Since our move to Germany, I (Cathy) have been exploring this idea of what it means to enjoy the presence of God, to be in God's presence, to truly understand that the God of the universe loves me and wants to be in relationship with me. You would like at my life stage, the length of time that I've walked with God, this wouldn't be something I would be pondering. Yet, this is something that I have struggled with getting my arms around for most of my life -- what does it mean to be in God's presence? Is it spending 15 minutes in prayer, having a daily quiet time, singing to Him -- what does it mean to be in God's presence througout the day, throughout my journey.
I decided to read a couple of books that had been recommended to me: He Loves Me, by Wayne Jacobsen, The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence and Enjoying the Presence of God, by Jan Johnson. What I am learning is that I truly struggle with the fear of not knowing if God truly loves me. I mean, I know the right things to say. I know the Bible and I "know" that God loves me. For Heaven's Sake, that's what Christianity is about. Jesus enduring the cross so that I could be reconciled with God and enter into a relationship with Him. But, I'm still struggling with sin, I'm still very selfish, I choose TV over worship - I do wonder if He is tried of putting up with me. I try to stay busy to prove to myself that I'm worthy of love.
These books I've read have me meditating on this issue and grappling with the truth that God loves us and ME no matter what. Jan Johnson puts it this way God's love tackles us, telling us that we can quit asking what we must do to be loved and valued because His answer is NOTHING. I'm pondering this concept that He loves me and values me - no matter what I do, no matter what I don't do.
I don't have this figured out yet and probably never will this side of Heaven; but, I'm excited to be thinking about what it would mean to slow down and be quiet and reflect on God. How freeing it would be to truly understand that the things I do, I do to bring glory to God and not to try and earn His love. I'm considering what things truly refresh my soul and when I feel most loved by God: listening to music, laughing with my sister, praying with my beloved Lou or curling up with a good book. I'm thrilled to be on this journey, I don't know where it will lead, but I do desire to know Jesus as the dear Friend that I've longed for - I can't want to see how I learn to spend time with God all day.