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Susan Chase

*Enjoy the story below, and come back often! I look forward to hearing from you soon!
*Intimacy, Growing with God
Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Several years ago, when one of our daughters was about four or so, my husband and I were arguing. It wasn’t a significant argument-I don’t even remember what it was about. But I do remember being concerned about what my daughter might be feeling. My husband and I were in another room, but she was in the hallway. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t frightened or thought the arguing was any more than just a disagreement. I didn’t want her to ever fear that her dad and I would not stay together and love each other always.

I sat down in the hallway and pulled her up onto my lap. I put my arm around her and pulled her close. I stroked the back of her hair and I shared with her in four-year-old terms how sometimes mommies and daddies don’t always agree and that sometimes while they are trying to work things out, their voices might get loud-just like when she and her sister disagreed. I assured her of my love for her and her daddy. I was very proud of myself at this particular moment. I really believed that this was one of my finer “Mommy moments.” I could sense the emotional connection we were having. I could see the trust and understanding grow in her eyes. I knew that this moment marked a significant point in her upbringing. I knew that one day she would look back on this heart to heart talk and be forever grateful for the reassuring sense of security I instilled in her on this day.

She turned to me and looked at me with wide and understanding eyes and said, “Mommy,”
“Yes dear,” I replied.
“Your breath stinks.”

So much for “finer moments!”

I had hoped for bonding. I had hoped for a connection. I wasn’t expecting much. A hug, a reassuring smile, an “It’s OK, Mommy, I love you” would have been more than sufficient. What I was not expecting was to be told my breath stunk. I smiled, told her I was sorry and sent her on her way. Apparently she she wasn’t at all upset by our discussion, and I was grateful.

And, a bit disappointed. I thought it was going to be an intimate time, and it wasn’t. Not because I wasn’t vulnerable and open with her, but because she was not with me. And I began to wonder. Is it that way with God? He pours His heart out to us and we respond with a critique of how He should or should not have handled a particular situation. He shows us His love and blessings, and we chatter about meaningless lists of wants. He gives us His word-His very breath and we give Him ten minutes once or twice a day when we remember.

Intimacy is a two way street. God has poured himself into us, He holds nothing back-but we do. We hold back fears and hurts, hopes and dreams. He is patient, and He is not demanding. He will ask to enter into the depths of our soul, but He will not go unwelcome. He will prod, He may even give a gentle push, but He will not go into the rooms of our heart- our lives where we do not invite Him.

When did you last sit at the feet of Jesus and invite Him into all of the rooms of your heart? When was the last time you asked Him to search your mind, to look into all of the realms for the hurts, the fears, the hidden dark places that so desperately need a touch of His love? He will not reject you, or laugh at you, or walk away from you. He will go into you and search you and clean you and make you whole. He will love you in the deepest sense of the word-if you will ask Him.

So what does it look like, intimacy with God? I encourage you to take your appointment book or calendar and clear away some time just for you and God. Bring your Bible, and a journal and spend some time revealing your heart to God, and listening to His. A simple, but effective pattern if you are just starting out is to:

Praise Him (This is different from thanking Him. Praising Him is affirming His character qualities back to Him. Remind yourself who His is. Write these down, or simply tell Him aloud)

Admit your sins (This is more than listing your sins. It is the time to reflect on who you are in relation to who God is. Are you about His desires, or your own? is your heart and actions in line with His heart and His plans? Ask God to reveal your heart to you, to show you where you are placing your trust, where you are missing His best and wonderful plan. Sometimes this is a good time to be silent and listen for the almighty, all loving, all gracious and all powerful God speak to your heart.)

Thank Him for his gifts (Physical gifts such as a roof over your head, or good health as well as mental, spiritual and emotional gifts such as happiness, hope, caring, love, etc.)

Share your concerns (This is a great time to pour out your fears, worries, and requests to His waiting arms-and once you have done that, remember, you have released it. They are no longer under your control or power. Let it all fall at His feet-and leave it there!)

Read His word (Without grounding ourselves in the word of God, we make ourselves vulnerable to error and to misinterpreting God's character. The book of Psalms is a wonderful place to start learning about the heart of God and the strength of His character)

Your time with God is best when your are free from distractions. can be a deterrent to the time you spend. Try to carve out a quiet moment where ringing telephones, needy children, and the laundry won't keep you from Him. As your life and its demands change, so might the time you set aside for meeting with God. Be flexible and patient with yourself as you try to find the time that works for you. It might be first thing in the morning or over a cup of tea in the evening. Commit to finding the time and you will not be disappointed. Just like you nurture the human relationships you have by spending time with them, your relationship with God is no different. As you invest in Him, He will invest in you. Just as intimacy with your friends, children,or husband did not occur in five minutes, intimacy with God takes time too.

A Place for Me is dedicated to helping women stay lead lives that are meaningful, authentic and real, and deeply connected to the God who loves them.

*Intimacy, Growing with God, is first in a series of excerpts from Enjoying the Journey, a Thirty Day Devotional Based on the Psalms. Please feel free to contact Susan Chase for publication and reproduction information.
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