Saint

Summer is a wonderful time of the year! I especially love the picnics where everyone shows off their very best recipes. I bring my Mother-in-law’s famous strawberry pie. Well, I bring it if I can keep it unmolested until it’s time to eat. I can’t count the number of times I’ve found a little hole in the perfect red surface, evidence that someone has plucked a strawberry from its nest of yummy goodness. Luckily some well-placed whipped cream has covered a few sins now and then.

Over the years I’ve gotten smarter and now I make two pies. One is for our immediate enjoyment, and the other is set aside, with a note that says Hands off! Reserved for the picnic!

I tell this little story because it paints a good picture of a word we use in church, and over the years have lost sight of it’s true meaning… Saint.

Most of the time we use the term Saint to talk about someone who is perfect in their behavior, a character who might be “holier than thou”, but the term actually comes from the Greek word Hagiazo, which means to “set apart for a specific purpose”. Hagiazo shows up in scripture in a variety of forms:

  •  As an Adjective – we translate it Holy
  • As a noun – we translate it Saint or Holy People – that’s YOU!
  • As a verb– we translate it sanctify, make holy, or consecrate

So you see, being a Saint is not about what you DO, it is about who you belong to.

What does all this mean? YOU are God’s strawberry pie! Set aside for a sweet relationship with Him, with a sign for the evil one that says “Hands Off! This one is mine!”

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy (hagion) nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Pet 2:9

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Words: Making “Churchy” Words Simple

God has this thing about the spoken word. When you get right down to it, words are what God uses to actually create things.

Go back to Genesis, and we learn:

”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit God was hovering over the waters. And God SAID “let there be light” (Genesis 1:1)

What did God use to create? – Words. Over and over the phrase “God Said” is repeated.

What God wanted, expressed out loud with words, brought all of creation into being.

If we fast forward to the Gospel of John, and read the first part of the first chapter.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made.” (John 1:1-3)

What God wanted… expressed out loud, in the person of Jesus, brought all of history into relationship with Him.

You see, God has a thing about words. And if God thinks words are important, then we should too.

I understand, it’s hard enough trying to figure what’s going on today when you’re ‘earjacking’ your ‘hipster’ ‘boomerang child’ making a ‘duckface’ wearing her new ‘kicks’ while she’s ‘chillin’ with her ‘bestie’.  And yet, we expect ourselves to fully understand what a middle eastern, nomad who lived over 3,000 years ago, meant when he wrote part of the Bible!  Don’t be so hard on yourself! It takes work, and time, and often a friend to walk alongside you.

So let’s go on a journey together.

Over the next few weeks we’ll feature common “religious” vocabulary words and take a deeper dive into what they mean.  We’ll look at how they are used in scripture and sometimes even outside of scripture.  We’ll try to look at things in simple terms and stories, so whether you have been in church your whole life, or are just starting out in your God walk, you’ll find something to help you.

Hey, drop us a line if there is a word you want us to explore. We want to hear from you. After all, we’re on this journey together!

Go to the GPS page, and see the “Words: Making Churchy Words Simple” article to follow our study.


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

 

The ONE Thing God Wants for Christmas

“What’s the ONE thing you would like for Christmas?”  Every year I ask at least one person that question kids, my spouse, sometimes friends… I wonder how God would answer?

I imagine God would say, in his big God voice, “There is one thing…  One thing I want for Christmas more than anything else…”

3……God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

If you have a family, or are part of a family, God has given you a very important task.  He told us what he wants, to ensure that the next generation “knows the truth” about God.  He wants all our children to know a God of extravagant grace,  a God overflowing with generosity.

Then He gave us the perfect tool to use to teach those truths…Christmas.

Everything about Christmas tells wondrous stories of God:

  • The way we make our homes beautiful is a picture of how the grace of God takes ordinary lives and makes them beautiful.
  • We wake in the morning to find a room normally empty, miraculously filled with gifts.  It’s a picture of lives once empty, suddenly filled with blessings too numerous to count.
    People all around us, treating one another with kindness, and courtesy, living in peace is a picture of what life is supposed to be like.
  • From the lights, to the decorations, the world filled with music and united in celebration,  everything about Christmas points to God  calling to His creation.

And the ONE most important picture…a child sleeping in a manger reminds us He doesn’t want heaven without us.

YOU are God’s ONE thing…. This Christmas make sure He is your family’s ONE thing too.

 

Check out the rest of our Countdown to Christmas posts here.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

4 Games for Your Gift Exchange

 

Does your family gift exchange need a little excitement? Try one of these 4 ideas to inject some extra holiday fun.

1. Dice Game

Everyone brings 2-3 wrapped gifts (can be white elephant or something nice). the more gifts, the more fun.

All the gifts are piled on the floor in the center of the room.  Guests sit around the gifts in a circle (so they can easily reach the person next to them).  You need a pair of dice for every 4 guests.  Pass out a pair of dice on a small plate for rolling spaced out as evenly as possible.

The game is played in 2 rounds.

ROUND 1: At the same time, those with dice, give them a roll and then pass the plate with the dice to the left.  If you roll doubles you pass the plate to the person on your left and go and grab a gift from the pile.  Place the gift on the floor in front of you but DO NOT OPEN IT!!  The play continues until all gifts are distributed.

ROUND 2: Set a timer for 5 minutes and start rolling again.  This time, however, each time you roll a double you get up and steal a gift from someone else.  When the timer goes off, the game is over and each person gets to keep the gifts in front of him.  There may be a bit of re-distributing to do, so that everyone gets one or two gifts. Use this as a teaching time about giving and generosity.

Go around the room one person at a time and open the gifts.

 

2. Left- Right Nativity Story

Use a nativity story to make gift giving fun and exciting.  Everyone stands in a circle holding their own gift.  Read the story provided and any time you say “left” – players pass their give to the left, and if you say “right” they pass the gift to the right. Use this story of the nativity (click HERE and print out the story), or find your own Christmas story to read.

 

3. Trading card game – best for groups of 10 or less

Sit in a circle (or around a table). Each person has his/her own gift. Place a deck of cards in the center. Ensure the cards are at least twice the number of players. Take turns drawing a card from the top of the deck and following the rule aligned with the card drawn. Print out the instruction sheet so players will know what to do.

Click HERE for a printable instruction sheet.

 

4. Musical Gifts – best for groups of 20 or less

You will need your phone or other player, loaded with your favorite Christmas music.  Everyone starts in a circle, and you pass one of your gifts round the circle while the music is playing.  Stop the music at a random time and the person with the gift opens it and then leaves the circle. Repeat till the final gifts are won.

 

Check out the rest of our Countdown to Christmas posts here.

 

11 Great Recipes for Christmas

So many Christmas gatherings to get to! Have you ever looked around and wondered what you will bring? Time is short, and you need ideas that will WOW your family and friends! You may even need a little help for dinner tonight. Here are some of our tried and true favorites.

Appetizers

1. Erica’s Crockpot Buttered Mushrooms – from April Smith

What’s not to love about these buttery, spicy mushrooms. Easy to make, easy to eat!  Thanks, Sis for handing over this recipe! Click HERE for the recipe

2. Crab Tartlets (yields 24) – from April Smith

These little bite sized snacks go fast. Mix it up! Swap out the crab meet for chopped ham, or broccoli and cheddar! Click HERE for the recipe

What’s for dinner?

3. Tortellini Soup – from April Smith

This hearty soup is my favorite. Pair it with a crusty bread and a snowy day. Guaranteed to warm your insides. Click HERE for the recipe

4. Ham & Potato Crockpot Casserole – from April Smith

Use up your ham left-overs with this easy crockpot recipe.  Sure to be a hit! Click HERE for the recipe.

5. Easy Meatball Stroganoff – from April Smith

Who doesn’t love noodles in a creamy stroganoff sauce, especially when it is made in the crockpot with only 4 ingredients (plus noodles)?  Click HERE for the recipe.

How About Breakfast

6. Monkey Bread – from April Smith

Your kids will LOVE shaking the cinnamon sugar mix onto biscuits, especially when this holiday favorite comes out of the oven! Click HERE for the recipe.

Desserts & Treats

7. Grandma’s Rice Pudding – from Cindy Snyder

This family favorite was made by my Grandma every Christmas. It was one of those dishes you just have to have. Just to make it special she always had lingonberries on hand to top it off. Click HERE for the recipe.

8. Low Carb Chocolate Mousse Tarts – from April Smith

These bite sized gems can be made with ANY flavor of pudding!  Add a surprise like an almond or strawberry on top. Click HERE for the recipe.

9. Trisha’s HOMEMADE Caramels – from Trisha Knaul

I LOVE Trisha’s caramels.  Try them out for a treat your whole family will love too! Click HERE for the recipe.

10. Divinity – from Bev Pomering

Even though my mom has been gone for eight years now, she feels near when we cook her favorite recipes.  Here is one. Click HERE for the recipe.

11. Molasses Drop Cookies- from Bev Pomering

 Click HERE for the recipe.

 

What are some of your favorite holiday recipes?

Check out the rest of our Countdown to Christmas posts here.

 

God Told Me “No”

Any time you explore the topic of prayer, eventually you come face to face with a time when God says “no”.  When that happens, if you are not careful, you can quickly find yourself in a theological quagmire.

Through the centuries this issue has made some followers walk away, has made skeptics feel justified, and the rest of us….well, feel uncomfortable.

Quickly we get dragged down the rabbit hole of “why”.  I’m telling you now, there are some things you will never be able to reconcile. Things like why a child dies instead of being healed, or why, even with fasting and prayer, your marriage still falls apart. To try to answer “why” will simply frustrate you, and hearing platitudes like “God has a plan” or “There must be a purpose”, do little more than drive a wedge between your grieving heart and God.

For a few minutes, set aside your desire to understand, why, and instead, think about what you can learn through the experience. Now I can’t begin to tell you what your lesson from “No” is, but I invite you to look over the shoulder of my experience and let me share what I learned when God gave me the biggest “no” of my life.

I met my husband in Bible college. When I graduated, we married and moved back home to start our life and our family. That first year together was everything a young couple could ask for. We threw ourselves into youth group, our careers, and family. Life was good.

In those early years, we learned how God would deal with us the rest of our lives. When we had a decision to make, we would pray about it, asking God to either open or close the door of opportunity according to His will. That’s exactly what He did! Time after time He demonstrated His faithfulness, and we became quite adept at recognizing His direction.

We had four young nephews, and we adored them!  We dreamed of a house full of boys or girls, at least 3, maybe even 4. Those first few years passed by, but no children.

In year five I talked with my doctor. We began testing to see why we weren’t getting pregnant. The tests all said nothing was wrong. There was “no reason” why I shouldn’t be able to conceive. Another year went by childless. My husband went through tests with the same results, “everything was working correctly”.  There was a lot of prayer, but no children, only closed doors.

Once we suspected we weren’t going to have children of our own, we started to explore adoption… I can’t express how deeply I admire those who welcome children into their home and raise them as their very own. It’s a reflection of how God deals with us, adopting us as His very own sons and daughters.

I’ve always had one great fear, though…that we would adopt a child who would later feel we weren’t enough and would go looking for his or her birth parents. In fact, as I prayed I told God about my fear. We asked Him to open or close the door for us to build our family through adoption.

Repeatedly the door was closed. Often like this:

I worked for a number of years as bank teller. One year I was assigned to a branch where a young woman (we’ll call her Stephanie) worked.  As I came to know her, I learned Stephanie was adopted. My husband and I were once again beginning the process to adopt, and I considered Stephanie’s arrival a confirmation we were moving in the right direction.

I spent many slow afternoons asking Stephanie about her relationship with her adoptive parents, and sharing my fears that my child would feel the need to go searching for birth parents. Stephanie assured me that no matter what happened, her adoptive mom would always be her mom.   She was saying all the right things! I was convinced God was saying “yes”. It was finally time.

It was a Friday in October when Stephanie arrived in the office and announced, “I found my REAL mom!” and over the next few weeks, as the holiday’s approached, she lived out all my fears. The door shut.

The years passed and I continued to pray for children. However, door after door has closed, always in different ways, always shut tight.

Three years ago I accepted the reality that even though God has given me blessing after blessing over the years, what we wanted most is a “no”. Why? I have no idea. We haven’t done anything noble or spiritual with the experience. We haven’t been unhappy…just, a little empty.

Recently the Spirit tapped me on the heart and asked me a life-changing question.

“Why do you serve God? Is it because He gives you what you want?  Or do you serve Him because He deserves your worship as the creator and sustainer of the universe?”

I’ve wrestled with this question for a while now, examining why I serve God. Is it because He does what I want?  Is it because I live this charmed life and He gives me good things? Am I like my cat who hangs around for the tuna treats, or do I serve and worship God because of who HE is? You see, He deserves respect, honor, and praise from a creature He made.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

So that’s my 33-year lesson. Maybe I’m a slow learner. My friends, you are not likely to find peace if you are looking for “why” – but after the pain fades, look for the lesson. He’s a gentle, patient teacher.

 

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Download all the Project Prayer extras here.

 


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Visual Prayer: A Gift for God’s Fridge

fingerpaintWhen I visit a friend’s house, one of the first things I do is check out what they have on their fridge. I find sport schedules, photos from vacation, pictures drawn by their kids, all kinds things important to them.

How many times have you been handed a masterpiece by an eager 5 year old with a “This is for you” – their eyes are expectant, waiting for you to hang it on your door of important things (the refrigerator)?

Monday, we started the conversation about Visual Prayer (click here to read it)…looking at art and how it can help us open our heart to God. I want you to think about your visual prayer project like a picture for God’s fridge. Something you create for His pleasure. And since it is from you, precious child. He is going to LOVE it.

So let’s get started with the rules…. THERE ARE NO RULES! This is totally about finding a way to let go of all the worries of your life and focus on you and your savior. Here is how I do it.

Pick a Purpose

Because visual prayer takes preparation (gathering materials and such) – I tend to approach it like a meeting with God. Meetings have purpose, and so does my time with God. Sometimes I need to vent, and lay my worry at His feet. Other times I long for Him to give me direction for an important decision, or I want insight. Maybe I want to pray for a friend’s encouragement.

Here is an example of when I put on my intercessor hat and prayed for someone special to me. I have been blessed with 5 wonderful nieces and nephews. I love them deeply and as they’ve grown up, I have made a prayer quilt for each of them. Every seam was filled with my prayers for their health, wisdom, their relationship with Jesus, blanketing their lives in prayer.

SEE IT

Pick a medium

After I have a purpose in mind, then I select a medium. It may be something complicated like a quilt, or quick like a coloring page. I’ve tried water colors, acrylic paints, and even scrap-booking.

Choose anything your imagination is drawn too. You were created in the “Image of God” – you are a creative being just like Him.

SEE IT

Open my Heart

The next two steps are the MOST IMPORTANT because this prayer time is about your heart connecting to the heart of God. So find your quiet place, turn on some music and get started. Lose yourself in what doing and you’ll find the worries of life fading away. Focus on the promises He has made and the faithful way God always come through.

Here is an example of something I did when my life felt out of control. Work and relationships were challenging. The result is not pretty, but neither was my life at that point. The funny thing is I was trying to make something beautiful… but it just wasn’t. That’s OK, it was a real conversation with my Savior…and He led me to a better place.

SEE IT

Create and listen

As you focus on what you are doing, open your spiritual ears. Some days when I finish I just feel peace, and sometimes God gives me insight or clarity into a problem.

One day I didn’t have a lot of time, but felt the pull of the spirit to work on a visual prayer piece so I decided to use a coloring page. I used markers, and the colors were very vibrant. Here is what the Spirit said to me and what I wrote on the back of the finished product:

bicycle

Put it on God’s Fridge

When you’re finished, put it on God’s fridge. Send a bookmark of encouragement to a friend. Give a gift to someone in need. Or share with us! You can do that by posting an image of your creation to our Project Prayer Pinterest board.  We would love to see what you and God are creating.

Ultimately, your prayer is between you and God. So keep a portfolio, then you can look back and celebrate the journey you and God take.

 

Visit here to enter the Project Prayer Giveaway.

Download all the Project Prayer extras here.

 

 

When Your Prayer Life is Stuck-Try Something Different

QuietPlaceMy prayer life has long been a source of frustration. I can’t count the number of days I fall into bed, and realize I haven’t spent even 5 minutes talking to God. So I look at the ceiling, take a deep breath to pray at the end of the day, and the next thing I know my alarm goes off and a new day begins, yesterday’s opportunity to talk to God is gone.

So I decide to pray in the mornings… I bought a journal, and with coffee in hand, bible on the table, I was determined to succeed in this new method of prayer. I read 10-20 verses and start to journal. One or two days go by and all is well, then my journal starts to look more like a “to do” list. I start missing days because I get up late or have an early meeting and the house of cards comes down.

How about praying while I walk? Great idea, except rain for 3 days straight and walking no longer happens daily.

You see why I’m frustrated, right? It’s humbling to say I’ve been a God follower for 40 plus years and still have not mastered the most basic of Christian disciplines, prayer. I envy those who have that deep, intimate, daily time with the Savior. And if I’m being honest, sometimes I give up.

It was a couple years ago I had a life changing, guilt lifting, eye opening revelation! (At least it was new to me. I’m confident people much wiser than I have been telling me this since I was in middle school). Here it is: When I talk to my husband, I do so in many ways, we talk face to face, we text, I call him, he writes notes, we walk and talk, drive and talk, sometimes we even communicate in silence.

If I use all these ways to communicate to my husband or mother or father or friends, why do I think there is only 1 way to pray? Why am I constantly trying to corral God and confine Him to only one method of talking with me?

That one thought, prompted by the Holy Spirit released 40 years of guilt, and put me on a path to discover new ways to “Pray without ceasing”.

So now I mix it up and I try to look for new ways to pray. In that search, I’ve come across one method I’d be honored to share with you over the next weeks. It’s called Visual Prayer.

Sometimes I go through periods when I don’t know what to say. There’s not necessarily anything wrong in life, I simply am at a loss for words. Visual prayer uses art like painting, coloring, photography, sculpting, or even scrapbooking to help me focus on connecting with God. Now, before we go any farther I AM NOT AN ARTIST. In fact, sharing what I’ve done will be embarrassing, so please extend the cover of grace. You see, it’s not really about the product, it is about the conversation with God that happens during the process.

As we explore visual prayer, I try to give you some tips about how art can help your prayer life. I’ll interview a friend or two to gain some insights into art and prayer. Along the way, we will share some pieces, and I hope you will share too.

 

Visit here to enter the Project Prayer Giveaway.

Download all the Project Prayer extras here.

20 Minutes Till Clean (When the Wheels Come Off), Part 3

If you’re following along, I’m in the middle of a self-imposed challenge to keep 2 rooms in my house clean enough that with 5-minutes’ notice I would willingly invite guests into my space.

This experiment started with a thought I had one day that the discipline I demonstrate in the way I keep my house is a reflection of my spiritual discipline. So I wanted to learn what God might say to my heart, as I stretch myself to do something different, and actually clean my house regularly.

I’m about half way though my 66 days and last week, the wheels came off!

Life was clicking along great. My husband was helping, I was experiencing satisfaction in the work of my hands, and peace in my soul.  God was speaking truths to my heart.  It was AMAZING!

Then I got sick.

We came back from the Believe Middle School conference, where we spent the weekend with the BEST MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS IN THE WORLD along with around 8,000 of their friends from across the country. My souvenirs were a headache (I love you guys, but you’re music is loud) – and a cold.

If you’ve never heard of CIY’s Believe Conference, check it out HERE!

My cold was nothing special, a small fever for a day, laryngitis, coughing. All the usual symptoms of the spring-time plague.  But with it came the kind of self-pity that lets you justify laying around on the couch while the rest of your life falls apart.  And it did fall apart.  Not a dish was washed for a week.  Floors went un-swept – and I didn’t lift a finger, except to whine and point to my tissues as my husband walked by.

Of course I shared with Gene, and then there were two of us sniffling and dragging around the house. Once the cold ran it’s course, I realized I had once more let things get out of control, and there was quite a bit of effort needed to bring the house back into order.  I was quite disappointed that I hadn’t been able to fulfill my commitment.

I sat down the next day with my journal in hand and asked, “OK, what can God teach me from this?”

One of the things I love about God is that He is so quiet, strong and steady. He just waited for me to finish beating myself up over my failure.  He waited for me to finish mourning that I had been unsuccessful and waited for me to run out of words.  When I finally finished writing and put down my pen, my heart heard him add His two cents:

Speaking English puts us at a disadvantage sometimes. In English we typically define “perfect” as without blemish.  But the idea of perfect in scripture is less about being without blemish and more about being complete.  Having everything you need.  So a puzzle is perfect when all the pieces are in place.  A Birthday Cake is perfect, when all the candles are lit and it is ready to function in its role.  And my house is perfect when I have my priorities in place, not when it’s spotless.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul asked God to take away something Paul viewed as a “thorn”, but God declined, telling Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

So, when I am at my weakest, God has put all the pieces of the puzzle into place so His power can do its thing.

You see, my 66-day journey is not about having a spotless place to live, its about taking one step closer to the One who’s power is perfect when I’m not.

 

20 Minutes Till Clean, Part 1

20 Minutes Till Clean, Part 2

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

20 Minutes Till Clean, Part 2

On my journey to explore holiness and housekeeping, it’s been 7 days into a 66 day experiment to keep two rooms in my house “5-minutes to clean”. If you missed my first article, check it out here.

Just to recap, I’m exploring the idea that how I discipline myself with my housework is a reflection of my spiritual discipline, so I’m attempting to keep two areas of my home clean enough to be company ready in 5 minutes, and more importantly – look for the spiritual lessons I can learn while doing so.

I‘m happy to say, the first 6 days were a great success! I loaded the dishwasher after daily meals and wiped down the stove every day.  I gave the floor a quick sweep and even cleaned out the refrigerator, because clean on the inside is important too!

As I approached each task, I prayed, seeking wisdom and insight. There was such a sense of peace, and I felt closer to God than I have in a very long time.

Waking up in the morning to a clean space was a new adventure for me, and I have to say, I liked it a lot.

Now you may have noticed I started by saying I’m 7-days into this journey and the first 6 were wonderful.   This is not a typo.  Because you see, on day 7…my husband came home.

He was traveling the first week, so my first 6 days were solo.

Gene’s been home for 10 hours now and there are shoes, a suitcase, and dishes already out of place. You see, he did not sign up for my little experiment, nor did he know anything about it.  It took me about 2 hours before I started to become stressed, and short tempered.  That new-found peace evaporated.

What happened? Can my sense of well-being really be so precarious, that adding 1 person into the mix makes my house of cards come tumbling down? What does that say about me?

So I sat down with my journal to uncover what God was trying to teach me through this little hiccup in my experiment. There are SO MANY lessons I could pick out, but here is what He said to me that day.

People are messy. But that’s not a bad thing.  It was so easy to keep my life in order when I was on my own.  Without distractions.  Without conflict.  But neither was there any laughter when Gene wasn’t home. There wasn’t anyone to share the victories, or help carry the burden either.

With a little conversation, I laid out for Gene what I was trying to do, and now, I’m not the only one loading up the dishwasher! So even though people can be messy, the burden is lighter when it is shared.

Here is my lesson from God. People are messy but worth it.  What good is a clean home, if there is no one to share life in it?  I think God views us that way too.  I sure know I’m a mess!  But God still wades into a relationship with me, bringing his patience and Grace every day,  God said it Himself:  “two are better than one…a chord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc 4:9-12)

20 Minutes Till Clean, Part 1
20 Minutes Till Clean (When the Wheels Come Off), Part 3

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™