Routine Maintenance — “Into the Word” Week 5

   In the mid 1970’s, my sweet abuelos moved into a 2-bedroom townhouse that sat on a lake.  Over the years, they have hosted countless holiday dinners, served tons of Cuban coffee, and charmed all the neighbors.  That happy little house is home to many who feel wrapped in their love when they cross its threshold.

As my grandparents have aged, however, the house has started to show signs of decay — signs that my grandfather refuses to properly address.  Rather than replace the tattered roof, countless minor repairs have patched holes.  When it rains, water seeps in, but he excuses it away as a minor nuisance caused by too much wind.

Today, my dear hubby spent a couple of hours trying to repair several kitchen cabinets and drawers that according to my grandmother had “suddenly broken” — she expressed horror when my dad suggested that her 40-year old kitchen should really just be gutted and completely redone.  The house is falling apart at the seams, but my grandparents are at home in the ruins.

I may shake my head in disbelief at their lack of due diligence in routine home maintenance, but the fact is that God often shines a light on my soul and says, “See that spot right there — it’s leaking.  That hole in your heart needs some attention.”  Sadly, my response often mirrors my grandparent’s atrophy and blindness.  I just don’t want to be bothered.

This week as I was digging “Into the Word,” I came across a letter from God to a group of very loving, sincere people – He commended the Ephesian disciples for their hard work and perseverance, but He pointed out that they had “forsaken their first love”  (Revelation 2:4).   In the Greek, the word “forsake” implies

  • to disregard
  • to refuse to discuss now
  •  to omit, neglect
  • to leave, go way from
  • to desert wrongfully
  • abandon, leave destitute

Somehow, I don’t think the Ephesians woke up one day and decided to forsake God.  I don’t think they even realized that they had strayed.  Thankfully, verse 5 provides a step by step “routine maintenance” plan:

  • Remember therefore from where you have fallen — Do you remember a day when your heart felt more connected to God? Self examination is essential to maintaining your spiritual well-being.
  • Repent — Spend time in prayer, confess your need for Him, and ask God to help you get back on track.
  • Do the works you did at first — What are the spiritual disciplines that nourish your soul to love Him more? How can you intentionally exercise your faith and build up your spiritual muscles?

I want my heart to be a healthy, vibrant place that thrives in communion with God.  Don’t you?  How do you keep your heart’s home from decaying?   I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

 Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Homecoming

During my 17 years as a high school teacher, I participated in many Homecoming celebrations.  My students dressed up in crazy outfits (pajama day was my favorite) and waged epic field day battles in tug of war.  Frankly, I found the whole experience to be exhausting, and relief always flooded my soul when it was over.  The hours of preparation and the crazy student behavior wore me out, but my students always talk about that being their favorite part of high school.  Sometimes, what causes me grief is the best choice to honor those I love and serve.

Recently, I experienced a different kind of Homecoming, an eternal welcome home.  My husband and his siblings spent a great amount of time preparing for this event as their dear mom’s health declined ever so slowly.  It was tiring, rewarding, and emotional.  Their selflessness — it’s the legacy she left them.  Each of them wears it so effortlessly.

Our sweet Miss BJ’s 82nd birthday would have been this past week.  Three months after her passing, we gathered to celebrate her life in her absence.  This year has held many secret treasures for my family that were wrapped up in suffering.  I have learned once again that it so essential to be fully present with those that you love.  Each crazy moment of life is a gift, not to be squandered.

Moms are home keepers.  I certainly learned this from my mom in law’s life as she lived out what is recorded in Titus 2:5 (MSG): “By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”   I miss her gentle spirit and her smile.

As I move into this new year, may my home and my heart be a welcoming place for those I love.  May laughter fill its rooms and faith be its foundation.   May I be grateful for each moment.

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