This is crazy! I have never blogged before and I feel a little…intimidated. Now that I think about it, I have never thought about or done several things that God has recently called me to. But because He has never failed me, and because I owe Him more than I could ever repay, I will press on.
Several years ago, Carolyn and I were leading a senior high girl’s catalyst group at our church. We had actually been with these sweet girls since their sixth grade year. By the time they were juniors, we realized that we were not being as effective as we needed to be. As we prayed about what was missing and continued to seek God, we realized that we had done an awful lot of teaching on how to act like a Christian, but we had failed to show them what it was like to have a personal relationship with their Father and with their Savior. Things needed to change. I remember sitting on the floor in front of my group and asking them to forgive me, and promising to do things differently. We began the Experiencing God bible study and I began to pray that they would begin to see God’s activity in their lives, and through that they would learn to love Him with all of their hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
We began to share experiences…me included. One morning early in the study, I shared the parking space story with them. I explained to them that I wasn’t really asking for a parking space as much as I was asking for my Father’s presence, and how overwhelmed I was when the God of the universe paused for just me.
When I finished sharing the story that morning, one of the girls was sitting in a chair with an ottoman in front of her. She leaned forward with both hands on the ottoman. I thought for a moment that she was going to jump over it! She almost yelled, “I want a parking space!” The intensity in her eyes caught me off guard for a minute. Then I realized that really, that’s what we all long for. There’s a place in all of us that only our Father can fill. So often we are not even aware of it; not until the trials come, and the clouds roll in.
Anyway, from that day on, we all decided to look for parking spaces every day; pray for parking spaces, anticipate parking spaces, and share when God gave us those parking spaces. We found parking spaces in the good and not so good moments. One precious girl found hers in her car in the school parking lot after bombing a difficult test. As she sat in her car crying and calling out to her Father, she was enveloped in His love as if He were sitting in the car with her and wrapping her up in His arms. I almost cried as I listened to her excitedly share her “parking space” with us…actually, I did cry.
It’s funny how contagious parking space faith can become. I love talking about and sharing great books and bible studies, but I what I really love, what really excites me, is listening to someone share their stories of God’s activity in their lives. I love watching the joy spill out of their hearts, and I always walk away feeling refreshed and joyful.
As we watch God move in our lives and in the lives of others, we can’t help but draw closer to Him. The closer we draw, the more we understand His will, and the better prepared we are to do His will. And, the more we abide in His will, the more joy we experience! Colossians 1:12-14 in The Message says:
“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”
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