We’re moving this week! And that’s set my mind towards an awareness of all the final things – those final experiences we’ll ever have in this home.
We’ve been so blessed with our little home these past 8 years. When we moved in our children were 20 months and 4 months old. This is where our daughter took her first steps. Where we became foster parents. Where we saw the hand of God move time and time again, providing for our needs when finances seemed depleted. Where I learned how to keep a home. Where we began homeschooling. Where I’ve written all my books. Where we’ve picked pears from our tree and preserved them for the upcoming year each summer. Where we’ve tirelessly renovated and worked. Where our children prayed their first prayers and asked Jesus to come live within them.
And this week we will say goodbye to this special place where our family grew.
Mowing the lawn for the final time. The final pear-picking season. The last meal we’ll cook. The last game we’ll play. The last sleep under this roof. The last load of laundry. Everything feels nostalgic now.
It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that where we are now – in this temporary place – is where we always will be. Despite the tyrannical urgent we feel in this transient space, we must keep our eyes focused on the lasting. This may be the final time we see that person, walk down that road, perform that task.
How will we handle our moments, perhaps our final ones here?
“…Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire…For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” Hebrews 12:28-29, 13:14
It’s time to move on, move ahead towards a new set of memories under a new roof. And we’re so excited to see what God does in this new season for our family!
But this move has made me consider the two homes for the follower of Jesus: earth (the temporary) and heaven (the eternal). Here on this planet, we take our first steps and make our first progressions, explore our giftings and develop relationships. In heaven, we’ll take all of who we are, stripped of our sin nature and sickness of soul and body.
Are you ready for that move? If you aren’t sure, right now is the perfect time to get ready. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” It’s a surrender to Jesus as the new Lord over your life, trusting Him with who you are. It’s a belief that God has done what we never could do on our own – defeat sin and death.
As we pack up the last box and load the last stick of furniture on the truck this week, I’ll look back on this precious place with thanks, pray that it will bless the next family like it’s blessed us, ask God to keep His peace and Presence here to touch the lives of all who enter after us. And we’ll move to the next place He has for us, ready to experience everything He has beautifully prepared for this new season.
Most mornings we spend an hour tidying up: putting away dishes, making beds, kickstarting the laundry, and decluttering. It’s never perfect – and that’s perfectly okay! But I’m amazed at the difference in our ability to move through the day when the house is in order rather than cluttered and chaotic.
One day, I moved through the living room, duster in hand, and realized I couldn’t even dust completely because of all the clutter that had accumulated. Paperwork, a small box, some pictures, dead batteries, and other random, little things had taken over.
And, finally, these spots bothered me. They’d been accumulating for weeks, but I reached a point where I couldn’t bear them any longer. If I had dealt with them a little each day, they wouldn’t have gotten so out of hand. But I’d ignored them, and, in that neglect, they took over what otherwise would’ve been a beautiful space in our home.
As I cleared and tossed and shredded and sorted, I realized that I’ve let my soul get cluttered lately. I haven’t been diligent each day to strip off those things weighing me down, those things hindering my effectiveness or joy or purpose.
Those things like quick forgiveness…and handing my hurts over to God…and loneliness…and worry…and anger.
“…let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1b
My word for 2016: Press. Press into the moment and the Presence of God. Press on past the excuses I’ve made. Press out worship like an offering of fragrant oil.
This pressing is bringing me into the Presence of God. And it’s requiring of me an awareness and willingness to lay aside those things weighing me down. Like ornaments of the Israelites when they worshiped a golden calf. The calf, which was not merely idolatry. The calf, which expressed how little the Israelites knew of the reality of God. Moses had come face to face with the Great I AM and knew best Who He is. The people formed their own suppositions and came up with a false image of God, based on their preconceptions founded in their idolatrous upbringing in Egypt.
How have we formed our own false images?
After the golden calf came the stripping. At first, they merely laid aside their ornaments. But God commanded that they be cast away. Removed completely. Not just tucked away to be put back on later. But mercilessly stripped away. This stripping away…it requires recognizing the weight that slows us down and the sin that clings, entangles, and trips us up.
God’s Presence moved in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. But, before they could be ready to follow God’s Presence any further, the Israelites had to remove their ornaments, stripping away the weights they wore.
If I want to be ready to stay with His moving Presence, I must be stripped down, ready to move freely. I have to be willing to ask myself the sometimes difficult questions: What is weighing me down? What’s tripping me up? Am I willing to release it so I can follow God’s Presence more closely?
The act of sinning is different than sin itself. Much like telling the truth is different than truth, living is different from life and dying is different from death.
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 NLT
The essence of sin, not just the result, is death. When Adam performed the act of sinning he opened himself and the world to the essence and root behind the act: death. The act of sinning is simply doing something outside or defiantly against the will of God. The root behind it, death, is simply the absence of God, the source of life itself.
If God is the source of all life, when we choose to reject God from even the smallest part of our life, we are replacing His life within us with death. Whether it is our will, our eyes, our finances, our time, or anything else, that aspect of our life becomes dead. Death, like cancer, can spread aggressively, influencing other choices and beliefs. And, before we know it, we have believed lie after lie after lie, kicking our God and Creator out of our life.
If the removal of life causes death to enter, the entry of life causes death to be no more. That’s what Christ came to take care of. He chose to come to this earth not only to bear the burden of our sins (the actions), but to replace the root, the essence of death we have welcomed into our lives. He breaks through, revealing lies through His truth, and restores the death within us with the life of the Creator.
Have you had your Jesus today? Have you had His Truth and Love poured over your life today?
God I yield myself to you; please replace the death in me. Please continue to point out what areas of my life do not reflect or honor You. Please infiltrate those areas with Your grace, love, mercy, and LIFE. Thank you for being The Source of Life and caring about me enough to share it with me.
Living is the process of letting life flow through you. Ask Him how you can share Him with someone today!