I want to be like this photograph! I don’t care if I am surrounded by tumultuous waves that crash and surge; I want to grow and persist! Even if I feel isolated in moments, I will remember that I am not alone! I will overcome the obstacles that I find myself surrounded by, and I will (by God’s grace) become a beautiful, vibrant testimony to the fact that even a seed dropped into a rocky crag, surrounded by surging water can go on to bloom…even if the waters eventually become this:
Do you ever feel like you are caught up in a cycle of living life through mundane moments? Do you wonder how other people manage to live their lives in an almost constant state of wonder and awe, with incredible depths of holiness? Over the last months, we have settled into a sometimes predictable pattern of work, school, family time, spouse time, sleep, church on the weekends, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “steady is sexy”, but I yearn in my heart for the depth of closeness that comes from truly abiding in the presence of my Maker. He didn’t call me to be another average “susie-homemaker”; He called me to leave a legacy of faith, kindness, love, and selflessness.
As I have been preparing for the next season of life, learning and leadership; I have immersed myself in study and listening. I have studied politics, historical figures, Biblical figures, the wisdom of leadership, the fashion of leaders, the food of fit people, the needs of those around me, the frustrations of those who feel un-heard, and the sermons of those much wiser and more eloquent than myself. I was voracious in my study, feeling soul-parched as I consumed wisdom to satisfy my “thirst”.
It has often felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes. It’s worked, but it hasn’t resonated that I am fully living my life the way that I was designed to live it. I have often felt the pressure to act a certain way in a certain situation, to look a certain way at certain times; and I fully understand the importance of honoring others with a respectful appearance and decorum; but I am not like every other person in the world, North America, and especially within the West Michigan culture. I AM ME.
God has specifically allowed every single moment of my life to shape me for this moment, and the next. Who am I to limit Him by trying to be someone that He didn’t create me to be? It’s a form of using His name in vain. Think about it. He created a specific purpose for me, as I am; to fulfill. By me changing things to be “more acceptable” or more “palatable”, then I am really saying that I don’t trust him fully to use me as I am.
This morning, I just longed for a deep connection with my Maker. I sat in my window seat with my Bible, and just absorbed the quiet; asking Him to silence my preconceived ideas, to silence the distractions of the enemy through Jesus Christ, and simply to speak. I sat in silence, thinking about God’s kindness and goodness to me. I opened my Bible to Psalm 81.
There’s a part in it that mentions the “feast of the new moon”, and I wanted to know more about it so I searched the term, the history, and the origin. I learned that it was designed to be a monthly re-focus and dedication for the Hebrew people. It was a time of renewal; but it was held as something deeper than that. It was believed that the Hebrew people were actually “making the new moon holy”. Below is an excerpt that explains it:
Do you want to understand this? Take a lesson from the serving vessels in the Holy Sanctuary. Moses sanctified the tabernacle. Who sanctified all the tabernacle’s vessels? You might think that Moses did. But actually, what happened was that a High Priest would bring a simple mundane cup or other vessel, and put something holy in it, and the cup would automatically be holy. It worked the same was as when Moses sprinkled sacrificial blood on the altar and it became holy; or when he poured a wine libation, or performed any aspect of the Holy Temple service with any mundane vessel, and it thereby became holy. -Midrash Shmos Rabbah 15:24 [emphasis mine]
Leviticus 20:7-8 is below:
“Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.
Do you see it, beloved? Do you understand?
The Hebrew people were called away from their past traditions and routines, to intentionally and deliberately focus on the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. Their daily life consisted of traveling, following, walking, eating, setting up camp, and resting…with worship at the tabernacle on the Sabbath.
How mundane is that?
Yet, the act of faith in following is the process for God to fill our mundane lives with His Holiness!
For example, if we consider ourselves to be the “mundane vessels”, then what or who is the “Holy” inside of us?
The Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit makes us holy! As we turn our backs to past patterns and traditions, to the former ways of life; we face God the Father. As we seek to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; following Christ’s example, the Holy Spirit within us is the holiness!
Think of a plant! If you place it on a plate, without dirt, it will eventually die because it needs sustenance for its roots, light, and water. We are like the plant in our spiritual growth! We need to be rooted in studying God’s word (Jesus) and in focusing on the light of God the Father’s love, dependent on the Holy Spirit inside of us! The plant can’t just be moved into a greenhouse or a garden and hope to grow; it also needs the life within for it to grow and flourish!
We, the mundane vessels, as we go about our days; are filled with holiness through the Holy Spirit. By Christ’s grace, we are holy just as our Father is Holy. So focus in amazement and awe of Him in His Holiness, goodness and love; as you celebrate the beauty of the one who chooses us as we are…mundane vessels, being filled with his Holiness!
If you think that your past disqualifies you from the present,
YOU ARE MISTAKEN!
You are NOT defined by your past!
Just because there was pain, that does not mean that there won’t be beauty!
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” – Hosea 2:14
This cactus blossom reminds me that any beauty in this world is a reminder that
God is love.
He could have left us in our sinful, painful choices; but instead, he enters our pain
and provides comfort, love and redemption.
Today, may you see past the pain; and may your eyes be open to see the beauty that He has for you!
Beloved, you are loved so much more than you comprehend!
Rest in His love today, receive the beauty!
Love, Gracie K.
How much do I cherish and seek after love? What am I willing to lay aside in order to receive love more fully? (What would possess a person to wear shoulder cut outs in a snow storm? Am I proud of how quickly I am distracted from focusing on Love? Nope…I am shameless; and in that lies my redemption.)
I am unflinching in my confession that I have no hope of ever being kind, unselfish, or loving on my own. Instead, I admit that there is not a shred of anything good in me, except by the Love of God.
Yesterday, I was very upset with my dear husband. I felt that I deserved an apology, I felt that it was delaying beyond what I wanted; so I prayed out my feelings (and my opinion) to God. I told Him that I wanted an apology. I prayed that God would “move his heart to see his error”. (This sounds absolutely awful as I type out the reality of yesterday, but, it’s what I did.)
Anyhow, as I am praying for my husband to be convicted in his spirit for offending me, I felt like I was being asked a personal question.
“Gracie, did you apologize before I died for you?”
Then I remembered the following:
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
How have I been loved? Oh, that’s right, Jesus didn’t just forgive me before I apologized; He took the consequence that I had chosen, before I chose it. Additionally, He prayed on my behalf, seeking forgiveness for me, before I apologized.
“Just as I have loved you…”
Before an apology.
Before I even knew that I had sinned.
Instead of simply praying, “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he is doing”, I was also praying; ” Father, forgive me, for I know not what I am doing. ”
Yesterday I was reminded that I was not reflecting the Father’s love.
What does my story have to do with you?
Are you reflecting His love?
Are you, like Him, praying that the Father forgives them, for they know not what they are doing?
If not, may the Father forgive you, for you know not what you are doing.
Vagabonds aren’t always confident about where they belong.
This year, my family and I are homeless.
I feel displaced, and a bit unsettled; but not necessarily restless.
We are staying in a borrowed back room with family;
and I can’t help but be overwhelmed at how much more I understand the depth of sacrifice
that Mary and Joseph and Jesus made.
Despite their kinsman living in Bethlehem, they were not offered a guest room; but
instead were bedded down in a rustic place a bit outside of the “acceptable community” in
order to possibly avoid the stigma of appearances.
After all, Mary was about to deliver a baby; before she married Joseph.
Their families chose their religious appearances over intimacy with their Savior.
How often have I been guilty of the same?
For the last few years, we have given our kids 3 gifts…because a friend from church explained their family’s tradition of the same; “Since the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus for his birthday, so our kids can receive what Jesus received.”
We thought it was a good, spiritual idea.
This morning, though, I remembered a few things.
1st, the wise men arrived when Jesus was a couple years old. Ergo, He didn’t receive three gifts upon his birth.
2nd, shepherds came in from the elements to celebrate the birth of Jesus…in the place where the religious were afraid to go.
Therefore, to allow our children a fully Biblical Christmas experience, being homeless is the closest that they have ever come to living as Christ lived. Technically, they received more than Christ did since He had to wait a couple years before the wise men arrived with his gifts.
My point is that if you feel displaced by the church, if you feel like a vagabond of Christmas, if you feel like the religious reality of today holds no place for you, if you feel isolated, and cast aside, and like you just can’t feel at home anywhere; you have experienced the true intimacy of Christ. He has lived it, too. He is right with you in this and you are NOT alone.
You may have three gifts, or 1 gift, or no gifts at all.
You may have a home, or be homeless.
You may be alone physically,
BUT YOU ARE NEVER ALONE SPIRITUALLY.
IMMANUEL MEANS “GOD WITH US”.
May our eyes be forever opened, may our hearts be changed to receive the first gift of Christ’s birth; HIM. May He always be enough.