In His Presence

As I look over my journals, I am blown away by God’s ability to speak to me. I have pages and pages of conversations with Him. Some of them are very hard to share with you and others aren’t. The more comfortable I felt with Him, the more honest I became. One of the books that I read that helped me immensely with intimacy with God is called, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence.

Brother Lawrence had a profound impression of God’s power and providence. He believed that we needed to continually talk to God throughout the day in order to be constantly aware of His presence. He also felt like we should derive great joy by just being His children. So, I had to ask myself the question, “Do I derive great joy by being in His presence or by just being His child?” At that time in my life, I must say that I was struggling in that area of my life. When I was actively speaking with the Lord, I was angry and confused. Joy eluded me. I wanted joy but couldn’t find it anywhere.

Jesus spoke to me. “Just be with me little one. Walk with me and talk to me. No pressure. I want you to picture the Colorado mountains that you love in the distance. I want you to picture yourself sitting at Frontier Ranch looking out over the land surrounding the camp. Let me show you my creation. This is where I want you to be with me. Hold my hand and look at what I have created for you. I knew you would end up here one day. I made it special just for you.” I responded, “Oh, Jesus, I love this place! I don’t ever want to leave here. I like being here with you.”

In order for me to feel joy and comfort, the Lord took me to a place that I dearly loved. He knew how much that place meant to me. Frontier Ranch is one of my favorite places to be. The ministry of Young Life meant so much to me in high school. It was my escape from my home and camp was the highlight of the year for me. God knew how much that place meant to me, so He took me there in my mind. Camp brought joy to my soul.

I want you to see how personal God is. He knows us better than anyone else. He knows what makes us happy, sad, angry, frustrated, etc. He wants to spend time with us and help us with our emotions. He wants us to tell Him how we feel about everything that is happening in our lives. He wants to help us with our problems and be there for us when we are going through the trials in our lives. He wants us to sit and be still so He can talk to us. I think that is the hardest part. I had so much trouble grasping the concept that God wanted to be with me and talk to me.

Brother Lawrence knew he was loved by God and didn’t question it. He was aware of his sins and he confessed them without pleading or making excuses. He simply moved on after he confessed to the Lord. How in the world did he do that? All I knew to do was beat myself up and make excuses over my behavior and not let it go. I confessed and then confessed again and then had to tell myself what an awful person I was. I simply couldn’t grasp the idea that all I needed to do was confess my sins and move on. I thought it had to be harder than that!

Intimacy with God has been very hard for me! I have worked very hard to have it. It hasn’t come easily to me. I have had to overcome a lot of dark feelings. I thought that God shouldn’t have given me my father. There I said it! I was so mad at Him for giving me a bad Dad. I wanted to scream and yell at God and I did finally! And you know what; I didn’t get struck by lightning. He sat there and listened to me. He didn’t condemn me for saying what I said because He knew I was speaking from a heart that had been broken. He knew I was trying to make sense out of everything that had happened to me. I was respectfully yelling and trying to learn in the process. I wanted intimacy with my heavenly father so much. I was a little girl who just wanted a Dad to love her and accept her. God was the only father who could give me unconditional love.

In my last post I talked about the Garden of Eden. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve every day. He looked for them and sought them out. They weren’t afraid of Him until they had sinned. They hid from Him because they thought He was going to be angry with them. He wasn’t angry; He was disappointed that they thought something else was better than their relationship with Him. They unfortunately had to suffer the consequences for their actions. He didn’t yell at them. He didn’t hit them. He didn’t ridicule them. He just told them that things were going to change. He still loved them. He banished them from the Garden out of mercy and love because if they ate from the tree of life again they would be eternally separated from Him and He didn’t want that to happen.

I couldn’t grasp that kind of God for years. It took so many books, reading scripture and counseling to get me to believe that I have a God who wants to be with me no matter what! We do have to suffer consequences for our actions, but it isn’t because God doesn’t love us, it is because we have made stupid decisions. We can’t blame God. We can only blame ourselves for our actions. That is why He tells us to ask for forgiveness, so we can give it to Him and move on. Our job is not to beat ourselves up. We are to confess what we have done and then God will forgive us. Plain and simple. It took me far too long to accept that I didn’t have to condemn myself for my actions.

I hope I can help you realize how much you are loved by the God of the Universe. I want you to understand that no matter what you do, He still loves you. I want you to have intimacy with God. He is waiting to walk and talk with you. He is there any time you are ready to go to Him. I am going to leave you with some words He spoke to me. It took me awhile to believe them, but I eventually did.

“Laurie, I want you to know how I see you. I see you as this little girl with red hair and freckles who loves to laugh and play. You love me. I know that you desire to do the right thing. You love to help people. You love kids. You want to help them know Jesus and grow in their faith. You love doing ministry through Young Life. You are desperate for your children to know me and love me. You want to live your days for me. I love you so much. I know your heart. I see you as pure as the snow. You are my child. You are forgiven. I want you to rely on me. I know how to help you deal with everything in your life. You can handle what comes your way because I will give you the strength and the power you need. Let me handle your burdens. You aren’t capable, but I am. I desire to help you in every area of your life. I am always here by your side. You only need to ask and I will give you what you need. You are my child and I am so proud of you. Jesus is praying for you. He is asking me to help you understand how much I love you. He is asking me to restore you and give you back your joy. We want you to understand how much you are loved.”
I had completely forgotten about this conversation until today as I was looking through my journals. Tears are going down my cheeks. I find so much joy being with Him now. It takes a lot of time and patience, but it is worth it to hear the God of the Universe speak to you. Until next time dear friends…

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

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