Wow. God just keeps blowing me away. Grace in action. He is such a gracious, loving, merciful God.

Weds. night, Julie F. and I began our new online support group at the Thin Within website. We had quite a group show up for our first chat! It was WONDERFUL!

Yesterday morning, I knew I, too, needed to open my workbook and “do” the material that I have encouraged all the group members to complete. My words to them Monday night had something to do with “Even if you have done the workbook several times before, believe that God is doing a new thing right now! Go through it with a fresh heart, believing that God will meet you in a new way! Invite Him to do so!”

I have seen God do that with me before with Thin Within material, but I guess I just wasn’t sure He would pull it off again :-/. I don’t know why…There it is again! “Oh me, of little faith!”

Even after saying that to the group, I felt a bit…well, “Ho Hum” about doing the workbook…*again* yesterday morning. It is SO familiar. What I really wanted was to work in my Beth Moore Stepping Up study. But I figured I would get to that after I hustled my way through the reading of Lesson 1 in the Thin Within workbook.

First, I spent some time journaling a prayer to God to help me see the material in a new way. Then, I began to read Lesson 1 and God gave me an “assignment.” To those of you with the Thin Within quarter one workbook, I challenge you, the readers of this blog, with the same “assignment:”

Go through Lesson 1. Read and highlight, circle or underline everything that is said about God’s character–what He is like or what He does. Write down a list of all of these character qualities or behaviors in a journal. If there are verses, write them down (look them up, too!). Then next to all of these, write down if you believe them or not–REALLY believe them! Use this list (and keep adding to it as you go through the workbook for the next 3 months) to pray in faith, “God, I thank you that you do the impossible. Thank you that you embrace me and are doing a new thing in me. Thank you that your grace is immeasurable and steadfast.” If you struggle with believing any of the things you have written down, pray a prayer of confession and ask God to help you to believe these things about Him in a new way.

As I began to do this…oh wow…I sensed His power and His presence in such a mighty way, it was like I could touch Him! Like FEEL that embrace, literally!

I continued to bask in His presence as I left to go on a trail ride with my best horse. Mercy Me was playing in my truck…This video (by someone else) plays the song that I listened to…the words really became me…or I became the words. God was so ver present it was almost overwhelming! (In a good way!)

If you can take the time to listen to the song all the way through, I hope you will do that. It is so powerful. The words to the song are here.

It struck me so powerfully…I was truly caught up in God’s beauty, just as the song says.

But then, suddenly, God gave me an amazingly powerful *contradictory* image. Yes, I was swept off my feet by Him in this moment. But He showed me what happens when I am not.

He showed me what I have often done…replacing the object of my devotion. This may sound so silly, but he showed me what it would be like if the music that was playing was sung to what I sometimes focus on, sometimes surrender to–as if the music was sung to the pizza, or the chocolate muffin, or the hot fudge sundae…Picture it with me…

I sit down, grinning ear to ear at my dining table, eyes GLUED to the food, heart fixated on the tasty morsels landing on my taste buds:

“I can feel your presence here with me…(singing to the food…)

Suddenly I’m lost within your beauty… (this breaks my heart…)

Caught up in the wonder of your touch (on my lips and the taste),

Here in this moment I surrender to your love…”
How often have I surrendered to the “love” of food?

This broke my heart…but God showed me this so tenderly. I did *NOT* feel shamed. He doesn’t use shame. It is His kindness that leads me to repentance…
I felt…well… “educated.” I felt like he “enlightened” me, pulled back the curtain, as it were, to expose (there it is again) the truth. But, again, he showed me truth with the perfect balance of grace.

And just as quickly as that vision of my sin came upon me, it left and He restored me with an awareness of HIM. HIS beauty. HIS majesty. I was caught up again by the “wonder of His touch.”

I can tell you for SURE, the two do NOT begin to compare.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
– Psalm 73:25-26

Thank you, Lord, for a vision, just a taste of your amazing presence. Oh, God, it really does make me fall down to my knees like the song says…And thank you for showing me so clearly, just what I have been doing when I allow food to have my affection…I have “surrendered” to it. Thank you that, in each moment, I have a choice. I can choose to surrender to your love. I can surrender to your grace. I can surrender to the One who took my place. Let me not forget. Oh, God…thank you. In the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.