Sweet Simplicity:)

As I cleaned, packed, and unpacked yesterday, I thought of how much stuff I have. Ten years ago, I made an important step in the right direction. It was freeing to leave my stuff behind, but I wouldn’t have if given a choice. I have accumulated more stuff in the past decade, but I find it much easier to let go now. I have learned not to attach to stuff, and that’s a beautifully freeing feeling.

Stuff complicates and gets in the way of simplicity.  I plan to make sure that I don’t get buried by the desire to hang on to anything other than God’s love. Now is the perfect time to pass along those things I don’t need and find new uses for what I do have. There’s a sweetness to simplicity that I crave more and more.

At the heart of simplicity is knowing what’s important and letting go of all that isn’t. It has taken a long time for me to come to that place of understanding, but I suppose it’s all part of growing up. Christ knew what was important and lived a simple life, and so did John the Baptist. God’s message was, and always will be, a simple one that appeals to simple folks.

My lifestyle will change dramatically in the coming months, and I’m looking forward to the lessons and the love that God has in store. I pray I will remember that simplicity makes life much sweeter and allows God the space He needs. I’m finding that I literally have to stop what I’m doing and look at the view from time to time. As the sun set yesterday, I realized that I didn’t need to worry about hanging my pictures on the wall. God already painted an amazing landscape that changes by the second. I also don’t think I’ll worry about cable or internet service for a while:)

Psalm 116:6 says, “The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” and Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” 

As I humbly look to God’s words for light and understanding, I will be brought low. It is a good low that puts me in the perfect position to learn  from and love Him. We are all “the simple;” we just don’t all know it. I’m learning that simple is a good thing, and simplicity is very sweet:)

Power Pointing:)

John 1:1-5 amazes me as I think of God’s Word becoming flesh. Jesus took God’s Word and fulfilled it in a way that changed everything. Hear the amazing scripture:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” NASB

Powerful words indeed! The whole of my salvation rests in the first verse, and the last verse describes Christ perfectly. I’m humbled by the notion that darkness didn’t and still doesn’t comprehend the Light. I find myself stumbling in the dark holding on to my little match when there is a flood light at my disposal.

Why God puts up with me is the first question I plan to ask Him. I already know the answer because Jesus made it crystal clear. He loves me, and that love brings life where there is death, love where there is hatred, light where there is darkness, and hope where there is hopelessness. God does not force His Light or Love upon me. He doesn’t put me in a chair, aim a blinding light at my face, and interrogate me to the breaking point. He simply shines and invites me to come.

Christ is the Light, the Life, the Way, the Truth, the Love, and God’s Word made flesh. He gives me the choice of accepting or rejecting Him. I often try to do things on my own, and that little match of mine burns the dickens out of my fingers! I’m learning to let go of my match and point to His Light. It’s better to bask in His love than worry about burned fingers. I don’t have to provide the light or be the light, I just have to turn toward it, reflect it, and help others do the same.

Once I bask in His sweet Light, nothing else will satisfy my heart or soul. The Light creates a desire to tell others about Him.  Verses 6-8 go on to say:

“There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.” NASB

John the Baptist knew who he was and who he wasn’t. He didn’t try to be the Light, he simply and powerfully pointed to the light. Witnessing is about knowing who I am and who I am not. A good witness points in a way that causes others to find His life-giving light. It’s what true love is all about, and John loved Jesus. His testimony is still bringing folks to His Light.

I cannot be the Light, but I can tell others how much I love Him and live a life that reflects His Light. It’s not only polite to point in Christ’s direction, it’s exactly what God has in mind for His witnesses. There’s power in pointing if I make sure it’s Him and not me getting the attention:)

Moving On:)

With all the moving preparations, I find myself between two homes. Both are bare and crying out for those things which make a house a home. The new house feels like home and is a beautifully blank canvas. I noticed a few sweet, pink strokes in the hallway downstairs yesterday, and they reminded me of my new little housemates. I smiled as I thought of Lillyann and Mylah running and squealing through the house.

The girls love the house and so do I. It’s filled with light, and I wonder each time I’m there which light I’ve left on. The skylights and windows bring in so much natural sunlight that you don’t need anything else on a sunny day.  The girls will take care of the sunshine on cloudy days:) They are, without a doubt, the best part of my new home.

Since I left my husband a decade ago, I’ve lived alone. The solitude provided a safe place and the necessary space for me to grow. I’m ready to live in the sweet community God has so graciously placed in my life. I’m sure there will be challenges for all of us, but I’m also sure that love will add to the glow that God has already provided in the beautiful home.

Being between the two homes is a little unnerving, and I find myself waking with thoughts of how, when, what, and where. I settle back down when I remember that the most important feature that makes this beautiful house a sweet home is who. I know who is going to be there, and that is all that matters.

The girls are coming over today while mommy and daddy move boxes and clean the carpet. I know they are wondering about the changes taking place at their house and at Gigi’s, so I decided to fill the empty spaces in my apartment with their toys. I’m sure they will like the new decor:)

Transitions are part of the transformation God has in mind, and I know He has wonderful plans when it comes to lessons in love. Love is about living together, and I’m ready to move on and love as God desires. We are designed for community, and I’m excited about the company I’ll be keeping because nobody teaches lessons in love more effectively than children. God knows that better than anyone. He knew a baby would satisfy the world’s longing to be loved.

Preparing for God’s Presence

The path which leads me through this world is a very tiny part of my journey, but it is a very important part that prepares me for God’s presence. This leg of my journey is about learning to love, and the lessons learned allow me to begin walking in His kingdom now.

The lessons in love this week have reminded me of the simple truth that God is love, and he who doesn’t love doesn’t know God. Sobering lessons indeed. Love isn’t complicated and is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” NASB

Love never fails, but people often do because we are imperfect. Attempts at love keep us humble in that regard:) God knows the struggles we face when it comes to love, and He hears my heart as I struggle. I take love and make it what I want it to be, and that is as silly as taking God and making Him what I want Him to be. I’m guilty of that too.

God is patient and rejoices with the truth. He never fails and neither does true love. As God reveals Himself to me, I see love in a new light. Christ’s precious love is the life and the light behind love beautifully expressed. He is the heart of God’s Word and stands as the ultimate example when it comes to love.

When I drift off course, I turn to God’s Word. He shares His journey with me and invites me to come along and abide in Him. When I accept His invitation, He abides in me. That abiding becomes the most beautiful connection possible on this side of heaven, and I can have it with Him and those with whom I share His love.

The world tempts and tries to fill me with a variety of cheap imitations, but once I taste love in God’s light, my heart will not settle for anything less. My journey here presents a perfect path to prepare my heart for love. My path has been a convoluted one which has left me reeling at times, but it has led to a greater understanding of just who God is and who He wants me to be.

As a minister once told me, all we can do is nudge a little closer to God and help others do the same. Wise words that aptly describe this path which prepares us for God’s presence:)

God Is Love

1 John 4:7-16 is a favorite scripture because it gets to the heart of love. It is easy to say God is love, but do I hear the sobering words of verse eight. If I don’t love, I don’t know God. Plain and simply stated, that verse calls for a life of love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” NASB

Christ gives access to love. If I decide to abide in love, God will abide in me and I in Him. That’s the miracle of Christmas. I’m afraid love is often lost in the lust that surrounds the season meant to celebrate true love.

There are close to five hundred references to love in the Bible, and that didn’t surprise me at all. God is love, and His Word is a beautiful love letter that I read over and over again. Each time I read it, it thrills and fills like a warm spring rain in a cold, barren desert.

The world wrings me out and sometimes hangs me out to dry, but God is faithful to fill and refill. In fact, I am learning that love is about being filled and emptied and refilled. It isn’t riding a crazy roller coaster or a sitting on the mountaintop alone with God. It is about getting into the world, seeking the truth, and connecting to God in others. God is love and exists in all who love Him.

I have friends with whom I have the sweet connection of Christ’s love. It is the most precious thing in this world, and I thank God for allowing me to share my journey with those who share a love for Him. Henri Nouwen says that God will connect to God. Christ’s love connects me to Him and those in my path.

Sharing God’s Word and love is what I am here to do. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope to do just that. Christ came to give access to God’s love, and that is the miracle of Christmas. I pray that 2013 is a year filled to the brim with God’s love. May we share our journeys with one another in a way that allows the honesty to love through laughter and tears. Tears and laughter are only for a short season, but love is forever.

God’s Light

Luke 1:78-79 beautifully describes God’s light. Christ does “guide our feet into the way of peace” and bring us from darkness into God’s light. I thought of the sweet verse last night during the candlelight service.

“By the tender mercy of our God,
   the dawn from on high will break upon us, 
 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
   to guide our feet into the way of peace.” NRSV

The lights dimmed as we sang Silent Night, and soft candlelight filled the sanctuary. The glow from our candles reflected God’s love in our hearts as His Spirit joined them to Him and to one another. It is what Christmas is all about. God with us. Immanuel. He was in our midst, and the silence was broken by a prayer and then the singing of Joy to the World.

We held our candles high and proclaimed the joy in our hearts. Darkness was dispelled! Again last night, I had the dreamy feeling of light heartedness. I could get used to that feeling and the sweet peace-filled sleep that came with it. I slept better than a kid last night because Christmas Eve is one night children don’t usually sleep well:) I slept more like a teenager on Christmas break!!

I thank Christ for guiding my feet in the way of peace and making God’s light available to me. Christmas is a time to celebrate His light and remember His path leads to peace. May the words of Luke 1:78-79 bring light and peace into the world.

Merry Christmas:)

Light Hearted

My heart is light, and that’s a new sensation for me. I am learning and growing in ways I never could have imagined on my own. God placed John 3:21 in my path last night, and it blessed beautifully.

“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” NASB

The beautiful verses before this one command a great deal of attention, and I love them dearly; but this one set my heart free. I know I’ve read it many times, but as I read it last night, it seemed I’d never heard it before. God’s Word is alive and often catches me off guard. It never ceases to amaze me, and I love that about it.

Truth is the heart of love. I was brutally honest with God last night, and He placed the comforting words before me. Truth brings me to the Light where I can be His vessel. Peace came as my soul settled and left me in a sweet puddle at His feet. He lets me cry out, and when I do, I always find myself empty and ready to be filled.

I slept like a baby for over ten hours after a cup of warm camomile tea and a hot shower. Truth brings out my deepest feelings, and that includes my deepest fears. God catches each tear, feels each fear, and calms my heart and soul with His presence. The service yesterday morning and an afternoon of Christmas baking was very therapeutic:) Preparations for the sweet gathering with family on Christmas and thoughts of time with Mylah and Lillyann today lulled me to sleep. I could feel mama’s presence as I settled into bed, and my heart breathed a sweet sigh of healing release.

Being light headed is not a good thing, but being light hearted is a wonderful feeling. It’s like floating. I had to smile as I drifted off to sleep because I knew I was experiencing true self-differentiation. I wasn’t fused or confused any more. Tethers were gone. The truth set me free, and it was the most exquisite feeling I’ve ever felt. I want more of it, and I know the way to get it is to practice the truth, come to the Light, and let God manifest His deeds through me. Amazing:)