God is Everywhere
By Lily Crowder
(excerpted Lily Crowder’s New Devotional Book for Mothers Get it HERE)
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:7-12, NIV).
There is nowhere we can go to escape Him. He has covered every square inch with his light. Even the darkness is as light to Him – what a comforting truth to share with a child who is scared at night.
Holy Spirit is not any less present in your munchkin packed minivan as He is in a church service. He is able to sneak and spill into every corner of our day – the grocery store, coffee shop, school and the work place. There is no place too dingy, dismal or seemingly unspiritual that He has left empty.
Reconnecting our focus to the reality of the presence of God in every place will change how we spend our lives. When we know just how connected to God we really are – not just in theory – when we really know how much He fills and consumes all the earth, our whole day changes. A day that feels like toil and a meaningless hamster wheel is transformed to one that contains purpose full of meaning and substance. When you recognize Him in common places you feel connected to Him personally. This is what He desires for us, to always feel united in our every day lives.
While the awareness of God’s presence may seem highlighted in one environment or moment, the truth is He has always been there! It is funny how we limit ourselves in our minds to recognizing Him. But I love it when He sneaks up and shows you that He has been there all along.
We have been going to a park by our house for the last four years. I have been there for every season: winter, spring, summer and fall. Recently we were visiting the park walking down the same familiar path to the play structure when we noticed another group of mothers and kids picking cherry plums from the trees that lined the path. I was amazed as I looked up in those trees and saw hundreds of delicious, perfectly ripened cherry plums all within arms reach! We had walked down that path all summer and three previous summers before, and never once noticed all this wonderful fruit just waiting to be picked. Now, every time we walk the path down to the park the plum trees are the first things we notice. We observe the trees change with the seasons; the rich ruby red leaves in the fall, the extra sunlight on the path peering through leafless branches in the winter, the first sign of fruit buds in the spring followed by our ripe, juicy plums to enjoy at the end of the summer. We will wait expectantly for the end of this next summer to snack on them again!
We all have routines. I do the same thing pretty much every day. Get up, make my coffee and cook some breakfast for the kids. There is always a load of laundry to do, rooms to be cleaned and errands to be run. In your regular life, in your regular routine, just like that and by surprise you will notice Jesus has been there the entire time.
Brother Lawrence said, “The time of work does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.”[i]
Maybe you are not exactly “possessing God in great tranquility” in the middle of your routine. Maybe you just know He is there – and there seems to be a sense of rest in the middle of the busyness of your day. The confidence and rest that comes when we suddenly are graced with consciousness of His presence is so encouraging. It will become addicting and an instinctive desire arises to recognize Christ everywhere. Practicing His presence will soon become a natural habit, and as Brother Lawrence experienced, the difference between sensing God in a serene environment or activity will seem the same as sensing Him and enjoying Him in your messy kitchen – with the kids screaming in the background.
Cultivating His Presence
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified (2 Cor. 13:5-6).
It is one thing to be made alive to the reality of Christ everywhere, but what about realizing His presence is within? That dramatically changes our reality. You were never disqualified.
He has made a home in you! You can converse with and enjoy Father God In your home and wherever your day finds you. He would love for us to realize this truth all the time; this knowledge makes life so much more enjoyable.
We may try and convince ourselves that it is our responsibility to cultivate an environment that welcomes Gods presence. But he has already cultivated every environment for us through the gift of His Son. Pause, look up, listen and feel the reality of our omnipresent God who has sent His Holy Spirit into every nook and cranny of our human experience. Even this experience we call motherhood.
Thankfully the Lord is not going to avoid gracing you with His presence. Not because an intense spout of sibling rivalry broke out, which resulted in an injury inflicted by a bigger brother. It did interrupt your “quiet time,” but He didn’t disengage from your life. Not when a call from the nursery interrupted your deep spiritual moment in a church service because your baby had a huge diaper blow out! Don’t worry! You didn’t miss out on God when you went to change your baby. His presence followed you all the way out the sanctuary and into that loud nursery. In fact, He was never absent to begin with.
The truest solitude is not something outside you, not an absence of men or of sound around you: it is an abyss opening up in the center of your own soul – Thomas Merton.[ii]
[i] Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, fourth conversation.
[ii] Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation, p. 59.
Did you enjoy this excerpt from Lily Crowder's book Grace for the Contemplative Parent?
Pick up the entire book now ... Click Here
Lily Crowder, 5/4/2016