Create + Write + Inspire
Heart Devotion & Potato Salad
by Jennifer Kelly on August 19th, 2015

I awoke this morning to absolutely nothing on my calendar. It was semi-purposeful. Knowing you need to spend time with God and actually doing it are two different things.
After my husband kisses me goodbye, with a nervous and worried glance, he is finally able to shuffle both little ones out the door to drop them off at school and head into work. When you've been married as long as we have, you know when the other needs some time and space, without having to say it out loud. I finish off my tea. I sit alone at the table, feeling dismantled by the silence. My children will make it to school on time today, and I breathe out a sigh of relief. I think to myself, “That might possibly be the only successful thing I contribute to today”.
I decide it's finally time. I huff and puff up to my room with a limp. Grabbing nothing more than my Bible and a guilty conscious. I know I should've been here long before this. I land on my knees and before closing my eyes to pray, I place my Bible right above my head on the bed. Wanting the voice of God to come alive and yell at me. Boom at me like thunder. Do something to snap me out of this self-induced melancholy. How many times have I been here before? My knees have seen their days of carpet and wood, of tile and rugs, and still it is not enough. It will never be enough.
My feeble, half-ass prayer goes like, "OK God, I need some healing today".
And that's it.
I have nothing more to say.
He already knows.
I grab my Bible and open it up. In my lackadaisical, impatient brain, I actually think I know it all. What could I possibly read today that will make any difference? Haven't I heard it all?
And then out of nowhere it comes.
The Word of the Living God. 
The God who knows all about my insecurity, my doubt, my frustration, and still He longs to heal -despite my lackadaisical and impatient brain.
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him... He will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him"
I swear it's like CPR to the lungs.
Like the chorus in a song.
Scripture is life to the tried and weary.
When you least expect it, but when you need it the most.

Do you see it? When all you can do is call upon Him - He is near. He hears. He saves. 
I read it again and again. I text it to my husband. I date it in my Bible.
Tears. Sweet, salt-rimmed Jennifer tears, start streaming down everywhere.
It feels like a washing you know. When God comes like that and you can't stop weeping. It’s because you know that He's too wonderful for you; and you sure as hell don't deserve His love and grace, and the presence of God that comes rushing in like a flood.
I pick my jacked-up self from off my knees and lied down on the floor to start journaling. I think that when you experience God, the first thing you feel is humbled. Immediately humbled and then extremely grateful. I started to write all the stuff I should've written months ago. Not the stuff I’ve been writing, but the deep-down parts of my heart. I’ll be honest here, most of my stuff seems silly when I examine my things next to the living God. When you really think about who God is, what God’s done, and everything God’s created, next to itty-bitty-tiny-me.
But I'm learning that my stuff, my baggage, my sin, and the details of my life, are not so silly. That God is still omniscient and the fact that He is VERY detail oriented, only makes God much more God-like. If that makes any sense at all?
He still graciously encourages me that I come to Him, talk to Him, and lay it down at His feet. For me, that's the awkward, tiptoe line of prayer. I get frustrated and think most of my stuff as exhaustingly redundant when I pray. And ESPECIALLY when I think about my stuff in regards to God's omniscience, God's omnipresence, God's glory, God's power and God's strength... Are you kidding me? I have this immediate sense of backing out. Of saying, "Never mind God" or "How about we talk about this another time? You go deal with God-things”.
But, He's still there. Every, single time. The fact IS, is that He wants to hear it. He wants us to tell Him our stuff. He IS near to all that cry out to Him. ALL-OF-THE-TIME. He longs for me to say it out loud, and write it down, and give it to Him, and talk to Him about it.
And so I do.
I've gotten better about it over time.
I know now that's how a relationship with God grows.
Overtime. Talking. Surrendering. Washing. 
Anyway, that's a tangent of my own struggle with prayer, and not about what I need to tell you. After I got done journaling, I went back over to my Bible again and ended up in Mark chapter 9. I landed in Mark the same way I ended up in Psalms just a bit earlier that morning. I do wholeheartedly believe that God talks to you through Scripture, very audibly. Most days it's a whisper, some days it walking and talking, and very few days are loud.
Today was a very loud day.
So, I'm reading the part where Jesus is telling His disciples to cut off everything that keeps you from entering the Kingdom of God. You know, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off... And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off... And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where 'Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched'" (Mark 9:42-50).
I would say reading that is like hearing God's boom voice. Not in a bad, literal way. But in a necessary, exaggeration way for my-own-good. Because He loves me and cares about me. And because I act like a fool most days.

So then I picked up this other book off my bookshelf. And I swear to you (like how people swear on their parents grave, or when you pinky-promise someone) I opened it up and the first thing I read was this:
"The currency for transacting the Lord's business is holiness and a heart devotion to God. If that's not what we're spending then we're not really buying anything of eternal value... Jesus has said that if my eye offends me I should pluck it out" (Robert Rasmussen, Imagine Meeting Him; Soul Stirring Encounters with the Son of God, p.98&99).
OK God, I am hearing you.
Loud and clear.
How is my heart toward You and how is that being displayed in my life?
Not in front of people, but when I’m alone or during my free time?
I wonder what our lives would entail if we were to take Jesus' words seriously? I find it fascinating that Jesus warns the disciples about cutting sinful things off after the disciples had just gotten into a dispute about which of them would be the greatest in heaven. I think He was telling them to examine their hearts and their actions. I think He was telling me to examine my heart and actions…
Listen, I'm not trying to be all, "Don't do anything at all!" or "Everything is of the devil". No, I'm very aware that we are all sinners and that's not going to change until I get called home or Jesus returns. And I'm not suggesting that we swing the pendulum or bury ourselves underground somewhere. What I am saying is that God is near to those that cry out and He beckons us to examine our life. To check our hearts. Look at our habits, transactions, time spent, and intentions of the day. 
Rasmussen also wrote that, "It seems to me now that when doing God's work, one has to be overly cautions not to get drawn away from the true focus. In fact, we must examine every day the purpose of our "table" of service. If we find our work polluted, even a little, it must be overturned".
The disciples were walking with Jesus and they got distracted all the time.
For those of us who believe and follow Jesus, then WE are the very ones that are doing the work of God, in our homes, in our churches, in our workplaces and schools. We all have service. We all have hearts. Where they align is the question?

I've been distracted. Worrying about who is the greatest - who's writing is better? Who's kids are more well behaved? Who's husband is the most amazing? Checking this grade and that stat. Going over this number and that symbol. Heading here and there, with no time in-between.

My writing and online presence will look differently in the following months. I will still be writing, but after this one, will only be sharing my future posts through my subscribers. I will not be trying to 'promote' or trying to 'track' or trying to 'make my writing known'. I will simply write as God directs me, and lay it down at His feet. What He does with that is truly up to Him. 
I will also be absent from social media for a time. I have certain groups I need to check in with, but have deleted all apps from my phone and iPad. I say this only so you don't get upset if you (tag) or (share) or (write) something on any of my social media outlets. By all means, you can still share any writings I publish, I just won't know about it - and I think that's the best idea I've had in a really long time.
After my heart check and time talking with God today, we made potato salad.
It was quiet and still.
And it felt like I was dancing in the kitchen with Jesus.
Scrub this potato. Peel the potato. Rinse. Cut. Boil.

Silence and peace.
Thinking and whispering.

And I said, "God, thanks for healing me today"
And He said, "Jen, thanks for letting me have your heart today"

Drain the potatoes. Add. Mix. Taste.

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