Long before I knew that it would be considered Adoration, I found myself writing out key characteristics of God and focusing on them throughout the day and night. I didn’t know that what I was doing was anything more than just doing my best to make it through each day, some moments of which seemed insurmountable.
About fifteen years ago this time, my husband had just recently returned home from war. Many things about him, about our marriage, and about our lives had changed because of the war.
We had just had our first baby, and I was struggling with the balance of motherhood, being a wife, working and then not working, laundry and as always, dishes.
I was coming face to face with some long denied about conflict in some other relationships and the unrelenting heartache was tearing me apart.
Our family was struggling spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially.
I opened my Bible, and not knowing where else to start (everything seemed old and flat to my embittered heart), I began to pull out any characteristics about God that jumped off of the page.
There was no rhyme or reason, no method or system, it just was.
A stirring in my heart to seek out Him Who is greater than me.
My first entry on the page:
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised-Psalm 48:1
For You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. Psalm 86:10
And this is how I continued, for pages, and for over a year, listing out the characteristics of the God I had given my heart to when I was just old enough to write my name.
Slowly, over a long period of time, this focusing on Him was changing me.
It gave me concrete pegs to hang my belief and trust on.
It gave me a better understanding of the Person that gave His life for mine.
On the tougher days and on the nights when I could not get to sleep, I would convince my heart to rest and sleep would finally come by going through this alphabet of character traits.
A- God is Author
B- God is Beautiful
C- God is my Comfort
D- God is my Defender
and so on.
Some nights, I would make it through to Z and need to begin again.
Some nights, I would drift off at about L.
But every time, my spinning and anxious thoughts, my grief, my anger, my whatever-emotion-I held, would be replaced by a calming focus on God Himself.
It was not a cure for the problems.
When I woke up the next morning, the problems were still there.
But it was a balm for my heart.
I read Sara Hagerty’s first book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet and it was through her writing that I learned that what I was doing was Adoring God.
Adoring was learning more about Him and His Word than just the obligatory memory verse that opened doors in some circles.
I’ve since been abundantly blessed by Sara’s daily Adoration selection; consistently amazed at the way she finds, often deeply woven within the Scriptures, characteristics of God that my heart longs to know.
A few years back, I was greatly impacted by her book, Unseen. By impacted I mean that the words she shared there have encouraged, tutored, and reframed the way I approach daily life long after I closed the pages of her book.
One of the things she writes about in this book is our roots and the hidden parts of our hearts.
I’ve never looked at a tree, or the hidden parts of my life, in the same way again.
In fact, when we moved into our new house, and I was struggling to figure out how to decorate the bare walls, this was one of the first things I hung with confidence.
In a very different and yet similar way, her newest book Adore, has blessed my life and days.
In a time such as this, with uncertainty, grief, frustration, anger and every other emotion swirling invisible around us, it seems like anything we do is not enough.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes (often!) have the temptation to believe the lie that, since the small thing I can do won’t change the big picture right now, then I might as well not do anything at all.
But if the past fifteen years have shown me anything, it is that this lie is one of the biggest lies there is.
What if, all those years ago, I would have ignored that small stirring in my heart?
What if, instead of falling asleep to an alphabet of character traits held by the God of the Universe, I spent my nights spinning my anxiety, trying to fix it all, planning how I would get myself to a comfortable place at all costs, or tucking myself into bitterness and anger?
I know, for a fact, I would be a very different person today.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.”
Imagine! The power that is given to us in the small choices, the small turnings, in what Sara refers to as the “middle minutes”.
At the same time, just because I turned towards God today does not mean I can neglect this turning tomorrow.
C.S. Lewis also wrote:
“Relying on God has to begin all over again everyday as if nothing had yet been done.”
It might seem like a small choice, like the small steps I am taking will not lead anywhere but frustration and extra work, but line by line, precept by precept, here a little, there a little, I will come to see that the end result is something all together different.
Praying that we each choose to turn towards God in this time. Asking God to stir our hearts towards Him, to show us His character and His faithful love. That we will draw near to Him and
remember that it is never too late to turn towards Him. To remember that, as long as I have breath, I can choose where I turn.
If you are interested in finding out more about Adoration, you can find Sara's website here and her book here. Within it’s pages you will not only find encouragement for your heart, but practical applications for beginning a practice of Adoration in your own life.