Tag Archives: vacation

Craving A Word

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1

Every night, we’d wait for them. Enjoying the coolness of a northern Michigan evening, my fellow campers would quiet ourselves and wait for the deer to relinquish their hiding places and come to the river for water. It was a highlight of our deer-waterday. The river shimmering in the setting sun seemed to welcome the approaching hush of the forest night. There would be slight movement, a quiet rustling and then timidly, the deer would free themselves from the lush foliage and approach the water’s edge. Once there, they would lower their heads down to the cold water and drink to their hearts content.

Their actions brought Psalm 42:1 alive for me. The deer fought back every fear of exposure to come to the river and drink their fill. How I long to crave God the same way they craved those unhurried sips of water!

God wants us to desire His presence. He won’t tell you about His dreams for your life until He knows you yearn to listen to His voice, to follow His footsteps for the rest of your days. He doesn’t want a debate. He didn’t put you on Earth just so you could say, “Let me think about it.”

No, hearing from God has got to be a necessity just like water is to the deer. You have to say, “God, let me know what You want me to do. I want to hear Your voice. I’ve got to hear it. I yearn to understand what Your vision is for me.”

King David wrote in the book of Psalms, “My God I want to do what you want” and “What I want most of all and at all times is to honor your laws” (Psalm 40:8, Psalm 199:20).

David was passionate in his declaration that what he wanted most was to honor God. It was the deepest desire of his heart. He used words for seeking the presence of God like, “I long for it, “ “I crave it,” “I hunger for it.” And my favorite, as you already know, “I’m like a deer panting for water.”

When you still yourself much like my fellow campers did to watch the deer in the glooming, you are going to hear from God.

That’s because while many people talk to God, but they never hear from God. They make prayer a monologue. You can’t have a relationship with God when it is so one-sided. Relationship only happens through conversation. You talk, then you listen. Just as important as talking to God in prayer is listening to God. You have to still yourself to heard His words. And in order to do that, you’ve got to want it so badly your heart pants for a word from Him.


RMNP032114I love the Colorado Rockies. So much so that while we could have honeymooned almost anywhere on earth, I asked my groom to start our married life there. To flatlanders who lived in a place where the curvature of the earth is nearly visible, the mountains reminded us of God’s strength; His goodness. Every day of that sweet beginning, the peaks created a sense of wonder towards our God and our awe lured us to worship in His love, His beauty and His truth.

But the honeymoon ends. It always does. Life encroaches and too soon we are caught up in necessary routines and habits. Hurry and stress, too much technology and information overload, the rhythms of life conspire to blot out the wonder of God. It is too easy to get caught up in the cycle of the mundane, to exchange awe and wonder for apathy. Unwittingly, we stayed buried in the boredom.

Which is why I’ve become a student of the wonder of the ordinary. Each day, our Creator lavishes this world with reminders, great and small, of His majesty. The world itself is a huge stockpile of God marvels. And I ponder: Am I cultivating the kind of spirit that is paying attention to and delighting in discovering God all day long?

He heaps a myriad of miracles in my days and I’m determined to not let them pass without feeling God’s beauty. Isaiah 26:19 states, You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy! That’s what I want to do every day – awake to the wonders of God and thank Him for them.

Admittedly there are days when a writing deadline forces me to reduce my world to my computer punctuated by short trips to the kitchen. Still God’s miracles intrude. They may be in the form of an email from a friend or the impatient gaze of my dog waiting by the door for a walk or in the magnificent yellow moon rising off the horizon at night. Over a welcome cup of hot tea, I pause and imagine God peaking over the canopy of the universe asking, “Who is paying attention to my everyday miracles? Who will grow today in their capacity for wonder and awe by seeing the unwrapped gifts I’ve placed in their path?”

Despite the weariness our routine creates, I know for certain God does incredible work in us when we lay fresh eyes on Him. When we cultivate a sense of awe and joy by paying attention to His cadence in our lives, we are driven to give thanks. We become more humble and grateful.

God invites us daily into an exquisite, loving relationship by sharing Himself in the beauty of the world around us. Wonder reminds us how big and awesome our God is. It is our call to worship for it is in worship we fully experience the unending grace of God. Revel in the joy, humor, sadness and love that are all a part of life. Become a student of the ordinary. May you awake to what a Heavenly Father’s outrageous love brings you each day and with childlike abandon shout for joy.


Avoiding Misconceptions

“Stay off the Santiago Canyon Road!” Most everyone told me that right after I moved to California. “It’s full of twists and turns. You’ll never be able to navigate it.” This wasn’t a testimony to my poor driving abilities. I came from an area of the country so flat you could practically see the curvature of the earth. My friends understandably worried about my safety on this treacherous mountain road. For over a year I headed their advice, even rerouting myself when my GPS told me it was the quickest way to my destination.CurvingRoad

Then one night as a friend and I were on our way home, she suggested we take the Santiago Canyon Road. It was cheaper and just as fast as the tollway. “But…” I began, then trailed off. I was going to say “What if I can’t navigate it? What if my car goes off the road, down an embankment and into a fiery crash?” I stifled my thoughts because at that moment, I wasn’t sure what I feared most: the turns of the road or admitting my fear to my friend.

The Santiago Canyon Road loomed ahead, my fear rising to fever pitch but at this point, I was committed. For the rest of the drive, I didn’t keep up my side of the conversation. As my friend chattered on, I kept my hands grasped firmly on the wheel, my eyes on the road scanning for switchbacks and steep drop offs with my thoughts convincing me, “Yes, Myra, you can do this.”

The road is only twelve miles long, that I knew. Well into the trip, I glanced down at my odometer. Another thought began to take hold, “When is it going to get bad?” The road was curvy, but not dangerously so. It had some changes in elevation, but nothing too severe. And though it was only one lane in each direction, there wasn’t much traffic on it. Each bend was banked nicely, eliminating the need to ride the brake. I’d been on far worse and lived to tell the tale.

As we neared the end, I relaxed, but only slightly. Another thought caused me to shutter. How many times have I let a misconception rule my life? Where else have I allowed what others said to cloud the truth? Unfortunately, we allow the voices of ourselves and others to prevent us from fully investigating the truth. Our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Because of this we suffer. The best thing we can do to live a healthy, joyous life is to replace misconceptions with facts. Learn everything you can before you make a value judgment.

Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with love and compassion. He wants us to constantly challenge our personal “The way I see things” beliefs. Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes or do you see them as valuable in their own right? Experiencing something first hand and allowing your decisions to be made on what you have investigated will open up new doors, bring about a deeper sense of self-esteem and allow us to overcome your fears. We become active participants in our lives.

I no longer fear the Santiago Canyon Road. When my GPS tells me it is the quickest way to get where I am going, I’m quick to take it. My experience has also taught me to investigate rather than fear. For that’s when my misconceptions are replaced with truth.