Have you ever needed encouragement from God? I have, on many an occasion. The most recent encouragement was in the form of a precious, heart-shaped cloud. A few months ago, the exhaustion, isolation and uncertainty of 2020 caught up with me. Generally, I am an optimistic, encouraging person who often thinks such things as “together we can do this; be hopeful; this too shall pass; and God will work everything out.” But my tank was empty. In late-August I hit a wall. I was exhausted. I missed seeing people unmasked, face-to-face. The constant fear projected by the news media was unhealthy. Medical and financial concerns loomed. It all added up and I was an emotional mess. I needed to be filled with God’s love.
What I’ve learned about myself over the years is that when I become this overwhelmed, the only solution that truly helps me and gives me the strength to move forward is to seek time with God. And I’m not talking about saying a quick prayer – I’m talking about falling on your knees, crying out and casting all your worries on Him who loves you. Truly surrendering. Truly receiving.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
This practice started when I was in high school and my youth group went to Christikon Bible Camp in Montana. The beauty of the mountains was unlike anything this Minnesota gal had ever seen. Every day, we were sent out into a field of wildflowers, surrounded by mountains, to talk with God. To pray, to seek Him, to surrender, to praise Him. That hour was the most meaningful part of camp. I felt the presence of God like I had never before. Surrounded by His glorious creation, not a distraction in the world – just utter peace, beauty and clarity to hear His voice and feel His love.
Now, you don’t have to live near mountains to seek and receive God’s restorative power. It can happen in any place, at any time – at church, in your bedroom, in the car, on your deck. This time, I floated alone in a pool and poured out my heart to God. I shared everything that I was worried about, tired of and needed guidance on. Total surrender. I cried. I called out to God, asking for help, renewed strength and hope. I asked for Him to please show me His love because I desperately needed to feel it. And after asking, I looked up towards the heavens and saw a heart-shaped cloud in the sky. It was beautiful! It was miraculous! And it filled me with such joy! It felt like God wrapped His loving arms around me and said my precious child, I am with you. I was so grateful and humbled that the God of all creation would take time to show me His love! After taking it all in, I took a photo of the cloud, so I would remember God’s faithfulness.
My heartfelt prayer for you today, is that you truly surrender and truly receive God’s love!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7