Simple joy is found in two peaches that developed upon a 'stick' in the garden bed of a leased duplex. Picked and placed next to a little green tea pot and cups. These were in my daughter's kitchen a week ago. It pictured simplicity for me.
Simplicity has become my heart's desire. I want a life that is open to offering hospitality of the heart, to my husband, my neighbors, my friends as well as co-workers. Hospitality is 'spelled' in a simpler form for me now; I don't seem to need and certainly do not desire all the accoutrements of 10 years ago.
When my computer starts up I have it set to play Give Me Jesus sung by Fernando Ortega. It gives me focus and a good reminder. Four years ago I had a time of decision, a time in which I felt I needed to cease being a full time stay at home mom, it was time to provide income to help in our family's need of the moment. It felt like a major crisis.
I studied my spiritual gifts and natural leanings and discovered three specific directions. I numbered them according to my hearts passion and proceeded to write up resumes and make contacts. I began seeking employment with my 1st choice, then the second, and at last the third. The third one was my least favorite, a feared place of work, one I'd done many years previously and left with much dissatisfaction and burnout. It was a time of huge fears, anxiety, and stress. Guess what the Lord led me to settle upon after all the trials, appeals, and efforts? Perhaps you have experienced such a time and are ahead of me as you read this. In my situation my last choice, was His first. His choice became my choice as time moved along.
His choice took me out of a bubble of sorts and exposed me to the elements of the working world I'd not be in for nearly 3 decades. In the field of work I have found a 'fit' I never expected. I am the most surprised of all. I have found opportunities to share Christ in both word and deed. I've been unsuspectingly an example to co-workers for I'm seen day by day, being a witness, a representative of my world view. I've been myself: working to earn money yes, but seeing in the people I serve real lives, lives in varying seasons of life, many in pain, some in much confusion as to family needs and personalities. I've also found a little joy in being part of teams who serve these people. Helping my co-workers, being helped by them.
It has brought me to deeper joys, higher challenges, greater faith development, and more constant dependence upon the Lord; along with this I have received precious blessings, a bigger 'bit of earth' in which to toil, and I have been able to connect the dots of my life, my experiences, and my faith walk and apply it where it needed to be applied beyond my yard, my church, my children's schools, and my circle of friends. Today I had opportunity to look again at that transition - to review what I am doing, why I'm doing it, and to re-evaluate what God is asking me to join Him in at this time. Why? Well, I got news that someone else is stepping into a role I longed to initiate and fill back when this life transition began. Yes, my #1 passion and desire, the task I longed to work in, is now a position, and someone else will step into it. I was facing again the death of a vision.
It hurt for a few moments, and I cried out to the Lord for understanding of my emotions, to review what was true about Him, to remember what I am called to for now. To rejoice in this other person's new assignment and His creation of this role for the ministry as well as to fill a void in their life as they enter a new season. It is a day to reaffirm what I am involved with as fall plans begin to be made both for the employment of most of my weekdays as well as the day I devote to a Bible study class I lead and the women I study with and befriend.
I'm so grateful that He has called me to the places in which I work/serve/and minister alongside Him. I am so blessed. I'm not a person who longs for the admiration of others, I prefer to make an impact in others lives on a deeper level than just friendship, and that means, fewer lives can be impacted. It is continuing the discipling such as I did with my children, offering cups of cold water to meet true tangible needs along with sharing God's truth. I also receive wisdom from those women who are my own mentors, those who have wisdom to offer me from their faith walk. It is a rich life that isn't just focused on here and now, nor me and myself.
Now back to the simplicity focus of today's post. My heart and my home are in process. We have waited months, even years, to repair our home's foundation, to refloor, repaint, and start over again. We have given, sold, and tossed out bags of excess possessions and in this process our home feels more serene, restful, and open. We are enjoying the changes and it will soon offer us greater ease to share our home with others. We will be purchasing furniture for our main living area next; I've been listening with focus to the Word of God as I read devotionally each morning, studying a portion of the Bible each semester, and now reading spiritual home decorating books. How much to add, what to add so we won't go down that American-style accumilation path again.
I am beginning to see what a good thing it has been to not be able to replace worn out items all at once. I know it is a blessing to not put it on a charge card or obtain a home equity loan (been there, done that, got the t-shirt along with the burden and years of limitations of such choices). As we save, shop, pray, plan, and wait for the items we need we are allowing God into these decisions that will impact our home's atmosphere with not only a decor style that is welcoming but hearts that are welcoming, unburdened by our setting's expense, maintenance, etc. This is so counter-cultural it is nice to have to take it bit by bit.
Perhaps you have walked this path yourself, if you have tips, verses of encouragement, or thoughts to share, post them here. I'd love to hear your heart and learn from your experiences.
Truth For Life
"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God,
to walk in all His ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, . . . "