When you were growing up, did you ever do something wrong and try to hide from your parents? Or maybe you tried to hide or cover up what you did. I am a middle child, preacher’s kid with a little bit of Irish mischievousness mixed in. Then throw in opinionated and stubborn and you’ll begin to know my personality and can imagine how I kept my parents on their knees praying for me.
I’m not the only one who understands hiding. Chances are you’ve been there a time or two before too. Adam and Eve also understood hiding. They broke the only rule God gave and sinned. When God came walking in the Garden, Adam and Eve both hid. They also passed the blame. We do that too. They also learned that there is no such thing as hiding from God. God is omniscience – meaning He is all knowing. The psalmist in Psalm 139:7-12 understood this. He knew there was nowhere he could go to escape God because God is omnipresent – meaning He is everywhere.
When we are guilty of sin, the idea of not being able to hide from God can be unsettling. But when our hearts are right with Him, it is the biggest blessing we could have. (click to tweet) God said, that He goes before us and that He “will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) When I’m facing something scary or bad, I want God to be right there with me.
Earlier this year I had to have a MRI due to some neck and shoulder pain. The way they positioned me in the MRI made it hurt so much more – not to mention the closed in space (and it was an open MRI!). For the next several hours while they took images, with quiet tears streaming down and teeth gritted against the pain (seriously! My jaw hurt from clinching so hard!), I prayed over and over for Jesus to be there with me. I quoted every verse I could think of about God always being with us. I used my psychology degrees on myself and did some image therapy on myself. I imagined myself in a beautiful garden with a waterfall and Jesus coming to sit with me. I imagined myself on the beach with the wind blowing in my hair and Jesus walking beside me. I sang praise songs in my mind. By the time it was over, I was sure I had called on the name of Jesus so many times that he was bound to show up in the MRI images! Moments like that we want God to be with us. When we are facing Pharaoh’s army and trapped against the Red Sea, we want God to be with us. When God asks us to do the impossible (like Abraham sacrificing Isaac or when Esther had to go before the king to save her people), we want God to be with us. When money is tight and you’re not sure if the groceries will last until the next pay day, you want God to be with you. When your holding the hand of someone you love as they draw their lasts breaths, you want God to be with you. When we get a bad report from the doctor, we want God to be with us. And when the spine doctor wants to do injections in your neck for a herniated disc, you want God to be with you (trust me…you do!).
It is only when we stand guilty before God that we want to hide and the words of Psalm 139:7-12 become intimidating rather than encouraging. When you read these words, what is your initial reaction to them. (click to tweet) Did you sense dread or did they lift you up and give you a reason to praise? Your reaction may let you know if you need to do some repenting or if you have cause to do some praising.
Some years back, while going through one of the hardest seasons of my life, I was angry. Angry with the world, everyone in it and angry with God. I was hurt and felt betrayed. But at the same time, I was desperately searching for the “why” behind the season. So I began reading as many Christian books I could get my hands on and combing through scripture looking for something to give me an answer to the question that burned most in my mind – Why am I still here? One of the books (other than the Bible) that had a big impact on me is Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. It was as if God had Pastor Warren write that book just for me and the fact that it was in my hands at that particular time of my life was all God’s doing.
What had happened during that time could have ended up very differently. I had many sleepless nights during that time and for some time after it as I struggled with PTSD symptoms and it was one of those nights that I read the verses of Psalm 139 and they hit me like a ton of bricks as God whispered across my heart – “You’re still here because I was there and in control. I saw it all. I was there. I still have plans for you.” These words were a turning point for me in my walk with God. It was like the Grinch in Dr. Seuss who’s heart grew 10 times – but for me, it was my faith that grew and started me on journey of developing a passionate relationship with God. It also started me on a journey to discover what God’s plans for me were. God wasn’t just there with me in that season – He is always there – every moment of every day.
When we totally surrender our mess to Him, He does what only He can do and will make beauty out of ashes. (click to tweet) The beauty that came out of my ashes is this ministry and the vision God has given me for it. I knew that somehow God wanted to take the experience I had gone through and use it for His glory and to help others. I went back to college and finished my bachelors while working full time and raising two children – and still managed to graduate summa cum laude. Without a break, I went on to complete my masters degree. Since then, God continues to shape and mold the vision for Wellspring and He has great things planned for this ministry. I can’t wait to see all that He will do with it. The vision of Wellspring has developed and grown to become a God-sized dream beyond my capabilities, but never beyond His. Nothing is impossible with God. I am learning that the hardest part of a God-sized dream is waiting on God. But He is even there in the waiting.
Without that season, I sometimes wonder if this ministry would even exist. When we allow Him to take the experiences of our lives and shape and mold them, He will use them for His glory. (Click to tweet) So even if your instinct is to run and hide as you read Psalm 139, don’t. Instead, fall on your knees in repentance. The grace and forgiveness of God is so much better than hanging on to guilt, anger, bitterness, depression, anxiety, and fear. The God who created you loves you unconditionally. He is there. Run to Him – not away from Him. (click to tweet)
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.