When I look back on my life, I can clearly see God in everything that happened: from spending my formative years in a hell-fire-and-damnation church to allowing me time to grow up, to mature before I had kids, from leading me out of the church into a cult where I learned that there are different ways to interpret the scriptures, to the books I read about Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, then to the saints and pillars of the church. I see His presence leading me to spiritual direction training and on the day that my supervisor in that training asked me if I was still mad at God. That question led me to a process which healed the old god that I was taught. I feel His presence in prompts of what to write in this blog—all the time.
I clearly felt His presence, and experienced it at the time, in helping me through my husband’s death. Just a simple suggestion made all the difference: “If I can entertain all possible outcomes equally, well, then…” As I was able to do that, my thoughts about his dying changed radically, to how can I support him and our kids and our friends through this difficulty. And then I was given a faith so wide and deep that I felt like I was the house built on rock.
My point is this: God is present in our lives always. He is supporting us, loving us, leading us, helping in all sorts of ways, always—whether we are aware of His presence or not. Also, looking back on our lives in this way can help make sense of all that we have been through, endured and even enjoyed. There is a reason for all that happens in our lives, a trajectory, an arc that make sense of the whole of our existence. And God is always pointing us to that trajectory.
When you look back on your life, think of the many challenges and joys and suffering that you have been through. See the events as they unfolded and ask yourself if you can see God’s footprints in the messes and pain, in the good times and the hard ones. Can you see today what you missed in the midst of all the crises? Was there unrecognized support, help, suggestions of how to move on with your life? Was God there even when you were totally unaware of His presence?
For our part once we can see His footprints in our lives, even when we were totally unaware of Him at the time, we are opening our eyes to all that He does for us daily—the blessings, the grace, the suggestions of what to do or say, the arrival of just what we need at the right time, the love He would shower on us, and so much more. That is why it is so important to tamp down the loud voices in our minds, so that we can hear “his still, small voice,”1 so that we can open our eyes to see His presence, His providence today, every day of our lives.
What good is it to worship God on Sundays and to not be aware of Him throughout our days? When we live with gratitude in our hearts for this life He has given us, we also find our eyes and ears more attuned to Him presence, His gifts. I have developed a process for having more gratitude, for being more attuned to God in our lives, for learning to love oneself. It is on my second website, deepening your faith.com: https://deepeningyourfaith.com/a-process-for-loving-yourself-as-jesus-taught/. Try it out and see what a difference this thoughtful process can make in your life.
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I ever looked back on my life with the eyes of my present moment to see its trajectory? Have I seen the meaning in all that has happened to me? Have I known God’s presence or only see it now? What will bring me to being aware of His presence and blessings and grace throughout my days? Do I live in the truth about myself and acknowledge all that happened to me, all that I did and said? Can I bring this imperfect human being before God and actually take in His love and forgiveness for me? Or do I reject it, because I reject so much of myself?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who embrace all that they are and have been and allow God to bring us to the fullness of who He created us to be. May we actively seek His presence through prayer and focusing our attention on Him throughout our days. May we live in peace and joy and love.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 1.6.20s is entitled, “
1 1 Kings19:12