In a neighborhood of carefully structured normalcy, my house is the oddball. Most of the yards are 1/4 acre. My home sits on almost one full; touching six other properties. There are no carefully manicured Hollies, and Begonias lined up in rows like soldiers going to battle here. Instead, Zinnias, roses, Cleomenes, Sunflowers, herbs, and vegetables race along beside one another like children running out to play.
The other homes sit close to the street. My front walk meanders along for a bit: long enough to enjoy my garden, or be annoyed by the journey, depending on the personality of the visitor.
Most of the other homes have almost no front porch at all. My house has two large ones: one up, one down. Best of all, I have not one front door, but six- three for each porch.
It is no mansion, but it is full of light, and odd shapes. Each window looks out onto something lovely, and green. The living room is not rectangular, or square; it is an octagon. The domed ceiling above is painted like the sky, and if one takes the time to look closely, an Apatosaurus, and Stegosaurus can be spotted in the clouds.
How strange. How delightful. I love this home.
You see, for me, this place is God’s persistent declaration to me: “I love you. I delight in you…..”
“Will you please sit down and listen for a minute?”
Sometimes, I neglect to heed His call completely. Other times, I stop my body, but my mind races on out of control. A wonderful thing happens when I finally settle in, get quiet, and open my heart: I find God doesn’t speak to me like I speak to myself at all.
Sometimes, I don’t even realize how hateful my thoughts are.
I stub my toe, and I think: “I’m clumsy.”
I fumble my words, and it is: “How stupid.”
I forget something despite my to-do app, and my calendar with two alerts, and my automatic sync with the calendar on my computer, and I berate myself again: “I am so irresponsible!”
One of my children struggles, and I quickly forget all of the hours of training, nurturing, and praying, and I say to myself: “You are a terrible mother. You have utterly failed. What do you have to show for the last 14 years of your life?”
Louder, and louder the condemnation. It is pretty appalling the way I speak to this daughter of the King.
But the Father is calling.
“Come, daughter. Sit down for a moment in this place I have prepared for you. Feel my breath in the breeze. Hear my song in the fountain. See my arms stretched wide in the branches of the oak, and pecan trees. See my smile in the sunrise, and sunset. Listen to my laughter in the crackling logs in the fireplace. Taste my sweetness in a cup of tea at your kitchen table. I love you. Rest your weary heart in Me!”
In the words of my dear friend, and wonderful Bible teacher, Kristie McClelland, “God approaches you in kindness.”
It is time to offer myself a bit more of the same.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6 – 7