southcumberlandhike008I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:1-3

Sometimes we trudge through our little worlds in weary tedium, forgetting that we are a part of something so much larger and more magnificent that even our dreams do not brush against the truth of it.

But there are other times when for some obscure reason of particular attentiveness on our part or perhaps out of sheer compassion, God lets us glimpse the tiniest fragment of His work. At such times, an almost dreadful sense of the enormity of His scope crashes into our bland little realities, leaving us breathless and reeling in the wake of His unfathomable love for each one of His creatures.

I suppose it is times like this that reality of what Jesus did on the cross seems truly personal. Perhaps it is just me, but I find that I can often be utterly convinced of God’s love for His people and yet somehow my mind almost makes His love a thing vast and vague rather than concrete and specific.

But it is not vague. Not at all. His love is intensely real, vibrant, alive, and intimate, as I have been recently reminded.  I know that, of course. I have known it for as long as I have known Him, and yet it is always wild and wonderful to be allowed to see it in action. It still thrills me, and I pray it never ceases to do so.

Let me share with you an experience that is small but not at all meaningless to the principal players.

In order to begin, I need to take a glimpse back into the dark and aimless days before I met Jesus. There was a time when I built a little sham house up around me; a little fun-loving persona that I constructed and adopted in an effort to escape the dreary prison my own mind had become.  Yet this counterfeit version of me had little to do with who I was, and indeed was itself a deceit that only increased the strength of my prison. I was a total slave to sin and believed that I always would be.

Then something happened — a death quickly followed by new life — and my delicate house-of-cards world imploded, laying bare the bars that hemmed me in. It was the first time I had an honest glimpse of the ‘me’ I had attempted to create, and she was not a pretty sight.

Sometime after that, I met Jesus and He began the slow process of healing years of willful blindness, unlocking my prison, and drawing me (albeit reluctantly at first) out into the freedom of reality. He showed me the ‘me’ He always intended and began the sometimes painful process of remodeling.

Somewhere in all that mess, I lost the baby book my sweet mama had made; her treasured memories of her firstborn and photos that were the only one of their kind. For some mad reason, she entrusted this to me at a time in my life when my very life should not have been entrusted to me — call it the blind love of motherhood. Anyway, I lost it.

Soon after meeting Jesus, I prayed and begged God to find this thing. My poor mama had already endured much hurt in her life, and it killed me that I had added to it. I asked God for some time to move the heart of anyone who would find it to contact me or to lead me to it if that were more plausible.

And the years went by… and I gave the thing up for lost and asked for forgiveness instead.

Out of the blue just about two weeks ago, a girl I had known in the middle of my most self-destructive time actually found me — in a very roundabout way. She recalled my baby sister’s somewhat unusual name and through that channel reached out to my sister’s friend who I just so happen to be friends with on Facebook.  M__ forwarded the message to me, and I could not believe it. This lady had found my baby book in a recent move and had been trying to find me.

M__ had not even gotten the message until months later (it was sent in March), but I immediately texted the phone number I was given and believe it or not, she had continued to hang onto the thing.  I was in awe.

Since I now live in a different city, I reached out to family members and another sister was able to meet her and retrieve the book. My plan is to surprise my mama for Christmas. I have wept tears of joy over this — I am so thankful that this one, seemingly insignificant desire of both my heart and my mother’s has been granted.

Sometimes God may take years longer than our impatient selves think necessary, but I know in my heart that He has His reasons. Either way, we will see if I can actually wait for Christmas or not…

There is more. So much more I could share, but some experiences are not my own but someone else’s story in which I was able to play some very small part. Often, there are people I begin to pray for without understanding why they are on my mind until the Lord reveals the amazing work He is doing.

In just such a way, I was able to see a step of victory for a sweet sister in Christ just yesterday — and the celebration within my heart overflows into many words of praise. Our God is truly marvelous and amazing. Oh magnify His name with me today!