My Insignificant Places

By JMathis

You reside in the space between my toes. In the ridge under my nose. In the flutter of my eyelashes. In the crook of my elbow.

You are here in all of my insignificant places. Yet, in my lofty search for significant meaning and grandiose gestures (capital S signs and capital W wonders, all in the backdrop of the HOLLYWOOD sign), I forget how very present you are in the nooks and crannies of my day-to-day existence.

I am always looking upward, pointing my Job-like fists heavenward, wondering and demanding as to when I will hear from you, and when you will make yourself known to me.

I lose sight that the very sky I scream at, is in actuality, an expanse that daily surrounds me, buoys me, and lovingly encompasses every square inch in, around and above my feet.

I forget that even the sky where you reside is also the space between my toes.

Help me to fearlessly taste the freedom of running into the clear-blue richness of your grace, without the paralyzing myopia of getting lost in the crags of my feet.

I want to jump head-first into my insignificant places and cartwheel into your presence, past my toenails, past my calluses. I want to do handstands into your glory, through each breath, through every blink of an eyelash. I want to somersault into the vastness of your forgiveness, each time I bend my arms for an embrace.

Dwell in me, breathe in me and envelop me and all of my insignificant places.

Make all of my insignificant places into significant spaces, worthy of you.

Help me to discover your Spirit in all of the places where you reside, even in those places that don’t seem to carry their weight in headlines.

You in me, and me in you.

Your significance in my insignificance.


Remembering God

by Bindu Adai-Mathew

Two weeks ago the very thing I had been dreading since last June finally happened. I saw my Instant Messenger icon flashing on my computer screen and saw it was our CIO messaging me, asking me to stop by his office. As I trudged to his office, I almost felt as if I were back in elementary school being called into the principal’s office. I listened as he went on about how after our company was bought by the new company, he was being pressured to create “synergies” in IT, which would require him eliminating close to 60 jobs, including mine.  As he droned on with his corporate-speak, I sat there numbly.

Here we go again. I had just gone through another layoff just a year ago. Ironically, when I arrived at my new company, I was almost relieved to find that all my co-workers had been working there the last 9 to 12 years. Finally, I had thought back then, a place where I could hang my hat up and stay at one place. And then six months into my new job, the announcement came that another company was buying ours, which would probably result in a massive layoff.

As shock gave way to worry, panic soon began to set it. I would not only have to find a new job, but I had to worry about insurance since I was the policy holder. What if I didn’t find a job quickly? What if no one wanted me? What if…

Those runaway thoughts morphed into a cloud of despair that hovered over my head for hours, and I found myself feeling overwhelmed, defeated, hopeless.

But finally, a ray of light…a thought…finally penetrated through the darkness. Hadn’t God provided before? Hadn’t this job alone and the experience I gained here already set me on a more secure career path? Why was I freaking out?

Again, my spirit prompted me to think of the children of Israel as they wandered through the desert. Despite everything God had done for them, every time they faced an obstacle, they panicked. God had parted the Red Sea, he had provided them with manna during the mornings, and fire to warm and guide them at night. Yet, they still doubted.

Our lives, too, can often feel like we, too, are wandering in our own desert. Lost, aimless, confused about where we are headed. But no matter how many obstacles we face or how often we face the same ones, we must remember to dig in our heels deep in our faith and wait expectantly and excitedly on our Lord. Because He WILL provide. In a few weeks, and maybe even by the next post, I cannot wait to give my praise report.

But as we wait, we must be diligent to do our part. We must find refuge in His Word, devouring it like our daily bread, so it can provide us with sustenance throughout the day. Sustenance when we get tired, discouraged, and hopeless.

Here is a passage of scripture that I’ve been meditating on for the past weekthat’s reminded me that He will always take care of His people and our part is to seek Him, trust Him, and find our refuge in Him:

Psalms 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;    his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the LORD;    let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3Glorify the LORD with me;    let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;    he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant;    their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;    he saved him out of all his troubles. 7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,    and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,    for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,    but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me;    I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life    and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil    and your lips from telling lies. 14Turn from evil and do good;    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,    and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;    he delivers them from all their troubles. 18The LORD is close to the brokenhearted    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,    but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20he protects all his bones,    not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;    the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD will rescue his servants;    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Through Thick and Thin

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

As I read AbbyA’s blog yesterday about her mother and her tremendous amount of loss, I was reminded of Job. Like AbbyA’s mom, Job lost his family, his fortune, and his health. I was recently surprised by a pastor saying that many experts believe that time of testing in Job’s life to be a period of nine months! I was surprised by that as I expected it to be a period of several years. But nine months is a short time to lose so much, as I’m sure AbbyA’s mom knows too well.

But when I think of Job’s story, I also think of Job’s “friends.”  Friends who rather than comforting him and supporting him through his loss, only pointed fingers at him, asking him continually what he had done to incur God’s wrath. Sadly, often these things still happen today, even in the church. Rather than ministering to those around us, we judge, gossip. At the end of the book of Job, God judged Job’s friends, admonishing them for their response to Job’s predicament.

Often it is during the most difficult times in our lives that we realize who are true friends are. The fair weather friends quickly disperse when the clouds of a storm loom over our heads. They are nowhere to be found. But true friends stick with you, through thick and thin…for better and for worse.

I think of my life and how often already difficult situations would have truly been unbearable without the support and encouragement of my friends. What a blessing it is to be surrounded by people who truly care and support you!

So for today, I am thankful for the blessings of friends. Friends who’ve held my hand when I was scared and some who’ve even carried me when I could not walk. Friends who’ve stuck with me through the years. I am thankful for the blessings of my fellow blog sisters, AbbyA and JMathis, who have encouraged my writing aspirations and encouraged my walk with their writings. I am thankful for the friendship that has arisen out of our shared blog and shared passion.

Lord, thank you, for You truly do make all things beautiful.

Authenticity: What Lies Beneath

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Today is the day, is it not? Well, not really…at least not for me. My Big Reveal has been taking place the last seven years of my life.

After all, there is nothing like the pressure cooker of the first year of marriage to reveal your most stubborn, most selfish side.

And just when you’ve mastered the art of compromising, there is nothing like motherhood that makes you re-learn it all over again. But then you also discover that there’s the softer, unselfish side of yourself that surprised even you.

And, of course, there’s nothing like an unfulfilling career, a layoff, or a struggling economy that throw some additional sparks into your Big Reveal.

Authenticity. Like an onion being peeled layer by layer.

Authenticity. Like the slow eroding of rock by water.

Authenticity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a continual process of God refining us. But like any refinement, it’s painful. It involves revealing truths about ourselves that even we’re blind to.

I think of Job whom God took everything from to test what was really in his heart. Did he honor God because of his wealth? So what if God took that, his children, and his health from him? Would he still honor God? He did, but would you still be able to?

I think of Peter whom Jesus foretold would deny him 3X before the rooster crowed twice.

 Mark 14:29Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”

30Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

31“No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same. 

And just a few hours later…

 66Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.m

68But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.n

69When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70But Peter denied it again.

A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”

71Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

Authenticity. What will God reveal about you?

Authenticity. Will you let that remain your defining moment or will you allow it to reshape you into whom God always intended you to be?

The Rear View Mirror

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Yesterday AbbyA implored us to face the woman we once were. Warts. Freckles. Moles. The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly. She reminded us of the freedom we can have when we live our lives, not in the shadows of shame of denial, but in the light, the true light of forgiveness and redemption.

Today as you drive to work today, to drop your kids of to school today, to run errands…wherever you are headed today, I encourage you to live your day, to live out your life, looking forward and not fixated on what’s in the rear view mirror.

We have all felt that sharp, searing pain that shoots right through our gut when we reflect on past decisions we wish we could have changed. A different career path. Arrrgh. Buying that “investment” house in 2005 that is now underwater. Ouch! Not pursuing our passions with more passion. Sigh. The list of decisions we wish we could change can go on and on.

Unfortunately, often we get so caught up on reflecting on our mistakes that we begin to live our lives like we were driving with our gaze fixated on the rear view mirror. And as we do, we no longer can see what we have to look forward to …instead, all we can see is what once was, inevitably also missing what’s surrounding us.

But what if I told you with utmost confidence, despite all your mistakes, your wrong decisions, your wrong turns in life, you are right where you are supposed to be? What if I told you that those aren’t just words of encouragement from me, but that God promises us that same thing? The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23.

I think of Joseph in the Bible. His life story seemed over. He had obviously reached a Dead End.  Falsely accused of attempting to rape his employer’s wife. Stuck all the way down in a dirty, disgusting, slimy prison pit. Sure to be forgotten by his family, by even God. But at the right time, he was elevated. Not only from prison but to second in command of Egypt.

I think of Job who, too, had reached the end of the road. He somehow lost it all. His children. His wealth. His own health. His own wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Eventually though, after all that pain and suffering, we are told God gave him double.

You, too, do not have to continue your life looking back. You do not have to torment yourself with “what ifs.” Even if you have reached an impasse in your marriage, a dead end in your career, you can still get to the place where God had destined for you. He can redirect your GPS and get you to where you were meant to be all along.

 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalms 40:2

 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9