I’ve been processing a lot of stuff these last couple of weeks. Anyone in or around the Springfield MO area had to process the news of Hailey Owens and the impact this senseless death of this beautiful 10-year-old girl had on all of us. By all accounts her death has made am impact not just locally but globally. The Tuesday night of her disappearance I, like so many others, heard the news and got the Amber Alert and I went to bed praying for her safe return. When I got up the next morning, Wednesday, I prayed that the news I would see would be of a joyful reunion with her family. Alas, it was not to be.
The emotions so many of us experienced have run the gamut from disbelief to shock to grief to anger to fear and anything and everything in between. We are still healing. It’s a process.
Where am I going with this and why did I choose to start a post with such sadness? Well, in the days or maybe weeks prior to this I was thinking of a different event. My Dad, who I loved dearly, was no longer here on this earth. He had passed away and come this February 19th of this year it would be 10 years since he had gone to be with Jesus. I was missing him a lot and had been thinking about him and the anniversary milestone coming up and just trying to process that fact it had already been 10 years.
Well, that day, this February 19th ,turned out to also be the day we all found out that Hailey would not be returning to her family and had also gone to be with Jesus. So, I had a bunch of other emotions to deal with that day other than the anniversary of Dad’s passing.
I’m still growing and learning who I am and who God designed me to be. I’ve learned that I don’t want to miss any opportunities or blessings He may have for me. My emotions tend to trip me up sometimes and I just don’t notice things that He has put right in front me. I want to be grateful for what I have or even what I don’t have. What I desire may not be what is best for me and I want to discern God clearly. So, I have been trying to be more intentional in my thoughts, words, and actions. You know the old adages of “look before you leap”, “think before you speak” kind of things. I have prayed that I see God’s hand in everything.
Well, as God likes to do he provides a lot of opportunities to work on these aspects of my growth. And in many of the readings or studying I had been doing in the few weeks leading up to this 10 year milestone they of course spoke to me on being grateful in my circumstances (no matter if good or bad), choosing my words carefully, and not letting what should be a minor inconvenience turn in to a big mountain.
What finally hit home with me, however, was the numerous times I was encouraged to strive to notice God in everything. Absolutely everything. No matter how big or small. No matter if it’s good or bad. No matter if it directly impacts me or not. He’s there. All the time. He’s there if we need to praise Him or thank Him, cry out to Him in joy or intense sadness, or even in anguish or anger because we just don’t understand the unfairness of it all. We can just simply speak the name of Jesus when no other words will come. I’ve known this of course and thought I did a pretty good job of seeing God’s hand in things but I realize now I probably only scratched the surface.
One of my favorite authors Lysa TerKeurst, posted several entries on her blog the week or so prior to these events that really hit me hard. I know this wasn’t coincidence of course. Basically what she said was that we need to Be a Noticer. Be a Noticer of and love your story – whether orderly or chaotic, thank God for the moments. Be a Noticer with your words – be a noticer of the good in every situation. This part isn’t easy and even in difficult circumstances we can look for how God can teach us through it. This one I struggle with more than others. And finally Be a Noticer by developing a heart of thankfulness. Find something to be thankful for in every situation. This helps me remember God is there and I can focus more on Him instead of the situation which may be difficult. This will release God’s supernatural peace.
Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. I sure have needed some peace over the last couple of weeks. There are times when all I’ve managed to say was “Jesus” because I couldn’t find the right words.
So, I am boldly going forward and declaring I will be a noticer! I know I will still miss some things but God’s presence will never change so all I need to do is refocus and there He is! Amazing isn’t it.