Hey, God! Will You Show Me You?

Hmmm…  I wonder what God is really like. She thought about all the different ways she had heard people describe God. From an old man sitting on a throne to a hippie Jesus to a vague force in the sky, it seemed everyone had their own idea of what God was like. Maybe I should just ask God what He’s like, she thought.

“Hey, God! Would you show me You – who You really are?”

She closed her eyes and waited.

Would He show Himself as the Jesus she always pictured – a kind looking man in a white robe and wearing sandals? Or would He be an older man with a long white beard? Or maybe He’d be more like a ghost, transparent and floating through the air.

It didn’t take long for her mind’s eye to see the room where she was sitting. In through the door came a great big ball of fire, only she knew somehow that it was a great big ball of love. It hovered there for a few minutes, then disappeared.


God is a ball of fire? A fiery ball of love?

As she thought about it, she remembered reading in the Bible how He revealed Himself as fire to the Israelites. And that He called Himself a consuming fire. And in Song of Songs, love is described as a blazing fire.

Wow! God is a ball of fire!

And she thanked God for loving her enough to answer her request is such an unexpected and amazing way.



Scripture references:

Ex 13:21 The LORD led the Israelites by night in a pillar of fire.

Ex 19:18 the LORD descended on Mount Sinai in fire

Ex 24:17 to the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Deut 9:3, repeated in Heb 12:29  the LORD your God is a consuming fire.

Song of Songs 8:6 for love… burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

God is My Defender

I heard those words repeatedly over the course of a few weeks.

“… your God, who defends his people.” Is 51:22

“This is what the LORD says, “See, I will defend your cause…” Jer 51:36

“We do not need to defend ourselves…” Dan 3: 16

“Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves…” Luke 12:11

OK, I thought. Must be a new lesson. Sounded good to me. I knew no one could be a better defender than the Almighty God who loved me. And it was always good when He wanted to do something for me.

So I watched for opportunities in which I would normally try to defend myself to practice this new lesson. They came more often than I would have guessed. Little things, but frequent enough to give me the time to get good at keeping my mouth shut.

“I’ve got this!” I finally felt one day.

“Really? Then it’s time.”

Time for what, I wondered.

“Would you come to my office please?” The principal didn’t sound too happy. Oh, no, I thought. What did I do now? Turns out a parent had made some complaints and wanted a meeting to discuss them, with the principal in attendance. The meeting was set for the following day.

All night I wondered what the complaints were. I searched my memory for any indication that any parent had been upset with me. Nothing. I had no clue which parent it was or what this parent was going to say.

“Remember, I am your defender. Do not say anything. Let Me defend you.”

“Aallll riiiight,” I said slowly, stretching out the sounds as I considered the cost. If I didn’t say anything, if I didn’t give my side, how would the principal know what the truth was? I would look bad, and may even be disciplined for something I didn’t do. At the very least, I would probably look like a fool for not responding. But I knew I had heard from God. And if He said don’t talk, I wouldn’t talk.

“God is my defender. God is my defender. God is my defender,” I chanted quietly the next afternoon as I made my way down two hallways to the principal’s office.

As I entered the principal’s office, I was shocked at who I saw in the other chair. My parent volunteer! The one who had been helping out in my classroom for a couple of weeks! I could feel the knife beginning to prick my back.

“Have a seat,” the principal said. Then he turned to the lady. “OK. You go first. What are your concerns?”

As she rattled off everything under the sun from rudeness to teaching sex education to the boys in her bathroom, I sat there stunned, probably with my mouth hanging open. What? Where was she getting this? Why was she doing this? Nothing, absolutely nothing she said had any truth in it!


I wanted so badly to tell the principal that it wasn’t true! But I just kept hearing, “God is my defender.” So I remained quiet.

When she finally stopped, the principal asked her, “Are you finished?”

She nodded, then glared at me. The principal turned to look at me. I thought he was going to ask me something, but then he seemed to change his mind. He turned back to the lady.

“Let me tell you about this teacher,” he began. “She is one of the best teachers here at this school. She is honest, and has the highest integrity. She is…” and he continued singing my praises for several minutes! When he got done, all I could do was marvel at God’s faithfulness. I didn’t have to defend myself, God had the principal do it!

After the principal dismissed the parent, he told me not to worry about anything. As I left his office, I may have looked like any other teacher walking from one place to another. But inside, I was shouting and praising and dancing down that hallway – to the amazing God who prepares us beforehand and who keeps His word!

Mark 13:11  What Should I Say?

“I can’t do this.”

“Yes you can.”

“I don’t want to do this.”

“I know.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I am with you.”

She remembered what Jesus had told His followers in Mark 13:11: “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”

But did that assurance apply to her in this circumstance? She was not the one on trial. And this certainly had nothing to do with her faith. She was here because of a custody battle over one of her students.

She didn’t know much about the family. The only time she saw them was when one or the other dropped off their son. They were both friendly in different ways and the child was a delight. She had no idea there were problems until one day when the mom had come in her classroom with a large bruise on her face. Tears streaming down her face, the mom had accused her husband of beating her and said she was going to divorce him. The mom had been concerned how it would affect her son and asked to be alerted to any changes in his behavior.

A week later she was served with a subpoena. And here she sat, waiting to be called before the judge to… say what? She didn’t know anything!

She had no idea what to expect and was terrified that she would be asked who she thought would make the better parent. How could she choose? Because she had seen the bruise on the mom’s face, she was siding more with the mom, and it had been the mom’s lawyer who had subpoenaed her  – but what if the story she had been told was not the whole truth? What if the mom was crazy and blaming her husband for something he didn’t do? After all, she hadn’t been there. And she had heard enough stories over the years to know things are not always what they seem. She was scared she would say the wrong thing and the cause the boy to go to the wrong parent.

“God, help me,” she pleaded over and over again. “Don ‘t let them ask me that question.”

“Don’t worry,” the mom’s lawyer had said. “The judge never allows that question. He knows teachers only have limited information.”

“God, help me,” she pleaded again, too nervous to feel His presence, or even to trust that He heard her.

“I am here. You will be fine.”

Finally it was her turn. Facing the judge, the mom, the dad, and two lawyers was nerve racking just in itself. But then the lawyers started firing their questions until her mind was swimming. She got confused more than once and had to ask the dad’s lawyer to slow down. When she didn’t think she could handle any more questions, the dad’s lawyer asked her one more. “Who do you think would make the better parent?” She stared at him, then at the judge. Before she could say anything, the mom’s lawyer objected. He told the judge she wasn’t qualified to answer that because of her limited contact with the family.

The judge turned to look at her and said, “In my experience, teachers are pretty good at making intuitive judgments about their students’ families. I’ll allow the question.”

There it was. THE question. What could she say? She took a deep breath, then told the judge her impressions as the parents had taken turns dropping off their son in the mornings. “I don’t know who would make the better parent,” she said. “But because the mom always talked about her son, and the dad always talked about himself, I would have to choose the mom.”

All the way home, she kicked herself, remembering what she could of the interview, and realizing she could have done a better job. If only that lawyer hadn’t kept confusing her!

The next morning, when the mom arrived with her son, she hung her head and apologized to the mom. “I’m so sorry if I messed anything up.”

The mom shook her head. “No, you don’t understand. Your answers were perfect!” She handed a pencil to her. “Thank you so much!”

Atop the blue pencil was a large rubber eraser, shaped like a sun, with the words “God’s Love Shines On You.’




And she knew that God has sent that pencil to her. It was like getting a hug from Him, assurance that she had done a good job regardless of her fears. Not that she believed for a minute that her answers were all that wise in and of themselves – but the Holy Spirit had guided her in what to say, and God had used it for His purpose, standing behind her and filling her words with His power and light. And that’s what everyone else had heard. Just like He had promised in Mark 13:11.

What an amazing, faithful God!

Love in the Sky

Head down, she walked outside. Not one of her better days. She needed some time with God but He seemed to be quiet recently so she wasn’t expecting much.

She had begun standing on her back deck for a few minutes each morning for her quiet time, looking up into the sky at her invisible Father and asking for His blessing on her day. It had been working well enough – her family had not interfered – but lately it had seemed more of an exercise than an intimate moment with Him. Why was He so quiet sometimes?

On this morning, she spent a few minutes with her eyes closed, just trying to be in His presence. Nothing. Giving up, she looked up to ask His blessing when she saw a cloud. Just one cloud. A white, heart shaped cloud in a wide blue expanse. And she heard, “I love you.” So quiet, so gentle.

Her heart overflowed with love and gratitude. “I love you, too.” she responded as she gazed at the cloud until it had dissipated.  Then she went inside, carrying that amazing touch of love with her, to begin her day.


Lost Puppies

While she was sleeping, she dreamed…

The brown woven basket was filled with puppies. Cold, wet, shivering puppies. Not knowing any different, they stayed in that basket, huddling together in an attempt to get warm but without success.

Suddenly a hand reached down and gently picked up one of the puppies. As the puppy was held snuggly between two warm hands, the warmth flooded over and into her until she was infused with life. Her brown fur, once wet and plastered to her skin, became soft and fluffy.

The hand carefully place her back into the basket with the other puppies. Warmth spread from her and radiated into the cold puppies. As they got warmer, their fur dried and fluffed just as hers had done. The basket of cold, wet puppies transformed into a basket of warm, lively, happy puppies!


She woke, the dream fresh in her mind. What did it mean? Somehow she felt it was from God so she spent some time thinking about it. Then she understood. She was the cold puppy that had been picked up. God had warmed her and then put her back into her family where His warmth, His life would spread to her siblings.

And that’s exactly what He did, she thought. He reached into my family, picked me up, warmed me spiritually, then returned me to my family. I didn’t have to do anything but allow the love He had given me to radiate to them. Over the next few years, she watched as one sibling after another warmed up and connected with Jesus. And she was deeply awed at God’s love and concern for a bunch of lost puppies, and how He had chosen her, through no merit of her own, to help bring about this amazing change.

Am I Saved Yet?

After her amazing encounter with Jesus, she read every book she could find about Jesus. From those books, and from some new friends she had made, she learned that, although she was in love with Jesus and told Him that daily, she had never actually responded to an altar call or repentance prayer. So was she saved?

She had been taught at an early age the importance of following rules. There were rules for everything. And now she learned there were rules for being saved. It didn’t matter that she spent time with Jesus every day, talked about Him to everyone she met, and doodled His name in her books.  If she never responded to an altar call, was she saved?

Her church didn’t do altar calls. So she found a friend’s church that did and made plans to attend it. When the altar call was given, the thought of everyone looking at her caused her to panic inside and she froze, unable to make herself get up and walk down that aisle. The preacher said that not going down the aisle was the same as saying no to the Holy Spirit. Full of remorse, she asked God to forgive her.

She talked with her friends and decided to try a smaller church.  Maybe it would be easier with less people. But the same thing happened. And even though she said the sinner’s prayer in her heart as the preacher said it out loud, she knew it wasn’t good enough because a book she had read said that it wasn’t good enough to just think the sinner’s prayer, she had to say it out loud in front of a witness. So she wept silent tears for her weakness, wondering if she would ever be able to get saved.

But she didn’t give up. She continued going to churches and reading books until one day she finally got the courage to make the walk to the front. Trembling so hard she thought she might faint, she repeated the sinner’s prayer with everyone else and went back to her seat.

IMG_20180307_111959575Was she saved? She had read how everyone in the books described all the peace they felt when they got saved. She didn’t feel any different.  Maybe a group prayer wasn’t good enough after all. Maybe that new book she was reading was right – that people should be led to Christ individually.

“Jesus,” she cried out. “Help me figure this out! I want to be saved. I want to be Yours. But I just don’t know how to do it!”

Beginning to get discouraged, she continued reading books, finding more rules and prayers, and following each one each time.

Respond to an altar call. Check.

Repeat the sinner’s prayer. Which one? She had repeated several so maybe she was covered.

Ask Jesus to live in her heart. Did she do this. Quickly she did and checked it off her mental list. Was she saved yet?

Give her life to Jesus and tell Him she would go wherever He wants to send her. OK, this one was harder, but she did, even if that meant moving to Africa and eating bugs. Was she saved yet?

Making Him Lord of her life. What did that mean? Maybe this was the hang up. “Whatever it means, Lord, I agree with it.” Was she saved yet?

Eventually she was so confused, she gave up. Salvation was just not for her, she thought. If God wanted to save her, He would. She wasn’t going to try anymore.

One day, months later, she was singing a praise song, about a group of people who rejoiced in belonging to Jesus, and the realization bloomed inside her that she was one of those people! She had been saved! When – she didn’t know. But that didn’t matter. She now knew who she belonged to. And she had the peace that came with that.

A gentle voice whispered unheard, “Silly girl. Don’t you know you were Mine the first time you told Me you loved Me? The words don’t matter. The place doesn’t matter.  Feelings don’t matter. What matters is your heart. You were saved on that day, and I’m glad you finally believe it.”

That’s My Seat!

I glared at the lady. How dare she!

A few minutes earlier, I had been sitting in a prime seat – on the end of a pew that was close to the front but not too close and had a perfect view of the stage. I had just settled in and gotten comfortable when nature called. Looking around, I didn’t spot anyone I knew that could hold my seat for me while I took a quick trip to the bathroom. Hmmm… could I wait an hour until after the speaker? No, that wasn’t going to work. So I did what so many other people were doing – letting my bag hold my space for me. I spread out some of the contents to make the bag easily spotted and to reserve a greater space than my single bag would do. They headed to the bathroom.

When I returned, I couldn’t believe it! A lady was sitting in my spot! How could she? Didn’t she see my bag? As I got closer to her, I noticed my bag and contents scrunched up at the very end of the pew. So, she had seen my bag but moved it so she could have that seat. No one does that to someone’s stuff! At least no one did it to anyone else’s stuff. My stuff? I guess I’m fair game. My inferior complex and insecurities rising,  I was about to grab my stuff and head for a different seat.

No, wait! I had gotten there early so I could have a great seat. She had gotten there late and stolen my seat.  No, what she did was not right. It wasn’t fair. And I wasn’t going to let her get away with it.

So instead of grabbing my stuff and fleeing, I picked up my bag, gave the lady a I-know-what-you-did-and-you’re-not-going-to-get-away-with-it face, and squeezed into that tiny space. It was just over a foot wide and since I was skinny at the time, I managed to fit in it, although I did bump into her a few times causing her to shift away from me a few inches.

With my arms held tightly to my body, I sat stiffly waiting for her to give up and move on down the pew. There actually was room between her and the next lady. But she didn’t move. So we both sat there hanging on to our spaces while the worship team began playing.


“How awesome is our God,” we sang, as we jostled for that space.

“I love You, Lord,” we sang as we glared sideways at each other.

Finally she shifted a couple of inches. Was it an accident? I quickly filled in that space before she could change her mind. Now my arms could hang comfortably by my side, but our shoulders were still touching.

“Oh, Lord, You’re beautiful,” we sang as we bumped shoulders, each wanting the other to give up.

“Make me a servant,” we sang as I squirmed against her and won an few more inches.

Feeling pleased with myself, my attention was redirected to the stage and the worship team. Worship? I was singing the words but my heart was far from it. I tried to focus, but guilt washed through me. Here I was singing to the Lord about how great He is, how much I love Him, and how I want to be His servant – all the while fighting over a tiny piece of the pew. I was a hypocrite. I was not worthy to be singing these songs. I was not worthy to even be there. Despising myself, I looked down at my lap and thought about leaving.

“Are you two done?” I heard the voice clearly in my spirit. God? Had to be! And He didn’t sound angry or disgusted or even sad. He sounded like I did when I waited for my students to finish jostling for spots on the rug during story time. I never got upset with them, they were just five year olds and learning to work out their social skills. I didn’t hold it against them. And it didn’t make me love them any less. Actually, I was frequently amused watching them, even when I had to intervene to get them to stop. Is that how God was looking at us? At me? He wasn’t angry with me? He still loved me? My guilt and self-condemnation drained away as His love filled me. And I began singing again, this time with all my heart, to the amazing God who loves me even when I’m not behaving perfectly – and cares enough to let me know!

Even When I’m Prickly?

She clenched her fists as she plopped down at her desk.  Forcing her body to calm down, but not able to calm her heart, she looked up at the computer screen. A week before she had set a slide show of inspirational photos on her desktop to rotate randomly. And now, as her computer turned on, the first photo caught her attention.


Be still? With this storm raging in me? Fat chance. Know that He is God? Sure thing. He’s out there just being God and everything is wonderful.  But wait, God is in me, too. So if He’s God over everything out there, then is He also God over everything in me? Including all this frustration that I’m feeling?


As she considered that idea, the photo on the screen changed.


Really? Even when I feel as prickly as a porcupine and don’t want anyone near me? Even when I just want to hit something? Even when I don’t even want to be here with myself?

So if He is here as He says He is, what is He doing? Frowning at me with disapproval? Shaking His head with disappointment in my lack of self control? Waiting for me to get over it so He can come close to me again?

With her head down, she asked Him, “God, what are You doing while You’re here with me, when I’m like this?”

“Stroking your hair. Waiting with you until the frustration feeling passes. Loving you.”

Marveling at this revelation, she looked back up at the screen.


“Still here?” she asked Him.

“I’m not going anywhere. I am always with you. Whether you feel it or not. Whether you want it or not. Even when you resist because you don’t feel worthy. Even when you get angry. Even when you forget.”

“OK, I get it. You’re always with me. So how can that help me? When I get like this, how does knowing You’re here help me? I’m still frustrated.

Or is that the wrong question?”

Again the photo changed.


She chuckled. Well, not quite a chuckle but something close. God has a sense of humor, that’s for sure. Communicating with her through these random photos? Maybe not so random after all. And she loved that He could always cut to the chase while making her smile.

“OK, so You’re greater than my heart. Greater than all the mixed emotions in there. I don’t have to worry when I can’t control my heart, my feelings, because You can. I can rest that You’ll take me through these feelings and I won’t get lost in them and have to live there forever. Yes, that was the wrong question. Focusing on me – how does that help ME, how am I feeling – doesn’t help.  Focusing on You – Your power and presence – gives me peace.”

The photo changed to a sunrise in the mountains.


She thought about her recent trip to the mountains. The early morning peace as she watched the sunrise. The promise of a new day. And she knew He was nodding in confirmation.

She smiled, at peace both inside and outside, and grateful to the amazing God who is always with her and loves her enough to find a way to communicate with her no matter how prickly she feels.


In the Beginning, Chapter Two

She opened her front door and froze. Something wasn’t right. Her young dog was staring into the entryway, hair bristling, and growling deep in his throat. Oh no, not again, she thought. This was the third time her dog had acted spooked about going into her house after long days spent working and chauffeuring.

Was someone here? She looked as far as she could into the dark house and listened intently but saw and heard nothing.

“Someone here?” she called out.

No answer. There hadn’t been those other times either.

She slowly reached in without entering the house and turned on the light switch that was just inside the door frame. The light didn’t reveal anything out of place. But her dog was still growling and staring into the living room. That was strange. The last two times he had quit growling as soon as she had turned on the lights.

Should she leave this time? Go find someone to come back with her? No, she was an adult. She could handle this like she did the other times. She didn’t want anyone to think she was not capable of living by herself, of taking care of her problems herself.


Heart pounding, she reached in and picked up the baseball bat she kept by the door for protection. Holding it up over her shoulder, she walked into the living room.

No one was there. And nothing appeared to be missing. However, the TV was on. Did she forget to turn it off before leaving this morning? No, that was impossible. She never turned it on in the mornings. She glanced around.  Wait. The slip cover on the couch was wrinkled like someone had been sitting there. And there was a glass on the side table with some ice melting in it. She tried to remember if she had forgotten to straighten the slip cover the night before. Regardless of whether she did or didn’t, that glass with the melting ice could not be hers. If she had forgotten to clean up before going to bed the night before, the ice would have been completely melted by now. And even if she had for some reason drunk something while watching TV that morning, it wouldn’t explain how the ice was still in there after the sixteen hours she had been gone.

Someone had been here! Maybe more than one! There hadn’t been any evidence the first two times, but this time there was. Were they still here?

She quietly made her way down the hallway to check the bedrooms and bathroom, her dog cowering behind her legs, a low growl still rumbling from his throat.

No one. The house was empty.

She turned and headed back to the living room, relaxing a little bit as her dog stopped growling. She checked that the doors were locked. They were, and the chain lock was still in place on the back door. So if they had been there, how did they get out?

Puzzling over who could have been there, no longer able to dismiss it as her imagination, and her nerves too frazzled to stay up, she decided to go to bed. She climbed in, pulled the covers over her head, and willed herself to escape into sleep.

Faking It

She had a friend. He declared his love to her at a time she was incapable of returning it. Although he left, they stayed in touch.


“I’m going to win her,” he thought

“I’m glad he’s gone,” she thought.

Over the next year she began writing to him about her new experiences with Jesus.

If I pretend to be a Christian, she’ll want me, he thought.

“Hey, I’ve started going to church, too!” he wrote her.

“That’s wonderful,” she responded.

I need more, he thought.

“I’ve started going to Bible study,” he wrote her.

“That’s great,” she responded.

Hmmm, he thought. What else? Maybe I really do need to go to church so I can give her more details. So he started attending a local church and they began writing about what they were learning from their respective churches.

“Hey! Guess what?” he wrote her one day after several months. “I got saved last night!”

“I thought you already were,” she wrote back.

“I just told you than because I thought it might make you want me. But the pretending became real! I guess all that church rubbed off on me!” he wrote.

“That’s awesome!” she wrote back and rejoiced with him in his new life.  His desire for her was replaced with a desire for Jesus – and they were both happy.

From faking it to win her heart,

his heart was won by God instead.


How amazing is that!