That really hit me because I thought I had already grasped that. I know that my God is not a distant God. I know that He loves me and He paid a huge price to adopt me as His chosen daughter. I call Him Papa! So when He said that, I thought, "Woah. What do I do? How can I learn to be your daughter more?" And He said, "Just be. Just be my daughter and receive my love." He told me that He didn't want me to do anything that day.
I really struggled with that at first, because I felt the need to be productive. I thought, yeah, that sounds awesome, but I can't just spend a whole day here without doing something. I even dared to think that a day without me doing something would be kind of a waste of time. It makes me sad to say that! Because it makes God sad! And it's not that I struggled with not doing because I feel the need to do to earn God's love. It isn't that at all, I love doing! I love volunteering, I love hanging out with the homeless, and I love getting the pleasure of giving them things and meeting their needs! But I don't ever want to see that as more important or more "productive" than spending time with my Father. So I knew, even though at first I was a bit reluctant, that I needed to obey Him and just spend one day without doing anything. It's kind of funny, because I really did put up a fight at first. I reasoned with myself saying, "Well, I won't go out to organizations or looking for people, but I can at least make sandwiches or write messages on the sandwich bags. That's not really going out and doing something, but it is productive!" But I don't want to ever reason my way out of obedience, so eventually I just gave in to having a day of nothing other than being God's daughter and receiving His love.
So I spent a while longer just on my own in my room, and then I went to IHOP's prayer room and just worshiped and soaked in God's love and His presence. It was amazing. He really showed me His shepherd heart. He showed me that I was that one sheep that He left the 99 for. Because I was His silly little lamb that thought I knew best, so I wandered off to do my own thing even though I had the perfect guide. So He sought after me. He saw me and was by me calling out my name, but I was too stubborn, weak, and stupid to know that He knew what was best for me and I should probably stick with Him. So He had to pick me up and carry me to the pastures and still waters. He did that for me in April when He healed me and changed my life. When I was too stubborn, weak, and stupid to follow His lead, He picked me up and carried me to the cross. And He did that for me yesterday. When I was too preoccupied with productivity to be His child, He picked me up in those loving arms and carried me into His perfect love and peace.
"How amazing that He seeks me out! That He calls me into intimacy with Him! How amazing that the God of the universe feels cheated when I put service and works before Him! How amazing that He desires my affection! And He cares enough to pick me up and put me in His pastures of peace when all I'm doing is running. He knows what I need better than I do. And He cares enough to intervene. He shows me the path. He is my Shepherd. He is my pasture."
And we're sheep for a reason. He could have called us something strong and ferocious like His wolves or His tigers, but nope. We're His little sheep. Because sheep are weak and fragile. Sheep are dumb and easily led astray. Sheep are dependent. And we, as His sheep, have the perfect, loving Shepherd.
I love it when God reveals more of Himself to me! His love is so astounding and His mercies are new every morning! Yesterday was truly amazing, just getting to soak up His love! I got to IHOP at 10:30 am and didn't get home until 11:30 pm. And I could have stayed longer. Who knew, a girl that once was bored to tears at the thought of church would one day spend over 12 hours at one and still be eager for more. But that's because it wasn't church that I was experiencing, it was God. The majority of my time there was just in their 24/7 prayer room, but 6-10:30 was their Encounter God Service, which is kind of like a Friday night church service. That was the most beautifully, gloriously joyful corporate worship I have ever been a part of. I love services like that! Where it takes three hours to even get to the sermon! God is so amazing and He wants to fill us with joy! His joy is so life altering!
Just like that song, I really could sing of His love forever. But He wants His family to grow, and that happens when we experience Him, then go out and share Him. So today that's what I did! This morning I went to Hope Faith Ministries, which is an amazing ministry that provides food, showers, clothes, laundry, haircuts, and some medical services to the homeless and needy. Today I worked in the laundry room! After that, I drove around downtown and God led me to some of His beautiful, hungry people!
These are my new friends Eric, Micheal, and Greg:
I got to share the joy and love of Jesus with these guys! And some sandwiches, socks, Bibles, gloves, scarves, blankets, a pair of shoes, and a few other random things (huge shout out to people who gave donations!). They were just awesome people that were really fun to talk with. I loved getting to spend time with them, love on them, meet some of their physical needs, and pray with them and tell them that they are loved by Jesus. These are some of God's most precious children! I'm so glad He shares them with me!
Here's sweet Eric getting some new kicks!
Oh, and here's a picture from St. Louis of me at the Dream Center in the food pantry. At the Dream Center food pantry they have boxes of random donated food items that they call "banana boxes" which are stacked up in the back. I loved it when they said, "We need banana boxes," because that meant I got to climb!
And just a side note, that paragraph that's in quotations is in quotations because it was a snippet of what I journaled yesterday in the prayer room. It might be weird to share things out of my journal, but God feels that same way about you and He wants you to know that! It's so cool how we are all God's little children and I get to share my Papa with everyone and I don't have to worry about Him having less attention or love for me, because He has more than enough for all of us!