A Little Walk, by Faith

Recently we had several rainy and cold, dreary spring days amongst the warm lovely ones.  When the rain finally subsided one evening, I asked my husband to go on a walk.  We tend to do that, take evening walks around our little farm and check out how everything is progressing.  It’s a good time for connecting, making sure we are on the same page and creating a verbal and mental to-do list for our berry farm

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.25.54 PMAs we slid on rubber boots to wade through puddles, our daughter bounded out the door to join us.  She was all kinds of wound up, so our walk was not nearly as quiet and relaxing, but we thoroughly enjoyed her company and the visual lesson she provided on the way.

We finished walking through the berries and proceeded to see if the bees were out working, checking on the three hives and 2 newly homed swarm boxes.  The grass in our pastures was well over knee high on me, and thigh high on my daughter.  As we waded through the grass to the back bee colony, we decided to cross the hot wire to a path where my husband and I knew the grass wouldn’t be quite so tall and walking would be a bit easier.  You see, we knew there was an old gravel road beneath the lush clover and slightly shorter fescue.  It was solid ground compared to the mushy, surrounding rain soaked soil.  We knew where the two tire worn and gravel filled trails would be, now overgrown and unrecognizable to the untrained eye. 

Our daughter was hesitant.  She kept asking “Are you sure there is a path here?”  “Yes!” we replied.  Finally, I asked if she could tell the difference beneath her feet that she was now walking on solid ground.  And with a smile, she said yes. 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  I’ve begun to grasp what faith is.  Faith is when you act on your belief.  I’ve always known that faith was an action word, but now I learning how important and impactful that action is. 

My daughter trusted that the old gravel road was there, even though she could not see it.  She kept putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that it was a solid place to freely walk.  Trusting what she had been told to be true.  Trusting that it was good. Trusting that my husband and I would not lead her to places she should not go, because she knows us.  She knows our voice and she knows our character. 

How much more than should we be able to trust and listen to the voice of our heavenly Father?  First, we must learn who he is.  His good and loving character. And then, we can step out in faith and trust what we believe.  I believe that God asks us to seek who He is, and to know His character and his voice.  We all want to be known and heard.  We are created in His image, and I think God desires to be known and heard just like we do.  He wants to be known by his children, like I want to be known by my own children.

“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”  The Lord knows our name, he calls us out and leads us.  Sometimes it feels like I’m walking on solid ground, and others it feels like I’m sinking in quick sand.  But I know that the Shepard is good and trust worthy. 

After a few hesitant yards my daughter was proudly walking that road, singing and stomping.  She was having fun.  Oh, to walk in faith down roads we can not see.  Covered in grass, so that in faith we must focus on putting one foot in front of the other and singing praises of thankfulness along the way. 

Pressing In and Stepping Out

During some prayer time today, I prayed that I would press into Him as I stepped out.  And immediately, I thought what an oxymoron!  That I would, at the same time, press into the Lord and step out.  You can’t go in two directions at the same time.  But I know that it is possible, and in order to step out into what you are asking of me it is absolutely necessary.  I can not press into anything else besides my Creator, because in doing so I would not be stepping out in the right place. 

If I didn’t press into God, I would probably be pressing into my own flesh and the world.  If I pressed into this world, it would drown the Spirit within.  I would be pressing into something or someone else, concerned with their thoughts and approval, rather than God’s.  That is a never ending, never satisfied place to be.  Pressing into the Lord would be pressing into His word, prayer, loving others and shining light.  And trusting that the light would continue to shine brighter each day. 

Pressing into the Lord anchors me.  As I begin to step out, the doubts and questioning have swirled.  Some days more than others.  Am I on the right track?  Have I gone down a crazy rabbit trail and missed the path marked and cleared before me?  Am I just wandering?  Who am I kidding?  The list could take me dark places really fast, especially today.  If I stay in the place of doubt, I am like a wave of the sea that is tossed about by the wind. (James 1:6) But if I am pressing into the Lord I will be able to step out, into the deep water.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.47.15 PMLord, you know that fear and excitement I experienced as a young person when I was way out, away from shore amongst the waves, unable to touch the bottom of the great Atlantic.  Let me not be frightened or discouraged, but Strong and Courageous.  Let me press into you, while I step out.  When I went out into the ocean with my body board, I had a sense of safety.  Jesus is my safety, my floatation device.

I have a body boarding induced scar, but it is a reminder of swimming out into the wild and amazing ride that ensued.  It’s a reminder that I crashed and burned, hard.  But I walked away and caught another wave equally as glorious, because I trusted the board to keep me afloat.    

You Lord, have a wild and amazing wave prepared for each of us to ride but we must swim out into the deep in order to catch it, and I trust you. Let me press in while stepping out.  There is no one I’d rather press into.  You will never leave me.  You will never forsake me.  You keep your promises to a thousand generations, and me.  You have begun a work and will not leave it unfinished.  You are trustworthy.  You are love. 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 (ESV)

What are you pressing into right now? 

Photo Credit :: Emily w/ Visual Vero

“God is not a light switch.”

A few days ago, my daughter and I had an hour or so to ourselves.  Some “girl time” while the gentlemen were at the first ball practice of the season.  She anticipated this time coming and as I pulled into the driveway from work she greeted me, her backpack stocked with a box of art supplies and notebooks, water bottle and chapter book in hand.  She had a plan!  Once everyone cleared out, we grabbed a blanket and headed for the little mowed patch in our meadow.  As we meandered along the path to the clearing, she talked about her day at school and how beautiful the day was.  Sometimes her thoughts are incredibly random, yet strung together perfectly.  She started talking about the clouds and the sunshine, “Mom, the sun is always on.  Even at night, its on to reflect the moon.  God is not a light switch.  He is always on.”  Yes ma’am!  How true, and how easily I tend to forget!

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Our little sitting spot on the farm, native flowers will bloom as the weather warms.

Rest is a vital part of our humanness, its how we repair, recuperate and recharge.  A lot happens while we are physically sleep, but we kind of “turn off” for a while not completely aware of what may be going on around us.  Have you ever tried to operate on little to no sleep?  After a while, it’s next to impossible to function properly or think clearly.  Our Creator doesn’t get tired like we do. And we can rest each night, knowing and trusting that the sun will come up because God is not going to turn it off and take a break to be recharged.

Our Creator doesn’t have to turn the light switch “off” in order to conserve energy.  He’s not a light switch that can be turned on or off as He feels like it.  Our God is always “on” and working.  He is always present, always aware, always providing light.  He is the One who separates light from the darkness. (Genesis 1)  He shines the light, at all times, on all of His glorious creations.  No matter what we do, we can not turn Him off.  We may turn Him off within us, perhaps walking away from Him, but His light is always available to us.

If I had to pick a favorite book of the bible, it would James.  Yes, James gets all up in your business and its hard to take at times…and that’s ok.  But I think one of the greatest comforts can be found in James 1:17, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.”  Our creator is the Father of Light, and He doesn’t change like shifting shadows.  He is always good and always constantly in the “on” position.

Sometimes I’m the one to flip the switch, then there isn’t much light to work with.  I’m learning to recognize when the light within is flickering, or turned off.  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)  I want to live in the light, where I can see and be seen.  I can see the vibrancy of life and color when there is light!  The only way to reflect love is to step into the light, even when it’s uncomfortable and I feel exposed, because there is relationship waiting on the other side.