A few days ago, I commented about taking some time out to relax on the couch. A fellow mom asked "What's that?" to which I laughingly replied: "You know! It's that thing in the living room where I pile my laundry. The clothes get to rest on the cushions for a week before they're folded and put away."
It seems that no matter how much I try, there is a pile of laundry somewhere in my house. I noticed the other day that while we have lots of laundry, we all seem to wear pretty much the same outfits all the time!
Pretty soon here, I'm going to be going through the piles and sharing the items that we simply aren't using.
But it got me to thinking - if I looked at my faith life through the 'laundry lens', what does it look like? Which faith-clothes do I wear consistently? Which ones sit in a pile in the corner? Are there faith-clothes that never seem to get pulled out of the closet?
"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive and offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all purpose garment. Never be without it." Colossians 3:12-14
When we read about reorganizing our closet and only keeping the 'essentials', we think basics. I believe the same goes with our faith life as well.
There are many, many styles, fabrics, fits and fads in the faith industry. So many books, teachings, approaches that can take the place of all the basics.
This year, I challenge you to take stock of your faith-closet and focus on the basics, as listed above. In addition, how about putting down the latest book and reading The Book instead?
How about setting time aside each week to spend time with Jesus, listening to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit?
Now time to get back to the basics and focus on practising the basics of faith.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some laundry to fold!
As a computer professional turned stay-at-home mom, I struggle with the challenge of transitioning from the regular validation and affirmation I received in the workplace to the 'oh that's just mom' response.
Yesterday is the perfect example. In between two loads of laundry, getting car parts, a play-date for the boy, making dinner and cleaning the bathroom, I sewed a complete set of valances for the kitchen. I was feeling pretty good about myself! Of course, in a house of just men, the tasks that were the most appreciated involved clean socks and turkey on toast.
I see a subtle shift in thought on this within our society regarding stay at home moms as more women are choosing to stay home with their families.
Which means there are more women wondering - 'NOW what am I worth?'
The most challenging part of this transition is retraining my heart to the truth that I am valuable simply because God says so!
(I'm not leaving out you working women, or those of you who aren't moms or married - I believe that you struggle with the same questions, perhaps in a different context? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.)
The bible says that, "... God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." (Romans 5:8 NLT) Before we had accomplished anything, before we brought any value to our world with what we could produce, before we could even acknowledge God, God loved us.
I find it hard to wrap my brain around this: I am valuable accomplishing nothing but simply being the object of God's love.
Today, I invite you to be aware of how you view yourself in comparison to how God views you. Still not sure if you can wrap your brain around it either? Try spending a few minutes reading through the following verses, asking God to show you just how he feels about you.
Isaiah 43:1-7 The Message Bible (emphasis mine)
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
4 Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
5 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children from east and west.
6 I will say to the north and south,
‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
from the distant corners of the earth.
7 Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.’”
Courtesy of Marie Prince, Pennsylvania
I received this letter from a neighbor who reads the devotional. In trying to maintain her 'voice', I have left it as she wrote it, other than some minor changes to improve the readability. I found it inspiring and encouraging - I hope you do as well!
Back in 1989 in the early spring I very lonely. For a young woman who was almost 21, I had no one to share my life and my faith. I had a job but lived at home.
Well, after having a hard time getting someone to date me I thought, 'I am going to pray about this.' I prayed one night and asked God -- “Please God, help me to find a wonderful man that is like me: hard of hearing, willing to go to church with me, and share a life with me.”
That June, I saw a man in town with a hearing aids on. I noticed how he was hanging out with the lady I babysat for. I asked her about him, but she didn't know who I was talking about. Then I found out his name was Ray, and again I asked her: “Do you know Ray?” Again she said no. I asked again a week later – I told her he wear hearing aids. “Oh! You mean BUSTER!” She said.
I laughed. “Buster? That's a funny nickname...” She jumped out of her chair, “Hey we gotta get you two to meet, He's perfect!”
In my mind I was like, 'That's just talk, it'll never happen...'
A few day later she called me, “Get down here now, I'm taking you over to meet him.”
I was so nervous around men, I just assumed he wouldn't like me. I dressed like a slob, expecting the worst. When I met him we sat down he showed me his new hearing aids he got and then he said he needed to get new boots for work. Of course I invited myself on his shopping trip, but told him I needed to rush home to change clothes.
We went to the mall and had pizza and that was our first date. Towards the end of July I invited him to attend church with me but told him, “You don't have to go”. The service was outdoors, and the first time he went he said he really liked the church and our pastor and ask if he could start going with me every Sunday! I was surprised he asked.
Then we started to date and that December we got engaged. A few years later we got married outdoors behind our church. I told him how I prayed for someone like him -- he said he was glad I did.
It was weird because we never knew each other, even though he lived over the hill from me. I must have rode my bike by his house many time when I was a teen. But he attended a deaf school and I want to a hearing school.
That's one great thing about God: How he found love for us to share in our christian life.
This month we'll be married for 19 years, together 22 years.
When I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go...
Song of Solomon 3:4 ASV
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)