This was my first ever “devotional style” piece that I ever sent out. It is still one of my favorites, and it holds so much relevance today. 🙂 It was originally intended for the small group of ladies that I did a morning devotional with, but I ended up sending it to a larger group. Enjoy!
When thinking about the topic for this first e-votional, I was reminded of a time when God used my brand new, sweet baby girl (Kate) to teach me a very important lesson.
We had been home from the hospital for several weeks, and I was slowly starting to get Kate used to her crib (transitioning from a bassinet). She was super stubborn and HATED to be left alone or put down for any reason whatsoever. Being a first time mom, I was just wanting to hold her constantly, and if she cried for any reason, I was all over her and loving on her. I just wanted to be there for her so bad- I was her mommy and that sense of responsibility, and someone needing me was just the most special feeling in the world. I didn’t want to let her down- ever. So, one day I mustered the confidence to let her cry it out for a little bit. Now, some of you may be like my little sister and have zero problem letting your babies cry, but I am a total wuss in that department. So, bear with me! I laid her in her amazing little, cozy crib, turned on a soft noise machine, kissed her and turned around to leave. It took about 1 minute for that tiny human to scream and cry louder than she does as a 10 year old now! I was determined not to go pick her up, but this was like totally breaking my heart. So, I crouched on the ground and crawled over to her crib. I sat on the floor where she couldn’t see me and I just started to cry with her. It hurt me that she was so mad and scared and just not getting her way, basically! LOL! But I still hated hearing her so upset, it just tore me up. I began to pray that God would just calm her little body and give her the supernatural comfort that she needed to be still. I prayed and prayed and then I would just say (so she couldn’t hear me), “Kate, you’re ok baby. I’m right here, baby girl. I’m right here.”
As I said the words, God quickly used that situation, and my own words, to remind me that He is right here for us. He is never away from us. He loves us MORE than we love our own babies, and He hurts when we hurt. When we are hurting, when we are scared, when we AREN’T GETTING OUR WAY and things aren’t going according to OUR plan, He is still right here. Just like it was for Kate, I was teaching her, training her to soothe herself and TRUST that I was close (even though I couldn’t be seen). It was an important lesson for Kate to learn to fall asleep on her own, in her crib. And even though it hurt me to watch her get so upset, I knew she was ok, and I knew it was for her better good in the long run. Again, this is so true with God’s relationship with us. He sees us hurting, He sees us struggling, and sometimes He doesn’t just run to our rescue the second we start screaming. He knows that we are ok, and He lets us tough it out because he’s training us and honing us. But this doesn’t mean He has left us there to suffer. It doesn’t mean that our prayers won’t get answered, and it certainly doesn’t mean He has forgotten about us.
In the Book of Joshua, God asks Joshua to step into Moses’s position to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Joshua is clearly nervous because he isn’t sure he can live up to what Moses had done- I mean, it’s Moses, come on! God is telling him that these people need a leader, Moses is dead, and I need you to do it, and then He leaves Joshua. He just leaves him! However, before God leaves Joshua alone to lead the people, He gives him very explicit instructions. He tells Joshua to listen to the teachings he has given him, to obey what Moses had taught him, and to “keep the Book of the Law always on your lips”. He then goes on to tell Joshua this very famous scripture:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Bottom line is this. We live in a fallen world. A world constantly manipulated by the prince of darkness- one that is getting increasingly more difficult to tolerate and be a part of. Being in public education, I see the accountability, responsibility, and compassion just withering away slowly in the actions of the children we serve. It’s frustrating, it’s daunting, it’s draining, and at times it’s laundry (AKA the chore whose satisfaction is fleeting, and never goes away). We will all face trials in our personal lives, we will all deal with challenges, we will get scared, we will be tested, we will have to WAIT for our prayers to be answered, and we will hit bumps in the road. Like Joshua, God has already given us explicit instructions. It’s up to us whether or not we can muster up the strength and courage to persevere and follow them. But no matter what we face or are feeling, God will NEVER leave us. Regardless of how we act, or what we do, or where we are in life, he has PROMISED that He will never leave. While He can’t just pluck us from our situations and the consequences of our actions, He is still with us and He knows that we’re ok. He is sitting there, on the floor WITH us, and He’s crying WITH us and He’s whispering, “You’re ok. I’m right here, baby girl. I’m right here.”
He gave us His son, Emmanuel . . . “God is with us”.