Seeking God

Seeking God is so much more than simply seeing Him; it is an endeavor to find His love and His will in my life and His world. God is love, and love has a very special quality. It connects as nothing else. When I look for and find God in those around me, I experience the beautiful connection love offers. It is what walking in God’s kingdom is all about. Seeking is intentional, active, and often painful, but it is well worth the effort when I find and embrace the love it brings.

Accepting God’s love allows it to flow through me.  I have several friends with whom I have a deep connection, and that blesses me as nothing else. My son and I have a sweet connection, and the love I have for him and his family connects us beautifully. If God is the center of a relationship, it will be a taste heaven. If I am separated from someone I love, it is a taste of hell. I need to feel both in order to understand God and myself more fully.

Seeking God’s kingdom seems simple enough, but it is far from easy. It requires a level of faith I am only beginning to understand and a level of honest communion that tests my trust. I know it is what God desires for me, and that gives me the courage me to keep on seeking. Courage and love walk hand-in-hand.

Finding God opens new doors but closes others. Repentance is about turning, and turning means a new direction. It isn’t easy to leave old habits, but when I realize they keep me from experiencing the joy that comes from obeying God, I can move forward and live the life God has in mind. Love is transformed and transforming as God has His way with my heart. All transformations involve demolition, and the process takes time and energy. Understanding my need for repentance is what makes seeking so difficult. The beautiful result makes me forget what I was like before, and that’s when I know I’m heading in the right direction:)

Love and Balance

Love and balance go together. Finding the center, where God’s love abides, keeps my heart in balance. Pastor John shared his work on intersections with me, and it became the framework God used to teach a lesson in balance.  I’ve missed the mark and lost my balance when it comes to love.  I’ve never been treated like a bride, but I realize that’s because I’ve never seen myself as one.  The first step to being seen differently is to see yourself differently.  As God changes me, I’m beginning to see myself as He does.  God used an evening gown to show me that I am not only a bride, but also His beautiful daughter.  I’ve never felt as balanced or beautiful in my life as I did when I put on that dress! I love it when God uses visual aids and props to get His message across, and He used both with this lesson!

Balanced love and healthy relationships occur when I am centered. The center, or intersection as Pastor John would call it, is the destination. Getting close to God is essential, but if I get so close that I lose my connection to others and my sense of identity, then I am lost. If I get so far into myself that I don’t need God, I lose my connection to Him and to others. The center is where God and I meet and is a place of peaceful balance. It allows me to love God, myself, and others in a way that brings wholeness. I know I will move up, down, right, and left as my heart navigates this journey, but understanding each level will help me stay balanced.

Listening to me is not the same as hearing my heart. God and those dearest to me hear my heart. I go to dear friends when my heart is hurting, and I go to God when I come to the end of my rope. He waits patiently, hears my cry, and wonders why I keep forgetting He is God and already knows the deepest desires of my heart. He helps me to search the depths of my heart where He waits for me. When I join Him there, He helps me reacquaint myself with all I have forgotten or perhaps never knew about myself and Him. That makes a difference in the way I see myself and allow myself to be treated.

God used a beautiful gown to help me see myself in a new light. A large part of the learning has been about loving who I am. What a revelation and transformation God made with my heart when I went for my fitting. I was alone when I tried on the dress. Rita ran to Michael’s and planned to be back before my fitting. As God would have it, Laura was finished early and ready for me forty-five minutes before my appointment.

Silly me had just learned from Rita that the alterations would run from $70 to $100 depending upon what had to be done, and Laura told me that it would take four weeks for the work to be completed. Once again, I felt stupid but gave it up to God and decided not to let it ruin my day. I was excited to try on the dress and felt just like Cinderella. I was a little sad that Rita wasn’t there; but God was, and Laura looked and behaved just like a fairy godmother. I’m sure that was intentional on God’s part:) I put on the dress and immediately felt beautiful. I didn’t have on any make-up, and my hair was wild-as usual! I went out to hear what had to be done to the dress and braced myself to hear how much it was going to cost me. I wish I had a photo of Laura’s sweet face when she looked at me in the dress. Her eyes lit up, she smiled sweetly and said, “I don’t need to do a thing to that dress! It’s perfect just as it is.” I could see and hear God and knew He was saying that He loved me just as I am.

I have never felt more beautiful in my life. It’s the way I should have felt on my own wedding day. I felt like a bride as I walked around with Laura looking for the perfect shawl. Folks from another wedding party were watching as she had me try on shawls and wraps and jackets. I could have kissed her when she said, “None of these will do!” Surprising, since she does work there and was speaking loudly enough for others to hear:) She looked me right in the eye and told me firmly, but lovingly, that I had to find a large scarf with black and tan and beige to match my shoes. I grinned and looked her in the eye and said, “Like the jacket you have on!” She looked down, laughed out loud and said, “Exactly!!”

It didn’t surprise me, but did catch Rita off guard when we walked into Dillard’s and saw the perfect scarf marked down from $28 to $8:) She said wow in a very quiet and very humble way. I looked up and said, “Thank you God:)” Before I went to bed, I just had to put the dress back on with the shawl. I had my computer out and decided to take a photo just to see how it looked. It was late, and I was ready for bed with my hair a mess and no make-up. What I saw surprised me even more than when I was in the shop with Laura. It was just God and me, and it was so sweet and intimate as He told me to look and see what He saw.  

In my living room all alone, I found the abandon to do just that.  All I could think was God truly has brought beauty from the ashes. Cinderella was appropriate in that her very name implies the ridicule she got from others for the ashes on her face. Ridicule for me has mostly come from me as I have allowed others to define me. God made Himself perfectly clear yesterday as He lovingly showed me Who He is and who I am. I saw myself in a new and beautiful light. I’m a bride, His bride, and He loves me. I best not forget that in the future. It was just what a daddy should make sure his beloved daughter understands before he gives her up to her groom.

I felt that for the first time in my life that evening, and it was transforming. God changed the way I saw myself, and He did it in the sweetest way ever. I love that my hair was disheveled, my face was scrubbed clean, and my feet were bare when I took the photo. Those who know and love me best know that is just the way I love to be. Suddenly, I felt changed from the inside out.  I know in the very depths of my being that it is not only okay to be the way I am; it is, as Laura and God reminded me, a perfect fit for me! I am His beloved and beautiful daughter. 

Here’s the photo I took with my computer:

Here are charts God helped me to fill in.  They helped me, and I pray they help you too.


Love & Balance


7 Know

6 See

5 Speak

Loves Too Freely              4 Experience Love              Refuses to Love

3 Do

2 Feel

1 Be


*At level one, nothing but self matters. Love is about self, and I do not need God. There is satisfaction in that I don’t need anyone else. It is very satisfying, but very lonely.

*At level two, the connection is still about self, and sex is the way love is expressed. Lust is confused with love. Self is not as satisfied as I connect to others but expect them to make me feel good.

*At level three, the connection is fused and confused by doing. Enabling takes place. It is all about what I do for others. Love and action are confused. The satisfaction is about being needed, and that depends on others acknowledging my sacrifice. Self is not satisfied unless praised. Not really about others, and getting away from self.

*At level four, there is balance and self-differentiation. God, others, and self come together in a balanced mix. He is who He is, I am who I am, others are who they are, and love flows through all in a way that causes a close connection without fusing. Self and God are satisfied. It is a place of joy and peace.

*At level five, I put my feelings into words and express my love for God and others beautifully, but it is imbalanced because there is a distance between me and others. I’m closer to God but further from others. I talk about love, but I do not experience it as God desires. Self is becoming less important and is not satisfied.

*At level six, I see love in others, but I am more distant from them. I am closer to God and more in tune with Him. I feel very near. I have images and visions of His love, but love is not manifested in my life or self. I need others less and less and spend more time with God alone. Self is even less important and less satisfied.

*At level seven, I know God deeply and am in His presence in a powerful way. I feel one with Him but further and further away from others and self. I don’t want or need others, and I am lost in the process. It is a beautiful feeling, but a lonely one. Self isn’t important any more and is in the way. Not satisfied and frustrated with limitations of self.

Balanced love and healthy relationships occur when I am centered. The center, or intersection is the destination, not the top. Getting closer to God is essential, but if I get so close that I lose my connections to others and my sense of identity, then I am lost. If I get so far into myself that I don’t need God, I lose my connection to God and to others. The center is where He and I meet in perfect harmony and become one. That allows me to love Him, myself, and others with all my heart. I will move up, down, right, and left as my heart navigates this journey, but understanding each level will help me stay where God wants me to be.

Here’s another little chart that helps me stay balanced.



generosity love honesty



Love is a beautiful combination of generosity, affection, honesty, and devotion. God gives beautiful balance to our hearts by bringing us to the center where He resides♥

Motivation to Change

Change is a difficult challenge because it involves choice. Security and pride have kept me from embracing the change God desires for me. Surrendering starts the transformation, but getting to the place of surrender is the hard part.  

Security is linked to safety, and I cling to what I know in a desperate attempt to remain safe and secure. The irony is that my tendency to stick with the known threatens the very safety I was try to protect. When I settle, I lose sight of change. I’m afraid I’m guilty of doing that far too often.

To give God the chance to change me, I must first be willing to step out of my comfort zone. Rearrangement, not change, occurs when I refuse to make that move. Stepping into the unknown puts me in a prayerful state of mind and requires faith in God and a willingness to admit that I am not Him. That is exactly where I need to be, but as in so much of life, it’s that first step that keeps me from growing and changing as God desires.

Moving away from the comfort of what I know is very difficult, even when I know is wrong and is hurting me. I stay in a bad situation simply because I worry that I may end up in a worse one if I attempt to change. More often, I am simply afraid to admit that I am wrong. Do I think Christ whined to God when He left heaven to be my change? Can I imagine Christ wondering why I couldn’t just follow the law set down before me. Did he think it unfair because He had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve to die for me? Would He have asked God to think of an easier way? I cannot imagine any of those scenarios. Christ knows better than I the difficulty of stepping out of a comfort zone. He left the beauty and security of God’s presence to make possible the single most powerful change ever. All the advancements made by man pale in comparison to the change that occurred when Christ returned to Heaven.

If Tim Cook came along and offered me a great deal on a new Mac or Donald Trump had insider information about a real estate deal, I would be all ears and willing to do whatever they suggested. Christ offers change that ensures more security than I can imagine, but I think it sounds too good to be true. Besides, I don’t deserve it. I am right on both counts, and that’s what makes His change so amazing.

God asks me to surrender and trust Him. I have to let go of what I know in order to do that. Giving up control requires faith. I would rather go in circles for decades than admit to God that I need His help. I find legitimate excuses for not changing, but God answers each with His patient love and His fervent desire for me to love Him.

When I stop struggling and surrender, God is faithful to lift my burden and lighten my spirit. What a beautiful release it is to let go and trust Him with my transformation.  I would never step off a plane in Hong Kong, signal a taxi, and tell the driver to move over and let me drive. That would be ridiculous, but I do worse each time I set out on my own and leave God on the passenger side.

Several years ago, I was in San Francisco and went to Chinatown. It was Chinese New Year, and I got caught up in a group of revelers dressed in a large red dragon costume. They were setting off firecrackers in front of each store so the owners would have good luck in the coming year. I began to panic as the firecrackers got closer and the dragon cut me off from my friends. I lost sight of my colleagues in a sea of foreign faces and began to panic. When faced with danger or lost, I cry out for help. When in a ditch, I am much more open to help or advice. The challenge of change is to have that attitude before I become lost or in a ditch. Successful people know the importance of change, but Christ asks for surrender, something successful people do not find as comfortable. Pride must go before a change, and that’s the problem.

Like a child in the backseat, I bombard God with questions as I surrender. When will I get there? How much longer before I can stop? Do you know where I am? Am I there yet? I’m hungry! I’m lonely! I’ve done a great deal of backseat driving during my life and am amazed God hasn’t pulled over and thrown me out. The good news is that He has infinite patience and will wait for me to accept the changes He has in mind. The incredible thing about God is that He could very easily take control, but He loves me too much to do that. If I think of the second ‘c’ in chance as my need to control and change that ‘c’ to a ‘g’ which represents God, then I’ll find that giving up control is not as hard as I thought. When I take a chance, God will make a change.

Pride keeps me from giving God the chance to change me. The Israelites were moaning and groaning about how good things used to be and worrying about their problems. Boy, does that sound familiar. Memory is an odd thing, and studies tell me that I have selective memory when it comes to my past. What I remember is very often not the way it actually happened. If I am looking for excuses, I remember the bad and blame others. If I fear change, I remember the good and leave well enough alone. Pride hides itself in words like tradition and esteem if I am not careful, and fear forces me to forget my faith in God.

Six years ago, one of my third grade Sunday School students taught an important lesson. We were studying God’s power to protect, and they were making little shields to demonstrate that God can protect us from everything. I ended the lesson with a question that would allow the students to recount what they had learned. I asked, “Is there anything that God cannot protect us from?” I knew the answer to that question and waited for them to respond. I looked at the sweet faces sitting around the table and waited for the long, enthusiastic “NOOOOO!!!” I knew was coming.

When Salina’s serious little yes came unexpectedly from my left, I did what any master teacher would do in that situation. I asked her to explain so I could quickly reassure her that God could protect her from whatever it was that concerned her. She very quietly and seriously said that God would not protect us from saying no to Him. You could hear a pin drop in the room as the students and I pondered her response. All eyes were focused on me at that moment, and I did what a teacher who is willing to learn from her students but wanted to save face would do, I pretended her answer was just the one I was looking for:) I said, “EXACTLY!”

My need for security, my inability to give up control, and my pride will cause me to say no to God, and He will allow  me to do just that. Whatever my reasons and however right they may seem to me at the time, I can choose to say no to God. Transformation will only occur if I choose to give God the chance to make me who He created me to be.  I am so thankful He reminded me of that six years ago and more thankful He is still willing to remind me of that today. Lessons learned have to be revisited because change is ongoing, and I am learning that relearning is a big part of giving God the chance to change me:)