I have a dirty little secret…literally. And I’m going to tell you about it. Don’t judge.
Our staircase curves as you walk up it and on the left you pass by a ledge (or a niche if you want to get all fancy). I tried for years to find just the right piece to put there. It had a large basket for a little while, then an old window and some other vintage doo-dads. It had an urn with a plant that I couldn’t keep alive and then just the urn by itself. Nothing ever seemed to be right.
And then, one day, I was at a local indoor market that is housed in the most adorable red barn. It’s filled with all kinds of goodness…fresh produce, baked goods, homemade doughnuts and fun decorative items. As I was wandering through the teeny-tiny aisles I spotted it. A big bucket. A REALLY big bucket. And I’m pretty sure I heard the hallelujah chorus over the speakers and a bright light shined down on it because in that moment I knew that I had finally found the perfect thing to put on our ledge/niche.
Truth is a strange thing.
We can know it in our heads and yet feeling it in our hearts is an entirely different matter. At at no other time are we more aware of this duality than when we are hurting. When life feels so unbearable that we simply cannot imagine a time when we weren’t in so much pain.
But God’s truths, the truths about who He is, His character, His promises…they don’t change. Even when our circumstances do.
Even when there is deep pain.
Even when there is confusion.
Even when there seems to be no answer.
Even when there is betrayal.
Even when there is unbearable grief.
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are dangling from a tree branch. The wind is whipping all around, the rain is pouring down on us, the thunder and lightning crash and we are clinging to that branch with all of our strength but we can feel our fingers slipping as we doubt that this branch can hold us. Or, more accurately, that WE can hold onto IT.
Welcome to week three of our ‘Life in Season’ study series!
1. When we don’t tend to all areas of our faith, we leave ourselves wide open for gaps to develop. It’s in the gaps where we find we are the most vulnerable to sin and temptation. Where in your faith do you think you have gaps that you aren’t ‘minding’?
2. Read through this passage from 2 Peter 1:5-8. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
3. Adding to our faith the qualities listed above is an ongoing process and one about which we have to be intentional. Which of those qualities do you find to be the most difficult for you? Take some time this week to pray and humbly ask God to reveal to you the gaps that He sees. Recognize it as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with Him as you seek His forgiveness and accept the help He longs to give you.
If you feel comfortable, please share your thoughts here so we can talk about this together.
And thank you so much for meeting me here at the fence today,
It was a late summer evening. School was already back in session and while it felt like it should be fall, Oregon was in no hurry to say goodbye to the warm nights when the sun seemed to linger on the horizon, wanting to make sure that it was the last one to leave the party.
We sat on my parent’s patio, eating berry pie and drinking coffee while the kids took turns (a miracle in and of itself!) pushing each other on the tire swing down in the woods. From where I sat, I could see my sweet girl swinging with the air of carefree living that only seems to exist in those years before adolescence. I could hear her giggles and chatter and it made my heart equally want to burst with joy and also with pain. Joy from the innocence and pain from the knowledge that life was coming at her and coming at her fast.
We have officially reached that time of the year which I affectionately refer to as ‘The Crispy Season’.
Outside, the plants that were lush and bright only last week are now dry and wilting. The spiders are in their heydey, weaving webs all around the yard where they glisten in the hot August sun.
On a regular old weeknight not too long ago, my family and I discovered a new-to-us music channel. ‘Party Favorites’ is the perfect blend of older and newer songs that make you want to get off of the couch and shake your groove thang.
Somewhere between ‘YMCA’ and ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ my daughter and I realized that we were the only two left in the family room dancing our hearts out. I’m pretty sure my husband and son just gave up because our sweet moves were simply too impressive for them to handle. Or they were ashamed of us. Either way, my girl and I continued to shimmy and shake around the room. I was so proud of the fact that she had mastered ‘the sprinkler’ and she was thrilled when I tried to teach her the running man. Tried being the operative word there.
Many years ago I was apart of a very early morning Bible study. In that season in my life as a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, it was the only time of day that worked for my schedule without having to line up a sitter each week. One particular morning, my alarm went off and as my eyes struggled to open I immediately felt the desire to pull the covers back over my head and pretend the rest of the world didn’t exist. It wasn’t just because I could have used about 900 more hours of sleep (did I mention I had a toddler?), it was mostly because of what was happening in my world at that time.
I’ve often wished that it didn’t take experiencing the hard things in life for me to grow as a person. I mean, wouldn’t it be so much nicer if depth could be added to our souls while we lie on the beach sipping margaritas? But the only divine revelation I’m likely to have in that scenario is that I need to take a nap. The reality for most of us is that it’s only when we walk through really challenging seasons that we come to a greater understanding of who we are….the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
I believe that a peace-filled home begins with a peace-filled heart. This is the foundation, the solid rock, which you can rely on to help you experience peace even in the midst of the craziness. Having a home built on peace is what sustains us in the busy schedules, the unpredictable events and the roller coaster that is life.
A peace-filled home is a gift that you give to all of those who live there, including yourself. It’s providing a safe haven, a respite from all that we encounter the minute we step outside our door. Because we all know that what we often encounter out there in the world is anything but peaceful.