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Begin this day knowing Christ is for you, God is with you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Grow tall into the truth of what it means to be a child of the living God. And, with this truth bubbling over and spilling out on those you meet today, give others the gift of believing them into the fulfillment of their possibilities, too.
Many of us have been deeply wounded by others. Some bear burdens so great, we would be astounded to take in their full weight. God’s invitation to forgiveness is not a call to “just get over it.” The invitation to forgiveness is not a mandate to “forget about it and move on.”
Jesus taught that the Sabbath was given to us as a gift. As often as we observe Sabbath—whether once a week, a few times a day, or on the occasional three-day weekend—we say “yes” to God for the gift of rest.
I step through the doorway onto the deck, down the stairs, and out onto the driveway, which is concrete, gritty and warm—almost hot—beneath my feet. It is the thick of summer now, and our tomatoes hang heavy on the vine, laughing at our inability to accurately predict how many tomatoes one plant will bear… On lazy days like these, when no deadlines or meetings or other commitments call, I am most assuredly drawn outside—always barefoot, a dog or two sauntering or bouncing at my heels.
In the same way Timothy needed to be reminded that his gift was no less significant because of his youth, we often need to be reminded not to measure our gifts against the standards and expectations set for others. In a world that is stylized and filtered to the max (hello, social media!) and that rarely gives prizes for getting it done, it’s easy to miss out on the experience of simply doing something because it brings us joy and then letting our joy be praise to God.
I believe our bodies were made to move — whatever we can move, for as long as we can move it. I feel the sun beat down on my shoulders as I tug at the roots of an obstinate dandelion and I cannot help but thank God for shoulders that move, knees that bend, lungs that expand, and thumbs for grabbing and tugging. All of it comes from God: the sunshine, the dandelions, and the bodies we’ve been given as packaging for our soul. We live, move, and have our being in him alone. When my limbs ache after a weekend of shoveling or digging or reaching or bending, I thank God for the ache and its reminder to me of this gift of movement and presence of God in the midst of it all.
God is mysterious. That sentence is difficult for me to write. Writing that sentence is an act of surrender. It is an admission that I have to let some things be and trust God anyway. I cannot know the answers to all my questions about why God allows some things, yet seems to intervene in others. Apparently, I don’t need to know all the answers if my faith is meant to mean anything at all. The mystery, it would seem, is the habitat in which faith thrives and grows strong.
Oh, how difficult it is to realize we’ve been wrong about something! For so many of us, it’s quite painful to let go of a long-held understanding of one thing in order to make room for a more expansive perspective or (and this is the worst) an opposing viewpoint on one thing or another.
Many mornings, when I leave for work, my husband is high on a ladder, gingerly removing one of the hundred-year-old storm windows from its hinges and then carefully lowering it to the ground so he can work on it in the garage. When I return in the evening, the result of his hard work is evident: yet another freshly painted window, gleaming at me in welcome.
Being a disciple of Christ is a lot like learning to build a walkway except, instead of YouTube, we’ve got the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and people who have more experience to teach us everything we ever wanted to know. In the beginning, we don’t know anything. But then, as we spend more and more time studying and then practicing what we’ve learned, something actually begins to take shape.
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