For the past eight weeks, members of my church have been participating in a small group series we called StoryLab. Each Sunday I preached on a different biblical character, looking at how God showed up in their story and used them as part of his story.

In the week following, we got together in small groups to dig into those stories a little deeper, reading through the text a couple times, praying through it, and then working through some questions that had us wonder how God might be showing up in our own stories. The result, as you can imagine, was storytelling.

In my own group we heard stories of God showing up amidst postpartum depression, of God protecting people as they drove through ice storms, of God bringing just the right staff person to fill an empty position at just the right time. We talked about how God does or doesn’t speak to us through dreams, about the places in our lives that are important, about our quickness to judge people without first knowing their story, and about the very ordinary moments of our lives that end up heralding God’s presence to us.

The question throughout the series was this: how might we better pay attention to what God is doing in our lives?

As I’ve been writing for The Twelve this fall, I’ve noticed an increase in my capacity to pay attention. As I think about topics to write about, I’ve been looking for ways in which God is showing up in my own story in ways that might resonate with readers. And I’ve found that the more I look, the more I see, and the more I see, the easier it is to recognize something for what it is – a glimpse of glory.

One of the members of my small group taught us about the Baader-Meinhof effect, the illusion in which something that has recently come to your attention seems to appear with improbable frequency afterwards. God working in our lives is certainly no illusion. But there’s truth in the idea that we can train ourselves to see God at work more and more by paying attention to even the smallest glimpses of his goodness.

And this, I think, is one of the beautiful gifts of the Reformed Journal and The Twelve. For the most part, these are the musings of individuals who have seen God show up in their stories. We could be writing about a Mary Oliver poem or a schoolhouse in South Dakota or a paragraph from the Lord of the Rings or Mr. Rogers or sand dunes or a bus ride or our cats. Our attention is called to every square inch of this creation, and how that place, or those words, or that thing, speaks to us of God.

This a “place” where my capacity to pay attention is expanded, and for that I am grateful. If this has been that same kind of place for you, would you consider expressing your gratitude through a financial gift, so we can continue to pay attention together?

We ask for your financial gift today.
Depending on the device you are using,
there are blue Donate buttons in upper right corner,
or at the very bottom, in the center of the screen.

Click on one to make your gift.
A recurring gift, maybe just $5 a month, would mean a lot to us.
Thank you so much!

Laura de Jong

Laura de Jong serves as pastor of Second Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Leave a Reply