Early this morning I jotted down some blogging notes on a Starbucks napkin. After a series rather curious events have unfolded over the last couple weeks, and almost five years since our last move, we find ourselves moving out of our quaint little turn of the century two story home, practically just around the corner to a very spacious 1951 brick rambler with a view.
Unpacking boxes that have been tucked away in our basement for almost five years yesterday was surreal. But it felt life-giving to set up this little corner craft area in a basement storage room. Even with the cement floors and walls, lined with rough wood shelves, having a place to house all these precious memories makes my heart sing. Sorting through box after box and flipping through journals and stacks of loose pictures my eyes fell on entries like this: " my first love letter came in the mail today..." My eyes skimmed over page after page of my wresting with God, wresting that always led to surrender and joy throughout the years of waiting and unanswered prayers. I read these words a dear mentor had written in a card to me during that season: " God gives His very best to the ones that leave the choice to Him." I came across a letter of encouragement Joni Earekson Tada had written me after a wonderful life-changing week serving at one of the Joni And Friends Family camps. I found wedding pictures, pictures of each one of my babies. I found a little wooden box full of special things from fifteen years ago, including a tiny antique silver heart-shaped perfume bottle that David had given me, with my name engraved on it for our first Christmas together. I remembered him whispering in my ear after I had opened it, that he'd been saving it for years to give to someone very special. I came across my very favorite onesie that Jack wore as a baby, long-sleeved and cream with little brown airplanes on it. In the course of one afternoon my life flashed before my eyes and I type this in tears of gratitude. Jesus love for me has been the one constant through every single up and down, every mountain high or valley low. I have faltered and lost sight of Him countless times and daily. I have walked through brokeness, and heart break,both my own and others and found myself hurting and hurt by the ones I love most. Expectations more often than not dead-ending in disappointment and even complete loss at times. But the One thing that stands out to me, over this collection of years of memories is that His loving kindness has never once left me. He's gently pursued my heart. He loves me with a perfect, my life for yours kind of love.
My heart surged with conviction tonight in church as we read: " This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one's life for one's friends. " I copied down these notes from the sermon: " Love is the essence of what and who Jesus has called us to be. The measure of maturity is how well you love.
Jesus fill me by your Spirit with your love, expand my capacity to love and move my heart to a place of action. A laying down. A great exchange. Your life for mine. My life for theirs. xo