P Is for “Portals” – How to Find Openings with God
{26 Surprising Ways to Encounter God, A-Z}

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
– E. B. White



Portals are openings. Windows. Doors. Gates.

They lead us from one space into another. They are “thin places,” the places where we see God enter a situation and make his presence known, even when we weren’t watching for him. 

Portals can look different for each of us at different times.

Perhaps you’ve seen these openings, these portals, in these ways:

  • The lyrics in a worship song you’re singing at church
  • A friend’s text that shows up just when you need it
  • A surprise gift on your front porch

Regardless of the form they take, these portals give us a glimpse into heavenly places. They leave a lasting impression on our souls that God is truly here and now.

Try This

While we can’t necessarily create these portals, we can stay alert for them.

As you go about your routine tasks today, look for openings that God wants to reveal himself through:

  • a conversation around the dinner table
  • background music on your drive home
  • a Bible verse popping into your mind
  • formation of clouds out your window
  • children at play in your neighborhood

When you sense the opening of God’s presence, dive into the encounter. These are gifts of grace. Unwrap the gifts and enjoy them to the fullest. 

Learn More

* * *

Where have you seen an unexpected glimpse of God lately? Please share in the comments.

Coming up next:

  • Q – Questions
    We often think of God in the answers. But what about the questions?


30 thoughts on “P Is for “Portals” – How to Find Openings with God
{26 Surprising Ways to Encounter God, A-Z}

  1. TC Avey

    Beautiful. God truly does speak to us and reveal Himself to us through a variety of ways. During this busy season of life I’m learning to listen to Him in new ways. He’s all around and desires a relationship. He know our motives, if we truly seek Him or not. And to those who seek, He is found.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re wise to look for God in new ways in this busy season, TC! You’re right, he’s always ready to be found. I’m so grateful for that truth about his character.

  2. Michele Morin

    I just finished reading The Gift of Hard Things by Mark Yaconelli, and he — surprisingly — points out that SUFFERING can be a portal, a thin place, in our walk with God. I don’t like this idea, but I do see the truth of it.
    Loving this series, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t like the idea, either, Michele. 🙁 Suffering isn’t something I ever want. But, all in all, if we are going to suffer–and we know we are at times–then I am grateful that it is a portal that God can use. Thanks for sharing. Mark Y’s book sounds like one I might need to read, too….

  3. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Lisa,
    Oh I love the title of your post and I just love how we can see God working as he opens the portal a bit in our lives through our normal everyday routine. So often, God met people in scripture just where they were while they were doing their jobs or living their lives. The surprise and amazement that God saw them is felt by me too, and pressing deeper into the difficulties in our lives is hard but so enlightening!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Valerie! Your comment makes me think of the story of Gideon throwing out the fleece to see if it really was God showing up in his ordinary life. I’m so glad we have many, many examples of God’s presence in the everyday routines; it helps us believe his presence can be in our normal days as well.

  4. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I love that image you have on the post today. The portal is definitely there, but partially in darkness. I think that speaks volumes about the doors to the sacred in our lives. They aren’t always well-lit, and can look intimidating. But the rewards! How rewarded we are for our puny faith!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      A beautiful comment, Ceil. Those portals often do show up the brightest in the darkest places, yes? Being rewarded for our “puny faith” is such a strong sign of a loving and grace-filled Father!

  5. floyd

    I didn’t call it that, but that’s what it was. I got a “portal” from God this morning via an email from my youngest at college. It was a writing assignment on a “place” for her. She used an arcade I used to take her to a lot when she was growing up. The piece turned out to be about her relationship with me.

    I can’t remember when I’ve been so touched by God’s wonderful gift of our family. And I know He’s got my baby in His hands… the perfect place for all of us to be.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Aw, I’m so glad you got this “portal” from your daughter, Floyd. What a gift and a beautiful glimpse of God’s pleasure on your family. It sounds like she might have inherited the writing gene from her dad? You’re a wonderful father.

  6. Betsy de Cruz

    Beautiful, Lisa. You have me smiling. I need to read this post again! Today I sensed God’s presence through worship music while I was working on my computer. More than just listening, I entered in to worship and connect with God.

  7. BettieG

    Beautiful post! I just wrote about one of those “portals” yesterday when God used the “muzak” playing in the hospital to speak to me of His love pouring over me. I am always amazed when He uses these moments in our days to open connections with Him! –Blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love how God works through music, and even especially so when it’s not even music that we choose ourselves. If God can work through muzak, he’s powerful. 🙂 I’m glad you had that moment with him, Bettie!

  8. Somer

    Portal. I even like the way the word sounds. It sounds secret or maybe like it is there if we notice it.
    This idea of thin places intrigues me. It’s kind of like that idea of the holes in our lives actually become gateways to seeing God. And that reminds me of a passage about Jacob
    I read again last week. About Jacob seeing God in an astounding vision of a stairway to Heaven. He didn’t know when he laid down but he became aware And named the place Bethel. This story always brings me joy. That was a direct portal for sure.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, that’s a great story to bring up here, Somer. Jacob’s portal was one of a kind that has influenced all of us who read it, down to this day. I love the way “portals” sound too. It reminds me of A Wrinkle in Time and how they were transported through space through portals. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Agree. Sometimes I wonder how much of God we would see if we could really take off all our blinders! I’m sure he would be so overwhelmingly beautiful and bright that we couldn’t take in his glory all at once.

  9. David

    Lost in the forest, for years I would dig into the undergrowth, ferret around in the roots, trying to understand the forest, half/secretly hoping that, with understanding, the forest would fade and the mountain would materialise in its place.

    I could see the mountain in the distance but I thought walking towards it would be foolish, as the forest would come with me. Or, the forest was part of me and there was no way out.

    Now I am starting to look for ways (The Way! I didn’t see that coming I promise). I can’t just March Out Of The Forest, but I am starting to notice paths around the forest that are different — paths that bear a certain light, or perhaps a trace that Someone has been this way before. Perhaps I will find the mountain like this.

    In the meantime the forest seems to change as I exercise paths long untrodden. Perhaps I will never find the mountain.

    The forest isn’t me, it’s the world around me. Using those portals we find, following those paths, leaves the portal open, brighter, the path clearer, to be found by others in the forest.

    Helping myself to the light brings the light closer to those around me too.

    Lovely post Lisa!

  10. Lori

    A great reminder to watch for God in those thin moments, Lisa. We usually miss something awesome when we have our eyes on other things. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I know I often miss things because I’m not looking in the right places. 🙁 Praying for better vision. There are so many beautiful things that God wants to show us!

  11. Sheila

    Hi Lisa~ What you call portals I call “JesusGlitter”. I loved this article and last week my Hubs had a hip replaced and I seen God all over the place from the kindness of strangers to a Doctor who asked to pray for us before surgery. Coming home that night I saw a shooting star……It was like God was telling me…I got your back!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh wow. You’ve had lots of Jesus Glitter (I love your phrase, Sheila!). It is so faith-building when we see God in many places; it’s good to reminds ourselves of those when times that aren’t as glittery. Praying that your husband has a smooth and quick recovery.

      On a side note, I’ve never been a glitter fan in general—it gets everywhere and never goes away. But maybe I’ll view it differently now! 🙂 I was texting something about “gluten intolerant” to my daughter last weekend and it auto-corrected to “glitter intolerant.” We both laughed about it being the truth.

  12. June

    Love this: “When you sense the opening of God’s presence, dive into the encounter. These are gifts of grace. Unwrap them and enjoy them to the fullest. ” Seeing each moment as sacred. Living with the awareness of the Holy Spirit working in and through our lives – oh, how I wish I could achieve this daily!

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