Freedom Friday, Tools for the Journey: Fitting Concentrated Study into a Busy Life

I have an occasional series in my blog entitled “Tools for the Journey.” Today, we’re talking about concentrated study.

Before I dive into this tool, I must mention how much God loves you. The God who spoke the universe into being loves you so much that He sent His Son down to earth as a man – to live as we live, to experience life as we have, and to even face the same temptations we face. That’s how important it was for this God to connect with you.

When I talk about studying or reading the Bible, often what we hear through our filter is, “I need to read the Bible to be a good Christian.” I hope today what you will hear instead is, “God loves me so much that He desires to connect with me all day, every day. One way I can connect with God is through His Word. There, I learn about His character, His promises and His heart for me.”

So, that said…..

I was recently listening to some teaching by Ian Green (he did some leadership training for Chi Alpha campus missionaries back around 2004, and then more recently at my church). He mentioned how, when he was younger, he took one night a week to spend concentrated time with God. He would read the Bible for 30 minutes, pray for 30 minutes, read a Christian book for 30 minutes, and then repeat.

I used to do something similar when I first became a Christian and wondered if I could somehow find a way to do this again. On a smaller scale 🙂

So for the last 2 weeks, I have been doing this in 10-minute increments. I read the Bible for 10 minutes, pray for 10 minutes, read a book for 10 minutes, and then repeat (if I have time). I set a timer on my phone for each increment, and keep my journal close by to jot down any thoughts. I use the prayer time to mostly pray for the needs of others. Sometimes, I send them a note of encouragement based on my prayers if I feel led to do so. This type of rotating study has been a welcome relief from the type of reading I normally do, which is much more academic.

You could also do this on a smaller scale. If you only have 10 minutes, you could do each segment for 3 minutes each. For your book reading, grab a devotional like My Utmost for His Highest, Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening (a favorite of mine, and only 99 cents for Kindle), or another I’ve been using lately, John Maxwell Daily Reader (a book my mentor Mike Olejarz gave me on the topic of personal and leadership development).

One of the warnings Ian Green gave is that when he began to set aside time for this purpose, all of a sudden, everyone wanted to visit him on that night. The phone would ring, and lots of things would cry out for his attention. He was living with his parents at the time, and simply told them to not interrupt him, no matter what.

It is easy to put our time with God as a secondary priority. There are other priorities that seem more immediate, more pressing (like little kids, dirty kitchens, incomplete work assignments). As we begin to be more purposeful about study and spending time with God, we need to guard that time. Block it off on your calendar. Ask for His grace and favor in getting that other stuff done as well. You will find the investment of time to be well worth it.

What methods do you use to make sure you get in your study time? 

Monday Morning Meditation: How Do You Start Your Day?

Good morning, Living Unveiled readers! I have a very important question for you.

How did you start your Monday?

Did it start it quietly soaking in God’s truth in prayer and Bible-reading?

Or did it begin with frantically grabbing something to eat as you ran out or pushed your kids out the door?

How your day begins sets the tone for hours to come.

I posted something on my Facebook page last week (have you “liked” my Facebook page yet?). I have been in the habit of almost-daily Bible reading for about a year now. This consistency is new for me. Recently, I thought I missed a few days due to work, etc. and had felt “off” as a result. I sat down to read that night, only to realize I had missed just one day. My heart is now so accustomed to the daily bread that every day missed impacts me.

I used to read the Bible regularly because that’s what good Christians do. I now recognize a difference in myself when I read the Bible, process it and pray through it, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

Have you consumed your daily bread today? 

Start your week with true humility. Dive into the Word and find out what your loving Father says about you. Read about all that Jesus died to give you. Soak in the Spirit’s presence. Ask God to fill you again.

For Freedom Friday this week, I’ll be sharing an exciting method I’ve been using to structure some of my study time. See you then!

Monday Morning Meditation: Undistracted Devotion

This weekend at church we sang:

I don’t wanna talk about You like You’re not in the room
I wanna look right at You, I wanna sing right to You

We sang these lines as part of the song, “You Won’t Relent.” When I looked up the lyrics, I realized the lines are actually part of another song entitled “Dove’s Eyes.” It’s quite mellow and introspective compared to the passion (and volume!) of the other song, but there’s another line in the song that grabs my heart.

Give me undistracted devotion to only You

Oh, how easily I am distracted from my devotion to God! Every worry that comes my way, everything that’s not part of my plan, every stumbling block and obstacles takes my eyes off my Lord and on to my troubles.

It’s Monday. I hope you gathered with other believers this weekend. I pray you dove into the Word of God and soaked in His Spirit this morning.

Many things will cry out for my attention this week. The cry of my heart is to have undistracted devotion to my Lord, that my response to all else will be tempered by my love for Jesus and my passion to know and serve Him.

Will you pray for undistracted devotion to God today?

Bible Haikus

My friend Pastor Craig Burns posts haikus based on his Bible reading. I’ve adopted the idea myself. Here are a few recent haikus:

Joel 1 
4 kinds of locusts.
Food and water disappear.
Joel cries, Lord, help us!

Nehemiah 10
Lots of tricky names
Trying to say them out loud
Kids laugh at Bunni

Philippians 3 
Everything but Christ
Discard it all like garbage
Become one with Him

1 Timothy 1 
Christ Jesus our hope
Jesus came to save sinners
Cling tightly to faith

1 Timothy 6
Run from all evil
Follow what is right and good
Obey His commands

Monday Morning Meditation: Positioned to Receive

Imagine you are watching the Superbowl.

The ball is about to be kicked for the first time. Everyone is all set to go. The kicker’s foot makes contact with the ball, and all eyes move in the direction of the offense – only to watch them all walk off the field. The ball hits the ground and bounces several times before rolling to a stop.

No one was positioned to receive the ball.

You’ve likely never seen this happen in a football game. You’ve probably seen people not quite be in the exact spot they needed to be in order to catch the ball, but the majority of the time, the players are on the field, ready, waiting with expectation for an opportunity to receive the ball from the kicker and take off, running.

I was listening to a speaker at church several weeks ago talk about our inheritance in Christ, and he asked us a pointed question: “Are you positioned to receive?”

I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

What does it mean to be positioned to receive from God?

Being positioned to receive begins on our knees. This is our starting position, our kick-off stance. It begins in prayer, creating the time and space to have a conversation with Him. Too often we come to prayer simply to download our list of needs and wants to Him. We also need to come to prayer to listen, to hear, and to learn.

“Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.” Psalm 5:1-2

Being positioned to receive happens in the Word. A football player cannot play the game without some knowledge of the playbook. Being positioned to receive in Christ begins with knowing who God is and who He says we are throughout the Bible. In our reading, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us be ready to respond, to guide us into all truth, to illuminate the Word for us, and to change us through our reading.

“I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Psalm 119:147-148

Being positioned to receive continues with an open heart. A football player must be open to whatever might happen on the field and be prepared to respond immediately. A truly open heart waits with expectation, doing what God has said to do with a readiness to respond to whatever new thing He might desire from us.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

Are you positioned to receive today? Have you started the day in prayer and in the Word, with an open heart, ready to follow where God may lead?

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12

Freedom Friday: Hang on His Every Word, Chicken Edition

Is anyone else grieved over the Chick-Fil-A hub-bub?

I’m not going to tell you what I think about it all so you can stop hoping I will 🙂 I’m not going to tell you if I would have participated in chowing down on some CFA if I had time on Wednesday or if I lived less than an hour away from one.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten at CFA. The one time I tried to near my dad’s house, it was Sunday and I forgot they were closed.

What I will say is I think we are trying to simplify what is a complex issue. It’s not just about free speech. It’s not just about Cathy wanting to deny someone a “right.” It’s not just about how “of course” Jesus would have never participated in a boycott and what would happen if we took all this time and effort and volunteered at a food pantry instead of eating a chicken sandwich?

I read these challenging and quite relevant verses earlier this week:

“After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said.” Luke 19:47-48

People keep posting on their Facebook and Twitter and whatever means they can about what Jesus would do.

Do we really know Jesus well enough to say that?

When was the last time we hung on Jesus’ every word?

I can’t say I feel as those described in Luke 19 feel when I read the Gospels, which I’ve been working through for several months. I want to. I want to be that desperate for a greater knowledge of my Savior that I hang on His every word.

Have you read through the Gospels lately?

During Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Satan tells Jesus to feed Himself by turning stones into bread (Matthew 4). “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

The words of Jesus invite me to go deeper, to take my faith to new levels, to know Jesus and all He was and is and all He experienced.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV1984)

If I believe that Jesus’ words are the words of life (John 6:68), that He is the One who sets me free (John 8:36), and that I am to be like Him (Philippians 2), then I, like His early followers, need to be hanging on His every word.

As we ponder prominent issues in our world today, let us truly study and consider the words of Jesus. Let us not claim to know definitively how He would react to certain situations. Let us strive to simply know Him and the fullness of all He has for us.

Freedom Friday, Tools for the Journey: Hope

One or two mornings a week, I get up extra early to try and spend some uninterrupted time with God.

Some days, I read the Bible and pray because I’ve made a habit of it. No fireworks go off, and I don’t hear any specific “words.”

Some days, my time with God literally feels like breath and life and sustenance.

I was still reeling from some challenging events. Earlier that week, I had fought the overwhelming urge to sink into my default setting. Then my uncle, who everyone had been praying would be healed, passed away.

I knew I needed to make some carved-out time with God a priority.

After reading some Scripture, I opened a file on my phone where I keep a list of prayer requests. The first thing I read was this:

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.” Psalm 62:5

Hope. Not in people, things, or a certain outcome to prayers. But a pure hope that is only in God.

I needed to read that.

As I ponder hope, I feel I can’t talk about hope without also talking about hopelessness.

As Russell Willingham said in his book Breaking Free, “Hopelessness is not only a response to traumatic losses; it can also become a habit-forming coping mechanism.” Hopelessness, despair, depression are all part of my default setting.

As I wrote about a few months ago in a post on hopelessness, “If God is real, if He is who the Bible says He is, then hopelessness is not an option. If His promises are true, if He doesn’t change, and never lies, then we have to reverse the pattern in our lives of getting sucked into hopelessness.”

A couple of things to remember about hope:

1. Hope is a choice.
I read recently Christians need to be self-leaders in the area of hope. I agree. Hope is a choice, just like trust is a choice.

For most of my life, I based my hope solely on my experience of life. I was used to looking for hope in the things around me, clinging to my circumstances or glimmers of hope I saw in people. When I became a Christian, I needed to learn an entirely different way of living.

During this time, I clung to all Scriptures about hope. I read them, I breathed them in, I memorized them and quoted them to myself frequently.

Romans 8:24 was one of my favorites: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?”

I needed to learn to stop hoping in what I could see with my limited vision and perspective, and starting seeing with God’s eyes.

Hope is a continuous choice for me. When I felt myself slowly sinking into that default setting earlier this week, I had to make a conscious choice to head in the other direction. I had to decide to choose God, to choose His breath and His life within me.

I had choose to hope in Him.

2. Hope can’t be conditional.
If my experiences tell me that it is pointless to trust God, useless to put my hope in Him, that I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, maybe the problem is not God. Maybe the problem is my perspective. Maybe the problem is that my hope, my trust, is conditional.

My hope in God cannot be reliant on Him answering my prayers in a certain way. I’ll be honest. When my uncle died earlier this week, in addition to grief & loss, I felt frustrated, disappointed, and confused. So many people were praying, and even fasting, for his healing. Why hadn’t God answered those prayers?

Rather than doubt God, doubt His goodness and His faithfulness, I chose hope. And God opened my eyes to His perspective.

On the day my uncle died, I was getting my boys down for a nap in the afternoon, as I always do. I usually ask Bear, my 4 year-old, what he is thankful for and what he’d like to pray for before we go to sleep at night. We don’t usually pray before nap, but we did that day. Bear prayed for the first time ever, using his own words. “God, I please pray that Uncle Greg would feel better.” I found out that evening that Uncle Greg died just minutes later. I can only believe that God answered that prayer and that Uncle Greg now feels better for eternity.

3. Hope can be learned.
If hopelessness is part of your default setting, it is possible to change that. We can learn to hope.

Dive deep into hope. Ask a believer what hope looks like for them. Ask a friend to pray for you, hold out hope for you. Memorize Scriptures about hope. Read stories in the Bible about people who chose to hope in God and what that looked like. When you find yourself sinking, speak truth to yourself. Say out loud some of those hope Scriptures you have memorized.

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5

Pure hope is a belief, a trust only in God, that His will be done.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.” Psalm 62:5

Please pray for my uncle’s family. He left behind a wife, 2 daughters, 9 siblings including a twin sister, his parents, 20+ nieces and nephews, as well as many other friends & family who love him and are deeply feeling this loss. Thank you.

Freedom Friday: The Desires of My Heart

What are the desires of your heart?

The longings? The dreams?

What are you passionate about? What drives you?

As I wrote this, I asked myself this question: what are the desires of my heart today?
-To be a patient and kind mom.
-To be a loving and encouraging wife.
-To be a faithful and prayerful friend.
-To model God’s love & freedom to those around me.

At a leadership meeting for the ministry I work with, we all wrote a life purpose statement. I wrote this almost a year ago: “To see the Church & its individuals learn to walk in the fullness of freedom that is available to every follower of Jesus Christ, finding healing in the context of community, through music & teaching, and seeing themselves reflected in the image of God and the cross.”

Yep, that still about sums it up.

Psalm 37 was read in church a few weeks ago. My eyes were opened to the fullness of all this psalm speaks of, and even all it asks of us.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD (NASB says “Rest in the LORD”) and wait patiently for him.

We can get really caught up on verse 4 because we like verse 4. I like verse 4 as well! I want the desires of my heart to be fulfilled. But when I focus on verse 4 alone, I lose sight of all the other things God would like us to do.

Trust.
Do good.
Dwell.
Enjoy.
Delight.
Commit.
Trust.
Be still.
Rest.
Wait.

Yikes. That’s intense.

If you had asked me a decade ago what the desires of my heart were, some would have been the same as today; some would have been different. As God has grown me and refined me, as I am slowly becoming the person He originally created me to be, my heart has changed in some ways, and in others remains the same.

What I think I want isn’t always good. Some of what I want is just plain selfish. Other desires may seem unnecessary or frivolous, but God cares about those, too. I was once told that God was too busy doing important things to answer my “small” prayer request. It wasn’t small to me, and so I kept asking (and He did grant my request eventually).

When I choose to trust God (this short passage tells me to do that twice), when I enjoy Him & dwell in Him, when I am still before Him, resting in Him, waiting on Him, when I am good to His creations, when I commit myself and my ways to Him, I am changed. My heart is changed to be more like His. My desires are sometimes even changed.

I started this blog post a few weeks ago. I opened my saved drafts this morning, and this was on top. I needed to be reminded of this psalm today. The week has been challenging, and a dream I have, a God-given dream, is slow in coming to fruition. I start asking myself, “Is God’s timing really perfect? Can people’s choices mess with God’s will? Will someone stand in the way of my dreams?”

I needed the reminder to stop. Be still. Rest. Commit. Trust. I know that I know that I know that God is good. He doesn’t give His kids stones when we ask for bread. He just doesn’t! I am once again presented with a choice: a choice to trust in Him. To trust in His goodness, His faithfulness. To trust in His character. To give my heart with its sometimes broken and sometimes God-given desires back to Him, let Him shape it some more, and wait for Him.

Today I will trust in the Lord. Over & over. I will do good – to my kids, my husband, my family, friends and even strangers. I will dwell, enjoy, delight, commit, and choose to trust again, as I rest in Him & wait on Him.

Freedom Friday: Tools for the Journey, God’s Word

I talk about trusting God a lot.

I mean a lot a lot 🙂

I was talking to a friend last week about something and, of course, I was sharing about choosing to trust God. “Just like you say in your blog,” was the response I received.

Yep 🙂

As I’ve shared before, I write what I know. I write what I’ve lived. I write what I’ve experienced, what God has shown me, or is showing me.

I don’t write about it if it hasn’t already begun to pulsate in my blood.

I write about this because I hear from people, at least on a weekly basis, that they don’t know how to trust God. I hear from people who have been Christians for decades that God is confronting them on the fact that they don’t really trust Him.

They may trust Him for salvation – but they do not trust Him with their daily lives. They don’t really trust Him for provision or healing or freedom or any of the other things they desire or need.

Why don’t we trust God?

There could be a million reasons. There may have been a time He didn’t come through. He didn’t heal a loved one. He didn’t give us that job we really wanted. He didn’t come through with that miracle.

He didn’t provide – or at least not in the way we wanted Him to.

Trusting in God isn’t just about trusting that He is going to do certain things for us as His adopted children, or that He will give us certain things because He loves us.

It’s about trusting in His character, that He is who He says He is and He will do what He has said He will do.

Ultimately, I think one of the main reasons we don’t trust God is because we don’t know Him. Yes, we have been adopted as His children through Jesus’ gift of salvation, but we don’t really know Him. We have unrealistic expectations of Him. Yes, God can do anything, even the impossible – according to His perfect will. Yet our method is to come up with a plan, and expect Him to bless it and carry it out in our timing.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

We need to grow to know His character, His attributes. We need to know His heart.

We cannot surrender our struggles to and grow to trust someone we don’t know. The primary ways we get to know God are through spending time in His Word and in prayer.

Let me pause and clarify. Lots of people (and I do mean lots) who have life-controlling issues (and especially relational brokenness issues) have been told that if they read the Bible and prayed more, their problems would go away. I’m not saying that at all. There is a reason that “Spending Time with the Freedom Giver” is only 1 of the Freedom Steps in my “Learning to Walk in Freedom” series. It’s only 1 step in the process, but it’s an important step.

BUT I think those of us who have been indoctrinated with this “try harder, do more” mentality of “read the bible and pray more” sometimes throw the baby out with the bath water, as the saying goes (um, and being a parent, what a strange saying!).

Since we’ve already “tried harder” and it didn’t “work”, we don’t invest the time & energy needed into having a regular, set aside time with God and His Word. I fell into this trap for a while. I continued to read some Christian literature, sometimes a devotional book, but I did not spend much time studying the Bible unless I was preparing to speak (kind of embarrassing to admit that!).

There was just so much baggage attached to the Bible for me. I had to get over that. I had to release that baggage and those misconceptions to God and recognize what I’d already experienced the truth of: when I read His Word consistently, I walk away changed.

Now I can’t live without the Word of God in my life.

If you feel lost in how to begin studying the Word of God, here are a few ways you could start digging in.

1. Start with a gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John are the 4 gospels in the New Testament, 4 accounts of Jesus’ time on earth. They are all very different. Mark is a shorter book with rapid-fire description of what Jesus did here on earth. John is slightly longer, but it provides a fuller picture of the person of Jesus, with quite a few of His longer teachings and speeches, as well as an intimate look into His time with the disciples.

2. Get a study Bible. Ask a friend (or friends) what study Bible they use. Go to a book store and check a few out. Currently, I’m reading the “Life Recovery Bible” which is the New Living Translation and includes thoughts about recovery and the 12 steps. I generally read the NIV (I have a Serendipity Bible from my campus ministry days that has thought-provoking, and sometimes silly, questions to ponder) or the NASB, so I wanted to read something a little different.

One word of caution: even if you are using a study Bible, you don’t need to always be reading the little boxes and interpretations of the passage. You can simply read the Scriptures and work through them yourself (see #3 for some suggestions). If you tend to rely too heavily on other’s thoughts about the Bible or trust too much in others to interpret Scripture for you, you’re likely better off with an old-fashioned “pew Bible“.

3. Use a study method. When I was a student, I used the PROAPT method.
Pray: Begin your time of study by praying for God to open your eyes and your heart to what the passage might be speaking to you today.
Read: Read the passage you’ve chosen for the day.
Observe: Simply observe, by asking the questions how, who, why, where, what & when, what is going on in the passage. Who are the characters? What are they doing? Where are they? When is this happening? What are they feeling and experiencing?
Apply: Apply the passage to your life. What might this passage have to teach me today?
Pray: Pray again that God would make what you have read have His life breathed into it.
Tell: Tell someone about what you have learned in your Bible reading today.

Another similar resource is often referred to as “the Navigators Word Hand“. The “Word Hand” shows five methods of learning from the Bible: Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, Meditate.

A friend of mine likes to take Scripture and put it in his own words by writing his thoughts out in his journal.

4. Think outside the box. Your “quiet time”, as it’s often called, does not need to look the same every day. Mine doesn’t. Ask God to help you figure out what works best for you. Be creative. Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Pathways, has some great suggestions.

There are lots of options.

Next week, I will share more on this topic 🙂 See you then!

Freedom Friday: You Are Precious

As most of you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I have 2 little boys under the age of 4.

I tell them regularly that they are precious, they are cherished, and they are accepted. I share with them the joy I have in being their mom, and what a privilege it is to spend all day hanging out with them. I explain that though my love runs very deep, they also have a Heavenly Father who loves them even more, so much that He gave up everything for them.

Despite my good intentions, I yell too much. I am not nearly as patient as I’d like to be. I struggle with my words and my actions toward them at times. I find myself needing to apologize more often than I wish I needed to.

My children are very forgiving. Much more forgiving than I am of myself.

I am an imperfect parent. We are all imperfect. I don’t say that to excuse my behavior. It is simply a statement about my, and everyone’s, reality. Even if I were always patient, always kind, never raising my voice or using a harsh word, I still would not communicate perfectly my, and God’s, love for them.

When I speak these truths to my children, that they are adored, they are loved, that God created them for a specific purpose and with unique gifts, that I am so blessed to be their mom – they are not old enough to fully understand all that this means. That’s okay. I want these truths to sink into their little hearts so deeply that by the time they are old enough to understand, these truths will be so ingrained in them that they will be their reality.

Last week, I talked about resting in God. One of the reasons we need to rest in God is to receive from Him all those things He thinks about us and wants to deposit into our hearts.

When I became a Christian, a counselor taught me to identify the lies I believed about myself. They were so deeply ingrained in me that it has taken a very long time to uproot them. I’m still weeding through some.

One way I learned to recognize the lies was by learning the truth. Take a second to do a Google search for “who I am in Christ”. Try and find a list that includes Old Testament references as well. By learning these truths and getting them deposited deep in my heart, it was much easier to recognize when I was struggling with the lies.

Here are a few of those truths.

As a believer, you have been adopted into God’s family and have become His precious child (John 1:12).

You are forgiven (Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14).

You have been bought with a price; you belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

You are chosen (Ephesians 1:3-8).

You have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

You are safe (1 John 5:18).

God will never forget you (Isaiah 49:15), nor will He ever leave you or forsake you (Deutoronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5).

You have been written on the palm of God’s hand (Isaiah 49:16).

You are loved with an everlasting love. God has drawn you with lovingkindness (Jeremiah 31:3).

We know what love is because God first reached out in love to us (John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, 4:19).

All these things are true for you simply because you are a child of God. There is nothing you could do, nothing you could achieve, no amount of hard work or even wandering that could make these things more or less true.

You are worth knowing, worth loving, and worth creating. Our Heavenly Father declared it so when He sent His one and only, precious, perfect, deeply loved Son to die on a cross.

I encourage you to let these truths sink into your heart. Rest in God, and allow Him to speak them directly to you. Learn to rest in the knowledge of who you are. Like with my children, it will likely soak into your heart long before you even begin to fully understand it.

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesian 3:17b-19

A few months ago, my older son turned to me and said, “You are precious!” Just a few days ago, he told his little brother the same thing.

It is sinking in.

You are precious. You are cherished. Let it sink in.