Finding inspiration for everyday life in everyday life

Let joy…

The unexpected encounter

God steps into our day amongst the ordinary, amongst the chores and the mundane. Often when we least expect it, He makes His presence manifest.

For one woman completing her ordinary daily task of drawing water became an extraordinary encounter with the Messiah. The mundane, the routine was the environment that Jesus intentionally stepped into and a woman’s life was changed – indeed, a village was changed.

Where has God appeared to you today? Reminding you of the Living Water that He is? Of the life He brings? Perhaps the words of wisdom during that meeting? The song that comes on durnig the school run that seems to speak right to you? In your quiet moments when you become aware of His presence, of His love for you.

Lean into these times and let God’s living water refresh you, transform you.

Kotiti

Kotiti – To go astray, stray, deviate, go off course, digress, get sidetracked

Over summer I went on a River cruise down the Matakana River. The boat was named Kotiti after the meandering of the river outlets in the region. Rivers which had forged their own paths and weaved around the landscape to their own rhythm.

We can all have our plans, our dreams for our life. But life is not as structured or as rigid as the Panama canal is for example. The Canal is controlled. Clear entry and timings. Everything engineered to perfection to enable a fast and smooth transition from the waters of the Atlantic to the waters of the Pacific.

Life is no Panama Canal, it is really kotiti, a river that goes off course and deviates from the straight path. The challenge is, how do we adapt to these changes, to the unexpected that takes us seemingly off course? As we discovered during our river tour, the unexpected has treasures ready to be discovered. The delight of seeing the tree house secreted amongst the trees by the river’s edge, the jumping fish. The architecture of the houses nestled on the peninsular that are unseen from the road. There was much beauty to enjoy.

When my son was born with down syndrome, my life took an unexpected and unplanned turn. In my mind kotiti had occurred in my life. But what I have found is great beauty in this path. The cuddles, his capacity for love. His empathy and concern when anyone is sad. The sweetness of his smile with his beautiful almond shaped eyes and the joy that I get to experience everyday. 

When you find life has taken you in an unexpected direction, look out for the treasures to be discovered. They are there.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.’ (Proverbs 16:9)

The finger of God

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The Battle of Waterloo. Belgium 1815.

The forces of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte were defeated by an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. It was the decisive battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Bonaparte’s last. The defeat at Waterloo was to put an end to Napoleon’s rule as the French emperor.

Of this battle, Wellington admitted he had “an infamous army, very weak and ill-equipped, and a very inexperienced Staff”. Napoleon had the numeric advantage in troops and in guns. Yet that day, the Duke of Wellington and his troops prevailed.

On the day of the battle, a huge thunderstorm broke over the field and drowned it out. The deluge meant that Napoleons cannons lost a lot of their potential and the mud reduced Napoleon’s army’s manoeuvrability.

The Duke of Wellington was later reported to have said “The finger of God was upon me all day – nothing else could have saved me.

We need to find the finger of God – the presence of God in our everyday….Because He is there, we just need to be looking.

God Spotting

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In the car, my boys and I play a game – “the yellow car”. The first person to see a yellow car and call it gets a point. It’s got to the stage that even if I’m in the car myself I’ve caught myself yelling “yellow car!” The thing is, now we’re so used to looking for yellow cars we see them everywhere!

It’s the same with seeing the presence of God in our day to days lives. When we intentionally look to find Him in our day, the more we will see Him at work. We will see Him weaving His way right through our day.

I love the Faith trigger cards by faith4families.org. Faith Talk triggers for families to use at home. At the bottom of each card is a section named “God Spotting” with questions like

  • Where did you glimpse God today?
  • Where were you led by God today?
  • Has a friend been the presence of Christ to you this week?

Brother Lawrence wrote “The presence of God is the concentration of the soul’s attention on God, remembering that He is always present.”

In our every day God is very much present. Renee Swope wrote recently “Evidence of God’s presence surrounds me. But I have to decide if I will look for, listen to: and notice Him.”

When we look for God, we find Him.

The hands and the voice of God

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“The hands of the Almighty are often to be found at the end of our own arms.”

(Call the midwife)

One day two friends, trying to learn how to minister the love of God to others, prayed a simple prayer in a restaurant.

“Who do you want us to tell that you love them?”

After asking this of God they believed that they should tell the waitress – so one of them said “ma’am we just wanted to let you know that God loves you.” Instantly the waitress threw down the menus and stormed off. A few moments later she came back and demanded “ who told you to tell me that?” The boy replied – “ma’am I’m sorry. We did not mean to offend you. We were just praying and asked God who He wanted us to tell He loves, and he said you.” The boy stood up and said – I feel like God wants me to give you a hug. Is that alright?” As he hugged her, she had her first encounter of the love of God.

She told them her story. “This morning I woke up and said “nobody loves me. Nobody loves just me. God, if you’re out there I need you to show me you love.”

Because 2 young men made themselves available to God – a woman encountered God.

People all around us are wanting and waiting to hear the voice of God. We just need to speak up.

Lean in

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Have you ever watched people in conversation and observed people leaning in closer to hear everything that is being said? Intent on catching every word. Or perhaps you have watched children playing Chinese whispers. Each child leaning to the next to whisper the sentence. Leaning in, showing intentionality to listen to what is being said.

As we go about our days, we have the opportunity to lean in to God. To hear His whisper, His prompting and decide to lean in to listen to what He has to say.

Once on an ordinary day Moses saw a burning bush. But more than he took time out from his job – tending the sheep – to look more closely at it. And that proved to be a game changer.

“So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from with the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said “Here I am.” “ (Exodus 3:3-4)

Moses then went on to have a powerful encounter with God that not only changed his life but also the life of the Israelites. Moses’ encounter with God was precipitated by him pausing and intentionally taking a closer look. He took time from his day to stop and see, to lean into a conversation with God.

In an ordinary day was an extraordinary encounter waiting for him to notice and see.

Take time in your day to pause, to ponder, to lean in and to see what God is doing.

“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!” (Isaiah 43:19)


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