Taste and See

Lately, we’ve noticed that our sweet baby Nora has started sucking on her toes.  Yes that’s right.  Sucking on her toes.  She’s a flexible little thing.

It’s really funny looking, but we were discussing among family members last week how she puts things in her mouth in order to better understand the world around her.  If Nora is curious about something, she will grab it and put it in her mouth in order to test it.  Even her toes.  Even her hearing aids unfortunately (we’re really working on that one).

Every time I see her doing her new favorite activity, I am reminded of Psalm 34:8 that says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  Just as Nora tests out her surroundings by tasting whatever she can drag to her drooly little mouth, the Lord invites us to “taste” and enjoy Him.

I know that I haven’t been doing much tasting lately.  I’ve been reading the Bible with glassy eyes and an unfocused mind– I’ve been merely smelling the delicious feast that is the Word of the Almighty rather than partaking in the party that Christ invited me to long ago.  There is a huge difference between reading the Word and meditating on the Word in such a way that each verse sinks into one’s heart and mind and thoughts.  Simply allowing my eyes to scan the same old Bible stories is not the same as rolling His Words around in my mouth, chewing on them, and digesting them completely.  His Word is food for my soul, yet I’ve been so hungry.

Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  When we decide to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” we always like what we taste.  And we crave more.  Because He is good, and His commandments are for our joy.

But “tasting” isn’t just meditating on Scripture in order to better know the heart of God, it’s also leaning on Jesus in prayer.  This is where I struggle even more– it is so (I repeat, so) hard to pray while Nora is awake.  I started reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer yesterday, and this morning I read: “People who know their God are before anything else people who pray…”

Yikes.

I can’t possibly express to you how deeply this convicted me.  Lately I have been a poor communicator with my Creator.  This morning I was obedient to Matthew 6:6 that says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…”  I literally went into my closet and shut the door.  Even though Nora was crying (girl must be ready to pop a tooth), I desperately needed time with just me and the Lord.  *Disclaimer: Nora was perfectly fine, I promise!

I am trying once again to build up my appetite for the Divine, because I have additionally found that if we don’t consistently “taste” Him by experiencing Him, the less and less we see that He is good.  We forget that He tastes of great kindness, endless grace, rich mercy, unconditional forgiveness, boundless wisdom, incomparable strength, perfect comfort, righteous justice, sweet purity, heavy peace, overflowing joy, and forever-and-always love.  Mmmm.

I don’t know if anyone else out there feels this way, but sometimes deep down I am afraid to come before Him in prayer after a long dry spell because I think He will be angry with me.  But that is never the case.  He is gracious to forgive me every single time, because of His great love for me.  Is anything sweeter to the taste than the everlasting mercy of the King?

If anyone reading this has never tasted and witnessed the goodness of God, I must warn that “taste” is something each person must do on her own.  No matter how well a pastor preaches or a Sunday school teacher teaches…experiencing the Lord’s goodness can’t be taught into somebody’s heart.  It must be tasted.

Praying she tastes the goodness of God soon rather than her toes...
Praying she tastes the goodness of God soon rather than her toes…
Not the pink Toms!
Not the pink Toms!
She's pretty tasty herself...
She’s pretty tasty herself…
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Forever Home

Moving is hard.  Next Friday (I repeat, NEXT FRIDAY), Matt and I will be uprooting our little family from its current happy location in Bentonville, Arkansas and re-planting it in the charming town of Gastonia, North Carolina.

For a new mama, moving can be extremely emotional.  I’m over here packing up baby girl’s room and getting teary-eyed as I strain to memorize every frilly pink detail of her first nursery.  I walk through our apartment wondering, “Twenty years from now, will I remember the first home Matt and I shared as newlyweds?”  I’ve also made an extensive mental list of things to do one last time before leaving Bentonville: go back to our favorite Taco Bell, walk around the classy neighborhood across the street, play dominoes on a Thursday night…But above and beyond our home, we will miss our friends and church family so deeply.  The Lord faithfully answered our prayers for great friendships, making this whole pack-it-all-up-in-two-weeks thing a lot more difficult.

So why are we moving, you ask? Rather than carrying a briefcase to work everyday and maintaining the luxury of leaving business at the office, Matt will be entering the terrifyingly messy and super rewarding world of high school ministry.  We are so excited.  We have watched this opportunity click into place in a way that can only be described as a “God thing.”  Our heavenly Father has found us a new church home to learn from and serve, and we are ever thankful for His provision.

Yes, we are overjoyed at the opportunity to pour into this ministry and work our tails off encouraging students in the Word and helping them grow as men and women of the Lord.  We are happily looking forward to pursuing their hearts and inviting them into our home.  But we also recognize that this is big work; this work affects souls and has eternal consequences.  Even now as I type this, I feel the need to pray that the Lord will sustain us and speak through us when our humanity deems us incapable.  I am so thankful that we are merely tools in the hands of the Almighty, because without Jesus living inside of us— I shudder to think…

It can be dangerous to add up one’s inability and lack of experience with a weighty spiritual responsibility while forgetting the Jesus part of the equation.  Without Him, all attempts add up to failure.  With Him, however, we can accomplish “abundantly more than we can ever hope or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).  I wonder why it’s so easy for me to forget the Jesus part, and focus only on my own inadequacy.

So between my sadness about saying “good bye” and my anxieties about entering ministry, I am — there is no better word to describe it — scared about moving to a new home.  I have been constantly reminding myself of Genesis 12:1 when God told Abraham (then Abram), “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”  At that point God didn’t even provide the location (!), He just told Abraham to leave everything he knew in order to receive the blessings God had in store for his family.   Despite any misgivings he may have had, Abraham packed up his belongings and he and his wife joyfully sojourned through the desert.  This is probably why Abraham is heralded as a titan of the faith; he trusted God’s promises so completely.

Right now, as I am up to my elbows in bubble wrap and doubts about settling into a new church home (and am additionally consumed with the familiar agony every Type A neat freak is afflicted by when her house is in complete disarray)…do I trust God’s promises are true?

Here are just a few of the many overwhelming, kind, breathtakingly beautiful promises He has made me:

1.  He will be with Matt and I wherever we go:

“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

2.  He will use us for a purpose:

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2)

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

3.  We have nothing to fear:

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)

Now it is up to the Harris family to walk into the desert (figuratively speaking) with hearts full of expectation.  We are free to live without fear, believing that our God has called us someplace new and will help us flourish there.  As Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”

And you know the best part?  This world is not our home.  There will come a day when we will never again have to say “good-bye.”  We will no longer be burdened with fear for our future.  There will be no more packing up and leaving our friends.

We will be forever home.

Our Jesus says this: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)

My moving helper
My moving helper
Where you go, I go...
“Where you go, I go…”