Ball Cap Wisdom: Life’s Too Short

I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

“Life’s too short to dance with ugly women.” Such was the motto emblazoned on the cap of a tow truck driver in Texarkana, Texas in the summer of 1992. I’d seen lots of things on ball caps before…allegiance to a favorite team, preference for a particular beverage, or memorialization of a vacation destination, but nothing like this bit of advice. Unfortunately, we met the man wearing this hat under disappointing circumstances. My husband had completed a challenging year of seminary and I had survived my second year of teaching high school sophomores. Our reward was to be a road trip out to Washington D.C. to visit my sister-in-law and her family. As we set out on our cross country trip from Fairview, Texas at the crack of dawn, the CD player in our car blared “The Great Adventure,” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Having saddled up our horses to blaze a trail, we were stopped dead in our tracks before crossing over into Arkansas.

A horrendous clattering came from the engine of our car, and suddenly our Honda Civic came to a complete halt. We coasted to the side of the road, flagged down a friendly passerby, and hitched a ride to the nearest mechanic. We had the car towed in, and the mechanic described a grim situation to us. Turns out a broken timing belt causes major issues with the engine. We decided our best option was to spend every dime we had saved to have the car towed all the way back home, and eventually have the engine rebuilt. And that was when we met our wise friend with the ball cap.

He was a friendly fellow, and was more than agreeable to drive us four hours back home with the condition that he could bring his wife along. By this point, it was already late in the day, so he understandably wanted company for the ride back home. The driver and his wife, who were both healthy-sized folks, sat on either side of my husband and me in the tiny cab of the truck. We had no hope of escaping the cheerful conversation they offered the whole ride home.“Why wouldn’t they be happy,” I reasoned to myself,  “They’re earning a hefty fee at our expense.” As a pouty twenty-four-year-old, I didn’t feel like talking or being friendly. But that didn’t deter our new acquaintances. They chatted and regaled us with stories the whole drive home. I realize now that I could have used the time better by listening and learning from those who had journeyed farther than I had at that point in my life. I don’t remember now much of what the tow truck driver and his wife said to us that night, but I have since reflected on the general sentiment of the slogan on his ball cap. Life’s too short.

A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Life’s too short to fail to pursue big dreams. My older son will graduate from law school next month. That was a big dream for him. Many late nights and early mornings went into pursuing his dream. I have watched him work hard to obtain this goal, all the while stretching his mind in ways he might have once thought impossible. I can’t wait to see how God uses the fulfillment of this dream for His kingdom purposes. Perhaps you and I have big dreams, too. What’s stopping us from pursuing them? God promises to be faithful in helping us leverage the gifts He has given us to advance His work here on earth if we let Him determine our steps.

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Psalm 90:12

Life’s too short to neglect to live with intentionality. I am convinced that many of us go about our daily lives just living moment to moment, not really thinking intentionally about what comes next. Jesus Himself was only on earth for thirty-three years, completing his world-changing, death-defeating ministry in the last three. While nothing we will ever do compares to what he came to accomplish, we should think intentionally about how God would have us use the time He has given us here on earth. We would be wise to have our hearts tuned to Him daily in order to pursue His perfect plan for our lives. I know I’m guilty of wasting way too much time on things that will vanish in an instant. I pray for a heart that would seek after that which will last for eternity.

I give you a new command:  Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. John 13:34

Life’s too short to neglect to express love to other people. I take my loved ones for granted as I hurry through life, knowing they will be there when I finish whatever “urgent” task is staring me down at the moment. Truth is, none of us can be certain when God will call us to our eternal home. What if we took the time each day to make sure the precious ones God has placed in our lives know we love them? A phone call, a text, a handwritten note, or even an unexpected act of kindness goes a long way. It takes time to give of ourselves, but we each have the same 1,440 minutes each day. We just need to choose wisely how to spend it.

Life’s too short to… You fill in the blank. Our friend with the ball cap wisdom really made me think. Life’s definitely too short to disregard the chance encounters God places in our paths. If I could go back, I’d ask the tow truck driver why he chose the slogan he so proudly wore on the front of his cap. Where did he find his joy? What other advice would he give to a pouty twenty-four-year-old riding in the cab of his truck? When we really think about it, life on this earth really is very short. But what about eternity? If we place our faith in Christ, we have an eternity to become the person God wants us to be.

Music of Life

Music is a powerful vehicle with the capacity to transport us back to experiences spanning the entire emotional spectrum, both the happiest and saddest times of our lives. The soundtrack of my life has included all kinds of music…joyful, heartrending, playful, and contemplative. My mind recently traveled back in time as I sat on the garage floor looking through a box of albums collected by my parents over the years. I found within the well-worn album covers gospel music by the Bill Gaither Trio, Doug Oldham, and Sandi Patty that filled the air as we got dressed in our “Sunday best” for church. I rediscovered Christmas music by Ed Ames, Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams that warmed our hearts while we decorated the tree, sipped hot cocoa, and drifted off to sleep during the holiday season. I came across popular music by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Statler Brothers, and John Denver likely to trigger an all-out dance party in the living room when I was a child. Reflecting back on the most poignant occasions in my life, I find the chapters frequently punctuated by music.

I’m positive that a precious saint in the church nursery serenaded me with “Jesus Loves Me” within moments of my first visit. They no doubt knew the importance of instilling in me from even a very young age the truth of what the Bible says about me and my relationship with my Creator. I spent hours learning to play “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “Count Your Blessings” on the piano under the watchful eye of my teacher, Mrs. Min Young Yang. As I pounded out the notes, stretching to reach each key and struggling to remember the accidentals, the words of the songs took root in my heart, reminding me of the awesome privilege of prayer and all the good things God had placed in my life. I still treasure the old hymns that instruct me in rich theological truths. The more of life I experience, the more the words mean to me. Songs like “Victory in Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art” take me back in time to the church of my childhood while simultaneously reminding me of how Jesus has won victories in my life and demonstrated His greatness to me.

As my husband and I started our own family, music wove itself into our shared memories. On our wedding day, he sang to me, promising to “Cherish the Treasure” of the gift God had given us in each other. Four years later, when we became parents, he made up songs for each of our boys based on their particular personality traits. One perpetually smiled, and the other loved to be held, and so we celebrated both of these attributes in song. As our boys grew up, the sounds of singing vegetables filled our home. Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber of VeggieTales fame serenaded us with tunes like “The Hairbrush Song,” “Love My Lips,” and “God is Bigger.” But they also taught our sons Biblical truth in the midst of all the silliness. We couldn’t take a road trip when they were young without listening to Elton John and hearing our sons belt out the chorus of “Crocodile Rock” from the backseat. If you’ve never had the privilege of traveling cross country with two little boys hyped up on sugar and caffeine singing “La lalalala la lalalala la lalalala la” at the top of their lungs, then you’ve missed out! I wouldn’t trade those demonstrations of pure joy for all the noise cancelling headphones on the planet.

Psalm 96:1 says, “Sing a new song to the LORD; let the whole earth sing to the LORD.“ We are commanded to lift up our voices to the Lord in song. In fact, the Bible is full of songs that mark occasions within the lives of God’s people. Songs of triumph and praise as well as repentance and mourning are recorded throughout its pages. As we look back at the song of Moses, we see him praising the One who was victorious over an oppressive ruler. David exalts God for His grace, forgiveness, and provision in his life. Mary the mother of Jesus sings a song of praise as she expresses awe that God would choose her to give birth to the Savior of the world.

I’ve always been drawn to acoustic music. Perhaps that’s because it so accurately mirrors the purity of the natural world. As I take time to close my eyes and shut out the chaos and clamor around me, God graciously infuses His own music into my life to remind me of His constant presence. The sound of birds chirping reminds me of His provision in caring for the smallest sparrow. The echoes of the waves crashing on the sandy shore remind me of His awesome power. The gentle whisper of the wind brings to mind his kindness in providing the breeze to cool me on a hot summer afternoon. The orchestra of bugs and frogs at night reminds me that God gave each of His creatures something unique to contribute to His concerto. Isaiah 55:12 says, “You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” As all of nature pauses to honor its Creator, we should join in the chorus. We may not all sing with the same tone, volume, or vocal quality, but the song just wouldn’t be the same without us.

Grace>Law

I have always been a rule follower, and I attribute that particular personality trait to genetics. My grandmother believed in following the rules, too. She was the warm and loving matriarch of our family, but behind that playful twinkle in her eyes was a woman firmly committed to making sure her grandchildren understood that life was best lived by adhering to certain standards. This philosophy also applied to some of our favorite past-times. I remember one occasion, during an intense game of dominoes, when this character quality caused great angst for my then seven-year-old son, Tyler. Nannie stood her ground, relentlessly refusing to alter the rules in his favor. Perhaps he wanted to draw an extra domino or two, or maybe play out of turn, but she would hear nothing of it. I can still picture the tears welling up in his eyes as he stared across the table, pleading with her to cut him some slack. She was determined that he would learn once and for all to play by the rules. I mean, can you just imagine the chaos that would ensue if we allowed kids to run around willy nilly, making up the rules to suit their fancy at any given moment! Painstakingly crafted Monopoly dynasties would crumble and strategically played checkers matches would be void of all meaning. Nannie believed that life lessons could be gleaned from even the most benign events. Fortunately, though, her lessons were always tempered with a healthy dose of grace.

When I finally grow up one day, I hope my bent toward following the rules is seasoned with as much grace as Nannie was able to display. But until then, certain circumstances magnify this tendency in me. Admittedly minor infractions can sometimes cause me to careen down the road into legalism, momentarily thinking I am better because I obeyed my particular rule of choice. But I don’t do right all the time either, and nothing would make the enemy happier than for me to live in bondage to my attempts to keep the law. If he can contain me within my own self-imposed prison cell, then he severely limits my capacity to demonstrate love, compassion, and grace to others. My inability to perfectly follow the law points me to my need for the one who reaches down with grace when I mess up. He offers to exchange the yoke of slavery to sin for His easy yoke and light burden, promising to provide rest for my soul. Paul says in Galatians 2:21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” It is foolish for me to attempt to gain for myself what only Jesus is able to provide through His death on the cross.

As it turns out, parenting provides some poignant illustrations of the intersection of law and grace. When my younger son, Evan, was about three-years-old, we moved half-way across the country from Texas to Alabama. As you would expect of any outdoors-loving little fellow, he was eager to explore his new surroundings. Our backyard happened to have a beautiful, crystal clear swimming pool, thus he was instructed to stay near me, and away from the temptation provided by that big dangerous hole in the ground. In a split second, he decided that the freedom I had allowed him to explore his new environment superseded my instruction for him to stay close. As he attempted to peer into the shimmering surface of the pool, he got too close to the edge and fell headfirst into the deep end. Like any proud little Texan, he was decked out in his favorite cowboy boots and jeans. Because boots aren’t designed for buoyancy, they began to quickly fill up with water. As he descended to the bottom of the pool, weighed down by the water in his boots, I jumped in to pull him out. The ordeal gave him a healthy respect for water and taught a valuable life lesson. I had given him rules to follow, but he also had the freedom to choose whether to obey or disobey. At the moment, his curiosity to step a little too close to the edge enticed him to disregard my instruction. He realized the need to be rescued by his rule-giver, and in turn experienced grace by being pulled up out of a position from which he was unable to save himself. 

I wonder if this is how God feels when I ease too close to the brink of familiar temptations. Sin dares me to dip my toe in just a little bit, all the while seeking an opportunity to pull me under. It can happen in the blink of an eye when I let my guard down. I should be motivated by the knowledge that through grace I have been relieved of the unbearable burden of sin, but my tendency is to keep going back again and again. I’m reminded of the words of the great hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The fourth verse says, “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.” A fetter is defined as a chain or shackle placed on the feet. When I picture grace this way, I realize that it keeps me bound to the one to whom I am indebted, and keeps me from fleeing to the one to whom I owe nothing at all. As I inevitably wander, His grace pulls me back to safety. I’m thankful for the law which points me to my need for grace, and for grace which draws me into the loving arms of my Savior and Lord. 

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

The first few days of 2019 found me in a cabin with my family, halfway up Lookout Mountain outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This provided the perfect backdrop to reflect on the previous twelve months. Admittedly, at first, I simply wanted to slam the door on the old year, put the past in the rearview mirror, and move full speed ahead to the future. Then it occurred to me that if God wanted me to totally forget the past, He would have created me with the capacity to do so. My mind does not have a delete button, so anything my eyes see, my ears hear, or my heart feels makes an indelible imprint on my spirit. While I don’t believe my Heavenly Father wants me to dwell on days gone by, and thus allow the enemy to bludgeon me over the head with unfounded fears, regrettable mistakes, and disappointing circumstances, He does expect me to learn from them. I am thankful for the way that God used the trials of the previous year to prepare me to move forward into the new year with the gift of wisdom that only time, experience, and reliance on our Savior can bring.

The mountains, with their awe inspiring majesty, tend to lend some perspective to life. This was especially true as I spent time with loved ones at the dawn of the new year. Peering across the valley through the barren trees, I was struck by how the days we spent together were sort of a metaphor for the previous year. The wind, rain, and fog prevented me from seeing clearly all that was on the other side, but I knew beauty was present even when I couldn’t perceive it in the moment. As the storms moved out on our final night, we awoke to a breathtaking sunrise. God had gloriously cleared away the clouds so we could see His stunning artistry that was there all along. I thought about how life is like that. We are often so distracted by the storms that fill our days, that we forget that our God is ultimately Lord over it all. Sometimes He miraculously moves the mountains out of our way. Other times He patiently leads us by the hand out of the valley and up the rugged terrain to the summit above. In His timing, He clears away the clouds and reveals His gifts of grace in our lives.

We spent our rain-filled days at the cabin playing board games, working puzzles, eating way too much food, and even venturing out when the weather permitted.  Our last night together was especially sweet as we sang choruses and songs of praise to God. Among them was the timeless hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness. I thought about how these familiar words also told the story of our family. The steadfast faith of those who passed on to heaven this year flowed through our lives, pointed us to our Heavenly Father, and lead us to where we are today. Yes, we have experienced hardship through the sting of death and painful personal crises, but God is still faithful and good. As the chorus says, “Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” He truly has provided all we have needed in the midst of our trials.

God’s Word says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What a blessing to know that this life is not all there is! As humans, we measure life in days, weeks, months, and years, but there is so much more. Our Father comforts us with the reality that the loved ones we miss here on earth are currently experiencing the “absolutely incomparable weight of glory.” I don’t know what your “momentary light afflictions” have been, but be assured without a minute’s hesitation that God has beautiful things in store on the other side for those who trust in Him.

I haven’t really set any resolutions for what I want to do this year. Rather, I have set goals for who I want to be in order to honor God’s faithfulness to me. I want to be a diligent student of God’s Word in order to rightly apply it to my life. I plan to stay accountable by using space in this blog to share what God is teaching me along the way. I want to be a faithful prayer warrior who can be trusted to lighten the load for others by laying their burdens at the throne of our merciful Father. Finally, I want to be one who demonstrates kindness, grace, and mercy toward others, recognizing that we are all fellow strugglers fighting our own personal battles and in need of the light of the gospel. Will I fail at these goals? I’m absolutely positive that I will fall short more frequently than I would like, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I pray that God will honor the journey as I cling to Him for strength that only He can provide, whether on the mountaintop or in the valley. Through it all, I’ll look forward to waking up to His new mercies every morning.

Unwrapping the Gift of Grief This Christmas

How do you unwrap gifts on Christmas morning? I have observed two basic methods over the course of my fifty-one years. The first is to rip the wrapping paper off with reckless abandon, paying no attention to the beautiful adornments on the outside, in order to get to the gift inside as quickly as possible. The second is to slowly and meticulously peel back one corner of tape at a time in order to preserve the beauty of the package itself. I confess to typically being of the  “get to the gift inside quickly” variety of gift-opener. The loss of two close family members within the first five months of this year caused me to travel a path of grief, but I have eventually come to picture this journey as a gift whose underlying beauty is only revealed through a painstakingly slow unwrapping process.

I know it may sound strange to think of grief as a gift, but I believe our wise and loving Heavenly Father has a higher purpose for our sorrow than just earthly heartache. As the holidays approached, I tried to prepare myself for the emotions that would inevitably come with seeing places now empty that were once occupied by loved ones. Eating  banana pudding, our family delicacy, will be bittersweet without the interjection of playful bickering over who gets the last bowl. Cheering for the Longhorns and Cowboys will be less exciting without the company of one of their most devoted and enthusiastic fans. Singing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve will sound much different without two of my favorite voices joining in the chorus. Perhaps others reading this post made similar preparations this holiday season. I found the process to be easier as I considered the gifts revealed when I peeled back the grief.

In pulling back the first corner on the package, I discovered a Savior who identifies with me in the middle of my sorrow. Isaiah 53:3 describes Jesus as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Grief is defined as “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” We are made in His image, so as we experience grief we can be assured that He will not leave us alone in it. He, too, knows what it is like to experience suffering, distress, sorrow, and pain. And as He identifies with me, I am to find my identity in Him alone. My identity is not in my family, my position as a pastor’s wife, or my job, but in Him. Colossians 3:3 says, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” If I try to resurrect myself and place my identity in anything else, I minimize what He did for me. I am thankful for this most precious gift from my Savior.

When I peeked under another section of the wrapping, I found the freedom to receive grace from God and fellow believers. 2 Corinthians 12:9 states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.‘” In a difficult moment recently, I was wisely counseled to ask God for just enough grace to get me through each new day. I am learning to voice that request to Him daily. Unimaginable freedom is found in the realization that I don’t need to see three, or four, or ten steps ahead. God is already there and has a plan for me if I will just press into Him, trust, and obey. I don’t have to be strong, for He is my strength. I am also learning that it’s okay to lean on others within the body of Christ when I’m hurting. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called upon to bear one another’s burdens. I am thankful for those who have been obedient to God’s Word and come alongside me in my grief.

Another portion of the gift of grief was revealed in learning to rest in God alone. Psalm 62:1 says, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” My physical, emotional, and spiritual restlessness throughout this year left me completely exhausted. In a recent early morning quiet time, God directed me to the verse above. I was convicted that much of my weariness comes from failing to rest completely in Him. In striving to deal with the crises of everyday life on my own, I failed to enjoy the peace that only He can provide. Sometimes I just need to sit still in His presence, quiet all the other distractions around me, and allow Him to renew my soul. I am thankful for the restoration He provides when I humbly enter into His presence.

Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.” We can look forward to the joy that comes when we finally unwrap all the gifts God has prepared for us. He promises a lifetime of favor in exchange for momentary sorrow. I don’t completely understand why our Heavenly Father sometimes refuses to let us quickly rip into the outer wrapping to discover what He has for us inside. But I do know that as He unveils His precious gifts, He is patient and careful with us. Only He knows what His ultimate purposes are as He works in and through our lives. God knows exactly which gifts each of His children needs, and wraps them up perfectly inside our grief. As I continue my journey, I’m learning daily to be appreciative of the gifts, but even more so to grow deeply in love with the Giver Himself.

The Lessons of Fall

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

As I watch the wind-tossed leaves outside my window, autumn appears to have finally made its entrance. With it comes cooler weather, vibrant displays of color, and the ushering in of the holidays. I have always enjoyed the fall season, but discovered a newfound appreciation for it this year, and it has nothing to do with a deep fondness for pumpkin spice lattes. It has everything to do with lessons God has been teaching me through the trials of my life.

I have been reflecting upon the fact that autumn, while showcasing its rich colors, actually involves death. Before the leaves reluctantly detach from the trees, they lose their chlorophyll, the chemical which gives them their bright green colors in spring and summer. In doing so, they cease the food making process in which they had engaged throughout the warmer months. It is at this time that the tree begins to rely on the storehouse of nutrients it has set aside for days of limited sunlight, and the leaves display their brilliant colors before eventually letting go and drifting to the ground. I think in some ways, this process is similar to my life as a child of God.

So many times I live like a tree during the bright and sunny seasons of my life. I strive daily to fill myself up with everything I think I need to be self-sustaining. All the while, God waits for me to run to Him so He can supply me with His provisions to carry me through the trials He already sees ahead in my future. In His perfect sovereignty, He knows that I will need His love, mercy, and grace in order to survive the harsh, cold seasons of life. When I hold onto Him, He displays His beauty in my life like the brilliant colors of fall.

The blazing orange colors of autumn remind me of the glow of God’s love. Because He loves me, He takes care of all my material, emotional, and spiritual needs. He knows what I require before I even utter a prayer, yet He longs for me, the creation, to spend time with Him, the Creator. It is because of His love that He allows me to experience trials in my life that drive me to kneel at His feet. It is at this point that He picks me up and allows me to experience the warmth of His embrace with the awareness that He is all I really need.

When I cling to Him, He displays evidence of His mercy like the deep red shades adorning the fall trees. As Christ’s crimson blood flowed down the cross at Calvary, He took my sin upon His shoulders and saved me from the chastisement I deserved. He would have been perfectly justified, given the depth of sin in my life, to require payment of me, but the richness of His mercy compelled Him to withhold what I deserved, and to give me what I did not.

The gentleness of God’s grace comes to mind when I observe the subtle yellow hues of the season. His grace is the soft and steady beat that plays relentlessly in the background of my life. He gives me what I don’t deserve simply because of His tenderness toward His children. I can do nothing to earn this gift, but He freely gives it as He reaches down and offers me the salvation that I could never merit on my own.

God’s love, mercy, and grace mingle together to paint a beautiful picture in my life. No matter how hard I try, I could never craft a scene that comes close to the one He creates every day in the lives of His children. Because I am made in His image, He desires to display love, mercy, and grace through me. I am His instrument to sing the melodies of the gospel to a lost and dying world even as He uses the trials of my life to refine these qualities in me. If I never show love to those I deem unlovable, I will not truly learn to love as God first loved me, for I can be unlovable, too. If I never offer forgiveness as a demonstration of mercy to those I do not think deserve it, I will never fully appreciate the weightiness of my own sin and the pardon my Heavenly Father granted me. If I refrain from showing grace to those who hurt me, I will stop far short of comprehending the gift of amazing grace the Lord lavished undeservedly on me.

Like the fall leaves that drift to the ground through no effort of their own, I encourage you to lose yourself to the rhythms of life ordained by our Heavenly Father. He commands the winds that blow through our lives at just the right time to grant us an appreciation for His perfect gifts. Revel in those gifts as you enjoy the beauty of the season, and give thanks to the Giver of all good things.

The Most Important Thing About Me

September is my birthday month, so in honor of that occasion, I thought I’d tell you the most important thing about me. I know you must be thinking, “How arrogant!” But you see, the most important thing about me isn’t really about me at all. Twentieth century author and pastor A.W. Tozer wrote in his book, Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” As God’s image bearer, I must rightly understand what He is like in order to live out my calling. I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate my fifty-first year than to spend some time reflecting on the One who is the author of every page of my life.

As I consider God’s character and rehearse His attributes, His holiness is the first thing that comes to mind. I think about how His awe-inspiring purity makes Him separate and unique from me. I realize that I am utterly flawed, but marvel that He is using the experiences of my life to sanctify me and make me more like Him every day. It is only in going through this process that He purifies my life and enables me to one day enter into His presence.

When I contemplate His omniscience, I try to wrap my mind around the fact that He is outside of time and possesses all knowledge perfectly at all times. He knows what will happen tomorrow with as much certainty as He knows what happened yesterday. I can rest securely knowing that He knows what I could never know, and that is enough for me.

Thoughts of God’s sovereignty comfort me in the midst of an increasingly turbulent world. As creator of the world and everything in it, He has the right to do as He will. Tozer pictures God’s sovereignty as a ship that will reach His predetermined destination, even while He allows us, as passengers on His vessel, to make our individual choices. Because the Sovereign of the universe is also my compassionate heavenly Father, I know that in working out His will, He is also lovingly working out every detail of my life. Despite the myriad mistakes I make, His purposes will ultimately be accomplished.

I also stand securely in God’s immutability. He never changes, and as the great I AM, is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Unlike me, he does not shift and change with the wind or whim of the moment. I can be confident that He will always act consistently with His character, and I do not have to ever wonder about his love for me.

Meditating on God’s promises restores my soul. I can know with absolute certainty that His promises are true because God Himself is the very standard and source of all truth. He cannot lie, so I know His promises will stand perfectly into eternity. I think about how He has been with me in the past, and remember that He promises never to leave me nor forsake me in the future. He will be with me when I am rejoicing in His goodness on the mountaintop, or when I am stumbling over my own failures down in the valley. He promises to hold me in His arms when I need comfort and to direct me in the right paths when I look to Him.

My favorite hymn is I’d Rather Have Jesus, and my favorite verse is the third which says, “He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom. He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb. He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.” Because of who He is, He truly is all I need. In spite of who I am, He still desires to have a relationship with me. As I spend time thinking about what makes Him who He is, I am even more in awe of His relentless pursuit of me.

The most important thing about me is also the most important thing about you. I encourage you to take some time today to think about what comes into your mind when you think about God. Spend some time in His word discovering who He says He is. Reflect back on life experiences that reveal His work in your life. Look around at the world He created and discover how He manifests His glory in nature. Doing so will absolutely renew your focus and enable you to confidently point others to Him.