Higher

It seems like the deepest moments of my life happen in the most unexpected places.

I love that about God.

I can be watching a T.V. show about singers (this one was the X-Factor…that last guy who had been on meth and turned his life around?!?!?! BAWLING) or just taking clothes out of the dryer and I see the Gospel.

Not the little words on paper, but the real Gospel.

It’s so easy to read, mark, and move on without letting it penetrate your heart.

But to see it in the flesh? Totally different.

I asked the Lord several months (maybe years?) ago to show me Himself in little things, and to make Himself real to me in them. You might want to do the same, but you should know that your life will never be the same. People will say the sweetest things to me about how I see God in my children’s conversations or my wedding dress or something silly, but the truth is this.

I see because I asked to see.

I love that He honored this request in ways I could never try to spin into beautiful word-webs, because they aren’t always meant to be shared. Some are just His way of reminding me that He’s still in it all.

This last weekend, I spoke in Milwaukee at a Women of Faith event (BTW, I love this city. So fun!) and if you have been to one recently you’ll know that on the last day we each stand and give a little 3 minute take-away of our main message and we bring a prop up to help cement the idea. We didn’t choose our props.

Mine is a life preserver. A giant, red, puffy lifejacket, actually. I remember they handed Natalie Grant (whom I love, love, love, love) this dainty gold mirror. I looked at her and mouthed, “How nice for you.” We burst out laughing, which has become a bit of a ritual with all the girls on this tour. We laugh like our lives depend on it. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve gotten to do ever, despite the fact that this lifejacket thing is going on.

I don’t wear it anymore because it was hard to take anyone seriously when they are talking about Jesus in a giant red vest on a giant round stage.

But the bottom line is that this weekend I was standing out there and I could hear Him whispering, “Just tell them.”

So I made it simple. I did a little of my closing thing and then I just said, “He is everything. None of the rest of this matters if we don’t know that.It doesn’t matter that I just walked up those seven stairs, or that I’ve faced some of my fears. Nothing matters if we don’t know this. He is everything.”

I don’t think I said it articulately, but as I walked off the platform, I felt incredible peace.

I looked ridiculous out there. To be honest, I was also having a seriously mediocre hair day. I had decided to throw it in a ponytail but hadn’t had a chance to look in the mirror (oops) and I had this huge lifejacket hanging off my arm. I mean, really.

But those three words.

I walked off the stage and Sheila leaned over to me and said, “That was it. I mean, if they didn’t hear another thing all weekend, that’s all they needed.”

This isn’t a pat on the back.

I didn’t do anything but show up.

Not just that day, but for all of it. It’s why I used the same three words when my book was released. Because it was never about the staircase itself. It was about Him.

I went through something terrible that many people go through, and I loved the Lord through it. Because of circumstances I didn’t create or ask for, He chose to use me.

And if that doesn’t humble me, I don’t know what will.

I used to cry after I spoke because I felt like I messed up.

Now I cry because I know He loves me in spite of it, and it’s too much.

It’s grace at work, and I get to report to duty every day.

When I came home, my three big girls came running through the backyard screaming because they were so happy. I hugged them and hugged them and told them how much I loved them and that I was grateful I got to go talk to the ladies.

They always tell people that their dad “sings to people about Jesus” and their mom “writes about Him and tells the ladies.”

Later last night I asked Ellie to read to me out of my favorite children’s Bible (The Jesus Storybook Bible), and she started. She randomly picked a page and the rest of us sat still while she read.

It was about the tower of Babel, and this one is written in a funny way so she was giggling while she went. She got to the end and we all hushed, though, because it says this:

You see. God knew, however high they reached, however hard they tried, people could bever get back to heaven by themselves. People didn’t need a staircase; they needed a Rescuer. Because the way back to heaven wasn’t a staircase; it was a Person.

People could never reach up to Heaven, so Heaven would have to come down to them.

And, one day, it would.

(pg. 54)

I felt my breathing slow down and I let my eyes close for a second. And He whispered to me then, because I asked Him to. I begged Him to.

Are you busy building staircases, or are you telling them that I’m everything? Because your answer matters. Ask yourself a thousand times a day if you have to, until you are sure of it.

Ellie looked at me and asked if I was okay. I told her I was. Abby tried to say something funny and I did a fake smile that meant I wasn’t all the way back from my thoughts yet.

Then she got serious, and she looked me dead in the eye.

“Mommy, didn’t they know?”

“Know what, honey?”

“That if they kept going up, He would just go higher?”

I shook my head no. But I smiled.

Because I will continue to walk up every staircase I am invited to walk up in order to share those words. I will never consider it anything less than a privilege.

And when dusk turns to dark, I will bend my knees to the One who allowed me to build.

Not a monument to myself, but a pile of stones that spoke of God’s glory.

May He be glorified through me.

And may He always, always be made higher.

Lord, bless those who read here. Bless them with Your presence and show them Your love in little things. Maybe something only they would understand. Give them a discerning mind for what You have called them to do,and allow them to feel the kind of joy that comes from building something that directs others to You. Keep us on our faces in prayer, and make us humble in spirit as we seek You. Inspire us to search Your word for truth and to be diligent in chasing after You. For Your glory, Lord…


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • http://bohlmanfamily.blogspot.com Rachel

    I was there in Milwaukee – thank you for listening and being faithful.  Thank you for sharing your story. 

  • ashwarren

    oh angie, i love your heart. thanks for sharing it. He is everything.

  • http://www.dominicandkristin.blogspot.com kasmith03

    Oh Angie how I have missed your more regular posts…THIS truth…HIS truth is why I keep coming back here. So very blessed today by your…HIS words. When WOF started my mom and I went to the 1st conference. I remember sitting thinking that I wish someday that could be me. I am so glad that I can live vicariously through you :) Can’t wait to see you in St Paul. THANK YOU for being willing to show up and give all that He has given you.
    Hugs friend!
    Kristin

  • Patricia

    Beautiful, beautiful post that really touched me…thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  • Kaderse

    1 loved this because I thought you were amazing this weekend not only your talk and journey but you are pretty and I feel about my hair exactly as you do.

    2 love this post because there is so much truth to it.

  • http://theinnerharbor.wordpress.com Emily Gallimore

     ”He is everything.” Amen. Just…Amen.

  • http://www.hazelstreetdesigns.com Carrie

    Thank you for this reminder, which I desperately need to hear.

  • http://2sweetthings.blogspot.com Mandy

    I needed this tonight. Perfect. Thanks!

  • boomama

    Amen, sweet friend.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6LMO2HKAHMHFBAC6EA4OTVWM6U Priscilla

    thank you soo much, what you wrote helped me and what your little girl asked made me smile in my sadness.

  • Mary S.

    Angie,
    I saw you this weekend in Milwaukee.  Not only are you beautiful on the outside, including your hair, but you are amazing on the inside.  Thanks for being obedient to God and for sharing what was on your heart.  I am inspired to listen more intently to the One who is my everything.  :)

  • http://KatieAx.blogspot.com Katie Axelson

    Hey, Angie, I did hear more this weekend but I distinctly remember your “I don’t normally say this is my closing, but He is everything.” It was so real, so unscripted, so beautiful, and so true!

    I love seeing God in mundane moments. Like when I came home from WOF on Friday night with a killer sinus headache and a burning desire to go to bed. I put a warm washcloth on my face and wanted to stay that way forever it felt so good. That’s God. The one that makes us abandon our deepest desires and replaces them with an even better desire: to draw close to Him.

    Thank you for climbing those seven stairs,
    Katie

  • Jeessica Taylor

    You are truely a AMAZING woman inside and out. Beautifully written. And your girls melt my heart. What a awesome role model they have. Hugs from Montgomery Alabama.

  • http://ifonlytheywouldnap.wordpress.com/ jess

    angie, thank you so much for all your words.  i saw you this last weekend in milwaukee and was so blessed by all you shared.  thank you for listening and sharing His words with us, because His presence was overwhelming all weekend.  and p.s. your hair was super fab. :)
    jess

  • Elissa

    I saw you speak in Milwaukee. Thank you- it meant so much to me. I’m in the middle of What Women Fear- so excited to finish reading it. I keep stopping to share what I’ve read with whomever happens to be sitting by me at the time (My ten month old son is learning lots :)
    Funny thing is- I bought it for my best friend

  • Reese Hollenbeck

    Angie: Thank you for your transparency! I can’t wait to hug your neck someday here and/or Heaven.

    Prayers for you and yours.
    xx
    Reese

  • Alexa

    Thank you for this.
    As I was reading I kept thinking of an old Nichole Nordeman song, “You are my all in all”….
    Praying I also hear Him whispering….

    Alexa

  • http://juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    He is everything–Amen!
    Thanks for the reminder, Angie, and for sharing the innocent beauty of your girls!

  • Kendra

    Wow. I  needed this tonight. Thank you.

  • Meljoyhutch

    Thank you.

  • Brandy Bazmore

    Thank you so much for writing this.  You probably don’t remember this but I emailed you awhile back about all the “little” ways God reveals Himself to you.  You were so sweet to respond and told me you would be pray for God to show Himself to me in a way only I would get it. 
    I was too scared to ask Him myself.  Too scared to believe that He would show Himself to me the way He does for you.
    After reading this, I am going to step out in faith tonight and ask Him…

  • carriecolson

    Beautiful.

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    I want to be like you when I grow up. You always make me want to be better for Him. Love you to the heavens and back, Gorky.

  • Lizzie

    I was in Milwaukee too and I heard you. Thank you for sharing. I read your blog all along with your journey with Audrey and I STILL cried! You shared some great truths–which I’m blogging about tonight!
    Lizzie

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    A prayer for me.  He led me here this morning to read these words from Him.  Thank you.

  • Carrie K

    Wow Angie, Thank you! I will begin praying to see Him in ALL things, small and big. Working with middle schoolers, this may just revolutionize my attitude as I teach. THANK YOU.

  • http://www.indylansmemory.blogspot.com Kat

    Thank you, just thank you. You’re so eloquent Angie!

  • Amanda

    Angie, you are such a blessing to me.  When I see a new post by you and know it’s going to really speak to me, I make sure to get in a quiet place so I can read it in peace and allow God to speak through your words.  I always end in tears.  You are amazing.  Thank you for being real.  I was blessed to see you speak at the Indy WOF.  It was one of my highlights! 
    Keep on keeping on.  You are encouraging others and spurring us on!  May He continue to bless you as many times have you have blessed others. (Which is ALOT!)

  • Bkinathomas

    Those seasons of seeing simple, heartfelt prayers answered . . . of knowing His hands are working through you, of knowing His delight in the midst of our failures . . .  AMAZING.
    Thanks for sharing.  
    Katie T.

  • Thesloothaaks

    Thank you so much for this, Angie.  I opened my computer and clicked the link to your blog this morning even though I was running around crazy trying to get myself and my kids out the door.  God knew that I needed this to start my day.  I read it and cried (and then also had to fit in time for fixing my make-up!).  His reminders in my life have been so gentle and loving, but are constant — He is everything, and I need to live that way.

  • http://3dlessons4life.wordpress.com/ Lyli

    There are so many things about this post that have challenged me — I have been ruminating on it since last night.  I am so glad that you “tell the ladies.”  This lady was blessed.  xoxo

  • Kasey_krawiec

    Wow, how I needed this attitude adjustment…. thank you so much for sharing your heart. I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear you speak at the WOF here in Hartford, CT. You guys are here on my 31st birthday and what a way to ring in a new year! I’ve been a blog reader for years now (and love each of your books!). I would love to hug your neck if given the opportunity – God has used your writings and experiences to change and mold me and for that I will always be grateful.

  • http://www.jennadamsblog.blogspot.com Jennifer

    “He is everything”- I pray I never lose sight of that, but grow in knowledge of it’s truth everyday! Angie, you bless my heart! Thank you for such a sweet and encouraging prayer for us!

  • Coby

    SO good!  I changed it to make it a question for myself:  “Am I busy building staircases, or am I telling them He is everything?”  This narrows my vision in the best way possible, and truly puts things into perspective.  As a type A personality, I often find myself getting caught up in things that don’t really matter, or distract me from Him and the beautiful family and life He’s given me.  I desperately want to impart to my children that He is everything; I want them to see their need for Him so that they receive His grace rather than build their own staircases. 

    (We have The Jesus Storybook Bible, and it ministers to me so deeply!  Every time I read it with my boys I cry! And they look at me like I’m nuts!)

    Asking the Lord to show me Himself in the little things today.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Singermelody

    Dear Angie,

    Thanks so much for this post today.  It was just what I needed to read and tied in beautifully with my Beth Moore Revelation Bible study lesson from today…talking about being humble before Him, going to Heaven and being stunned by His glory…really amazing things to consider.  We are so small compared to Him – and that is awesome.  

    We also love the Jesus Storybook Bible.  And many times, I too have been completely stunned and brought to tears through reading it with my two kids.  Blessed be the Lord who can speak to my parent heart through words that were meant for children.  I really believe that the author of that translation was anointed to write that, and that the message of that children’s translation will continue to reach many parents and other caregivers as they read to their kids.

     So excited to hear you in a few weeks in the Twin Cities. :)  

    God be with you, and you have my prayers.

    Love,
    Melody

  • Scott A.

    Thank you!  He is everything! 

  • Adriane Christensen

    This is amazing…I held my breath as I read, drawn in by the beauty of your words and picture they created.
    He. Is. Everything.
    In my times with Him in the quiet solitude of my room, when I’m distracted and confused and desperate, I cry out, that He would be everything. That nothing else would matter. I often think of the line in an old hymn: “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, the light of His glory and grace”

    all we need is a glimpse and it will change everything

  • Jill_getman

    I just saw your hubby was coming to KC in December!!  Are you and the girls coming along?with him?

  • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

    Thank you.  Yes…He spoke to me.

  • Bec74

    Thank you. These words you wrote were for my eyes to read. I have been asking God to show himself to me. He just did.

  • http://profiles.google.com/suebee429 Sue Speir

    Thank you so much, Angie. I have been going through a trial the last two months. A “dream job” that I was so sure of has turned into a very bad dream. But it has caused me to stay close to Him and He is everything. This really spoke to me. 
    God bless you and your sweet family.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, he IS everything, thank you so much for this post.  It brought tears to my eyes.

  • Mremmel3

    Angie – I was one of the ladies at WOF in Milwaukee (my first time) and I just wanted you to know that your words touched my heart. Thank you for your truth, vulnerability and amazing strength. I won’t soon forget the image of you holding the life preserver in one hand and reaching your other hand out to Jesus telling us that if we turn to Him when we are sinking, He will pull us up. Thank you for a life-changing weekend!  

  • Connie L Amato-Mahle

    Hello there, Angie.

    Oh, now I get it!  The inside of your dryer, right?  : )  Love it.  Clever girl!

    I totally get how you write of the Gospel becoming a reality.  And I agree! 

    I teach for a living, at a Catholic school, where I stress the importance to my students that God is here. He is not awaiting our arrival somewhere on a throne.  His fingerprints are everywhere. 

    We just have to allow our eyes to see God. 

    In others.  In ourselves.

    Your message tonight reminds me of a forwarded message that I received a few years ago and has stuck with me ever since.  I am not sure of the author, but the message was this: 

    “Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you
    can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.   God puts us all in each
    other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.”

    Enjoy your evening, friend!

    *Love & Friendship from PA*

  • Pingback: Playing Catch-Up

  • Shelley

    thank you for your gift, Angie …

  • Lynn Worley

    Continuing to lift up prayers!
    Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • kathy stephens

    This I know is true
    He led me to this post today
    He IS everything

    I sang outloud this morning for the first time during my quiet time
    I’ll never be the same ♥

  • Anonymous

    that’s it right there girl… thanks for showing all of us that He is everything.  His light shines so brightly thru you..

  • http://www.awakening-amber.blogspot.com Amber Hudler

    Your writing inspires me.  Thank you!  Thank you for being obedient and serving Him in the ways He asks you.  Your transparency blesses me.

  • Kaite

    Hi Angie! My best friend and I are planning on attending Women of Faith in Hartford in November. I remember a while back you had said that you possibly wanted to meet some Sunday’s if you could during the tour– so I didn’t know if that was still an option? If so we’d love to talk to you- God has used you to help us both through some really difficult times and we’re so excited to hear you speak during the WOF conference. If this is a possibility I would love to set something up– you can reach me at KaitlynLdrew (at) gmail (dot) com . Thanks so much Angie!!

  • http://www.sixbrickshigh.com Jamie

    You are a gem!

  • Yodazcivic

    Angie:……I certainly do not know whether or not you shall see this reply, but I had to tell you how strong of a woman you truly are…I was given your book “I will carry you” to read,and it was the most heartfelt feeling ever. I myself went through something so tragic,and did not know how to deal with things at that time in life.you see in april of 05a I found out I was pregnant. It was the happiest day of my life, but soon my happiness was brought to a halt. I had gone out and bought everything imaginable for my child. Of course I was not certain yet what I would be having.my first ultrasound was great my child had a strong heartbeat and I felt so blessed;however, the day I found out I was having a son, I also came to learn that my son would not live.This tore me to pieces…my son had what the dr referred to as an amniotic band attached to his tiny head, which caused his skull not to close, and all the while the fluid was running through his little body.The doctors all told me it would be best for me to “terminate” my pregnancy, but I chose to leave things in the hands of God! My husband was upset with me.he did not feel it was healthy for me, but what he did not understand was, I had a bond with my son!!!!!! I wish I had the courage you had for when my son was born, I did not have the strength to have him laid to rest. I chose a different alternative so my son would always be with me!!! I just want to thank you for your courage to tell your story. It gives some of us hope…. prayers be with you and your family always!!!!! Sincerely, Rachele

  • Bethany

    Wow. He IS everything! And you are a beautiful, willing vessel who blessed so many. Including me.

  • http://www.nahuli.blogspot.com Anonymous

    My mom was at the conference in Milwaukee:)

  • http://saamusings.blogspot.com/ Annie28

    Angie, this is so poignant, so beautiful. He IS everything. He is everything that matters. And it is only a privilege that He asks to be part of the story about who He is and how He loves.

  • Jenny

    i have to ask because i have struggled with this ever since i started to read ur blog. now i know i am probably never going to get a response but i have to ask. do you really “HEAR” God? i mean words? alot of times i feel God speak to my heart but i NEVER HEAR him. i feel moved or motivated to do things but i never HEAR him. ive asked to HEAR him but i dont. and that is okay because i know he speaks to my heart. but do u actually hear words? like a whisper? or? ive even asked my pastor because apparently u are the only person i “know” who has heard God speak to them. my pastor says he too hears God speak to his heart and its unavoidable but not actual audio.
    thank u for ur blog! it is so nice to come to a place and read and worship God! u are making a difference in my life. ur daughter, audrey, has made a difference in my relationship with God.

    • RRedfern

      Jenny, personally I think when people say they’ve heard from God, they’re not meaning literally heard a voice that spoke to them.  God is that still, small voice in the back of your mind that leads you & guides you in your every day walk…and it’s up to you if you listen & heed his ‘voice’ or do things your way.  It’s like you can hear your parents say something from when you were little….in the back of your mind.  Of course, God also ‘speaks’ to us through His word, telling us the right way to live, etc. 
      Praying that God continues to ‘speak’ to you, and you continue to hear & obey.  Just trust that what you are ‘hearing’ is Him, pray that He reveals Himself to you in a new way every day.  Remember every good & perfect thing comes from above.

    • Hope

      Jenny, something I heard recently might be helpful.  What is your favorite color?  What are your favorite shoes?  What state would you really like to visit?  Is Jesus the Son of God?  Did He die for your sins?  Does He love you?  The questions about your favorite things likely caused you to pause a moment and think.   When you read the questions about the Lord the answers are instant and you know it without hesitation, right?  The difference between thinking from your mind and coming up with an answer and listening to the Spirit is just that.  The Lord whispers something into your heart and you know that you know that you know the answer is true. 

  • Amanda K

    Wow!  This post is such an important reminder ” ‘He is everything’ and none of the rest of it matters if we don’t know that”.  When I focused on just that, it was so much more than just a sentence.  It means more.  Thank you for the reminder and for allowing the Lord to use you.  Your blog has had and continues to have an impact on my life.  I love to visit and my heart just lifts when there’s a new post.  I know I will walk away with peace in my heart and more to pray about.

  • Jasmineofdisney

    Angie, I am a long time reader of your blog.  I haven’t commented before, but felt compelled to tell you how much your book What Women Fear means to me.  Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to put together this book.  I have not finished it yet, but it already made a big impact on me.  Parts of it seem like they were written to me, for me, and about me and I know that is just God at work. 

  • Lori

    I was at the Women of Faith conference in Milwaukee (thanks for the shout out!).  You were incredible, especially your gorgeous red hair.  Your words touched all of the women in our group.  God bless you for being brave and walking up those 7 steps. 

  • http://simplysimonsisters.blogspot.com desiree

    I was in Milwaukee at Women of Faith!  Just wanted to let you know you did amazing and inspired many people.  Mediocre hair and all :) – by the way your mediocre is my good hair day :)  

  • http://gitterfamily.wordpress.com/ Patty

    Hi Angie,

    I am new to your blog…began reading it after we saw you in Milwaukee.  Your story was beautifully told, and I am totally one of those mom’s who think that I am the best mom, just because God has blessed me with an amazing son (10 months old yesterday, sleeping through the night since 7 weeks) he was even there on Saturday during the Women of Faith and everyone around us was telling me how wonderful he was and how they didn’t even know a baby was there.  Husband and I are contemplating how bad payback will actually be with the next.  (:  my mom and I laughed hysterically at that part of your story.  I also bought your book (I will Hold You) that day and am enjoying it and will be passing it to a friend who lost one of her 6 month old triplets.  Her faith is inspiring much like yours. 

    I also had been looking for a good children’s bible.  I have a few of them but none that I love.  I told my  mom about the one that you recommended and it was 1/2 off at a local Christian bookstore!  It was most definitely a God thing!  I love it, I’ve been reading it to Tucker at night before bed.  He looks at the pictures and I love that it’s more ‘real’ than the other children’s bibles that we have.  We are counting the stars in the sky tonight (Abraham & Sarah)

    Thank you for sharing your story, and faith…it let’s those of us know, who haven’t been dealt really tough cards yet, that we can survive loss and heartache when we put them in the hands of God.  We just bought our tickets for The Story Tour (gold circle, so we get to do the Q&A session too!) and am looking forward to seeing the other 1/2 of the Smiths in Hoffman Estates, IL. 

    God Bless!

  • http://forgivengreatlytolovedeeply.blogspot.com/ Emily M.

    Ang, Thanks so much for this post!  I have been going through your book with (in)courage, and I have absolutely loved it.  It’s been such a blessing in my life.  I don’t know why it took me til today to head over to your blog, but it just came to mind!  This particular post caught my eye because I have SO wanted this to be a part of my life as well.  Seeing the Gospel in my everyday life is my heart’s desire, and I need it to be reminded in the midst of the mundane.  I absolutely love those moments when God softens my heart and reveals the Gospel to me when I least expect it.  Thanks for the reminder that I need to ASK God for those moments!