The presence of the Lord surrounds me. Even when I’m feeling low, sad, or stifled, the joy that lives deep inside is there. I ponder what to write or how to continue on this podcast, and I glance outside. I see the trees and bushes that line our pool shimmer in the wind. Just like the wind is real, but unseen, so is God’s love and presence. It is here. When I quiet myself enough to hear and see it, it is there.

So often I surround myself with noise: entertainment or busyness that block me from seeing and feeling the quiet strength of God that encircles me. There is a crane that lives in the pond outside our house. It is white and thin and beautiful. It stands outside and simply exists in the pond. It is there most everyday. If you get too close it will fly away. Such an elegant flight! In the morning there are birds that sing from the trees outside my kitchen window. Everyday they are there. But only when it’s quiet, no TV, no podcast, no Facebook or email, do I clearly hear them. I think God is trying to get my attention and stop the frantic pursuit of achievement and busyness.

My dad died seven years ago yesterday. My siblings all texted me yesterday expressing our loss and love of how much we miss him. My dad wasn’t perfect in his life and at various points hurt and disappointed each of us. Yet we disappointed and hurt him too. Isn’t this relationship? Hurts and disappointments and choosing to rise above and love anyways? Isn’t that God’s example? Can you imagine the hurt and disappointment we as humans give God daily? He died for us, gave us the greatest gift possible, and we still feel like we need more.

It reminds me of my kids. My children are so privileged and I know it. I pound it in their heads too. They get so annoyed with me and I likely overdo it. But I so want them to know how lucky they are. So many in our world are nowhere near as fortunate as them. Growing up I lived a very blue-collar life. My dad worked hard and so did my mom. But things didn’t come easy for them. Eating out was a rare occurrence and it was a definite treat. Getting a pair of Jordache jeans took months to pay off on lay away. I thought that is how everyone buys things – through layaway. I never felt poor and I never lived without. But I certainly knew that money was not a thing to be squandered.

My kids have always had so much more than I ever had. Mike makes a good living and he works so hard, dedicating long hours to his craft. He is brilliant and is amazing at his job. Really he is like a savant. It is amazing to see him work. I really wish the higher-ups in his company realized how much Mike and his ideas and designs have made that company as successful as it is. I often want to contact undercover boss and say go work undercover at (company not to be named). They would see how the upper level decisions effect the employees that are busting their butts for that company. Mike’s name would most certainly be mentioned. He is the genius behind the work. I am his wife and I know I’m biased, but honestly, if you ask anyone who works with Mike, you would hear the same thing. His brilliance will blow your mind! It does me all the time!

Anyway, long segway to say, my kids get a lot of stuff. We are able to vacation almost every year. We are able to eat out more than we should and our Christmases are
ridiculous (to a point I get embarrassed!). Yet, I so often feel like our kids don’t see how lucky they are. When they complain that their iPhone 6 is out of date and they need a new phone, or when their iMacs are out of storage, so they want a new iMac, I get so angry. Really angry at myself; we have given them so much and they don’t even realize it.

But when I’m quiet enough to hear God in the midst of my swirling mind of thoughts, I realize I am acting like the entitled child I think my kids act like at times. God says he gave his life for my sins; while I was cursing him, he died for me. When I was defiant doing my own thing (even after professing to love him) he stayed with me and didn’t give up on me. In fact, he pursued me and blessed me. He forgives me of everything – I get eternal life. I get the peace that only he can give. I get gifts of children and breath, and security, and love. And yet, I twiddle my thumbs and say, what’s next? What’s new?

Maybe God gives us children so we can see our faults more clearly. They are so evident when raising kids. As a parent you have the history and knowledge to back up your claims. You know the hard work it takes to make it in this world. Toilet paper doesn’t grow in the storage above the laundry room. It all costs money and money is hard to come by. But salvation is hard to come by. It took a hefty price, one that we don’t fully comprehend. Many of us don’t even believe it, because it is too far-fetched.

But like the rustling of the leaves on the trees, the invisible presence of God is ever real, ever there, ever-living, trying desperately, through love, to get our attention. We only need to slow down, quiet ourselves and rest in the presence of His soft touch. I need this reminder daily, hourly, every minute. I’m prone to wander and seek my own path. May God continue to work through me and others to give this world the peace and love it needs. It is God’s touch on the world. Do you feel it? Take notice, you just might.

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