Soul Food, Waiting for Baby Bird

I Was Seeking God For His Presents, Not His Presence

In 2012 I realized the full extent to which infertility and PCOS had on my life. It felt like I was in a chokehold. I was depressed, hopeless, and ready to tap out. But, as a fighter, I knew I couldn’t; and as a Christian, I knew I shouldn’t. I knew that even though my situation looked impossible, all things were possible (Matthew 19:26). I knew the promises of fruitfulness, healing, and restoration were available to me as a child of God. I learned about the numerous Bible stories of barren women who conceived supernaturally, and I knew that God did not show favoritism (Romans 2:11). Therefore, I knew what He did for Sarah, Hannah, Elisabeth, Rachel, and Rebekah He could do for me. I knew where to find the verses on healing and fertility. I knew that infertility and miscarriage were not from God, of God, or in God’s plan for my life. I knew it all, but I didn’t believe it all.

But I wanted to believe it. I wanted to confidently and boldly shout from the rooftop that I would be a joyful mother of children like Psalm 113:9 proclaimed. I wanted to believe that the fruit of my womb would be blessed abundantly as Deuteronomy 28:4 and Deuteronomy 28:11 promised. I wanted to believe the truth in Isaiah 53:5 that by His stripes, I AM healed, not will be, might be, or could be healed. I wanted to have a trusting relationship with my Papa God in which I could and would believe the truth of His word over anything else the doctors, statistics, or a Google search told me. I wanted to go from knowing to believing.

So, in the latter part of 2012, I began praying regularly, doing daily devotions, and attending every church service possible. But months later, despite my valiant “efforts” to go from knowing to believing, I still felt like I was in the same chokehold gasping for air. I still felt the weight of infertility. I always felt unfilled. I even battled with the same thoughts and feelings of despair and hopelessness over my situation. I still felt like I knew it all but didn’t believe it all. It had been months, and I was always ready to tap out, and my relationship with God was no different from before. Why?

I was seeking Him for His presents, not His presence. 

My prayer time was all about my requests. My journal was filled with a list of my wants. My thoughts were all about what He could give me. It was all about me and less about Him. The gifts (and not the giver) were of most importance to me, and they had become idols in my heart.

Anything can be an idol if it distracts me from God.

I can’t imagine how God must have felt during those months I was asking Him to meet with me each morning just so that I could stick out my hand. Or what He must have been thinking each time I kept doing all of the talking–giving Him my grocery list of requests for the day. As human beings, we do not appreciate that certain people want to be our friends because we can give them something they want. Instead, we feel valued when we know people want to have a relationship with us simply because of who we are and because they like us–the same principle applies with our Papa God. He wanted me seeking after His face, not His hand. He wanted me to be His friend despite the benefits. He wanted me to come to Him each day not because of his presents but because of His presence.

As a daughter, I know that I need my parent’s presence more than I need their presents and the same holds true with being a daughter to my heavenly daddy. My heavenly daddy desperately wants to give me good gifts, but He knows that I need His presence more.

Recently, it’s been in His presence I have found all that I had been seeking and chasing after. It’s in His presence that I have found the fullness of joy amid my disappointing news, hope in my seemingly hopeless situation, and a strong belief in His word that has stretched far beyond just knowing. It’s been in His presence that I have discovered and keep discovering that faith is what sparks the explosive power of God because it believes something is real before it ever sees it manifested in reality. It’s been in His presence that I am continually released from the daily chokeholds of this life. The good ol’ Bible verse I have repeated since going to church in frilly dresses and shiny white shoes is real. When we seek God, who is the giver first, we will find all the things that we need and are searching for most in this life.

Are you seeking Papa God for His presents or His presence? 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matt. 6:33 (NIV)

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” Matt. 6:33 (Passion Translation)

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, not to be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and how he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Matt, 6:33 (Message Translation)

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22 thoughts on “I Was Seeking God For His Presents, Not His Presence”

  1. oh, boy. This post gives me a swift kick in the pants. I have been so, so guilty of this too, Elisha. I love that you said we need to seek His presence, not His presents. PERFECTLY said, as usual. **HUGS**

  2. Thank you for this reminder. I am still getting my daily faith practices to my liking. I’ve always been faithful but struggled a lot with it and religion (nothing like being a mental health therapist who struggles with infertility to do that!). But I have found it just in the last several months. Found an amazing church, actually took my first church class and I am actually getting baptized in a few weeks. Thanks for this post!

  3. Ahhhh such a great post! Thank you! ” I was seeking God for His presents, not His presence.” How often we do this!! Loved this post Elisha!

    1. right?! It’s a daily struggle to keep my grocery list of requests in check. While I know He wants to hear them, He wants me to enter into His presence first and foremost.

  4. Yes!!! I love this!!! When we started Moms in the Making I told the girls my main desire was for the girls to pursue the Lord more then pursuing babies!!!! So much easier then said, of course!!! But I totally believe we will need to be that much more desperately dependent on Him when we are mommas – for strength, energy, grace, patience!!! I love that we can start prepping for that now while we are waiting! Thanks for this message!

  5. Such a good reminder, Elisha. You should be an inspirational speaker or do workshops or something.

  6. Ooh, I still do this- lately, I feel like I have my “list of requests” for “presents” instead of asking for His presence more often than not. I love how that was put and it hit home immediately! Thank you so much for this post, it was just what I needed to hear to change my approach.

      1. Always. You are always an encouragement to me. I think your posts impact so many- whether its 5 or 500- God is using you through your blog! Love you butternut!

  7. As always your post is spot on, I wish I could say that I am not guilty of doing this also. Your blog has fast become like a second home to me as you touch my heart and mind with every post. You’re amazing dollybird xxx

    1. awe thank you so much sugars! I have been discouraged lately as people continue to unfollow me with each new post I publish but it is your words of support and encouragement that keep me pressing the “publish” button. As far as this post goes, I was guilty of seeking His presents and not presence again this morning. I’m a work in progress :/

  8. It helps me a lot to think about the Lord’s Prayer, and the order that Jesus used: “Hallowed by your name; your kingdom come; your will be done.” These phrases all honour and exalt God first, and put things in the right perspective. After we’ve put Him first we can say, “Give us our daily bread.” 🙂
    Sorry you’re feeling discouraged. You’re speaking truth and sometimes people don’t want to hear that! I find your blog very encouraging, and love your honesty. Sending you a hug. (( ))

  9. If you ever doubt yourself that you’re helping others with your posts-STOP! I look so forward to reading your posts and connecting to God in a way that I often haven’t thought of. You always help me reconnect with God in a way that I haven’t thought of before. He’s using you and your rocking it! I appreciate your willingness to share so much. Those big girl panties are always on!

    1. awe thank you so so so so much for your words of support and encouragement! They were words I needed to hear today! hugs! xo

  10. I love this post…. You’re so right, that within God’s presence is where we’ll find his presents. God is good!

  11. Wow this post is a challenge, but so encouraging too! I long for more of God’s presence but it is so easy to have a superficial relationship with Him. I heard a sermon recently that described it as ‘eating the crumbs’ when Jesus is the bread of life and wants to feed us completely! Thank you for sharing.

    1. awe so glad you found it encouraging 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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