Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Practicing the Presence of God - or how I know that God has a sense of humor

So, I have mentioned that since Burke Camp and a wonderfully inpirational sermon from Nathan Johnson , I have been seeking to daily practice the presence of God in my life.  Essentially, I've been trying to notice Him, to acknowledge Him, and to become more consciously aware of Him as often as possible.  Nathan suggested that one method that worked for him was using triggers, things that we come upon every day, several times a day, to help us remember.  Nathan's trigger was doorknobs.  So he determined that every time he touched a doorknob during his day, he would simply think of Jesus and thank Him for being in his life.

The trigger I chose was critters.  For one thing, I love critters of all sorts.  I even find most bugs delightfully interesting.  Spiders too, if there is a thick pane of glass between us.  One of the bonuses to using critters as my trigger is that so often, not only do I take pleasure in them, but they show me aspects of God, His ways and love, that I need to know.  For example, on the way home from camp, I saw a hawk soaring overhead, and thanked God for not just being in my life, but for helping me to soar over the troubles that I face each day. 

When I told Grace that my trigger was going to be critters, she pointed out that our home is filled with animals.  "Mom, there are 5 rats in a cage in the living room.  There are animals everywhere!"  I reminded her that even though my life is filled with animals, they aren't always in my face.  Or so I thought.

Then I got home.  The cats, Jean-Luc and Mycroft, were a little shaken up by our week-long absence, and were literally constantly in my face.  Thank you, Jesus for being in my life.  My first night back, Jean-Luc followed me up to bed, and, sitting on his pillow beside mine, patted my hand to get me to pet him for ages, until I finally fell asleep with his face in my hand.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus for being in my life.

Then we were Buddy-sitting. (Buddy being Grace's dad's puppy)  Then I watched Teddy for a few days, (Teddy being Grace's grandma's dog).  Then someone showed up at our door with a tiny, scrawny, astoundingly flea infested kitten.  Buddy and the kitten (after several hours of flea-killing ministrations) wrestled for hours, dragging each other around, yelping and wailing and gleefully trying to chew the life out of each other.  Then the kitten and Mycroft did the same.  As did Buddy and Mycroft.  Jean-Luc just watched in distain and solidly smacked anyone who came near him.  For some reason, all of this activity took place in whichever room I happened to be in.  Because while I hadn't really been aware of it before, my animals have a tendency to want to be where I am.  Thank you, Jesus for being in my life.

I don't remember the last time I have been to the bathroom alone.  Yesterday I opened the bathroom door to find two cats and a dog patiently waiting outside for me.  Thank you, Jesus, for being in my life.

One day, I went with a friend to visit her mom who was in an assisted living facility and was very ill.  When the room got too crowded, I left and sat outside.  I felt burdened, knowing how ill this special lady was, feeling strongly that the end was near for her and sadly aware that my friends would soon be walking the path of sorrow.  Then I noticed, two rabbits were chasing each other in circles on the large, open lawn where I was sitting. Thank you, Jesus, for being in my life.  I spent the rest of my time there, waiting and praying.

There have been times when the whole critter thing has gotten a little overwhelming.  But, the doggies went home, the cats adjusted to each other, and while they are still a constant presence, it all feels more manageable. 

It did occur to me, though, that God has a sense of humor.  And that He really, really wants to be a part of my life.  I am very rarely overwhelmed by the animals in my life.  It felt like God heard my desire to think of Him more often, knew I planned to use animals as a trigger, and filled my life with so much critter action that my mind would be on Him constantly.  Which is good, because as overwhelming as the critters have been, it has been nothing compared to some of the other things that have been going on.  Whether I was wiping up a Buddy puddle, pulling the kitten off of the table cloth, refilling the food bowls or cleaning the litter boxes again, my mind was on God and He was working in me to help me deal with some of the things that were happening. 

I needed massive doses of patience, frequent renewals of hope, and a constant inpouring of love.  And as Nathan loves to say, all of those things are in Jesus, and in asking for more of Him, we receive it all in abundance.

So...anybody want a kitten?

Thank you, Jesus, for being in my life. 

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