Pretty much every American kid’s calendar year revolves around Christmas. The tree, the music, the treats, the excitement, and those presents though! Worth waking up with the first light of day every time.
The moment of salvation is kind of like Christmas for believers. Sure, you can make it spiritual by saying Jesus is born into your reality to redeem you from the dark and to proclaim tidings of great joy. And there’s truth to that. But let’s get a little more basic here: the gifts are great.
Every woman works. Some work in an office, some work outside, some work from home, some work at home. God has wired ladies to be productive contributors to His kingdom. And despite the modern women’s lib waves, He wired us to be productive contributors to His kingdom long before any talk of glass ceilings was heard.
Once upon a time, there lived a very good king in a very good kingdom. He loved his people, and his people loved him. They enjoyed abundance and peace for many years and were protected from darkness by a high wall with a strong gate. But one night, despite the only law, someone unlocked the gate, and death snuck in, stealing life from every single peasant’s home. It could not go into the castle, so it took many who lived nearby. The people cried out, and their king’s heart broke. He had warned against unlocking the gate, knowing the steep price his people would pay if the darkness found a way in. With excruciating sorrow and against all rationality, the king ransomed the peasants by letting death take his only heir, the prince, whom he loved greatly.
Since moving to Putnam, I’ve had more chats over coffee (well, hot cocoa, anyway) than I can count. This is one of my favorite parts of ministry as an introvert. I get to skip the typical small talk and dig deep one-on-one about what really matters: people’s hearts. Sometimes it’s not at the coffee shop—though it should definitely be on my business card as my place of work. Sometimes it’s at the church, alongside my husband, walking couples through difficult relationship issues. Or it’s on a living room couch as we do premarital counseling with a starry-eyed pair of twenty-somethings. Or it’s with a friend via texts, emails, private messages, or phone calls. The thing is, counseling doesn’t only occur in a therapist’s office; it’s a rhythm of life.
Anyone who’s ever tried to keep an orchid alive has quickly learned that this plant is a temperamental one. I don’t think mine survived its first month. (I have since discovered that I can apparently only handle the little plastic greeneries that look real. Which is cool.) But if you can manage the perfect balance of soil, light, water, and temperature, you’ll be rewarded with an array of gorgeous tropical blooms.
The worst words to my 7-year-old ears: “It’s naptime!” Oh, how I would cringe and move dejectedly to the absurd halting of my fun. My little brother and I would put away our toys or books or costumes and climb up into the arms of oblivion. Dumb bed. When I grow up, I’m never going to take naps!
How the times have changed. Even as soon as high school, I was eager for an extra rest in the afternoon. I’m sorry I was so mean to you, sweet naptime. Can we be friends?
I find it beautiful how nature and truth mimic one another. It only makes sense because the Author of truth is also the Creator of all things, so He has quite the advantage.
Regret is like the sea: it laps at your feet and can drown you if you’re not careful around the currents. It roars in the distance, hiding dangerous creatures in its dark depths. This sea also has calm days where the surface flawlessly reflects sunlight like a mirror. But my favorite similarity is that it has firmly established boundaries; God has told it, “You can only come this far” (Proverbs 8:29). The boundary of regret looks eerily similar to the cross.
Winter is almost over! Despite the three alleged snow days showing up in this week’s forecast (the unmitigated gall!), cold weather can only endure for so long. May this in-between season allow you space to pause and wait on the Lord, breathing in the hope that comes in the morning. Life is just as much about the waiting as it is about the moments we wait for, and sometimes God likes to be more active in the former than in the latter. Let’s commit to growing as we pause today, developing a character that will be able to withstand the exciting/chaotic/glorious mess of tomorrow.
God has been teaching me a lot about liberty as I’ve digested Beth Moore’s revamped Breaking Free study. She says, “I once believed only the spiritually lost were captives. God pried open my comfortably closed mind from the inside out . . . If anyone told me Christians could be in bondage, I’d have argued with all the volume a person can muster with a yoke of slavery strangling her. I was the worst kind of captive, a prisoner unaware.”
My journey through this topic has revealed a few startling truths and come incredibly close to home (sometimes literally).