Don’t you just love when you have one of those little epiphanies? Just one split second where all the sudden something you have been thinking on makes total sense? I do.
Over the years, I’ve read through the Bible about three times in its entirety, and I love that I get something new from it every time I read it, even the familiar verses that I’ve heard a hundred times. When my circumstances and my life change, I feel like I read God’s word through a new lens, and it makes sense to me on deeper levels than before, and I have new epiphanies about my faith. Plus, epiphany is just a fun word! (And I don’t pretend that my little epiphanies are anything earth shattering…I’m sure others have had these thoughts already, but this is what has occurred to me where I am now so I’m sharing!).
I was reading in one of my devotionals this past week Phillippians 4:6-7 — this is one of the well known passages in the Word, and I’m sure many people can even quote it from memory:
“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” (NIV).
When I was reading this passage, I was weighed down by so many things – I won’t even write them all down because some of them seem so trivial now, but you know how it is when everything piles up and seems overwhelming. Some of them were trivial, some were not – some things I could define outright, and some things I couldn’t clearly put into words, but were there anyway, a weight on my heart.
What stood out to me the most when reading were the words EVERY SITUATION. Some translations say “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about EVERYTHING.”
I took out my journal and wrote down everything that was weighing on me at that very moment, and in capital letters at the top of the page wrote EVERYTHING. God cares about it all.
See, I have always known that God was my Father, because the Bible says so. As a child, I saw God more as someone like Lord Grantham on Dowton Abbey, where you have to make an appointment to speak to him, he seems somewhat exasperated at your little requests, you bow, and he goes off to do much more important lordly things. But after growing and changing in my relationship with God, and now as a parent, I see Him as someone who actually loves me tenderly and fully and gives me His love and attention when I come to him in prayer.
When I think about my baby girl, if there is ever anything that is bothering her or weighing her down, I absolutely want to know about it! No matter if it is something small and silly that can be resolved with a little perspective and a good laugh, or something really fearsome or life altering, I want to know. And if I can fix it, you best be sure I will do it ASAP; if I can’t fix it, I will fold her up into my arms and comfort her anyway.
How could I think God could be any different? I have always felt like I needed to have myself and my thoughts together to come before Him, to have a dignified list of properly worded prayers, and only the very serious ones at that – no petty Erika problems! But if it was my earthly father or mother, you can bet as a child I was running to them with tears on my cheeks and blubbering mostly incoherently about whatever problem I was facing. Now, I’m not meaning to be irreverent, and of course I feel that mostly I should come to God respectfully with my prayers, but as my Father, His word says he cares about everything and cares about me in every situation, whether I’m an emotional mess or happen to be put together at that moment. He cares about the weights on my heart and mind that don’t have a name. That my cat was sick, and had to go to the vet or that my milk supply dropped for some unknown reason. That my heart is breaking for some dear friends who I know aren’t saved and I’m struggling with what to do. The fact that I want so badly to be a godly mother. My difficulty sometimes knowing and understanding my identity in this new season of my life. The list of groceries that I’m trying to buy under our budget because of aforementioned sick cat vet bills! My health and my struggle with trying to get back into shape. My feelings of being unworthy and like I don’t have it together.
What I’ve learned through His perfect love is that we don’t need to be perfectly put together to approach the throne of grace… it’s being humbly there at His feet that we have any hope of our pieces being put back together at all.