Every now and then, he gives me an undeniable glimpse of his love for me. A moment where I know without a doubt that God hears me. That he hears each and every one of us.
My friend calls them God winks. But this. This was more like a God hug. It was as though he reached down from heaven, wrapped his arms around me and said, “I see you.”
I’ve learned to pay attention. The evidence of his love and attention to each detail of our lives is all around us, but I sometimes I wonder how often I rush right past it. I wonder what would happen if I spent a little more time looking for his hand instead of rushing to check the next item off my to-do list.
In the months leading up to the release of Shift, I faced overwhelming anxiety. Some days, it felt as though a weight sat on my chest, making it difficult to breathe. When you release a book out into the world, there are a lot of unknowns. You’re almost guaranteed something won’t go according to plan, and it can be difficult to prepare for what you can’t foresee.
Since I am the queen of predicting worst-case scenarios, you can imagine how these unknowns affect my already overactive brain.
Our church kicked off the New Year with a Daniel fast, and although I had plenty of excuses not to do it, my husband and I decided at the last minute to go for it.
I didn’t last the full 21 days, but God, in his love and mercy, showed me this: The enemy of my soul was trying to steal every bit of joy over what God had done from me. As it says in John 10:10, his purpose is to steal, kill and destroy, and he will use any means possible to do so. So for weeks, my prayer became that of David in Psalm 52:
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Every time my mind would start to obsess about the unknown, predict worst-case-scenarios, or worry, I prayed this verse. It became my mantra, the meditation of my heart and desire. And the day Shift released, I experienced peace and joy unlike anything I’d experience in months.
But there was still one thing I knew God wanted me to do. Something I hadn’t done yet: Celebrate. So, about a month after release, when things had slowed down a bit, my husband and some beautiful members of our church family helped me do just that. At the celebration, I asked a friend who’s been a faithful encourager to pray over the book’s release, but she felt God prompting her to pray for me.
She also felt prompted to share the meaning of my name, “A Father’s joy.”
That word- joy. What I’d prayed for. What I’d been given.
And what he wanted to remind me I brought to him.
As I thought about that moment the next day, tears came to my eyes. All of these weeks I’d been praying for God to restore my joy, and he did. But he always wanted to show me what brought him joy: Me.
In all our striving to be seen, we are never unseen by God. God hears us. He loves us in a way that is so intimate, so perfect, that he comes into the intricate details of our lives to show us. He whispers the words we need to hear to our sisters and brothers, and speaks to us through prayers, nature, and songs.
The ways he loves are as infinite as he is. And when we take a moment to breathe it in, our hearts don’t have to feel anxious anymore. We find rest. Because if a God so vast loves us that much, we can know for certain we can trust him with whatever life holds tomorrow.
In my new book, Shift, I talk more about God’s unfathomable love for us, and how we can know without a doubt that God hears us. I also talk about ways you can see his hand in everyday moments that we often overlook. You can pick up your copy of Shift by clicking the image below.