A Hand Reaching Out

I was sitting on a beach enjoying the sunshine when suddenly the clouds that had been puffy white suddenly turned an odd shade of brown and started going together into a long roll. I stopped what I was doing and stood up watching, mesmerized as they rolled quickly across the sky coming to a stop over the water.

The clouds kept getting bigger and bigger and they started dipping down close to the water. The people around me started to panic and someone said, “oh my God it’s a tornado!” and then everyone started running.

Everyone was screaming and running but I couldn’t move because my feet were suddenly frozen to the ground. Everyone around me was panicking but I wasn’t scared at all. It was like I had this feeling of peace and a knowing that I was safe and I just stood there watching the clouds.

Chaos was everywhere and then in an instant it was if the world around me just stopped. All the people were all standing frozen in place now and there was no wind or rain to go along with the darkness. The ocean waves had stopped leaving the surface of the water still and dark black like a giant pool of ink. It felt as if the air went silent too. It was so quiet I imagine this is what deafness must feel like. 

I should have been scared but I wasn’t scared at all. It was like the hush I felt around me was also inside of me filling me to the depths of my entire soul with a perfect feeling of peace.

Suddenly out of the deafness there came a loud clap of thunder and the clouds began parting with rays of the most magnificent beams of bright light I’d ever seen shining through them and then a giant hand came out of the opening in the sky. The hand came down just above the water and opened turning palm upward. It began moving closer to us with beautiful colored light shining all around it.

Someone shouted, “it’s the hand of God!”  By then I was already crying and feeling in awe of his presence because I knew those words were true…Yes! This was the hand of God!  So many feelings were going through me now, feelings of joy and love and an unexplainable feeling of peace like I have never known. The hand moved around as if offering itself to all who wanted to grasp it but nobody moved. After a while it went back up into the clouds and the sky immediately went back to normal.

I was wrecked, falling to my knees to pray thinking those around me would join in…but it didn’t happen. Instead, the people just went back to their business as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was as if nobody even cared what they had just been a part of.

I turned to a woman standing next to me and said, “wow the hand of…”  but she cut me off and said, “the hand of God, ya right, who cares!” and then she rolled her eyes!

God’s hand had been there, right in front of us, offering for each one of us to just reach out and take what he had to offer. It couldn’t possibly be true that nobody cared! They were all right there so close to being in in the palm of his hand, how they could pass that up it just made no sense!!! I started crying….

And then I woke up.

It had only been a dream!

Even though it was only a dream my heart was still pounding and I felt sick to my stomach and my face was wet with tears because I had been crying in my sleep.

I know it was only a dream but it felt so real!

It’s been a day and a half and I still can’t shake it that dream. In the dream, it made me sad that God was right in front of us in such a spectacular display and nobody cared and nobody would take what he had to offer. This has me thinking about how there used to be a time in my life that God’s hand was right in front of my face and I didn’t see it. I also have to admit that there are still some days that go by and I miss him.

Years ago I didn’t see him because I didn’t want to see Him. I used to think he wasn’t real and now it’s hard for me to believe that I could have ever felt that way. How could I have gotten up in the morning to see a sunrise and never wonder how something so magnificent could have gotten there? How could I have had 3 children and never once questioned how something so perfect as a newborn baby could have formed without help from something more than just magically happening? I could go on but I know you know what I mean… flowers, animals, air, water, LIFE. It’s all because of Him.

God is real and God is always here in each and every second of every day. We may not see him as a big giant hand reaching out of the sky like in my dream but He is all around us in each and every single thing in each and every single day.

I don’t want to miss him, and I don’t want anyone to miss what he has to offer!

Open my eyes Lord.

Open our eyes, let us see your hand reaching out to us!

I know to someone who doesn’t believe in Him this may sound strange. I know because I have been there. I used to live my life without God in it. I also remember a time in my life that I felt that I was too bad and that there was no way he could ever want or love me. But that wasn’t true and even though I totally gave up on him and also on myself, he still never gave up on me. He has shown me time and time again that he wants me, and now that he is in my life He has been right here holding my hand for every single step I take. If you are reading this and in need of a hand to help lift you up, all you have to do is want Him in your life. Just tell him you want him and then grab on to his hand. He sent Jesus to save us and all we have to do is ask him in and he will come.

It’s truly that simple.

If He is what you want and you don’t know what to say, you can say this prayer –  Dear Jesus, I know you are the son of God, I know you came for me, I know you died for me. I ask you to come into my life right now. I ask you to forgive me for my sin because I want to make a fresh start. I want to live the rest of my life with you and for you. Amen

If you said that prayer for the first time or maybe you are just deciding to come back from a separation of some sort, know that now he has you in the palm of his hand. If you are there you will never be alone.

 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:15-26

Have a great weekend!

Terri Siebert

 

Sometimes all you can do is Praise the Lord

I have had something deep on my mind for the past several weeks.

Over the past few days it has really came down to me having to make a decision and that decision was hinging on me deciding and knowing without a doubt what it was that God wanted me to do.

I have prayed about it and prayed about it but things seemed really complicated.  I thought I knew without a doubt what God wanted me to do at the beginning of all this, but after a while things were not matching up and nothing seemed to be making any sense.  I kept praying about it but I finally became frustrated because I just wanted God to just lay it all out nice and clear for me, but that did not seem to be happening.

As many of you know I am a church secretary. A lot of the time when I am working nobody is at the church except for me.  So after I finished my work yesterday I decided to sit in the quiet of the sanctuary for a little while and pray.

As I was praying I was feeling frustrated about all the stuff whirling in my head so I said out loud, “God please tell me what is it you want me to do?!” As the words left my mouth, suddenly my eyes caught on a banner that is hanging on the wall in the front of the room….20150717_094052 (1)

Praise the Lord…. I went back to my praying… suddenly I saw the banner again… Praise the Lord!

Suddenly the thought occurred to me…. Praise the Lord? Really? Lord is that what you want me to do? Praise you?

No answer… just the banner again with the words now stuck in my head … Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord

So I did.  I started with praising him for allowing me to have this quiet place to sit in… I looked around and realized how thankful I am for my church and I began praising the Lord for how wonderfully he planted me in this place that has been perfect for me to grow and learn about him.  As I praised him for my church I praised him for my job or I would not even have been sitting here in that sanctuary in the first place.

Praise the Lord…

I praised the Lord for his awesomeness in thinking of life, we have kids, grand kids and friends; and not only does he love us but he gave us people who love us and who we can love back… wow! Praise the Lord for his love.

The list kept growing…I can see, I can taste, I can hear, I can smell!  How amazing is that when you really think about it? How many different smells, sounds, flavors, and sights are there in the world??  Praise the Lord for Nature, praise him for sunrises, sunsets, wind, rain, flowers, and birds.

Praise the Lord I can sit, I can stand, I can walk, I can breathe…. God is so good!

As I praised him and I suddenly realized a person could never ever run out of stuff to praise the Lord about … Seriously how awesome is that?! How awesome is He?!

The rest of the day it did not matter what I did,  the words ‘praise the Lord‘ where etched in my mind.  By the end of the day as I was going to bed… I praised the Lord for blessing me with a bed, a pillow, a cold drink of water.  When I had trouble sleeping I was praising him for my husband snoring really LOUD beside me 🙂  I never really thought of that snoring as something to praise God about but man am I soooooo thankful that man sleeps beside me every night

When I woke up this morning once again the ‘what do you want me to do about this complicated stuff?’ question came back to my mind.

And when I arrived at work I went to work in the sanctuary once again.  As  I opened the sanctuary doors there was that banner….20150717_094052 (1)Praise the Lord…. “Seriously God, is that really all you can tell me of what you want me to do?”  I knew the answer.

So I Praised the Lord. As the day went on I praised him about the Good stuff and I even praised him when there was a lot of not so good stuff.

I still did not have an answer to my dilemma but late this afternoon.  After praising the Lord most of the day the thought dawned on me, God has blessed me with so so much, maybe instead of stressing about what he is planning for my life I should just be praising him for all that he does in my life and just let him take care of the the planning?

Oddly shortly after I realized that everything I had been worrying about for weeks suddenly all just came right together as peace washed over me.  I can’t explain it but I will take it.

God just amazes me all the time!

Praise the Lord!

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever. ~ Psalm 86:12

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My Week in Pictures

Whew it seems like my life has been crazy busy lately and it also seems like time is just flying by faster and faster the older I get.

As I go through each day I usually try to write down or take pictures of some of the blessings I come across so I will have reminders of all the wonderful gifts I have received from God. This evening I was going through my phone and I was amazed at all of the pictures and notes I had written down in only a week.

Here are just a handful of the awesome gifts I received this week.

This first picture is from last Saturday which was the 4th of July, we had our little grandsons Mason & Gavin at our house and to make a long story short fireworks were not their idea of a fun time so they watched from a safe distance inside the house with grandma. I just love these sweet boys so much <320150704_204932

The next day was Sunday. I arrived at church and found these waiting for me  🙂 20150705_112645-1On Monday I worked at the Compassion Mobile Experience. This is pretty cool and a lot of fun to work at and visit.  Visitors of the experience get to go on an interactive tour through the life of a past Compassion child who is all grown up now.  As the child tells their story through an iPod and headset the visitor gets to travel along through rooms that look, feel, and smell just like the child’s life as they grew up. As visitors move through the child’s journey they get to see how the child’s life changed from one of poverty to hope after they came into Compassion’s program.

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Packets of children waiting for sponsors

153 children were sponsored at the Mobile Experience this weekend and these are the prayers their new sponsors left for them.20150706_185450 (1)If the Compassion Mobile Experience ever comes to your town be sure to take the time to walk through it, you will be glad you did.

Monday night on my way home I saw this awesome sunset!20150706_191927Tuesday night the rain came down extra hard20150701_221039

and Bart was bored.20150705_181009

Wednesday I found this gem 🙂Screenshot_2015-07-10-21-27-47

Thursday Bart was still bored <320150706_204607

This morning (Friday) I was blessed to be at church as our youth left for a mission trip to Oklahoma.20150710_100201I just loved seeing their excitement!

Tonight my husband and I went on a date and we had really good conversation and some really great food… I don’t have any pictures of date night but its still fresh in my mind.

If you are interested, I try to post blessings on my gifts page (tab at the top of this blog) from time to time.

Writing down and taking pictures of blessings is something I do because if I am ever having a bad day I always know I can go to my journal or my pictures and see thousands of reminders as to God’s awesomeness and love that he gives me on a daily basis. When we really look for them we will usually find God’s gifts are always there just waiting to be opened.

I would say over all this was a pretty good week 🙂

I hope you also have a wonderful and blessed weekend and week and don’t forget to stop along the way and open all the gifts that God has left for you,

T

P.S. If you were interested in visiting the mobile experience here is a link to a list of cities it will be coming to in the near future –Compassion Mobile Experience

Unspoken Prayer

She walked into the building trembling inside, trying to trust even though the fear was overwhelming.  The urge to bolt was strong, if she could just sit in the back she would feel much better.

She suddenly felt like she needed to share her secret, if she told it maybe she could just sit in the back and get a grip on the fear that was plaguing her right now.  To share a side of herself in person with someone who might not understand would be hard to do, but at the moment it sounded easier than the alternative.  Besides she was in church, it should be safe to share what she was feeling at church. So she made the decision to confide in a friend the fear she was feeling, laying her heart out vulnerable as her secret was told

What happened next hit her like a punch to the stomach.  She had been hoping for relief but instead she was met with annoyance and anger as the words “you need to realize you are not the only person with stuff going on” were said to her along with the story of how badly this person’s day had been going so far.  Suddenly she felt embarrassed and ashamed.  She felt ashamed for being so selfish, and embarrassed for being so weak. She wished she could take it back, wished she had listened to the voice inside that had warned her to keep her mouth shut.

The feeling to bolt from the room was now stronger than ever as she wondered what was wrong with her and why couldn’t she couldn’t just get a grip on herself?

If God was here, why did she feel so alone at this moment, in the one place where she usually felt Him the most?  Wasn’t this a place that she was supposed to feel safe?

Though she wanted to run away, something stopped her and her stubborn side kicked in. With every fiber of strength she had left she walked to the front of the room and sat down on the front row. She swallowed the lump in her throat and pushed back the tears that were threatening to pour down any second and she made the decision that no matter how she felt she had to do this. She was tired of running, she was tired of hiding.  God had never failed her before and she knew he wasn’t going to fail her this time either.

The service started and after the first song she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten to silence the sound on her phone. She pulled her phone from her purse to turn it off and as she hit the volume button a text message flashed across the screen.  The message said ‘I love you!! I read what you wrote, this morning, I have been down the same road…I see why God sent us here, because we need each other! You are a blessing to so many people and I will be praying for you all this morning!’

She looked at her phone stunned and then she knew she had just seen the hands of Jesus right there on it’s screen.

She sat there lost in thought for a few moments when she suddenly realized the pastor was getting ready to pray and he was asking the same question he asks the congregation every week, “Does anyone in the room have something on their heart that is hard to share today? Just raise your hand and I will put it on my personal prayer list,” Her hand went up along with other hands in the room.

As a prayer for the room was said, a sudden peace like no other began washing over her.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.

God was here…

Calm and reassurance began taking place of the fear she had felt only moments before, the words ‘you are not alone’ filled her mind as her heart became entwined with the other hearts in the room.

And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever.
Amen.

God’s power was present in a huge way that day as she realized that YES it was true, she was not the only person with stuff going on.  We all have ‘stuff” and God had brought them all together in that place to be there for one another.

The church is a place for the hurting and the broken people.  It is a place where all can come together as one and lay our burden down and rest our weary heads. The church is a place that has been built on love, God’s love and there is always plenty of His love to go around.

God can wipe our tears and answer each and every single prayer. He answers the spoken and unspoken requests and His peace flows in abundance and is free for anyone who wishes to partake in it.