Joy and Sarah, sitting on my bed giggling as I tried out clothes for a conference, soliciting their opinion.
Fun memories and horsing around on my bed--a snapshot of precious moments of "Girl's club" built on many years of cultivating our close friendships.
"In the twilight of our lives, we will be judged on how we have loved." St. John of the Cross
Ahhhhhh! Finally, after ten days, I have more than five minutes to myself! It is truly a phantom to think that any woman can do it all! I have found in my own life, that if I am attending to the needs of my children, Clay,home, close friends and family, I really have to economize and prioritize my time, as my life pretty much demands every moment of me! I do, more and more with each passing day, sense how important my role as a mother and godly woman is and I do get such joy out of it--as I daily see the results of my many years of striving toward the goal of being a woman after God's own heart and serving those around me for His glory.
Now don't get me wrong, this does not mean that I always feel loving towards these strange people who inhabit my home!
But because of my love for the Lord, which is more dear to me each year, I keep putting one step in front of the other and see, with the eyes of my heart and mind, the power of my work to fill souls with great thoughts and causes and love for God's kingdom. Mostly, though, I see more clearly how much I am a living picture of God's reality every day, by exhibiting the fruit of the spirit, by giving cups of cold, refreshing water, by serving and giving of myself and my wisdom and teaching and by always taking the initiative to speak life and joy and wisdom on a daily, regular basis.
We once had a friend who was very pious. Our family would often feel guilty when we ate dinner at her house because she made us feel that we should all be more serious, but we all felt like w had been let out of jail when we left her home.
She accomplished so much and had a pristine home, but we all felt drained being there. Her attempts to be spiritual and to pray and to "work" for God, I am convinced, was out of a heart that was striving to figure out how to really know God and serve Him sincerely. Yet, the result of all the denying of self, and speaking piously and working, working, working, left most the people in her life feeling guilty and feeling a bit cold and far off from her.
Since it is obvious she had not experienced the grace and peace of God, she could only give out of a soul of performance of works, which brings about death to relationship, if not infused with the grace and freedom of God. She often only spoke in religious phrases and with each passing month seemed more cold and drained of life. Just the result she wouldn't want. And eventually, she became depressed and wondered where God had gone, since she had given all of her life to Him. But honestly, God did not require that she kill herself in exhausting herself with a myriad of tasks, but all he wanted was her to know His love and to share that love in the moments of her life.
I do not wish in any way to discourage anyone or to diminish the sweet mom's devotion. Yet, sometimes, we are lost in how to really rest in God while holding up ideals. More on that soon, as I know we all sway between the Martha and Mary ways in our lives. But resting it all in His hands and not taking it all on our shoulders is a start.
As I have been pondering this situation, in contrast, I have realized that when I am in the presence of someone who really walks with God, I feel there is such an evidence of life and joy and goodness and well-being and grace and faith. God tells us when we abide in Him--rest in Him, stay in Him, walk with Him, we will bear much fruit. The fruit is a natural result of His spirit working through us, not in us trying to force push out works of righteousness on our own.
When one is washed with the unconditional love and grace and mercy of God, the result is peace and thankfulness of heart and humility. Of course the few that I can see really exhibit the life of the Lord, aren't above discouragement or humanity, but there is a palpable sense of a way of walking with God and having made a decision to please Him and to trust Him through the ups and downs of life. There is a security I feel in being with them, because I know their sails have been set toward the King and His Kingdom and I can trust in their integrity to continue journeying in the right direction with Him at the helm.
I feel a rest in my relationship with such people because I know I am safe in the hands of mature, seasoned lovers of God who will love me and accept me and point me to Him gently as we walk this road of life in fellowship.
Pondering the influence of love and gentleness and mercy and compassion the past couple of days, and how reflecting Christ's humility and unconditional love win the day.
Sarah's picture outside where we are staying with friends, at sunset!
This week, I am in California, celebrating moments of life with dear friends, where our children will gather to celebrate Nathan's birthday, and following whatever adventures that come our way. I am so grateful.
Congratulations to the 7 Winners of Heartfelt Discipline! Thanks so very much for all who entered!
K C Cooper
I will be emailing all of you to get your addresses. I hope you are blessed by Clay's book!