God in Our Stories (The Fruit of the Spirit is Love)
During the two years after my mother died my life was filled to overflowing taking care of my Dad. My friend Bonnie (bless her heart) gave me a wonderful birthday gift that began to change my life. In an attempt to de-stress me she signed us up for a watercolor painting class and bought all my supplies. Now, I'm not particularly artistic, but I enjoyed the class thoroughly. The painting relaxed me and helped me focus on something other than my circumstances. But it was something the instructor said that helped me begin to change the way I looked at life.
"Once you start painting, you will never see the world the same way again."
She was right. Incredible colors and shades of color, changing light and shadows, shapes and textures, were suddenly visible and amazing—and they had always been there—I simply hadn't noticed.
The lesson was reinforced when by friend Julie invited me to join her at a Christian writer's conference after my Dad died. Although I enjoyed writing, I never thought of myself as a "writer." But once I began to focus on seriously putting my thoughts and stories on paper, the world opened up to me again. There were stories everywhere—I simply hadn't noticed.
We formed a writer's group and I enjoyed writing short essays. But it was when I was asked to teach a workshop on the Fruit of the Spirit at my church that my perspective shifted again. I was happily looking up verses about fruit when I read John 15:4-5.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing."
God's truth hit me like a truck. He lives in me and I live in Him so my stories are His stories and His stories are my stories. How many times had I read that verse and I simply hadn't noticed. Suddenly, I didn't just see stories, I saw God in the stories—the power of His presence filled me with wonder and amazement. He is in the middle of it all and He wants us to notice.
He wants to teach us, bless us and give us gifts, show us how to give gifts to others and, most of all, to worship Him and give Him praise and glory.
So, here's my challenge to you (and me). Tomorrow morning ask God to help you see Him in the stories of your day. Some of the most important things He teaches us are in the unique details of our daily lives. You don't have to go looking under rocks, He'll show Himself—because He's always been there. The Holy Spirit will focus your mind, your eyes, your ears—all of you—on the goal you have set.
- I have been brought to tears by a flock of geese honking over my house in perfect V-formation. God was there.
- I've experienced His wonder at a flower sprouting out of a crack in the sidewalk or a tree growing from the side of a cliff.
- I've been stopped in my tracks by a verse from a song playing in the grocery store, or a sentence in a book, or a line spoken in a movie . . . He's everywhere.
- In love and friendship, the birth of babies, the beauty of creation, the marvel of His word, everything . . . our Creator and Savior is in it all. Even the smallest things are part of God's big plan.
It sounds so simple to see God in our stories but in the middle of our busy days, when our to-do list kicks in, it's so easy to miss Him. (Keep a notebook and pen close by as it's also easy to forget.)
God isn't just in our stories, He is our stories. He's been there all the time and He's writing something new every day.
In Psalm 5:3 David says, "In the morning, O LORD ,Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch."
Let's join David in anticipation of seeing God's amazing presence in our stories.
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What keeps you from seeing God in the stories of your life?