When You’re Running Away From God

When You're Running Away From God

A cool spring day meets me in the morning. In Memphis, Tennessee I find myself sitting on an upright cinderblock inside a barren windowless building. The roof is rotted through and the warm morning light shines in.

I become increasingly uneasy. Something is moving in my spirit and I’m restless. I lose control and bury my head in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably. The most defining untangible feeling washes over me.

Looking around, I hope no one sees me as I am on my first spring break trip with a bunch of other college students. 19 years young, I feel God breaking me, or is it Him gently and gracefully allowing me to give up and seek Him? For He has been there all along. Kindly and patiently waiting for me, always pursuing me, never giving up on me.

I had spent all of my high school years passively walking the fence. Never venturing too far to the one side where the ‘heathens’ lived, but enough to taste of their fruit. On the contrary, I never ventured too far to full blown Christendom where D.C. Talk shirts were worn with pride and Brio Magazines were read cover-to-cover by friends.

A wandering nomad was more my title. I fit in more with the experimenting pot smokers than I did with the Bible carrying clicks that consumed the local youth group. To be honest, I never felt ‘in place’ with either.

The nomadic fence walker was I, the one who held loosely to truth but tight enough to not fall off the fence completely.

And in the abandoned building in Memphis, is where God became real to me. I felt Him wash over me. A soothing and loving way, He moved in my soul. And I could not contain my emotions.

It was there I felt loved by my Maker.

Even when I had held Him at arms length.

He still cared for me.

He cares for me when we I’m ‘running from Him’. He doesn’t turn His back on me in my rebellion.

He patiently waits.

In the waiting, He is actively pursuing my heart.

I wonder if the longer and further I run from Him the closer I draw near to Him.

In my running, I exhaust all my options of self-seeking gratification ’till I hit the bottom.

In the bottom is where I am left only with He and I.

When I was running away from God, I was running towards Him.

-Jesse Hoover, JesseHoover.com

 

There is a Gray Line Between Attraction and Lust

Guard Your Heart's Door

 

Today I am guest posting here at BoyDads.com. Below is an excerpt from the article.

 

How do I tell my son that the attractions he has is normal and ok, but there is a gray line between attraction and lust that will one day make war with his heart and soul.

I don’t want my son to ever feel shame for seeing a woman as beautiful and attractive. I also don’t want my son to ever blame a woman for his lustful thoughts or his wandering eye. I want him to see a woman the way he ought to: To look upon her with dignity and to see her as unique individual who has been crafted by God. And if she is beautiful then that is ok to recognize that. Nothing more.

To read the full article at boydads.com click here.

The Sins They Are Afraid to Admit to You

jesuspaiditall

Every evening when darkness fell, I climbed into bed anticipating the steps of my dad entering my room.

At six years old I would listen as footsteps made their way up and down the hall. Sometimes my room first, other times my sisters’ room.

And so it went every evening my dad would read to me from the Bible followed by singing and praying. One of my favorite songs I heard, was this chorus line we sung together:

“Jesus paid it all,

all to Him I owe,

Sin had a left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.”

I’m not sure why this song has been my favorite for so long. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it. Maybe it’s because the older I get the more meaning it has. When “Jesus paid it all”, there is more all today then there was yesterday. With each passing day there is more all that has been paid. The more all, the more I owe.

Or do I really owe Him?

Pure theologians might argue that we don’t really owe Him anything. This is true, but I think the phrase captures the reality that when He paid it all, there is a debt I cannot pay, which makes my gratitude greater. Knowing that I don’t have to pay Him, increases my gratitude all the more.

I sing this song to my own children, in hopes they too grasp how simple the gospel is, yet how great the impact it has. To know that our sins are like crimson stains that He has washed white as the purest snow. I want them to know that God views us as the purest snow that falls in the winter. I want them to see others the way God sees us.

When sin and heartache ravage people’s lives and families, I want my children to remember, that Jesus has paid it all. Not just part of it or when they repent or get it together. But all of it. For who really has it all together.

He has paid it all yesterday, today and tomorrow.

When I sing this song now, I ask myself: “Do I live like I believe that He has paid it all?” And when I look at others, especially those I go to church with, am I willing to say that Jesus has paid their all.

All of them, all of their sins.

Their present sins.

The sins they will commit tomorrow.

The sins they are to afraid to confess and admit to you.

Are we people who will trust God with the sins of others?

Can we be their friend, not their God.

Lover of the Mother of My Children

Pregnant For the First Time
In the last bits of light, you plop down beside me with a crooked little smile. You casually toss something onto the bed and wait in anticipation for the question you know will be asked.

The pregnancy test.

Only a year and a half into our new marriage and I was still in school, I ask you, “Is this from the pregnancy center?”

I thought this was a prank, a twisted one to say the least, to see what my reaction would be if you were ever pregnant.

Knowing you had just come back from working at the pregnancy center I just assumed you were trying to be silly. And also knowing there were no ‘plans’ to conceive a child because we weren’t quite ready (who really ever is ready) I wasn’t expecting it either.

Your smile with your eyes wide open betrayed you.

Followed by your giddy laugh full of excitement.

You were a new mom right then and there.

Did I ever tell you, even when you feel like a failure of a mother, you aren’t?

Did I ever tell you I am proud to be married to you because you are a great mother?

Did I ever tell you I married you knowing you would be the best mother for our children I didn’t yet meet?

On days when you feel like you can’t do it any more, yet you press on, know that I am proud to call you the mother of our children.

When laundry is piled high and dishes too, know that you are doing this thing called motherhood well. Do not be discouraged, for each one of our children feel loved and secure and that is what matters most.

I love you and am proud of you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

-me

What I Overheard at Panera Bread {And How it Applied to Me}

I Don't Feel Close To God

Sitting in Panera Bread, quietly munching, I overhear behind me a man sharing the gospel with a woman. I usually don’t eavesdrop on people, but as I was preparing to place my earbuds in to work, his words jumped out at me. He was explaining trust to his friend and how we trust God.

I heard the most profound thing come from his lips, which I know were meant for me, a stranger at his back:

“In the same way we form deep, meaningful friendships based on trust, is also how we form a deep relationship with Jesus.”

I feel close to God when I trust Him.

When I don’t trust Him is when I feel furthest.

All these years I thought if I just read my Bible enough, be good enough, love others enough then maybe I’ll feel close to God.

Even when I thought I was on my ‘A’ game with all the good enoughs, truth is, I didn’t feel much closer to God. Even on my worst days I felt just as far away from Him as I did when I appeared to be doing all the right things.

Something seemingly so simple, so obvious when realizing it, I wonder how I didn’t see it before.

Trust Him.

“Trust Me.” He says.

Trust Me. Trust Me when you don’t know what to do.

Trust Me when all that you thought you had figured out looks nothing like you think it’s suppose to look.

Trust Me when your confused about who you are and where you’re going.

Trust Me and you’ll never feel far away for I, the Alpha and Omega, have been here all along.

Trust Me.

Instead of working on my performance to feel close to Him, I merely have to work on trusting Him. In this paradigm I feel the heavy weight lifted from my shoulders. The more I know my Savior, the more I begin to trust Him.

How freeing to truly feel that I don’t have to perform or work hard to feel Him close. All I have to do is trust.

I have no reason not to feel close to Him. For he promises to be with me always.

 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:20

I just need to trust His promises.

Trust.