"If you aren't enjoying life- then you aren't living." A quote from my pastor with whom I agree ... life is simply amazing!
Here I am in my 50's and experiencing the "newness of life,” heck still experiencing “firsts.”
Over these last few weeks, I’ve been treated to three, no, four “firsts”….
1) First time visiting the beautiful state of Oregon. (May I say, I was so pleasantly surprised by this State, I would love to return.)
2) First time spending the Easter holiday with my two grandchildren (ages 9 and 6.)
3) First time participating in a parade- Merrie Monarch Festival. (I tried very hard not to do the royal princess “wave” while seated in the back of a decorated pickup truck.)
4) Now, for my favorite... the first time God spoke to me AND my family!
Yes, you read that correctly. God spoke. If you don’t believe in God or that He communicates with us, I’m here to tell you- YOU ARE MISSING OUT!
Now, I know, right about now you might be thinking to yourself- this lady is nuts.
I’m OK with it- because I’m confident in who I am and what I believe.
See for yourself--
Day one of our family vacation in Oregon- it's early in the morning in our hotel room and we gather to discuss the day to figure out what’s on the agenda. Instead of doing the traditional planning (i.e., consulting the weather, determining the "must-see" tourist attractions, and taking a vote), we decide to pray together and ask God what He would like to do for the day. Then wait and see what He gives us.
I know it sounds farfetched, but as we waited each person received something... an image, a color, a Scripture, a feeling. Much like a good puzzle or murder mystery game, we shared and tried to piece together the “clues” we received Here's what we got: carousel horse, disappearing footprints, twinkling disappearing stars, and Ephesians 5:16 which reads- “Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
A lot of random stuff that didn’t seem to have any connection to one another; thus, we did what any good detective would do- consult tourism brochures and Trip Advisor. We learn that the Oregon Zoo has a carousel horse so we decide that’s as good a place to start as any- I mean what do we have to lose? Especially considering the Scripture reference which I quickly declare as “CARPE DIEM!”
I won’t bore you with all the details, let’s just say we found ourselves at the zoo, a restaurant, and a donut shop. Randomly lead to each one only to find our clues at each location! The zoo contained not only the carousel horse but the disappearing footprints in the form of an animal track exhibit discussing how to decipher what happens when the footprints disappear. The restaurant had this crazy LED wall display that was initially a fish tank when we entered the restaurant only to cycle through with carousel horses and disappearing twinkling stars as we ate our dinner! Finally, the donut shop was filled with random memorabilia including a green & gold carousel horse as part of its interior décor!
Many might say all coincidence or we made the pieces fit. Yet, we don’t believe in coincidence and excitedly embraced each “clue” as an affirmation that God was speaking and showing us that He is alive, present, and wants to experience life with us! We invited God to come on vacation with us, and He showed up in an unexpected, fun, and playful way!
What’s tragic about this story is that far too many of us, for far too long, have kept God locked into a box that is made with rigid construction and limitations. Like God is only one way- that He belongs only in church, your home, or the prayer closet. He’s only interested in worship, praise, prayer, or repentance. Time with Him is restricted to the confines of a day, space, or approved activities. We make Him distant and so holy that He couldn’t possibly be playful or concerned with our “trivial things.”
I know this because I've been guilty for much of my life of limiting God and I know what it's like to do life without Him. So, for the remainder of our vacation, God kept sending me reminders to seize the day. They came in the form of a devotion, a timely word from my Aunt, and even a newspaper headline quote from Benjamin Franklin-
"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
Little God "winks" reminding me that each day is not only precious but, we have a God that loves us so much that He wants to participate in our lives!
He is always present- even on vacation. God wants to explore this world with us, to be involved in our plans, our work, and our play!
2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us- “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
When we do life with God- expecting the unexpected, inviting Him into all aspects of our life, there is liberty- freedom. There is joy. There is life. There is abundance.
Life is worth living!
No matter how young or old- Carpe Diem my friend– seize today with the Lord.
Invite Him along- He is patiently waiting for the invitation.