Watching Over Me

Do you ever feel like someone’s watching you? That there’s someone nearby? With a presence so strong you turn and look for them? It isn’t always paranoia, mind you, but if you’re a true Believer, I hope you can answer that question with a definitive, “Yes”. That’s the experience I had while doing a herd check recently. I felt certain I was not alone in that pasture.

It wasn’t a foreboding feeling of dread that swept over me. Instead, feelings of safety, comfort, and peace enveloped me. I knew who and what I was feeling instantly; it’s become something I’ve grown accustomed to. I call them “Heart Hugs.” It’s God’s reminder that He is right there with me throughout my day.

On this day, I walked through the barnyard and into the west pasture. That’s where I currently have “Mavric” the bull with the now-bred mama cows. As often happens, I unloaded. That’s what I call the unburdening of my soul by sharing my frustrations and fears, defeats and dreams, and concerns and causes with God. I seldom ever receive an epiphany or guidance about what I should do or decision I should make in those moments. Instead, God acknowledges He is there with me and wants me to be, and rest, in His presence. Like the words of the song “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (Author: Civilla D. Martin, 1905), He reminds me He is always watching over me.

There is comfort in knowing that God is watching over His children—even when we don’t recognize His presence. #GodIsWatching #EverFaithful Share on X

When those wonderful moments of communion with God occur, and my soul connects with His Spirit, a peace settles over me. A feeling that says, It’s going to be okay. I have you and I’m not letting you go. I can’t tell you I hear an angelic chorus sweetly singing the words of that beloved hymn. Instead, the words of Psalm 121:5 spring forth from the repository of my heart.

“The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade
at your right hand;”
(Psalm 121:5 NIV)

In those sacred moments, I am reminded that nothing happens in my life that God is not already aware of. God’s manifest presence tells me my life is important to Him. I’m also reminded there are many things that don’t happen because of His protection and provision. I won’t be aware of those times until I am physically in His presence, yet I know He is always watching over His flock.

When the morning sun shines onto my gate header, our Cross-Dubya brand casts its long shadow down the drive towards our home. When I pause to note it, I see His cross casting its shadow across the land, livestock, and people He entrusts me with. It serves as a constant reminder that the Chief Shepherd is not only watching over me but also all that I try my best to be a good steward of.

This godly care manifests itself in the health of my herd, the joy found in watching calves work off the “zoomies”, or the content sound of a chicken’s egg song. I also find it in the smile or gentle touch of my wife. I hear it in the familiar chuckle of Mr. John’s laugh that shares the joy he also finds in living out here in “God’s country” each day.

I pray that you, too, find moments to connect with God and commune with Him each day. For me, unloading helps maintain my sanity when life becomes overwhelming. It centers me by bringing my focus back to Him and not the encroaching world I’m traveling through. Knowing that if we are His children, He will always watch over us, waiting for us to climb into His mighty lap as He embraces our heart with His presence.

God’s blessings,

28 thoughts on “Watching Over Me”

  1. Your message today brings much joy and comfort to me, my friend. Reading, “God’s manifest presence tells me my life is important to Him,” brought me pause, with moist eyes, and a couple of deep breaths, knowing my God cares for me, yes, even me.
    I was drawn to look up Psalm 121:5 in the Passion Translation. “Yahweh himself will watch over you; he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence.”
    Thank you for this blessing this morning. God bless you and your dear family, plus all your beloved creatures.

  2. As always, J. D., I find comfort and encouragement in your words. Yes, God is always with us, guiding us when we are not even aware of that in the moment. Listening for and feeling His presence is up to us. Yes, Lord, your servant is listening!

  3. I know that “feeling,” Brother, and it’s incredibly encouraging to hear you talk about it. Standing there with you as you survey the Cross-Dubya’s four-legged residents is uplifting and inspiring for the rest of us as well. And “unloading” is a great way to start any day. For me, it always leaves me feel lighter and less burdened and at my stage of life, I’m happy not to be toting around anything I don’t have to.

    The other thing that I loved about this piece is the strong reminder that whatever the scene we might be surveying in our life, we are never facing it alone. There’s something about that that makes everything look less intimidating in the tough spots and more exhilarating in those times when rejoicing is in order. I tell my incredibly patient, creative, and gifted wife that on those rare occasions when she’s gone and I’m left alone in the house, everything feels different. Whether she’s doing anything noteworthy or not, just knowing she’s there makes the atmosphere in the house different. Recognizing and acknowledging God’s presence does that, too. And it reinforces one of the things about Him that is absolutely wonderful. That is, He is eternally committed to togetherness. The devil is all about division, hyper-selfishness, isolation, hate, anger, and conflict, the diametric opposite of God’s nature.

    I hear a lot of people talk about their “word for the year.” I think that’s an intriguing thing to do, but haven’t made it a regular practice in my life. But my daughter was telling me a week or so ago that she had chosen the word “one” as her word for the year, and it sounded downright inspirational. God describes Himself as “One” and that extends to everything He does. He created us to bring us into an eternal state of “oneness” with Him, and He designed our relationships with each other to function best when we are unified. Solomon declared that “two are better than one,” but that’s only true if they aren’t fighting each other.

    One of the things that spoke to my heart about today’s visit to the ranch was a sense of shalom–that kind of peace that isn’t just an absence of conflict. It’s that kind of peace that sustains us whether there are problems or not. It’s the kind of peace that whispers hope in our ear that speaks louder than the world’s cacophony of violence and rage. I was once again comforted and encouraged that even though we’ve never shook hands, shared a meal, or hung out for a few minutes with a cup of coffee, we share a distinctive oneness that makes my world feel better, and that makes me stronger than I would be otherwise, and I praise God for that. Now, I think I’ll go unload some junk and get to work. 🙂

  4. I love how you describe God’s presence in your day to day life my friend. It is a very good and needed reminder for me to be more intentional about slowing down, getting quiet and just being in His Presence in my day. Sometimes I get so involved in what is going on the day slips by and I wonder where it went! I watched my 2 little grandsons yesterday. The one year old was on my lap watching a Christmas song video. He was calm and quiet and very intrigued.. As often happens I found myself just watching his sweet little face, the innocence in his eyes and the joy when he recognized the song. It’s those moments in busy days that bring me right into His Presence.

  5. What comforting words you’ve shared today! At this season, we celebrate these words from Matthew 1:23.
    23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
    GOD. WITH. US. Wow! And double wow when we feel it as you’ve described.
    Blessings of the Season!

  6. Kathy Collard Miller

    Let me count the ways…they are too numerous to mention of communing with God by “abiding.” Moment by moment. I’m sad when people, especially young moms say, “I just didn’t have time with God this morning. I’m afraid things will not go well today.” I grieve that they don’t seem to understand that God is available every moment, not just for the morning “quiet time.” You have expressed this truth well, J.D. Thank you!

  7. I use the process of “unloading” too. And like you, my favorite place to unload is outside in His awesome creation. I don’t view it as whining (although I confess to that occasionally), but talking to a loving Father and releasing my burdens into His strength. He is trustworthy and faithful. Although He doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we prescribe, we know He is always with us. His ways aren’t our ways, but He has the plan for our lives. Thank you for this message of faith and hope, my friend. May God bless you and your Cross-Dubya family.

  8. I love “God hugs!” I got an amazing God hug the night of the day my husband passed away. I was journaling, telling God I would not be able to go through the grief process unless He was with me—that I would need Him every step of the way. The most incredible sense of peace invaded my bedroom, and into my heart and soul. I’ve recalled that moment many times since.

  9. What sweet moments of fellowship with our Lord. I’m thankful we can unburden our hearts to Him, knowing He will understand and interpret them rightly and do the best thing for them. I’m thankful we can do this anywhere we are, that He is always watching over us.

  10. I can think of many times when I’ve felt God watching over me. There are also times when I didn’t sense him in the moment, but in looking back, it was clear he held me in his hand. He’s true to his word. He’ll never leave or forsake us. I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without him.

  11. J.D., I’ve always loved your description of heart hugs from God. The “unloading” of our thoughts and bearing our souls before God is such a great release. And it was practiced by the psalmists and others in the Bible. Like you, it’s an inner peace and comfort that comes over me; the assurance the Lord is there, He sees me, hears me, and cares. God bless!

  12. I find it interesting that one of the terms used for watching over the critters we are in charge of is “husbandry.” In that term we find a closer relationship than just a caregiver. Someone involved in the work and field of animal husbandry has a deeper connection to the ones they watch over.

  13. It is beautiful how God’s presence brings such peace to our souls. I found so much encouragement in your message JD. We need this kind of hope as we await our Savior’s birthday.

  14. Similar experiences we had this week, dear friend. Unloading makes us lighter, doesn’t it? And it pleases God because He desires to carry our load for us. I’m adding a new section to my 2024 Bullet Journal called “Heart Hugs.” I feel those too, and I think collecting those moments in the journal will keep me be on the lookout for them so I don’t miss a one. And when I’m low on fuel, I’ll read over the list for inspiration to continue on. Thank you!

  15. J.D., this is a most comforting reminder of the the tender and faithful care of our God. You describe those moments so well – they are sacred. It is in those precious times we are given blessed assurance He is with us – protecting, guiding, and always with us. The photo is amazing!

  16. that’s such a wonderful picture of the cross on your sign watching over your land and creatures. And I love the hen’s egg song and the calves’ zoomies. You are blessed, J.D., and you bless us with your scriptural insights from God’s country. Have a very blessed Christmas, my friend!

  17. It’s all about His presence. I also unload when I am alone–preferably walking outside, but also alone in the car or before retiring at night. He knew we would carry heavy burdens through life, so He gave us a lifeline to the throne room through the Holy Spirit, didn’t He? There was a sweet song I grew up on: “He is all I need, all I need; Jesus is all I need…”

    Jesus will carry us through, dear brother. May you be surrounded and carried by the sweet peace from the Prince of Peace. God bless your ranch, animals, and family this Christmas season.

  18. What a comforting reminder that our Father is always watching over us, even when we don’t sense it. How special it is when we do!

  19. I like the accountability and realization that I am always under and in God’s watch care. It brings me comfort and reassurance. I like knowing I am not alone.
    Hey, your photo today is intriguing. I am wondering how you made it. The cows seem to be looking at the shadow with interest.

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