A Smile From God

This morning’s devotional read:

“Let your heart be encouraged by the way God smiles at you every day—in a beautiful sunset…a bird in flight…a star-filled sky…something that makes your heart feel truly thankful.”

I happened to glance at it briefly as I was getting ready to leave to return a movie rental. I had been up for awhile already, trying to leave so I could avoid the pre-football game traffic, but I was moving slow. Plus, the weather was pretty crazy. There was a lot of wind and at one point it was raining really hard. I certainly did not want to get caught in that, but I also didn’t want to wait too much longer.

Soon enough I was able to venture out into the stormy weather. I walked to the store, returned the movie and as I turned around there was one of my beautiful friends who was so thrilled to see me. I truly felt the smile of God on His precious daughters as we reunited.

She gave me the biggest hug and I knew just how much I so loved. You know what that’s like when someone is excited to see you? It leads me to consider that is the same way God feels when we come to Him, excited to see His face, to meet with Him and hear His voice speak to our heart.

She encouraged me and prayed for me before we said goodbye. I reflected back to my devotional, trying to recall each word I had read and knew the blessing of God’s smile on me in that moment.

I felt:

Blessed that I had not left any earlier.

Blessed that my friend was there at just the right moment.

Blessed that God was reminding me how He delights in me.

Father God, thank You for reminding me today that You delight in me, for the way You smiled at me, the way You hugged my heart. I’m so thankful for how You have called to me, chased after me, embraced me with Your infinite love even when I was not deserving of it. I’m grateful that Your love is NOT dependent upon my love for You. It is not determined by how good I was. Your love for me will never change. You will always delight in me because I was made to be Yours.

Lessons Learned In 2013

Well, 2013 is coming to an end and 2014 is well on its way. For some of us, the new year is a welcomed change. I’m one of those hopeful folks ready for a fresh start. This morning I was reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year:

Listen to your body. It speaks volumes. When you feel tired, rest. When you feel stressed out, ask why or what is causing the stress and then address it. If what’s causing the stress is beyond your control, the very best thing is to let it go and put it in the hands of God because He is the ONLY One who can take care of the details.

My tastes, my cravings are changing a lot! I can actually talk myself out of running to grab a drink from Starbucks with the common sense that says “I don’t need that right now.” I still enjoy meeting up with friends or going to use wi-fi, but it’s definitely not about the drinks being a regular thing for me any longer.

Make lots of candy, sweet treats and goodies to share with loved ones. It’s what your mom used to do and it always brings such joy. Besides, you have a plethora of recipes pinned to your Pinterest boards. I love cooking! Oh how I’ve missed it and I’m done making excuses for why I can’t. I have new toys to use in the kitchen and I’m taking advantage of their usefulness. I’ve spent the past twenty-four hours making a half dozen yummy treats that are gluten-free and have healthier ingredients. And they all taste great!

Use what you know to help heal your body. I love eating raw foods and will continue to make healthier choices when it comes to food because I feel so much better when I do. When I don’t I hate how my body feels. I’m really getting this message. It’s coming through loud and clear. I can’t afford to keep buying and eating things that used to satisfy me. I would buy too much of it and eat too much of it at one time. And then I hated myself for making those choices. This cycle is coming to an end! That gap is closing moment by moment. Glory Hallelujah!!!

Don’t stop doing what you were made to do just because its difficult or you find yourself facing opposition. There will always be opposition in some capacity. But with courage you can face anything: fear, doubt, worry, hurt, sorrow, discontent and discouragement. God is for us, so who or what can be against us.

Speak the truth whenever possible and do it in love, but don’t be afraid to speak the truth when it truly matters, even if it seems like all of the ugly feelings are going to come out when you do. You can apologize. It’s much better to not keep it in, stuffed deep inside where it could torture you and hurt you even more. The people who love you will accept you and your apologies and will appreciate your willingness to not allow them to stay in that place and they will try to make changes because they care about their relationship with you.

Put up the Christmas tree the night before Thanksgiving-don’t put it off again. You need this to help usher in the season of celebrating the birth of Christ.

Make time for the people who matter most. Enough said!

Rest, rest, rest. Two weeks off from school does not mean to play catch up at home. It means to sleep, play, sleep, play and do what brings you joy.

Go Christmas caroling! You know you love it.

Take long breaks from social media. Your brain can only process so many things at once.

Make time to talk with God every morning when you wake up and at night when you go to sleep. Don’t ignore Him when He is calling to you. When He is singing you a love song, respond by singing it back to Him. Receive His mercy and grace with open arms and His discipline with a humble heart. He is the One, the ONLY One who loves you without condition and will never fail you. Even when you find yourself disappointed by things that are happening, know that He is still working for your best. He doesn’t mind your honesty when you cry out to Him. Sometimes that is the best way to release your hurt and pain before Him. And the allow Him to heal the deep places where your heart is broken. He wants to restore you completely. He will hold nothing back that He has for you. The question is will you receive His gift of life and hope and healing and restoration?