I’m not sure what it was that woke me in the middle of the night. The dream. The fact that my left leg was asleep from stem to stern. Or my big barking dog in the backyard. Whatever it was, I was awake.
I wiggled my leg, feeling the pins and needles begin to subside; laid there deciding whether I should get up and shut up the dog and face a possible ax murderer staring back at me ( I always imagine the worst); all while I picked the pieces of my dream and put them in their place, making it all come together. It was a Dad dream, my favorite kind, and so I savored the memory of him for just a while longer before I ventured outside to yell at the dog.
It turned out, there was no ax wielding maniac, probably just a skunk. I returned to bed, but now I had a new problem. I was awake at four in the morning. Alone in my head. My thoughts crowding and bumping into each other.
As a mom-in-the-trenches, there are two things I currently cherish in my life.
1) My sleep
2) My alone time when I’m awake.
I debated them. Should I try to go back to sleep? Should I get up and write? (something I don’t have time for unless I’m awake and everyone else is asleep). I want to sleep. I want to write. I can’t do both at the same time. Instead I did neither. I played Words with Friends, then I thought of my dream some more, which carried me to a real-life conversation I had with my sister a few hours previous.
She had mentioned a scripture that she was focusing on. Zephaniah 3:17? Or was it Zechariah 3:17? Four in the morning memory isn’t so hot. She said she had highlighted it for her Bible Study and had left her Bible opened on the table. Later, she noticed that her daughter, who’s battling her own adolescent wars, had drawn a heart beside the highlighted scripture and had written her initials inside. That image touched me. The fact that an adolescent girl would pause to read that scripture, and that it was meaningful enough to her that she would make her own notations with her heart and initials.
I am unfamiliar with Zephaniah 3:17.
I got my phone and looked it up.
NLT: “For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.”
Then I read it in the NIV:
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
I read them again and again, mulling over these words and considered the relevance to my niece and her struggles.
God is with you.
Lives among you.
Calm all your fears.
Rejoice over you with singing.
It paints a happy picture, doesn’t it? It paints a loving picture. It paints a picture of a God who is crazy about us. One who cares.
Just then my little bed partner, Emma Kate, rolled into me. Her skin was warm and toasty and her breathing was full of slumber. I kissed the side of her head, and felt my heart bursting with love for her.
Those words echoed in my head:
Calm all your fears.
Rejoice over you with singing.
We love because he first loved us. He is our example of love. We should strive to love like him. Those words are of a Loving God. And, just for an extra bonus, the words of an Old Testament God. The mean one, you know?
You see, I have a problem with God. Rather, I have a problem with my idea of God. I try to fit him into a mold and relate to him in ways that I relate to others. I’m told God is loving. I’m told He desires a relationship with us more than anything. I’m told that he cares for us. But, sometimes I can’t help but see God as aloof, off in Heaven doing his own thing, his back turned to me, his ears barely hearing my pleas. He’s busy. He’s working. He wants to be left alone. Maybe he says, ‘In a minute.’ ‘Later.’ ‘I need to finish this first, then I’ll get to you’. Or maybe he says, ‘Can I just have a few minutes to myself? Geez, all I’m asking for is a little quiet time here. To regroup. Recharge. Is that too much to ask?’
Or wait. No, that’s me.
You see, I think God relates to me the way I relate to my child. And others.
But he doesn’t.
My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.
We’re told here in Zeph. 3:17, that he delights in us. Sings over us. Rejoices. Yagil. That literally means he dances, skips, leaps. He shouts over us with shouts of joy.
When was the last time you danced and sang over somebody? Not with somebody. Not for somebody’s entertainment. But OVER somebody. As much as we think we love, it’s no comparison to how he loves is it?
God does not have his back turned. He’s not saying, “not now, later.” He cares. We are his children, and He is not weary with us. He has shown up to live with us. He has arrived.
Annnnnnd……He is full on dancing, singing, rejoicing, and loving us.
How awesome is our God?
I think that knowledge is worth getting up at 4 a.m. for.
In my book, anyway.
Love this, and I relate to you. Thank you for thinking this through and sharing. You are a light in the dark, but you don’t realize that. You make others glad to know you and be just a tiny part of your life. Remember you are a gift from God to many people who know and love you.
Mrs. Auwen, I cherish these words. Thank you!
You are so awesome! You will never know how much I needed these words today! I do believe this may now be my favorite scripture verse ever!!! Please pass our thanks on to Jolea for opening up this “chain” reaction and I will keep her and her daughter in my prayers as well. Be well, sweet girl and kisses to little darlin’ EK! Until next time…. Donna
Thank you Donna!!! Love hearing from you each time.
So I just happened on to your blog and just wanted to say this post blessed me! God used this verse to confirm some things he has been speaking to me lately! I knew this verse but it was something I memorized with my son to help calm some anxiety he has at bedtime some nights. I never really applied it to me but wow His word is for all! You are easy to read and very relatable 🙂 Keep doing what you do and God bless you!
Thank you LeAnn. To know that this blessed you, means the world.