and match it with something I already have at home. This kind of shopping also requires me to think ahead of what I will need in the next season because I am typically buying a year in advance.

This has pretty much been my shopping lifestyle as long as I can remember. I realized at an early age from my parents who were pastors also, that typically you don’t have an unlimited budget so you need to be as good of steward with what God has given you as possible.

This has even carried over into a lot of our grocery shopping. Our meals are usually planned around what is on sale at the store. Often times my husband will come home from the grocery store with several bags full of sale, reduced or discounted items. Then I have to come up with meals out of it. I guess you could say my kitchen is a constant live “Chopped” T.V. cooking show. We give a whole new meaning to the term ” Living By Faith”.

But, It has recently come to my attention (call me naive)  Apparently, this is just the opposite of what most people do. It is my understanding that some people actually go to the store with the intention of buying certain pieces of clothing etc. and have to purchase those things at whatever price the store is selling it for that day, which is usually full price.

This got me thinking, I believe shopping habits are a lot like life and it is up to us if we choose to live by faith or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying if you don’t shop like this you are not living by faith. But I would like to compare the two.

I mean, How often do we expect certain things out of life? How often do we come to God with our list of things we need and expect Him to deliver no matter what the cost?  The truth is more often He gives us what He wants us to have and more often what He gives us, doesn’t turn out to be exactly what we had on our list anyway?

All too often we have these expectations for God to meet and when He doesn’t do it the way we expect. We get anxious and begin to worry because it obviously can’t be right if it doesn’t go the way we expected.  We want something for this exact moment but God sees the bigger picture for what we need for our future.

Satan wants us to be intimidated and walk in fear when things rise above our understanding. Just like those high-end stores, some people won’t even consider going into the store, simply because they think they could never afford anything in it. But the fact is I go into those stores for 2 reasons. #1 Because I want to see what the regular price of these items are in case I see them at a second-hand store to assure I get a great price and #2 I want to overcome my own fear and self-intimidation by going in. Because granted sometimes it can be intimidating but I refuse to be intimidated and we need to refuse to be intimidated when we don’t understand what God’s plan is.

Just like God sometimes makes us wait for what we want, most stores put the best deals at the back, we sometimes have to wait to completely see what God’s plan is and how it will work in ours. I have noticed, the cheaper stores put their sale items right in the front, sometimes they even sit them outside on the side walk, why? Well, I think because it is just that cheap, and it doesn’t have any real value. In the same way, sometimes the first thing that we see isn’t always the best for us so we have to trust God to bring us what we need.

Sometimes we have to stand up for what we believe and that isn’t always easy, sometimes we have to wait for the right spouse instead of taking the first person that comes along or wait till next year to buy that tractor because we are determined to be good stewards of what God has given us.  If our faith is solid and standing on Christ than we can trust that I might not get what is on my list now but we know that God will provide what we need when He knows we need it.

It is at these times I believe God is saying “Trust me”,  Don’t come “Expecting Your Way” but come “Accepting My Will”. Because after all, there is nothing that comes to us that hasn’t gone through God. Accepting whatever comes your way. We can trust Him to give us what we need and give us the strength to do what we have to do to get through it.

See I believe that living by faith is a lifestyle we choose. Just like I have chosen my shopping lifestyle. We choose what we will do when we don’t get the things on our list.  Now I am not saying quit your job stay home and just trust God to pay your bills. No! But what I am saying is all too often we get focused on our plans for how something should work out and when it doesn’t we begin to walk in fear and anxiety when we need to realize that we have a Heavenly Father that created us and loves us with an everlasting love. (Jer 31:3)

He tells us in Jeremiah 29: 11 I know the plans I have for you, and they are for good and not to harm. So if we say we really trust God and we say we believe His word. Then we can trust that He will give His best to us and although it may not be what we expected. We know He loves us enough to assure He will give us everything we need.

God loves us so much we can trust Him, that we are not getting His leftovers at a reduced cost. No! God paid the ultimate cost for you. He gave His life for you and because of that He wants nothing but the best for you, so we don’t have to worry when things come our way that wasn’t on our list. All we need to do is rest in Him. This week lets not allow the things that don’t go the way we planned worry us or make us anxious. Let’s trust Him, and what His word says in Romans 8:28. He works all things together for our good…..