AG and I were playing on the living room floor recently. I’ll admit I was quite pleased with the moment. The mess, blocks that had been stacked, knocked over, and stacked again; my adorable offspring… I was elated.
As I was sentimentally gloating, I looked at her and said quite audibly: “You know how much I love you? To the moon and back! I love you little girl.” And in this perfectly precious moment, my child completely ignored me. It was as if she hadn’t heard a word. So I said it again, and then again 2 more times. Nothing. No smile, no kisses, hugs, coos of adoration, nothing. She just kept playing with her toys.
Reality check. She is only 14 months old; a saucy 14 at that. She’s independent and busy. Snuggles last for about 45 seconds in our house. AG is sweet natured, but apparently does not like her playtime to be interrupted by my endearments. I both like and dislike this about her.
In this curious moment, however, it was as if the Lord was whispering to me – ‘Dear one, isn’t this what you do? I lavish you with my love, and you don’t even look up to acknowledge it. You are so focused on your to-do list, that you aren’t aware of my nearness.’
My mind began to swirl as I remembered how I thought more about laundry than the fact that I just ‘happened’ to have a verse come to mind helping me through my day. Or a sweet note from a friend came through in a most-needed moment and I passed it off as nothing more than a text. The coincidences of my life had become just that – interesting accidents. It’s worth reminding myself that with God, there are no accidents. This little picture of my daughter playing without hearing (listening) to a word I said created a catapult of introspection. It wasn’t that the Lord hadn’t been speaking to me – I hadn’t been listening.
This funny incident allowed me to become increasingly aware of God’s presence even in my minute-to-minute existence. How many times have I missed a blessing because I was too worried about my hair, checking Instagram, or our dinner plans? I want to get to a place where I continually acknowledge the Lord’s presence.
The Psalms have a lot to say about the presence of the Lord. Psalm 97:5 talks about the ‘mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord’ and in 114:7, ‘tremble, oh earth, at the presence of the Lord’. The power of His presence is undeniable, but in other Psalms, we see the gift of it. Psalm 95:2: ‘Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,’ and in 16:11 ‘in your presence is fullness of joy’. The presence of the Lord is a mighty, powerful thing. It is not for us to control or manipulate, but to seek after and celebrate.
A week or so later, I was waiting on a phone call with a loved ones test results. The entire day I could hardly think of anything else, and had been in deep prayer over the outcome. I was leaving work after being inside all day, and as I approached my car, I saw it. Right over me, almost hidden by clouds; was a rainbow. Not bold or bright, but undeniably there. The sweetness of it took my breath away and I could no longer hold back my emotions. God was there with me, in the middle of my concern. In the kindest way, my Savior was whispering to me “In the midst of the mess, when your stacked blocks have crashed and scattered, I love you. Your faithfulness delights me, my beloved daughter.” I don’t know how that moment could have been any sweeter.
It doesn’t mean that everything is alright. Life will always be a mess while we are here on earth. Psalm 16:11 doesn’t promise pretty or tidy. I can’t let myself forget that. Schedules will turn upside-down, children will ignore us, and people will break our hearts. But the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy. Our relationship with the Lord means that we will not be sidelined or forgotten by Him. Oh, how sweet that is. I want to be present in my faith. I want to be aware of my God. I want to be quiet enough to receive the whispers.