Pickles, Pickles, Pickles. Who likes pickles? Hopefully you do, if you don’t its ok. This article is still for you. So I want to ask a few questions that are relevant to all of us.
Do you struggle with making decisions? Are you having difficulties with your children? Are things chaotic in your life? Do you feel the world is eroding at the values you instill in your children? I could keep going with a list of questions but I think you get the idea. Hopefully, as you read this blog and take the time to practice the suggestion that I propose to you, that your answers to these questions will take a different turn. I know some may be saying, “But I don’t have time to add another thing to my already hectic schedule!” This is my disclaimer. I totally get that life is hectic and there are difficult times when it comes to parenting. We had 3 children under the age of three and life was hectic. Eric was working full time and we were trying to obey the will of the Lord and plant a new church. The responsibilities of parenting and the daily care of our children fell mostly on me. I struggled at times making good decisions. We had a couple of major health crisis with two of our children during their childhood. We felt the pressures to do things the world’s way and like all parents we had our share of parenting problems. I want to make it very clear that we were not perfect parents and the end results were because of the mercy of God and Eric and I staying in the presence of God. The following blog will be a practical and necessary way to calm the chaos, give wisdom for parenting and making those difficult decisions.
So you are probably wondering what do pickles, parenting and the presence of God have in common? Well, believe it or not they do. Let first talk about pickles. It all starts with the cucumber. Even though cucumbers are 95% water they are packed full of vitamins and lots of other healthy benefits. As far as the taste of cucumbers, some may enjoy the flavor and some may think they are bitter. However, we can take the cucumber to a whole new level. In order to do this there is a process. It is called pickling. To make pickles the cucumbers are soaked in a vinegar solution that helps prevent spoilage. This soaking changes their taste and texture in a profusion of interesting and yummy ways. The end result is a pickle that has a dill flavor, hot & spicy, sweet flavor, etc. To absorb the flavor the cucumber has to soak in the solution of vinegar, herbs, spices, sugar. This is where His presence, parenting and pickles meet.
“Say What? Parenting, pickling and His presence. I am still not getting it Karen.”
It is all about the soaking. To get the full flavor and texture the cucumber must soak. To calm the chaos, to prevent the world from eroding your values, to get wisdom for parenting, etc. we need to soak in His presence. There are great benefits to soaking in God’s presence. Here is a list of 11 benefits of being in the presence of God. These benefits are found in Psalm 16:1-11. Read and follow along with the below for more clarity.
- There is safety. The word “refuge” means a place to flee to for protection. If you take refuge in God’s presence, who can harm you? Isn’t that why we pray for the safety of our children when they are out and about? Isn’t that why we pray for “traveling mercies”? If you continue to live in His presence His hedge of protection will keep you from harm. Satan does not have a free hand towards those who continue in God’s presence. He is under the constraints or limits set by God.
- Nothing good exists outside of God’s presence. Outside of God’s presence there is no real satisfaction in life.
- There is joy that comes from being in His presence. Psalm 122:1 “I rejoiced with those who said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
- The sorrow of those will increase who run after other gods. For those who can’t seem to get a grasp on a normal life, one should examine themselves and see if there are some foreign gods that you are chasing after. Maybe you have been caught up in an innocent way that was so subtle that you don’t even realize you are out of the will of God.
- There is security. We know that God cares about us deeply.
- There are boundary lines that are set in God’s presence and they are pleasing. “The boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” We have not only an eternal inheritance but according to Colossians 2:9-10 our inheritance has been given for this life as well. We have everything we need for right living. It is easier to remember who we are in Christ when we are in God’s presence.
- In His presence we have a Great Counselor!!! He is with us right now. It is easy to make decisions based on knowledge or experience without even considering God’s counsel. “I will praise the Lord who counsels me.” In John 15 Jesus talks about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the “Counselor.” What do you think that He intended for the Holy Spirit to do in your life? Yes, you answered correctly, counsel us. That is great news!
- In his presence we have strength. We have His authority. We have His power. We have His word. Since we are in His presence, we are seated with Christ right now in the heavenly realms. We should not be shaken by whatever circumstances we find ourselves in as long as we continue in His presence.
- Our heart is glad in God’s presence. We have joy, we are happy, cheerful, lighthearted.
- We are assured of eternal life. You will know that you know that you have heaven waiting as a home.
- His word comes alive. Verse 11 states that our path of life is revealed to us.
Knowing these 11 promises creates anticipation when we soak in His presence. For soaking time take 15 minutes a day and put some worship music on and soak. Invite your children and your spouse to join you. Ask the Lord for His counsel and then just listen. He will speak. ‘For you, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Have a little fun and serve pickles after your time of soaking. Enjoy!
Children’s Ministry Director