Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tucked into the forest

The rain wakes me. In the forest behind the house, the stream courses between its banks. It's noisy. I check the forecast: a day of thunderstorms and water ahead. Oh well, the weekend looks brighter.

Our son, his wife, and their two-year-old move in Saturday. We're grateful they will live in the house while we're away but it's a weird transition.

The house is a complete wreck: our rugs and boxes heap on the sofas and between; their cardboard boxes are under the pool table (formerly the DR) and their furniture is stacked in front of the guest closet. (I toss garbage bags full of IKEA slipcovers, linens, and tablecloths over it to empty the closet). The kitchen and bedrooms? Don't get me started. This place is a mess.

People are coming and going with buys on Craigslist. The front porch usually has 3-4 things leaning on the big planters, from folders of magazines to shoes to huge picture frames. Makes me glad we live in the woods and our neighbors can't see us.

I wonder how our lives resemble my house. Normally, we anticipate what the day will bring: church, family time, work, ministry, play, or commutes ... perhaps a stop at the local coffee shop.

However, when we're in transition, we disrupt the routines that help us function. We may neglect spiritual disciplines, leaving our inner life a muddle. We may withdraw from friendships, leaving us lonely and isolated. Maybe our careful words are replaced with irritation and quick-draw replies, fracturing frail relationships.

It's important to remember who - and Whose - we are. No matter what happens around us, the habits of grace like prayer, scripture reading, and fellowship with other believers keep us rooted. Our core identity wraps God's mercy around us: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Now the power of the resurrected Christ sustains us.

This week, our last alone, I've been overwhelmed by God's generosity.

A sentence in a design magazine caught my attention: "Can you imagine eating breakfast and looking out only at nature?" The editors were featuring a house bordering the woods. Yes, I CAN imagine it: we've had that luxury for 20 years.

"Do you have enough room for entertaining?" shouted another headline. Well, yes. We've had that, too. Storage? Plenty. Tranquil surroundings? Yup. Convenient to city life? Uh-huh. Privacy? Lots of that at the end of our 150 foot driveway.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of God's blessings. We've enjoyed peaceful surroundings, good health, good work, and good friends.

I am so grateful to God that we have transition times in which we reflect on His goodness and faithfulness. Our "thank-you"s anchor our little boats when the streams of change rush by and threaten to sweep us away.

Read more:
*The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings. Deuteronomy 28:12 NLT

*Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165 NLT

*Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die. Proverbs 11:19 NLT

*Your Father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45 NIV
*I have a hope in God that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. Acts 24:15 NLT

Moravian Prayer: We come to you, our Father. Lead us with your Spirit, always giving and forgiving. You surround us with your cathedral of nature. Joyfully we adore you -- fill us with the light of day! Shine upon us this day.

As your righteousness extends to us, help us extend righteousness to your children everywhere. At home, at work, and at play may we be clothed in you. We are your children, everywhere. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. loving your posts. it is so easy to have an attitude slip and be irritable. so proud of you for being thankful and filled with His Holy Spirit when the enemy could easily get a hold of you and bring you down. You are going to do this in His strength and be such a blessing to all of us as you share it all, messiness and fatigue, with us. Blessings of peace and joy!
    Leslie G