// chase //

“Get me, mama!”

The pitter patter of sweet little feet has grown into the thundering stomps of a rambunctious six year old daring me and his daddy to try to catch him as he races down the long hall, around the kitchen island, and into the living room. Did I mention it’s usually accompanied by a sly, missing-two-teeth grin?

There was a season when my oldest daughter, during imaginative play, would always find a way to incorporate a princess in need of rescue. “Help me! Save me!” would echo in her bedroom as Barbies and Playmobil figures cried for a daring hero to come to their aid at the tippity top of a white wood footboard.

I feel confident that the sounds of chase and rescue will always remind me of a sweet season of growing in our home and family.

Last month, I dove head first into a new Bible reading plan where I’m reading through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) each month. It’s amazing to me that a passage or verse that I’ve heard “so many times” before can suddenly surprise me with new meaning and significance. I’ve found that I’ve spent more time in the Word this year, which has also led to a new curiosity to ask questions and take the time to actually look for answers.

For instance – that passage about Jesus cursing the fig tree. Did you ever notice that the Bible says that “even though it was not the season for figs” Jesus cursed the tree? (It totally does!) Which made me wonder: “Why did he curse the tree for not having figs if it wasn’t even the season for figs?!” Do a little digging and you’d find out that earlier in that passage, it says Jesus saw a fig tree with leaves on it and walked over to it because he was hungry. A quick Google search tells you that fig trees only have leaves when they’re in season – or when they’re bearing fruit. That fig tree, as my husband says it, was “false advertising” – pretending to be something it’s not and it didn’t have the fruit to prove it. Yikes!

During one of my reading times last week, as January faded into February, I realized that I’d actually stuck with it – my reading plan. I had to double- and triple-up a few days, but I finished what I started. I sat back on my sofa, Bible and highlighter in my lap, and just simply whispered “Thank you, Lord! I did it and it’s because You helped me! I asked for a renewed passion and excitement for your Word and you gave it – thank you!”

It’s not often that I can say confidently that I’ve “heard” God speak to me. It’s not an audible thing, like a booming voice or the heavens opening and a bright ray of sunshine beaming only on the space where I am. It’s something I feel inside. I know it’s the Holy Spirit, nudging and ministering to me from within – and I have no doubt that it’s Him in those moments.

This was one of them. “This is what you’re chasing – more of Me.” Immediately, Jeremiah 29:13 came to mind. It’s a “life verse” that I chose at a church weekend event when I was in 11th grade and it says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” A lot of people like to quote the scripture before – verses 11 and 12 that read “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for your good and not for harm, plans for a hope and a future.” But verse 13 is like the secret sauce to those words of comfort. He tells us in 11 & 12 that HE knows the plans He has for us, then verse 13 tells us how to discover those plans – by chasing after Him.

I love how the Message translation paraphrases Matthew 7:7-11 :

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think that the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

January 1st, when I first opened my Bible to start this reading plan, I prayed for God to reveal Himself to me, to encourage and grow my faith, and to let me fall in love with his Word. He totally delivered.

“This is what you’re chasing – more of Me.”

A sly grin on the face of my most favorite boy in the world, paired with the taunting invitation to chase him through our home always makes my heart flutter. It could be that he’s just so darn cute, but it’s also that his mama recognizes his invitation to play, to connect, to spend time together.

The seasons of playing “rescue the princess” while pretending to have a Ken doll shimmy up the footboard and save the day of a Barbie clenched in the chubby fingers of my daughter as she lets out desperate pleas for help remind me now that something far more than a Barbie’s rescue lies in the balance. Me and my girl are both captivated by stories of saving because deep in our hearts, we know we need a Rescuer. This simple, imaginative play reminds us both that when we cry out, our Hero has already offered our salvation.

After nearly 40 consistent days of being in the Word and leaning into Him, I’m confident that when it’s Him that I’m chasing, He’ll always show up. He’s a good and perfect Father, with plans for my good and His glory. The more I know Him, the more I love Him, and the more I want to draw closer.

Let’s be direct and ask our God for what it is we truly need: More and more and more of Him. Here’s to always chasing after more…

“Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” James 4:8

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