Pastor John helped me see that the path takes an upward spiral when walking in God’s kingdom and connecting as He desires. For someone who has gone in circles most of her life, the circular part of the pattern is familiar, but spiraling upward was more difficult for me to grasp. God used the vivid image of Lillyann and Mylah navigating the stairs to help me understand His lesson. The big difference in spiraling upward is that each time I come full circle, I nudge a nearer to God. The hard part is a willingness to move on to the next step. The great news is that I’m not alone. The Holy Spirit and dear friends encourage me to move upward. The sobering lesson is that I can easily spiral downward if I allow my attention to move away from God.
The last lesson on the path to the praying life hurt me very deeply, but it gave me the courage I needed to spiral upward. I must choose if I will spiral upward or downward on this journey. Hesitating on the step last week almost caused me to fall. Little Mylah is finding the same to be true as she navigates the stairway.
Connecting and traveling on the path to the praying life is about self differentiation and love. As I become who I am truly meant to be with the help of the Holy Spirit and those dear friends with whom I have honest communion, I come full circle and nudge a little nearer to God and others. Some do not appreciate the spiral and prefer bringing me down. The Holy Spirit enabled me to break free of the need to please and reach a new place of loving and praying. With His help, I am able to pray at a new level. It’s what spiraling upward is all about. As I learn to pray as Christ, I am able to let go of hurt.
Praying for those who hurt me may never make a difference in them, but it really does make a difference in me. I don’t have to fix or persuade anyone; I just have to extend lovingkindness, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. It was a powerful lesson, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Satan brought out the big guns last week, and my heart suffered as I forgot Who’s in charge and tried to handle what only God can handle. Not everyone is happy with the changes that enable me to spiral upward. I was concerned when little Mylah insisted on walking up the stairs before I thought she was ready. She would not back down, and I’m so thankful she didn’t let my fear keep her from moving up:)
I marvel at how God teaches, and pray I let Him guard my heart and the hearts of those I love dearly because guarding hearts is the work of the Holy Spirit. That was clear as God prepared my heart to pray as He desires. I’m not sure where the lessons will lead next, but I know living out the lessons in loving and praying will always be a big part of this beautiful journey.
God used the image of the winding staircase at the center of our new home to help me see that the path to the praying life is one that spirals upward. Walking in God’s kingdom is better with company, and seeing Lillyann encourage Mylah to keep trying reminded me that a little lovingkindness from a friend goes a long way when it comes to getting to that next step:)
The tragedies of the week caused us to put aside our differences and remember that we are a beautiful community closely connected by the love we share. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God’s family would do the same. I can only imagine what this world would be like if we all quit squabbling about details and arguing over petty differences. God loves all His children, and it breaks His Son’s body and His own heart when we break apart. We learned this week that we are more alike than we are different.
Families stick together, and that is never more true than when tragedy strikes. When death enters our safe haven, we cling to one another. Love causes fear and sorrow to take a back seat, and those things that once seemed important enough to fight about no longer matter. God loves this world, and He watched His only Son die to save it. When we remember His loss, we draw nearer to Him and to one another. When we get caught up in our agendas and plans, we begin to argue over who’s doing the most or who’s right about this or that.
Satan sits back and grins when we poke at one another, place blame, or point out sins in each other. God shakes His head and wonders what more would it take to get us to come together and see what truly matters. Jesus said to love God and our neighbor. This week, our sweet community has been a beautiful neighborhood. I pray that we will hold on to that spirit and not allow anything to come between us and those we love. We should love each other and celebrate our differences. God created each of us, and we are all beautiful to Him. Would that we would be to one another, so His kingdom would come, and His will would be done.
It is possible to love in God’s kingdom now. If you didn’t see that this week, you were not paying attention. Join me in praying for unity as we love God with all that is within us and love each other as we have this week. The praying life is all about community. Satan argues and fusses about being right and loves to see separation and discord. God creates us to be a loving community because He knows it’s the very best way to get a glimpse of Him. We each must decide who we want to be like, and I saw an awfully lot of God this week. I’m excited about all He has in mind and look forward to seeing it work out in the faces of the beautiful folks in this community and in the world.
Neither Mylah nor Lillyann could sleep this afternoon. After wrestling with them for half an hour, I told them if they didn’t take a nap they would have to play together while I read. Funny how not taking a nap motivated them to cooperate:) I didn’t read because I enjoyed watching them play instruments, draw, and play together.
Lillyann’s drawings amaze me. She drew an umbrella, a horse, a dog, and a little person. I was surprised in that I could tell what each was:) As they drew together, Lillyann complimented and encouraged little Mylah. Maybe not getting a nap is a good idea=) They will surely sleep well tonight after a long afternoon of playing.
Things are still in boxes, and our mattresses haven’t gotten here yet, but I told Pepe today that I was enjoying the closeness of camping on the floor. I love living with the kids and thank God for the sweet lessons in community. Family is special, and I love every moment I spend with mine. We are getting settled, and I look forward to being able to look back on this time of transition as a turning point in all our lives.
I’m learning this week to savor and enjoy each bite of life God places in my path. My journey has slowed and deepened as we’ve settled into a sweet routine. I cooked my first meal in the new house at lunch today. It was simple fare, but the sweet company made it very special. I look forward to many meals around the table and many days like today when I savor those sweet connections that make life worth living forever:)