Echoes of Grace has a new home!!! Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and please come visit and take a tour. Like all new homes it is not totally finished ... but almost and I'm excited to show you around. Let me know what you think.
... for YOU to join me this September for the almost all new Echoes of Grace!
Echoes is moving to a new home. You are invited to the Grand Opening, Thursday, September 1! It will look different. It will offer new opportunities ... more than a blog. It will have a new address, http://suetell.com. Please update your address book.
Echoes of Grace, the Thursday words you look forward to returns Thursday September 1. For the month of August, Echoes is on its yearly vacation-sabbatical. Not only will it return refreshed, rejuvenated, refueled (and whatever other re you can conjure up) but with an all new look.
Thank you, Nancy Ruminski for sharing this picture from your blog, A Little Dash of Love.
Psalm 23 is perhaps the first scripture I ever memorized as a child. Back then it was only words, important words - they were in my Bible, but words. I hadn't yet been introduced to The Word who is God, who is life, who came and lived on this earth. John 1:1,4,14.
This Word is now my foundation for my relationship with God; he calls me his child. John 1:12. And this Word is full of grace and truth. John 1:14.
But grace is only grace, and truth is only truth, until I learn to trust it.
My Bible now is not merely a book of words, it is an invitation to live my relationship with God as his child. It is my opportunity to trust truth. I open my Bible to enjoy my son-ship with God, to experience the reality that is mine.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
In my single teaching days, Ellen was my roommate. She has a lovely singing voice. One of my favorites from her repertoire was Psalm 23. She voiced the first words as Because the LORD is my shepherd, I have everything that I need. Now, because the Lord is my shepherd, I am able to experience his care, his guidance, his protection, his provision, everything that I need. Words come to life.
My days have been full, wonderful, and tiring. In August my shepherd is providing a time to pause, to rejuvenate, to listen for his love. This is what I need.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul."
My green pastures are the Wet Mountains; the still waters are the gurgling brooks sliding over the rocks in Colorado streams. I look forward to soul restoration.
Long-time friends, visited this morning. The wife told the story of a spiritual conversations she had with some friends.
One day she asked them, what is the most important thing I can impart to you? There answers were many and varied. It was obvious they respected her. Then it was her turn. She said, you know, I think the most important thing I can leave with you is the you know how much God loves you!
YES! That's what I want too, a new dose of God's love!
So for the month of August, Echoes of Grace is pausing, taking its annual vacation. It will be a time of simple living, of focusing my attention on God and experiencing his gaze on me. It will be sleep-in days, reading days, hiking days, Scrabble nights or movie nights with Bill.
Echoes of Grace will return September 1.
And it is returning with a SURPRISE! There will be hints during the month of August.
So check in each Thursday, so you won't miss anything.
See you in September,
"He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake."
Have you seen this crazy movie? (You just learned my opinion.) Bob, Bill Murray, is pictured above with his therapist, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Bob is neurotic, phobic, obsessive-compulsive, and much more - majorly needy! Not literally, but inside crying for attention.
Do you ever have Bob-moments?
What is the path they lead you down?
N - an accurate word picture.
Bob experiences attention deficit that he tries to fill with the wisdom of a professional; neediness exudes. Some see, and Bob feels, weakness.
Our needs are NOT weaknesses.
"It is the nature of the soul to need." Soul Keeping, p.81.
God created us with needs so He can be our provider, so He can meet those needs. My friend, Bill Thrall says it this way, "Love is the process of meeting needs."
Needs invite us to experience God more deeply.
Needs are not weaknesses; they are opportunities to receive and experience love, the love of God and the love of others.
We all came into this world with a Bob complex, with the need for attention ... among other needs. When I admit it, I have the opportunity to deepen relationships. Needing attention is not a weakness.
As a young wife and full-time missionary, I didn't get this. Yes, I knew I wanted attention, but if I had been brave enough to voice that, I would have learned I was seeking the attention in all the wrong ways. I thought wanting attention showed neediness, weakness, and I sure didn't want to own those descriptors. My self-esteem suffered, I began to believe lies like I'm not good enough. SHAME!It never, NEVER occurred to me to take my neediness, my desire for attention to God.
I'm discovering that my attention needs are met in relationship, relationship with God and relationship with others.
God created me; he knows me and the needs he put in me to draw me to him. When I pay attention and listen to the words he whispers to me, I experience his attention; his love.
I was sitting on a sofa in front of the quiet fire reading one of Brennan Manning's books early one spring day. As I turned to the new chapter, Brennan opened with Song of Solomon 7:10, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me." In those few words God's love exploded in my heart; I experienced his attention! I knew he called me beloved, but the thought that he had desires for me, WOW, that was overwhelming. And if God is for me, who can be against me? God gives attention by paying attention to the details, the desires of my life. In receiving his attention, I receive his love.
Often God meets the needs I have for attention through others, like my husband. Unlike God, he is not all-knowing. Sometimes I initiate and share my attention needs with him. In doing that I give him permission to meet those needs. And I experience his love.Sometimes I don't and the downward path begins. I experienced God meeting that need through Bill earlier this month when he publicly shared how I met one of his needs. It was humbling and affirming; God met that need through Bill.
On Sunday mornings, our pastor often brings our time of worship to a close with the familiar words from Numbers 6:24-26, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
As I look down the pew, many are standing with hands uplifted. We want to receive this blessing.
The pronouns in this scripture are all personal. This is a blessing for us individually. And an accurate picture of this verse is of God stopping in front of you, focusing his eyes on yours, giving you his full, undivided attention, and offering his peace. Shalom, the most positive words he can offer for our well-being.
My need for attention is not weakness; it is an opportunity to experience the love of God.
How about you ... are you allowing God to meet your needs? To show you his personal love?
My husband Bill and I are on staff with The Navigators. We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary and 40 years of ministry.
I graduated from Hope College prepared to teach elementary school. I did that for three years and soon realized I prefer teaching adult children.
I became an author in 1988. My first Writing project, Well-Versed Kids, a Bible memory program for elementary aged children is available from Navpress in digital format. Or we still have paperback parent-teacher manuals available. Let me know if you are interested.
One of my great joys these days (besides blogging) is facilitating and speaking at retreats for women on the topic of listening for the voice of God. I call them Sabbath-Living retreats and they always allow space and a place for personal contemplation and reflection. I'd love to have you join me for one; you will leave with your soul nourished because you have heard from God.
Bill and I have two married sons, 2 awesome daughter-in-laws, and 4 wonderful GRANDS who are one of my highest delights.