Facing Him 8


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A waking thought

I went to bed mildly depressed on Saturday night. Hard to put my finger on it, but it had something to do with discouragement, lack of faith. I had allowed little things to turn into big things in my emotions.

Woke Sunday morning before my alarm with this vague feeling of unworthiness. My first instinct was to roll over and ignore myself. Or to be more accurate, ignore the One who knew my heart and what ailed it. I also felt like ignoring everyone else.

But my first actual formed thought was this: Lord, I’ll turn my face toward You today, not away from You. I didn’t will myself to have that thought; I’m pretty sure He plopped it in my head because He knew I wouldn’t have been able to go there myself.

 

Opening to the sun

A couple of hours later I walked into church, exuberant violin, congas, piano, drums and guitar gladdening my heart. The worship team began singing, and the lyrics provided a means for me to keep facing my Shepherd. One in particular caught my attention:

Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above

It was the first of many small ways the Lord reminded me throughout the rest of the day to keep facing Him, though I felt weak and fragile. As the day progressed, I began making a list of grace-moments:

  • From the first lyric, waves of grace
  • My dad, hug and “You look pretty”
  • Guitar and vocal solo, artistry pure and unselfconscious, drawing my heart to rejoice in God’s forgiveness
  • Brand new friend, tears running down face, sharing with me—a virtual stranger—how God had convicted and comforted her
  • Brave and faithful couple inspiring me with “God needs hoary-haired men and women with wisdom and strength to stand in this gap”
  • My guy’s sweet stratospheric “G”, “Crown Him Lord of ALL!”
  • Me, my kids and grandson crowded around a lunch table, laughing and catching up
  • My California grandson, completely engaged through FaceTime, waving and grinning and walking everywhere
  • A long walk, earbuds shoved deep, songs for my heart to sing
  • A prayer for me, “Lord, we’re honored to have walked this writing journey with her.” (Really?? I’m the one who’s honored!)

To my dad and my worship team and my friends and my family and my Growth Group and the singers on my iPhone, let me just say that my Shepherd used each of you to little-by-little open my heart to His grace.

 

 A word picture

By yesterday morning, I was in an easier place. My friend and I talked about this idea of keeping our faces toward Jesus. Then she prayed a profound word picture for me: “Lord, when we’re dwelling in Your light, it’s like flowers when the sun shines on them. They stand up tall and straight; they open up; they grow strong; their beauty shines forth. I pray that my friend would be that little flower today, receiving strength and encouragement in Your presence. And, just like those flowers that can’t stay drooping and sad in the sunshine, give her glad moments in Your presence today.”

How thankful I am for my friend who gave me this word picture. How thankful I am for my Friend who invites me to look full in His wonderful face, receiving His glory and grace!

Today, I encourage you—fragile and weak, or confident and strong—to be a little flower basking in His sunlight. I can’t think of a better place to be.

 


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8 thoughts on “Facing Him

  • melissa stadtlander

    Today as I look out on this rainy and dark morning, this reading again blesses me! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us, how it encourages my walk! On this morning I also hear birds singing ( love that sound!) and I am reminded to start looking for those grace moments. Truly it does make all the difference–open heart, eyes focused on Him, we can be those flowers open wide and standing tall and strong even when we think we can’t! I love the thought that those flowers can’t help but open and be beautiful, it is their response, what they do! How I want that to my response in His presence, which is with me every day! I am so glad to be reminded of this today! As I continue to wait in His presence, walking this journey He has me on that I don’t get despairing or despondent but that I keep my eyes on Him, letting Him do His work, His sweet presence bringing joy and sunshine and beauty everywhere I look!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      How quickly I forget what I write! Melissa, thank you for this beautiful comment, several days after my post, that brings my heart right back to the place where my Shepherd wants it: open, receptive, choosing joy and thankfulness. Such a timely reminder in my own week; a word from my Shepherd, through you!

  • Diane Page

    Jeanelle, it is hard for me to imagine you being even a little depressed. Whenever I see you, there is a smile on your face, a reflection of our Savior to me. I know everyone has down times, but I never seem to see yours. You are always the light in a dark room for me. Thank you for always being the one to be the cheery person. But please forgive me if I am too wrapped up in myself to see if you need someone to cheer you up. God Bless You, dear friend.
    Diane

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Oh friend, I don’t see you as wrapped up in yourself at all! In fact, I was just praying for you this morning, that God would cheer your heart and keep sustaining you through the hard things in your life. You are such an example of steadfast faith to me.

  • Mary Gray

    Beautiful! A few days ago I wrote about how it is the little things in life that are so important. Now after reading this I realize even more that it truly is ‘everything’ everyday, every moment that is so precious. Thank you Jeanelle for the brightening perspective.

  • Kristen

    You bless me every time you speak or write. Thank you for the reminder to count those little blessings and keep turning to the Lord, even when I don’t feel like it.