As a child, I can remember hearing conversations about Jesus and feeling a burning inside my heart. I really had a hunger to know more. But it was when I was a young teenager outside of a very loud concert when I became overwhelmed by how “real” God’s presence is and how it could transform my life. A large group of believers stood together in a circle and began singing and thanking God. In that moment, God’s presence was so alive and tangible to me. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. “God is ALIVE! He is real!”
As this young teen, I had recently come running to Jesus and had experienced the life and freedom He gives. But I was discovering as I learned to walk with Him, that He makes Himself very known to those who choose to follow Him. Everywhere I turned my Jesus was confirming He was with me. Every morning I woke up, sat in the middle of my mint green bedroom, and began to praise and thank Jesus, my newest and closest friend, before I had to leave for school. In those intimate moments with my Savior, I grew closer. I began to change. This time of worshiping my King was a great source of renewal for me before I went into the world and faced people and situations that were difficult during that season. I was trying so hard to stand and break free from the life I had built surrounding sin. Each morning Jesus would whisper to me. I knew He was with me. He gave me what I needed to keep holding tight to His hand and He made it clear that He wasn’t going to let go of mine.
Admittedly, those early mornings of worship were a foundational part of my walk with Christ. Through praising Him, prayer, and opening His Word every day and devouring all I could, God began to teach me. I couldn’t make myself break away from that 5AM discipline that charged my spiritual batteries. It was tough, but I couldn’t deny that I knew my God was wanting to meet with me each morning. Any time I missed this appointment I felt like I had stood up the greatest date of my life.
Time rolled on. I graduated High School and went to college and God continued to burden my heart to give Him the first hour of my morning. My life continued to change. God continued to direct and lead me. During this season, God revealed to me that I would marry Danny- who was a distant friend at the time. One year later we were married.
As the years have gone by, I have come into seasons of very little sleep due to a wide array of needs in my home. Newborns, adjustment phases with new children, flu and stomach viruses, to name a few. In some of these seasons I have fallen out of my early morning routine. During those times that were totally out of my hands, God’s grace was always with me and I found other times to meet with Him. During naptime, when there was a quiet moment in my house, or before I went to bed at night. During seasons where I neglected this and instead filled my mornings and days with other things without considering this appointment with my Jesus as precious- God’s grace was with me still. When we’d bow our heads to thank Him for our food, He would reach out to me with His sweet presence to let me know He was with me. He would still send a beautiful sunset, a word from a friend, or even allow a situation into my life to remind me of how very much I needed Him. But through it all, Jesus has always beckoned me to prioritize the great privilege I have to meet with Him, the Almighty Creator of the universe. I can never get by for long without this time and I don’t want to.
I am beyond grateful that God is so persistent to lead us into a closer relationship with Him. Even when I have taken for granted the preciousness of the sweet fellowship He died to give me with the Father…He has continued to invite me to draw near over and over again.
In recent months, I am finding myself realizing again, in some of the same awing ways I did as a young teenager, how rich a treasure His presence is. How God in His grace continues to beckon me to know His heart more! What a miracle that is in itself! Maybe God has caused me to realize once again just how much I need His strength operating through me. I am not sure. But there is no refreshment comparable to that which God provides when we choose to open our hearts and truly commune with Him. There is no trial stronger than that presence. There is no difficulty bigger than that peace. There is no task more challenging than that mighty river of strength.
He is always waiting and continually beckoning us to know Him more. I don’t want to skip over what is truly one of life’s greatest miracles and mysteries. That the Living God wants to meet with me, speak to me, and lead my life- if I will only allow Him to.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”