“And yet this was a SMALL thing…”

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

2 Samuel 7:18-22 ESV

This morning, I woke up completely overwhelmed by God’s relentless, reckless love for me. As I read this passage in 2 Samuel 7, and thought about who God is and all that He has done in my own life, I began to weep.

Like David, I asked who am I, so flawed, and insignificant, and undeserving that the Great God of Heaven would take all of my days, both good and bad, and make something so beautiful from them. And if the sum total of all that I have seen God do is merely “a small thing” for Him, then no matter the kind of moment I sit in right now, I can remain confident that the best is STILL yet to come!

This morning, be encouraged to pause for a moment, and look back over your own life. Identify the moments of deep sorrow, disappointment and heartache – it’s there we most clearly see God’s righteous right hand upholding us. Think back to the moments of unspeakable joy and unbridled celebration – there it is easy to see the Presence of the King who rejoices over us, where we see that His joy is our strength.

If you are struggling to find energy and focus for worship this morning, think of a Savior who was willing to sacrifice everything just. for. you. Who went down into the depths so that you could be raised to life again! The same Jesus who now sits at the right hand of His Father interceding continually on your behalf.

And like David, I’m sure you will come to the conclusion: “Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears” (2 Samuel 7:22).

This is Not a Museum

Have a Seat!

 

“Please do not touch the glass.”

“Remain behind the rope.”

“Eating and drinking not permitted inside exhibits.”

“No running.”

“No loud noises.”

These are rules that most of us have heard repeatedly over the course of our lives, particularly as a child on field trips. They were meant to keep us safe and respectable while out in public, and prevent us from embarrassing whichever adult was responsible for us at the time. In retrospect, this rigid litany of “Don’t…” was in complete opposition to everything we were as children – loud, inquisitive, hungry balls of energy who wanted to run and touch things. I was actually quite a well-behaved child, and those trips made me feel dignified and mature (though now I think I could have stood to let my hair down a bit)…but I digress.

Growing up, museums, theaters or other rule-ridden venues were not the only places where this long list of things we shouldn’t do was enforced. I can vividly remember being banned from the “special living room” at home with the white carpet and nice couches and breakable vases and figurines at every turn. We were only allowed in there when company came over, and even then, we always knew we were being closely watched.

Now that I am a parent myself, I’ve noticed the unfortunate desire to treat home in much the same way as the museum, buying in to the myth that we were meant to live in pristine castles, free from toys, and dishes, and the never-ending loads of laundry – what I now understand to be the many signs of life in a home. We put unnecessary and stress-inducing pressure on ourselves to make our homes look like nobody lives there. We attempt to meld the life activities of a family of four that includes a 4 year old boy who loves cars and trucks and miniature dinosaurs (and owns them in abundance), and a 6 month old baby learning to eat solid foods (need I say more?!) with the notion of a picture perfect palace, spotless, toy-less, and mess-less.

The reality is, the toys on the floor are a clear indication that happy little boys live and play here. The dishes in the sink mean that Daddy fed the kids while Mommy was away (and vice versa). Misplaced items in the cabinets and pantry, and cups not placed properly in the dishwasher are telltale signs that your loving spouse was just trying to be helpful so you don’t have to do everything when you get home. Now, I am by no means advocating living in chaos…after all, I do believe that the state of my home is often a reflection of the state of my mind. What I am asking us to consider is this:

Would I prefer a home where the joyful sounds of children laughing and playing are not heard?

Would I prefer a clean kitchen because our family is eating take out or a bit more clean up to do because we’ve made a healthy, home-cooked, love-filled meal together to enjoy?

Will I be painfully aware of the absence of the toys when my little boys grow up and no longer fill my home with life – leaving me with just the memories of their childhood?

Will my children miss out on memory-making moments with me, simply basking in each other’s company, as a result of my pursuit of perfection?

I realized that I spent so much time growing frustrated over what I now know are sure indications that our family is happy, healthy, and whole. And while I can’t make any promises about compromising on how to load the dishwasher, I will choose to cherish this life we live.

This is NOT a museum. This is our HOME.

Purpose: Reflections on a Life Fully Lived

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

Maya Angelou

As the world pauses for a moment to take in the news of the passing of the late Dr. Maya Angelou, only one word continues to ring in my head and my heart: Purpose. Purpose. Purpose. It’s almost as if I can hear her gentle, but strong voice, filled with the wisdom of the ancients, yet just as relevant today as when she first found her sound, whispering it in my ear.

Thanks to a great friend, I had the opportunity to see and hear Dr. Maya Angelou speak shortly after graduating college. I knew that I was listening to history in the making, heard her encouraging students, faculty, community leaders and government officials alike to become a part of that history; but it is now, as we reflect on her legacy that I understand the true significance of that moment.

To have the ability to accept the blows sometimes dealt by life, harness the hurt, and find the joy, the peace, the self-acceptance and compassion for others as Dr. Angelou did is an incredible gift. She inspired those of us who heard her message; encouraged us to know that the same ability, the same power lies within each of us. She urged us to write our own story, and today, I believe that she has taught us an even greater lesson: Your story will continue to be written, even when you have left the earth, based on the investments of love, the deposits of wisdom, the infusions of strength you have made in future generations.

So today, in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou’s memory, let us consider our purpose. Find it. Seek it out. Do not run from it. There’s a world out there waiting on you to step into your place.

Peace & Love

Andrea & Jasmine