Monday, September 15, 2014

location transformation

Ask any real estate agent to list the three most important things to consider when buying a home, and you’ll likely hear: “location, location, location.” That phrase has been in use at least since 1926, according to The New York Times. However, I had a different experience with the phrase, “location, location, location.” One afternoon, my husband, Jack, our daughter, Tracy, and I had just participated in a low-impact family ropes course. It included a series of challenges that we had to solve together as a team. There were several times that I personally didn’t see how we would solve the problem. But we worked together and we tried out different ideas until we completed the task. One of us always had an idea that worked. We learned we could relax and trust that we could figure it out together. As the challenges came to a close, the facilitator had us gather in a circle, and asked if we wanted the final debriefing questions to be spiritual. We said, “Yes!” That’s when he asked the “location, location, location” question...
On a scale of one to five, with five being as close to God as you could be, where are you?
I don’t remember what anyone else in my family said, but I will never forget what I said, “I’m a one.” It was an epiphany for me, which Webster’s defines as, “a sudden realization, a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence.” I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior as a ten-year old child during a revival. I remembered my fingers forming a heart as I sat on the front pew after filling out the decision card. I had been enrolled in our church’s cradle roll nursery at four months of age after my parents adopted me from the Salvation Army hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. I grew in my knowledge of Jesus Christ through Sunday School and missions organizations, memorizing many of His wonderful words of life. And yet, here I was, a busy wife and working mother feeling like a “one.” How did I get here? Jesus had not moved, but I felt far away from Him. Later that same week, I heard this heart-felt song by Larnelle Harris, I Miss My Time with You, as the lyrics say…
I miss My time with you, those moments together, I need to be with you each day and it hurts Me when you say you're too busy…
This sudden realization began a time of transformation in my life. I knew in my heart that prayer, time in God’s Word, and worship with my fellow believers were the choices I needed to make to change my "location" from a “one” to a “five.”  We began attending church again, and I enrolled in one Bible study after another. As a part of Beth Moore’s Believing God Bible Study, we were asked to complete a timeline of our life in 10 year segments, asking God to reveal to us all the spiritual mile markers in our lives…broken places, hurts, disappointments, accomplishments, and joyful times…to help us see that God had been there all along and that His grace is sufficient. To accomplish this task, I discovered a very helpful tool for a “Timeline Template” through Microsoft. It’s free, and it’s very easy to use, the text boxes expand to whatever size you need, and the arrows on the boxes can be moved to any location on the timeline.  You can duplicate the timeline, and save as a new page for each decade of your life. The link for this Timeline Template really helped me to get my thoughts on paper, and God has used it to heal me in so many ways. I learned the Hebrew concept of time is like a person rowing a boat. We see where we have been, we back into the future. I can clearly see that God has been there with me all along. I am not stuck in the past, I am rowing into the future, moving forward, proactive, with my focus, my mindset, on God, who is sovereign. He sees the past, the present, and the future all-at-once. I began to pray this prayer as part of my quiet time each day...
Lord Jesus, give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. I bow at Your Cross, and I experience anew Your forgiveness, redemption, mercy, and grace, as I sense Your blood dripping over the Crown of Thorns pressed into Your brow, onto my heart, covering my sin. I get up from my knees wearing Your robe of righteousness as I face the day ahead, welcoming Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I surrender all. Morning after morning.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.—Philippians 2:13

Was this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!

Linking up with
Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart as an encourager.


  1. Beth... the phrase backwards into the future, looking at where we have been...turned on a light for me......because the reality is we can never see into the future but move forward by FAITH in the One with whom we have developed a relationship of TRUST.
    Thanks for the wonderful prayer which I have pasted into my prayer journal.
    As always Beth, the insights you share help me to progress in our most holy FAITH,
    May the Lord continue to pour forth blessings upon you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary. Your thoughtful and kind comments always make me want to "lean in" to listen longer to your reflections on my posts as well as are truly an anointed encourager for so many are a blessing from the Lord :)

  2. That timeline exercise is great! I've done it several times as part of small groups and it's eye-opening every time to see the threads of God's touch in my life, even when I didn't think He was there. It's interesting how each time you look at your own story, you see different themes and story lines. Understanding our past is a key to accepting and understanding our present and preparing for a better future.

    1. Kathryn, thank you for your thoughtful comments...I so agree with you...even though I have done timelines by hand, having the timeline template from Microsoft helped me to be even more descriptive--as the text boxes would expand, so would my memories :)

  3. Well, you had me at that image right up top, front and center. What a powerful question, a challenging invitation.

    Thank you, Beth, for going there.

    1. Linda, thank you so much for stopping by again with your encouraging comments! Looking back on that family ropes course, and the facilitator asking us if we wanted the debriefing questions to be spiritual, I can clearly see that God was at work orchestrating every detail...the family bonding, problem-solving, goal-setting, celebrating, and then reflecting and applying it to our everyday lives...powerful process, indeed, using for divine purposes in our lives.

  4. That template sounds amazing. Beth Moore always gets me!
    I am so glad you shared this story and the row boat image.

    1. Thank you, Sarah, for your sweet comments... you are a gifted encourager :)


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