God-Moments to Remember

Seven people around a table. Night fell, turning an inky black occasionally broken by the headlights of distant, passing cars outside the windows. Tears coursed down cheeks and laughter broke through smiling lips. Hearts broke and healing began, and through it all, God whispered.

God whispered love, in and to and through us.
God whispered release, unknotting old wounds from our heartstrings.
God whispered revelation, speaking to our hearts and spirits.
God whispered healing, sealing over tears in hearts and making them new.
God whispered inspiration, nudging us forward with his creativity.
God whispered friendship, bonding our spirits through his.
God whispered thanks, acknowledging our hearts desires to glorify him.
God whispered affirmation.
God whispered YES.

Sometimes, God grants us God-moments on earth.

Thursday night, around that table, was full of God-moments. What a blessing. What a blessing those moments were, and what a blessing each of you are in my life.

I believe God put us together and gave us those moments for a purpose. He planted seeds of love, of inspiration, of creativity in us to prepare us for what is to come. When God whispered to Elijah, he ministered to his spirit and then gave him his orders: Now GO (I Kings 19). Elijah’s orders were to go back. I think our orders, as a growing group of creatives (including those who couldn’t be with us that night) were spoken months ago and only reinforced that night: Go. Work together and use your talents, use your creativity, and make an impact. Do it for and with me.

Let’s do this!

Gift tag with the words “Make an impact” alongside a book with a photo of coffee mugs on the cover and a half-full coffee mug

And for all of you—the creatives I’ve met over the past year and those who were there Thursday night, I have a message and a prayer:

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way … (I Corinthians 1:4-5)

I continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

❣️What an unusual post—it’s a very personal message to a very personal (and much narrower than usual) audience. But it’s also one I struggled over and soaked in prayer, and the message God whispered to my heart this afternoon. I trust that God will lead those who need this message—whether a part of Thursday night’s group, my larger creative group, or not—to reading it, and whisper his message to your hearts. I’m praying that he will grant you God moments, precious times with him in which he speaks and ministers to you and changes your hearts forever.

❣️For my creative groups past and present, you are my people. I can’t express enough how much I love each of you and am thankful for being even a small part of your lives. Martha, Charlie, Lani, Wendy, Quezia, David, Myriam, Marian, Valerie, Lori, Jean, Jon, Megan, Jeremiah, and Kelly—yes, I mean you! For those I haven’t yet met, I look forward to meeting you someday soon.

A Way Forward

Earlier this week, my son was using YouVersion’s Bible App for Kids on my phone. As he was watching the Bible stories and playing with the interactive animation and quizzes they offer in the app, I was listening. The story was that of Jesus in the upper room with his disciples, telling them that he would be leaving them soon, telling Peter that no, you will not follow me anywhere, and you will not die for me—not immediately. Not tonight.

Tonight, you will deny that you even know me. Not once, but three times.

Still, Jesus led his disciples out of the upper room and went to the cross.

It must have hurt Jesus, this betrayal. The betrayal by Judas should have been enough; one of the people he had taken in, shared his heart with, was about to hand him over to be killed and Jesus knew it. But I think the betrayal by Peter had to hurt just as much, if not more. Peter was the passionate, impulsive, outspoken one who was always quick, eager, and earnest in his responses to Jesus’ queries. Peter didn’t hesitate to profess his love and loyalty to Jesus, yet that is exactly what he would do in the moments when Jesus was facing the hardest moments of his life. “I don’t know the man!” Not once, but three times.

What struck me the most, though, knowing the story well, was not the betrayal itself. It was the knowledge that, knowing what was to come, Jesus still offered his love and life for Peter, still provided restoration for him so he could move forward and be effective in the kingdom of God. Jesus knew what Peter would need—not only to believe, but to be able to forgive himself—and so, when it was all over, he offered that, too. Jesus allowed Peter to profess his love for him three times, to “erase” the three denials with more emphatic, painstakingly heartfelt professions of love.

What amazed me was realizing that, knowing all I would do and say in this life that would hurt him, Jesus still offered his love and life for me. And he planned, even then, to restore me, to make it possible for me to move forward and bear fruit, more fruit, much fruit (John 15:4-8).

Echoes of this message rang throughout my weekend, from a verse in a worship song* to a powerful reading of Jesus’ last words to his disciples at church—so many echoes that I knew this message must not be for only me, but was one I had to share. Jesus knows you better than you know yourself. He knows everything you have done, everything you will do, and still he chose to love you enough to lay down his life for you. He loves you enough to provide whatever you need to restore your relationship with him, your fellowship with him, and help you move forward so you can serve him, love him, and glorify him.

He loves me like that, too.

*The worship song that most spoke to me was Who Can Compare To You by Bethel, especially this verse:

I am undone
For you see all there was and all that will be
Yet you’ve set your vast affection upon me
By your voice the world was made
And still you called my name