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About the Writer:
Joanne Sampl

With grown step-children, college age sons and a self-employed husband, Joanne offers her time to God and to others. Her interest in writing and communications brought her back to college as an adult and through several reinventions of her own business and ministries. With time on her hands, she writes about God and life.



Practicing the Presence of God

By Joanne Sampl

Since I turned my life and my heart over to God as a twenty-eight year old adult, I realize I missed out on a lot of very important principles about growing closer to God while I was still a child. So, even though it’s been almost 16 years, I am trying to catch up on all that I missed.

One huge principle of faith that I needed to learn was practicing the presence of God in my life. What does that mean? For me, it means turning off my “I’ll do it on my own” switch in my head to the “I am His” switch, and just dwelling on that truth mentally. It was very difficult for me to do until someone taught me about visualizing in my prayer time. Now, since I am such a visual person, this technique suits me perfectly. It’s not a trance-like state or anything hokey. It’s just time when I clear my mind from the things I’m thinking about and focus on a scene in my head that brings me closer to God.

With Father’s Day this month, I thought I’d share the visualization I’ve used for the past few years. It settles me down, reminds me of how much my heavenly Father loves me personally, and gives me such hope for what heaven is going to be like.

I close my eyes and remember a time when I was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I picture myself in this huge, grassy field. Everything is bright and colorful. I imagine the smell of the honeysuckle bushes and hear the gentle wind making the grass wave softly ahead of me. The breeze is blowing in my face, and the sun is bright and warm. My arms are sleeveless so I can move around freely, and I begin to swirl in a dance of joy through the field. I’m happy. I’m content. All I see around me is green and fresh. The trees that line the field are also dancing with me in the breeze, and the birds join with the current to create the melody and rhythm of our movements.

Joining the choreography, a few butterflies appear and flutter along side me. They are yellow and orange, and seem tirelessly excited to touch as many blades of grass as possible.

I spend a long time in this part of the visualization sometimes, because it can take me a while mentally to detach from the whirlwind of my life and focus on the gentle breezes of God’s creation instead.

From a distance, I can hear a voice calling my name. It’s subtle at first, and can barely be heard over my waltzing steps through the grass. When I finally can hear the voice, it stirs me. This is the voice I’ve always longed to hear – and it’s calling my name! I am thrilled completely. I am urged to follow the voice and beginning running in its direction. “Could it be Him?” I ask myself as I rush in the voice’s direction. As He calls my name again, I am assured it is Him. It is my Father. It is my Creator. It is the same voice that Adam and Eve heard calling their names in the Garden of Eden.

As I am running towards the Voice, I can tell that the Voice is running towards me. I question what I hear. “Can He be as eager to be with me as I am to be with Him?” And, then I hear His Voice answer my thoughts. “I love you, Joanne. I’ve missed you.”

There are times when I vary the end of my visualization. Sometimes, when I find Him, I picture myself folded up in His arms with my head against his chest. Then, I can finally let go of whatever hurt or pain has been keeping me away from Him. His hand always gently wipes my tears and something about His very nature helps me to smile again. Sometimes, when I find Him, I gush with an explosion of all the words and feelings I’ve held inside with no one having time to listen to me. I picture His eyes smiling at me, listening intently and hearing every word and every emotion in my heart. Then, there are times when I find Him, I have no words. I have just the deepest sense of peace to just be with Him, and together we walk hand-in-hand around the grassy field, enjoying the warm breeze and the playful butterflies.

Somewhere in this visualization, I grow up from a little girl spending time with her Daddy to a grown woman who still wants to spend time with her Heavenly Daddy.

“Be still and know that He is God. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10.


Copyright © June 10, 2006 – Joanne Sampl. All rights reserved.


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