The three R’s, it’s quickly becoming Maddie and my “thing” every morning…perhaps it’s because of her giggles…perhaps it’s because I know how much I need it too.
Rest, Receive, Respond: these are the 3 R’s taught by Terry Wardle, a professor at Ashland Seminary who teaches formational prayer.
They are a practical way to line up for a blessing from Jesus.
Rest: I pull her down on my lap in the warm kitchen, whisper to her to close her eyes and take a few deep breaths. Just relax. That’s when I see the smile start playing.
Receive: “Maddie, receive Jesus’ love for a few moments. You are His girl and He delights in you.” I start seeing a giggle coming up to the surface, the same giggles she gets during a movie when the Prince kisses his true love.
Respond: Tell Him you love Him back or thank Him. Now she’s throwing her head back as if the joy can’t be held in. I can’t help but believe that she’s been in line and felt His hand on her head, his words spoken over her, seen His loving eyes look directly at her.
She’s been blessed, she knows that she’s His Beloved, and she’s beginning to learn that seeking the blessing can really be that simple.
How often I have forgotten.
I’m the mom with the scripture memory cards in the middle of the breakfast table and all the Bible storybooks strewn around the house. I get out the big royal blue one with gold edging with the graham crackers and milk at bedtime. The other morning I reached for the devotional with breakfast and got “the look” from Caedmon. Enough, it said. I’m stuffed. It’s not the first time I’ve seen that look lately.
Too much stuffing knowledge and not enough blessing.
The look registered and I pulled out my iphone still loaded with a worship video based on Zephaniah 3:17:
As he read the words on the small screen out loud, Caedmon’s eyes began to shine. “How does that make you feel, buddy?” “I don’t know, Mom. I just like it,” he said.
We all hunger for blessing.
Zephaniah 3:17 is a blessing in black on white:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I had been spending my quiet time with this verse feeling my own chaotic heart slowly grow still with: “The Lord your God is with you…He will quiet you with His love.”
But here are the questions: How often do I cram down the words, gather the bullet points, but don’t spend heart to heart time with the Word Himself?
Or, how often do I talk about the well but don’t lead them to take a drink? I give them maps, paint the pictures, tell stories about water, but still leave them thirsty?
“They” told me to find my purpose, my strength, my need for love, my identity all in Christ but never showed me how. I struggled toward Him but was held back by the long rubber band always retracting towards my own neediness. I never knew how to be “filled.” Finally, shame crept in and covered my relationship with God like that thin burnt oily covering on the hood of my kitchen stove. 20 years later and I have finally learned to live full of Love. And when I’m triggered, living out of that crazy, primal place, I’ve learned how to crawl back in to His heart.
How? Rest, Receive, Respond.
Be still and know that He is God.
It’s dwelling with The Way, the Truth and the Life, not just learning about Him.
It’s blessing: the inner core of a life wrapped in unconditional love built on a framework of Scriptural knowledge.
It’s the 3 R’s: Rest, Receive, Respond.
It’s the practice of worship and soaking in His love.
It’s allowing yourself to stop seeking, and instead, just be found.
It’s Scripture meditation beyond memorization to conversation.
It’s the constant communication, “pray continually:” our lifting up our ordinary struggle to an always Present, loving Abba.
It’s learning to line up for a blessing.
Come journey with me. Slip your email into the “Connect” square on the front page of A Thirst for God.
Other times I’ve written about the 3 R’s: