The Quickest Way to Slow Down

Have you ever tasted something so delicious that you slow down to savor the flavors mesmerizing your mouth?

I enjoy eating, so I’m pretty expressive when I taste something delicious. I make savoring-type sounds, and say This is so good! over and over again. Even the next day, I might reminisce about it. Do you ever do that?

In the final weeks of living in our old home, I savored memories as they flooded my mind. Holidays and treasured visits from our children…gathering with friends to know God better through His Word…laughter…tender and hard conversations. Some conversations echo—and reveal how those words furthered relationships. Even vivid days that held stress, strain, or worry fade into feelings of relief to have overcome, by the grace of God.

When we savor food—or a memory—we slow down a bit, in a good way. We appreciate the moment, the experience, or the person.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34.8a)

God wants us to savor him—to feed on his Word and claim This is so good!, to tell him how we feel about him, even if we say the same thing every day, to see that it is his goodness behind every memory we savor.

Savoring stirs gratitude. Gratitude strengthens our focus TOWARD God. The more our focus is toward him, we learn to slow down and we learn to savor the present as God unfolds it. 

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” 

“is”—God wants you and me to savor him and his goodness today.

…watching–or even better–joining our child while he’s immersed in imagination land.

…enjoying flowers in bloom, an afternoon rain, a blue sky–reminders that God is always at work among his creation which includes us

…smiling as we wash a child’s yard-dirty clothes because these represent fun and adventure in a season that passes so fast

…wiping sticky hands and food-smudged mouths—that one day soon won’t need our touch

…celebrating children’s loud voices—because our child has a friend to make happy noises with

…loud music or instruments—because the kids have chosen our home as their gathering place

Dear God,
Thank you for such grace, that you give us the opportunity to be lifelong learners as your disciples! Help us to slow down and learn to savor you and your goodness. Thank you for the many moments you provide for us to taste and see you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Grace for Goodbye

“Can I come by for a few minutes?”
“What is it?” she asked as I entered her house.
Tears brimmed in my eyes, I hugged her, and stepped back. “We’re moving.”

In our almost 29 years of marriage, Terrell and I have moved six times, each related to a job change. First, God gets our attention to reflect upon the present. Then, he stirs our heart to consider what he possibly has next for us. Last, he shepherds our steps and heart as he brings the current season to a close.

In recent weeks Terrell and I have cherished time with friends in Houston, saying goodbye. We’ll stay in touch and hopefully see each other again, but our sacred season together to plant a church has ended. My heart is sad. It’s hard to say goodbye. Underneath each goodbye is the history of that relationship and significant shared experiences.

The beauty of the sad goodbye is the treasured story that led up to it.

God reigns over our stories. Line by line, we live them. Each relationship is a story. Each event, milestone, revelation, and challenge is a story. Some stories develop over years. Others are short in time, yet long in depth.

So, have you or your child experienced an end to a story recently—involving a job, relationship, school, or perhaps a move like me? It’s never too late to mark its end, in the warm light of God’s love.

Marking an end helps us say goodbye—to a place, a rhythm, a plan, and perhaps to people we’ve grown to love.

Marking an end creates space to celebrate God’s goodness—his faithful provision of all that we need and more, his insights to our self and insights to Him, new relationships that wouldn’t exist if not for the sovereignty of how God intersects lives, his patience, mercy, and amazing grace.

Marking an end helps us ready for the new beginning that God has in store.

When I mark an end, I spend time alone to reflect. I spend time with the people with whom I lived the story. We reminisce, laugh, share our hearts, and maybe cry. Especially, I thank God for giving me this time, for all that he did in it and in me. And then I commit it all to him.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26.3-4)

To Know You Are Loved Deeply

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are moms! I hope you experience a giant glimpse of how cherished you are by those you love!

Whether you’re a mom or not, it’s a blessing to have days when we taste the beautiful love that God has for us.

God knows how you and I wrestle with how we see ourselves. Some days our heart is peaceful, yet other days, the assault of worry, regret, comparison, or feeling inadequate overwhelms us. Often circumstances, or circumstances we imagine, dominate our perspective.

“‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace share not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54.10)

Our every thought is seen and each unspoken experience and emotion in our heart is known. . . And God’s love for you and me never changes. Never.

You, my friend, are loved deeply by the Father. Savor this truth and let it soak in to your soul—

YOU are loved deeply.  Uniquely YOU. God designed you differently from every person who has lived before you, who walks the earth now, and who will one day take steps here. YOU, special you, are made by him with delight and for his delight.

“…my steadfast love shall not depart from you”

You ARE loved deeply.  This moment, as you slept last night, in your weaknesses, sadnesses, trials, and joys—God IS pouring perfect love over you. Be still; believe this; receive; and rest in his love for you.

“…my steadfast love shall not depart from you”

You are LOVED deeply.  Perfectly, not conditionally. This is hard to imagine, yet it’s true. Every detail of who you are right now today is covered with God’s grace and blanketed with his love. The part of you that feels unforgivable, ashamed, like a failure, or unworthy—God loves.

“…my steadfast love shall not depart from you”

You are loved DEEPLY.  God’s love heals, comforts, and restores. His love fills cracks and empty places in our heart that life experiences–or absence of these–have made. The power of his love transforms us. Our heavenly Father wants us to step closer to him, to open our heart to receive the fullness of his amazing love.

Dear God,
I want to know the truth of these words fully in the deepest part of my heart—that I am loved deeply by you. I open my heart to you right now. Heal, comfort, and restore me. Fill every crack and empty place with your love. Transform me that I live knowing how deeply I am loved by you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.