Discovering More in the “Less Than.” By Lori A Alicea

It’s all about perspective…

Cup half-empty…
Cup half-full…

It’s a choice we each make when measuring
The abundance or lack in our lives
By the full line of our cup.

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A conversation we’ve engaged in,
Or at a minimum, harbored the thoughts where…

More money, bigger house, fancier car,
Designer clothes, high profile career…
Speaks to a cup half-full…

Where less than speaks to a cup half-empty.

I confess those difficult seasons where I’ve viewed my cup half-empty.
My clouded cup held up to God for clarity becomes clear
When I allow Him to lead me to the place of…

Discovering More in the “Less than.”

…remember, it’s all about perspective.

The last three years have been quite the journey for my husband David and I.

Traveling the road of uncertainty while following God’s direction one step at a time for our next address, we found ourselves earnestly praying these words together at night…

Fill our cup Lord,
With wisdom and understanding,
That we might be overcome by it all.

book opened on top of white table beside closed red book and round blue foliage ceramic cup on top of saucer
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Fill our cup Lord
With faith,

Because…

Faith Sees Farther beyond what eyes can see.

Faith hopes.
Faith believes.

Faith Sees Farther because:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
The evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

(words from my blog… Faith Sees Farther)

man walking in the forest
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Fill our cup Lord,
With complete contentment,
As our cup overflows with
Your love and abundance.

white and pink ceramic floral teacup with saucer
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Fill our cup Lord.
Amen.

 I write after three years of us on the road of looking and seeking, we announce our new address with much excitement and with equal parts of reservation.

Seated and dining with God as He lovingly serves us our cups of answered prayer,
I’m embarrassed to admit we both faked a smile at first glance of a cup half-empty…
Or so it appeared.

Not at all the house we waited for, imagined for or had faith for.

A house we’d have to appreciate looking through the lens of His eyes to
Discover the more in the “less than”.

photo of teacup on top of books
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Sometimes the less than is the cup half-full.

Less debt, less time driving to work, less maintenance,
Less years of employment until retirement,
Less distance from our kids and grandkids,
Less health problems for David because the home is brand new.

Lord, help us all to see our cup as you fill it.

May we notice the extravagance, your generosity, and be overwhelmed by the splashes of your love because your pouring never stops.

Cup half-empty???
Cup half-full???

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With God…

…My cup runneth over.
Psalms 23:5 KJV

Because….

 …I have come to give you everything in abundance,
more than you expect,
life in its fullness until you overflow.
John 10:10 (TPT)

teapot and teacups with tea and honey on tray
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IN THE NOTICING By Lori A. Alicea

When you least expect it, God reveals himself
in the noticing.

In the obvious, in the subtle, when we’re not looking, and sadly,
When we fail to notice at all,
God is always faithful to
reveal Himself
in the noticing.

In these trying times the world is experiencing together, God is still a personal God and intimately aware of us individually in the smallest of our details, those too minute for even the strongest magnification; yet God sees it all and wants to reveal Himself
in the noticing.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Psalms 139:1-3 NIV

Which is why I shouldn’t have been taken off guard by the surprise of God, as I am fully aware that he knows me, perceives my thoughts and is familiar with all my ways, continuing to find me in the back roads, the hidden intersections of my life, and even down the aisles of the grocery store,

revealing Himself in the noticing.

Recently I found myself walking a bit slower than usual down the aisles of the grocery store, a gaper in a fog I suppose, stunned and close to tears at the barrenness of the shelves.

Shelves usually full of food unless a holiday is approaching.
A scarcity I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

Panic didn’t set in, yet I could see the unsettledness written on so many faces of the other shoppers.

As a mother I wanted to reach out and hug each passerby, especially the young parents with children in their cart, parents I imagined were fretting about “tomorrow”.

As a grandmother who has rocked ten grandchildren through their endless sleepless nights, I longed to comfort these moms and dads and remind them that everything is going to be alright.

Yet quite honestly, the barren shelves that afternoon were bothering me too.

In the noticing though,

God scattered “words of encouragement” throughout the store by someone thoughtful, words painted on rocks and left behind on shelves for shoppers to find, a word God knew
I needed in the noticing.

While rock hunting is not a new idea, as I have personally stumbled upon these decorated stones in the town park and rocks our grandchildren have found hidden by next door neighbors.

But this particular day God gave me a “now word”, a “word in due season” on a shelf at the grocery store, just waiting beside the few boxes of mac-n-cheese left behind for me to discover.

A word God gave me in the noticing was BELIEVE.
IMG_7231Lord, in the noticing

You know me….
You perceive my thoughts….
You are familiar with all my ways….
Psalms 139:1-3 NIV

Lord, in the noticing you saw a weak moment of doubt in me, and now you were encouraging me to remember what I BELIEVE.

In this new pandemic storm unlike no other, boats all over the world seem tossed against the rage of the ocean, taking in and overwhelmed by the “waters of the unexpected”, whose compasses seem to have lost direction, leaving some to feel abandoned, stranded and lost at sea.

But in my boat and in the noticing,
God, you are encouraging me to remember what
I BELIEVE.

When boats are calm, it’s easy to say what we BELIEVE when
sailing waters that are sound asleep.

But when the tides wake up with a fierce headache and vessels everywhere are tossed in the sea of its anger, we have to firmly know what we BELIEVE, as our lives depend on it.

What I BELIEVE is God controls the storm.

The disciples experienced this first hand as Jesus calmed the fierce storm that held their boat captive and stirred their fears of drowning.
Witnessing this miracle the disciples in their amazement replied,

“Who is this?
He commands even the winds and the waters,
and they obey him.”
Luke 8:25 NIV

What I BELIEVE during these unexpected times when so many have lost their jobs or successes, the world will come to realize when provisions miraculously continue, that God has been their provider all this time.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
Psalm 37:25 NIV

What I BELIEVE in this great time of sickness, God still heals. God longs for our faith to arise, to reach out for the “hem of Jesus’ garment” as the woman with the issue of blood did for her healing.

“Who touched me? Jesus asked….
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me;
I know that power has gone out from me.”
…..
Then he (Jesus) said to her,
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Luke 8:45-48 NIV

What I BELIEVE in this great time of lack,
People have revealed themselves full of generosity.

What I BELIEVE during these times mandated to our homes is a gift,
As families preoccupied and disconnected from the distractions of work, school, sports and play, needed to find their way back home and reconnect with those that they love.

What I BELIEVE is prayer is powerful, that prayer is bringing neighborhoods to their balcony’s, prayer is filling hospital parking lots of cars filled with people, all humbling themselves and calling on God to have mercy on them, seeking his face to heal their lands.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV      

What I BELIEVE that however painful during this great time of grief and sad goodbyes, we still have great HOPE of eternal life with the Lord for those who know Him as Lord, for those who:

…declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10 NIV

 In the noticing

God knows us….
He perceives our thoughts….
God is familiar with all our ways….
Psalms 139:1-3 NIV

If you feel abandoned,
If you are feeling alone,
If you are worried about tomorrow,

God is noticing.

You are not abandoned,
You are not alone,
God has tomorrow already prepared.

Find calm in the storm,
As the winds and waters obey Him.
(Luke 8:25 NIV)

Determine to BELIEVE.

Find calm
In a loving God
Who Notices.