I realize I am supposed to be freeing my house of clutter for a Blogrimage, and I hope I’m not letting too many of you down. I do hope to get back to decluttering either tomorrow or Wednesday – as soon as the 80,000 strings of lights at church are all taken down and put away.
My house has become a complete mess in the last few days due to a very busy weekend. We successfully threw a large mission fundraiser dinner at church last night, where I got to taste the best cupcakes I’ve ever had in my life – although they were not gluten-free, they were vegan. Lemon, dark chocolate/espresso, mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne — yes I tried all three flavors! After consuming all that wheat flour though, my stomach hurt so bad that I fell asleep wishing I knew how to make myself vomit. I still say it was worth the pain – they were that good. To make up for the hazy-brain I always have the day after eating gluten, I am allowing myself to drink coffee today. Oi. Between my messy house, the gluten and caffeine, and the 20 tablecloths that need to be washed, I’m going to be recovering from this dinner for a while I think.
I digress. (What a fun & snobby phrase that is, eh?)
What I really wanted to write about today was how God is chiseling away at my heart.
I’m glad for the chiseling, by the way; may it never end.
I woke up yesterday consumed with stress about a couple of relationships. I woke up planning just exactly what I wanted to say to certain people next time I see them. Then I got out of bed and shuffled into the living room, avoiding the computer – lest I hastily send someone a biting email. I opened the blinds to get a glimpse of the morning sky, and curled up on the couch, my favorite book in my lap.
I prayed. “Help me Father – I’m wrestling inside! Forgive me for this bitterness . . . help me to love. Work this situation in a way that will bring you Glory . . . .”
Then as I do from time to time, with a wishful prayer in my heart, I randomly flipped open the Bible, asking God to let my eyes land on what I need to see. Where did my Bible fall open? John 17. Jesus’ prayer in verses 20-23 leapt off the page and seeped like oil into my heart.
” I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Yes Lord, unity is my desire. Above my desire to be right or heard. I refuse to let petty arguments slowly rip apart the relationships that make up my Father’s church.
Then I felt that still small voice, deep in my heart, reminding me that I can preach all day about how right I am, but if I am not first and foremost loving, all my words are as useless as a resounding gong, or clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.)
I sat on my couch, underneath my blanket that still smells of the frankincense oil from sitting in a room of 24/7 prayer, and my heart cried, “Oh Lord, help me not to be just a resounding gong!”
Lo and behold, a few hours later, I was sitting in a church pew, listening to my pastor preach a message on that very verse.
Yes Lord, I understand. You really want me to get this message of Love. Oh that all of my words and thoughts would be motivated by Your Love and heavily seasoned with Your Grace! I’m thankful my Father loves us enough to pull us toward maturity when we quiet ourselves, give up our rights, and submit our will to His.
That was only the first few hours of my yesterday. God went on to challenge my character to a much greater extent later in the evening . . . . But this post is incredibly long enough already. So we’ll have to save the story of God pushing me face to face with my ugly propensity to complain for another time . . . . Till then!