God is so, so good, and God is so, so good to me.
Sometimes I forget that. Forget to live in the reality of that.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been keeping a daily list of blessings for the past few years. This year, for some reason, I’ve really been struggling with it. Not struggling with coming up with things to be thankful for, but struggling to just. . . take note of them. I guess I was busy/distracted and forgot and got behind and kinda gave up.
And I’ve noticed it’s affected me. (The way thanksgiving/worship vs. ungratefulness affects us is a topic I should write about, but that’s for another time.) Add in the fact that I’ve also been struggling to spend time with God (and that’s definitely affected me), plus several other things, and. . . It’s been rough.
But other times–like last week, especially Saturday–His goodness sweeps over me like a tidal wave and I am drowned, I am overwhelmed, I am washed new and clean, I am refilled. I am dying and resurrecting, all at the same time.
I suppose it started in the last week of February and into the second week of March. I was getting so many reminders/nudges/challenges about thankfulness, worship, slowing down and noticing the good, etc. It was through Instagram, sermons, verses and songs shared in a group chat I’m in, good times with friends, the way I was planning and getting gifts for so many people in March, etc.
I like giving gifts, flowers, notes, etc. There’s just something about putting together a bouquet or buying some stuff or making a card, and giving it to the person and watching their reactions; I sometimes wonder if I’m even more delighted than they are!me, “After Her Death”
And I imagine Jesus planning, preparing, getting everything around, rubbing His hands together and grinning and jiggling around in excitement/glee, waiting for that moment, presenting B to her mom, watching their reactions, smiling and laughing, continuing to feel that happy warmth every time He remembers.
It culminated one Saturday when I had to drive over to my aunt’s place to drop some stuff off and pick some stuff up; on the way, I randomly thought something like, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if “Silly” was there?” And guess what–she was! It was such a surprise gift from God that made my day and had me literally singing about how God loves to give us good gifts.
Then the “high,” I guess, wore off. There were still many good things, but I slid back into just. . . not. being. thankful. Just going through my days, often not spending time with God (which, again, totally affected me) and spending too much time on technology and *gestures vaguely because there’s so much and words aren’t coming*.
But (don’t you love that word? Such an interesting little word, full of possibilities!) last week happened.
Well, I guess it actually started before that. We’ll start with the previous Thursday, April 20th, at Bible Club. We discussed what’s important to us, how our relationship with God should be above all else, how time in His Word and talking with Him–especially in the morning–is so important and crucial. I admitted that I’d really been struggling to have my devotions and asked for prayer. Later, a friend suggested that I ask some more people to pray and keep me accountable; she had the great idea of asking people to volunteer for a certain day to pray and check up on me (like, person A would pray/check on Monday, person B would do Tuesday, etc.).
And y’all. Y’all. The support and encouragement I got, the love and prayer I was surrounded with–so humbling and uplifting.
And it worked for the most part! I had devotions ten out of the past fifteen days with the skipped days being spread out so that only once was it two days in a row (which is waaay better than it had been), and I had good times of prayer while driving to and from cleaning the church on two different days. I told some people that I felt so much better, so much more alive.
And it wasn’t just the time with God that was good, although that most likely made everything else better.
As I mentioned above, I cleaned the church twice, temporarily filling in as one cleaning girl was on a trip; I picked up the other girl and we had such good times together. We went both times to the coffee shop close to the church, and I got my favorite drink both times, and we surprised our pastor’s wife with a drink. The youth had a surprise birthday party for our two male youth sponsors; I drove two girls home afterwards, and they and my sister and I sat in their driveway for, ahem, a while, talking and laughing. My sister and I babysat three children for an evening, and it honestly was so much fun playing games, making a blanket fort and coloring underneath it, etc. Flowers are blooming, and my sister picked a bouquet for me without my even asking, and I picked a bouquet as an early-birthday-gift and a thank-you-for-having-us-over-for-Sunday-lunch for a friend and her family. The sun was shining part of the time (we’ll leave out the cold and the miserable rain). On and on and–
Oh, it wasn’t all good. There were struggles and failures; for example, last Saturday I had an attitude from the time I got up until early afternoon.
But (there’s that word again) that was the same Saturday that I felt God’s goodness and grace sweep over me like a tidal wave. That was the same Saturday that I got some of the best news I have ever gotten, that I got probably my favorite blessing from the past three weeks.
The day went like this: I had a bad attitude while making breakfast and cleaning, I responded to a wonderful friend who was checking on me, I washed my hair so it would dry before bedtime, I listened to some messages my cousin sent me the day before and that morning, and right then was when the tidal wave hit.
My cousin/good friend had given her life to the Lord.
And that in and of itself is very good news, a wonderful blessing. I hope I never stop having a joy-spike, a heart-swell, when I hear that someone gave their heart to Jesus. Because that–that’s something to be grateful for, to rejoice over, to always remember and thank God for.
But what made it even better was that I heard when I did. I heard it after things went downhill, after my sins, before I had completely relented and repented, before I spent time with God.
And I wonder if that was exactly God’s plan. I wonder if He kept me from listening to those messages until then. Did He let things go downhill because He knew the wave of His goodness and grace wouldn’t sweep over me–at least not as fully–if I was still on the mountaintop?
I don’t know. I just know that I was incredibly happy and humbled and challenged and encouraged and – and. . .
I am drowned, dying, washed new and clean. Self/flesh/the old man has to die. And oh, it’s a slow death, but slowly and surely I am being transformed. This tidal wave stripped me and cast me face-down before the throne of God, where I cried before the judgment seat, “Forgive me! Blessed be the God [Ephesians 1:3]. . .” And He touches me and says, “I will; be clean” (Matthew 8:2-3).
Little side-note: I’m in a WhatsApp group chat with several other girls, called The King’s Daughters (aka, TKD). It’s for sharing verses, prayer requests, encouragement, etc. I shared Ephesians 1 last Saturday after hearing my cousin’s news, and said:
God has blessed us so much. We are chosen, adopted, accepted, beloved, redeemed, sealed, etc. We serve a God who is full of power and grace and wisdom and–. . . He is so, so good, and He is so, so good to us–to you, to me, to that person whom we’re just about ready to give up on, to the just-joined-the-fold and the been-saved-for-a-long-time, to the scared, to the joyfully peaceful, to the parents of 11 children and the couple dealing with infertility, to the Christian who is doing well steadily growing and the Christian who is face-down in the dirt after losing another battle with temptation and who doesn’t quite believe God will forgive them this time. . . God is so good, still. He loves them, still, no matter what. Because, as you may have noticed in this chapter, it’s not about us, about our performance, about our worthiness (or maybe I should say, our lack thereof). It’s about God, about Christ. He blessed us, chose us, saved us, etc. It’s about what He does, about His power, His glory. He is high and holy and worthy. And all I can say is “Blessed be…” Thank You, Lord.
Considering who God is and who we are (and aren’t) and what He has done and-and all that changes our perspective and our feelings. I was sinning, even consciously choosing to, and instead of striking me down or leaving me to wallow in the mire (which is deserved and fair), God goes, “Let Me show you how good I am. Let Me remind you how much I love you.”
He doesn’t just spare us, give us a second chance, deliver us from the storm and from drowning and from the belly of this creature that has swallowed and is slowly digesting us.me, The Festival of Grace (Jonah, Part 11)
He’s not just about the “big” acts of grace.
He’s about the “small,” tender acts of grace too.
Unnecessary blessings. “Little” moments. Lovely treasures. Tender acts of grace.
Especially when we don’t deserve it. I mean, we never quite deserve it, but especially when we’re sinning and our heart’s not right and we aren’t cultivating a deep relationship with God and all that. That’s what makes it grace.
Jonah hates, fears, runs, sleeps, prefers punishment over grace, half-heartedly preaches,
waits for the city’s destruction, etc., and yet receives so much grace, tender acts of grace.
I focus on my feelings, fight with my siblings, stop having regular time in the Word, spend too much time on my phone, etc., and yet receive so much grace, tender acts of grace.
Back to the main trail:
I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by His good gifts, by His goodness. Overwhelmed by His grace and mercy and forgiveness and love. Overwhelmed by His wisdom and timing and sovereignty. Overwhelmed–overwhelmed by Him.
I am refilled and resurrected. This year I’ve been feeling drained, numb, restless/bored but not wanting–perhaps not being able–to do things, but after starting to spend time with God and His Word again, after noticing all these blessings and thanking God for them, after plunging under the water. . . I feel alive again. I am alive again. I’ve been starving spiritually, and that’s influenced all other parts of me, and now that I’m feasting again. . . well, I’m well again; I’ve been healed and made whole. The King has touched me, told me to come out of the grave, to pick up my bed and walk (John 5:1-9) because I shouldn’t return to this place. And even if–perhaps when–I do, He will touch me again. And again and again and again, because sin may abound, but grace does much more abound (Romans 5:20). And God forbid that I continue in sin to take advantage of that grace (Romans 6:1-2), but how good it is to know that foolish, sinful me is so loved and forgiven and restored again and again!
They say that typically after 2 days of fasting, you stop feeling hungry. And I know our physical bodies are different than our spiritual bodies, but I think it’s a good point–the longer we go without food, the less hungry we are, and before we realize it, we could be on death’s doorstep. All that to say, I’ve been starving for so long that I didn’t even realize how much it was affecting me and all the ways it was affecting me. 🥺 But I’m beginning to feast again, and I am being made well and whole again. part of a message to a friend of mine
The words “O taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8) have kept coming to mind recently on different occasions. I love those words, especially when I remember this Instagram post:
…Davis Bontrager, @davisbonbon on Instagram
Ooooooooo!!! I love this verse, and I was reminded that not only do I have access to the Throne of Grace, but I am actually allowed to TASTE and see for myself whether Jesus is Good! And every time, his goodness outstrips even the most decadent, delicious, delightful, dementia inducing food I can imagine.
At my work, I have the opportunity to make and consume some pretty darn good food, these loaded fries are a great example. And no matter how much this food puts me on a higher plane of existence; Always, without fail, rain or shine, tornado or heat wave, Jesus is better than any food that I’ve tried. And not only by a little bit, but by the most gigantic difference I can’t ever comprehend.
And as if all this wasn’t enough, taste isn’t even an essential sense that we have, it’s just enjoying good things! That’s how I am allowed to interact with my Jesus, just by enjoying him, just basking in his presence, just letting him melt in my mouth like a Shipshewana caramel. And if that isn’t the coolest thing you’ve heard today, then please tell me what’s got you so excited!:)
The Lord is good. He is good to us, to me. He loves to give us good gifts.
And for that (and so many other reasons), He deserves our–my–praise.
So if you’ll excuse me. . . 😉