Have you ever shared an experience, or participated in an event with someone, and when you both talked about it later found out that her perception of it was some what different than yours? I think we all have. I've found that sometimes I fail to notice things.
Sometimes I fail to notice God.
I can remember more than 10 years ago participating in a Bible study where the phrase "God sightings" was used. The idea was to be more aware of, to notice, God working. I don't know about you, but sometimes, for me, it's just easy to get caught up in the business of life. To be really candid, sometimes it's easy for me to perseverate on some problem that's really bugging me, and to fail to see the good things happening around me.
Every since that Bible study, that phrase, that concept of God sightings, has been somewhere lurking in my thoughts. I've frequently prayed that God would help me not to miss Him in each and every day.
I can remember a super tough job I had from 2000 - 2003 where I was an assistant administrator for a large adolescent inpatient and outpatient program. My boss was an incredible leader AND incredibly demanding; the hours were long, the tasks frequently seemed beyond my ability. But every day I looked for ways God was at hand. I could see Him sometimes give me ways to do things when I asked him for wisdom because I didn't have a clue how to proceed, but there was something that had to be accomplished. I can remember watching God change the hard hearts of some of my employees that had ghetto backgrounds and had initially acted disrespectful and even threatening toward me, to where they would come to me to pray for them (hey, even if they weren't sure about God, maybe he was real and perhaps I had an "in" with Him). I could enjoy those little blessings; like a rose someone placed on my desk, the rare occasions when someone said thank you, when the sun was shining in the sky and I could see it and feel it's warmth when I took a break outside or when I drove over to the outpatient program, when I watched a teen from a horrendous background begin to realize that he was a person of value.
I can remember my then-husband leaving me the year I turned 40, to go off with a beautiful young woman who was turning 30. I can remember almost falling into that think-about-nothing-but-this-painful-awful-life-changing-scary-thing-going-on mentality. Instead of falling into that mentality, the Holy Spirit gave me the idea and power, to choose every morning right when I woke up to think through all the God sightings from the previous day that I could recall and to spend time thanking Him for His goodness in my life. You know what? Those daily lists were rather long. God had my job, out of the blue, offer me $24,000 more per year to move to work for them at a site about an hour from the town where myself & sons and estranged husband & girlfriend were living. The town we moved to was closer to the ocean and God blessed both my sons and myself incredibly during the years we lived there. That town we moved to was a somewhat difficult place to find housing, and I didn't know anyone living there, so I just prayed and opened up a phone book for that area and turned to rental listings in the yellow pages. God blessed us with being able to rent a clean, tidy, affordable, house in a neighborhood that I later found was one of the best in the area (even though myself plus 5 other couples all tried to rent that house and I was in the middle of becoming single and finding out about all kinds of weird debts that the boys' dad had acquired). God brought me other single mom friends who were just so much fun. God brought a couple of older, godly, men into my sons' lives to be positive male role models for them and invest into their lives. I could just go on and on listing all the ways God worked in my life and blessed me during that time. Perhaps the most precious was His own sweet presence, His peace and calm that He caused to permeate my heart and life.
I can remember as recently as yesterday, being tempted to give into discouragement when driving my 15 yr old son to school and listening to him give a teen age rant about how terrible I am (recently I imposed some consequences on his older brother). But looking out the window and seeing those gorgeous clouds God had placed right there, hovering over the mountain tops, delighting my eyes. Thinking about how my husband John and I had just prayed over a situation the night before and then watched God almost immediately bring about the answer to our prayers. Finding that I much preferred looking for God, His blessings and His power working in my life, than to give in to feelings of being hurt, sad, and overwhelmed.
What about you, do you look for God every day? Has taking the time to see how He's blessing and working in your life changed things for you? How?