Sunflowers in God's Garden
Recently, my husband and I visited a beautiful young couple who live in a rural area south of us. Several years ago, they moved from an amazing home in the city to a home that had been in their family for years, a home that needed a lot of love.
Their remodel of this old home reminds me of the remodels done by Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV.
In the midst of the remodel, this couple made an unusual request, one I'd never done before and one I've not done since. "Will you come and write upon the walls of our home?" Of course, I said yes. I delight in the unusual which usually doesn't seem so unusual after I get started.
On a cloudy, misty morning, I journeyed to this home in rural Alabama armed with a collection of writings (songs, poems, quotes, scripture) and several Sharpies. What I found were the bare bones of a house - exposed studs and insulation, plastic, subflooring, old hardwood floors, exposed plumbing, etc. The demo of this house would bring a smile to old Chipper.
I began to write on . . . and to sing in this house. I don't remember what I wrote or what I sang, but I do remember that deep peace that settles over a place when the presence of the Lord fills a space.
I awakened a couple of weeks ago remembering this moment. (I really haven't thought about in years.) What happened in this couple's home is similar to what happens in God's home - our hearts.
The scriptures say that God is always looking for a home, a resting place, a place in which He can dwell.
Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
Where is a place that I may rest?
~ Isaiah 66: 1
Our response should be:
Here, O Lord, have I prepared for You a home.
Long have I desired for You to dwell.
Here, O Lord, have I prepared a resting place.
Here, O Lord, I wait for You alone.
~ "Resting Place"
a song written by Daphne Rademaker
When we come to God and ask Him to inhabit our heart, He does a demo Chip Gaines' style. Nothing is left but the skeleton, the bones of the home. Next, He does something wonderful, something mysterious and beautiful.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
~ Ezekiel 36: 26
I will deposit my instructions deep within them,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
~ Jeremiah 31: 33
I have been thinking about obedience a lot lately. When anyone mentions the word obedience, we usually think about God whispering something to us that He wants us to do.
However, the obedience coin is a two-sided coin. On one side are those special missions that God has asked us to complete. This is the "do-ing" side of obedience.
The other side of the coin involves "be-ing," everyday 24-7 living. This side of the coin is where the words that God has written on our hearts actually take possession of us and guide our everyday lives and interactions with others and with God Himself.
This is where we take Christ's words into our will so that we can keep them in our actual lives.
I don't know if one side of the obedience coin is more important than the other, but in my experience the "do-ing" does not get done, is not even heard unless the "be-ing" is intact.
Our friends' house is completed now including vegetable and flower gardens, fencing, a good sized pond, and landscaping. Unfortunately, a tornado recently targeted their homestead (only home in that area damaged). Thankfully, only a corner of their home was touched by the storm. They did lose many of their old, stately trees. When we last visited, they had just finished installing the new roof. I am so thankful that their home still stands and that these sweet friends survived the storm.
Thank you, Father, for letting us connect in this world. Thank you for all the sweet things this couple has done for me. They have blessed me so many times - meals in both their homes, flowers and soup and homemade bread and jam when I was too ill to cook for myself, fresh veggies from their own garden grown and harvested by their own hands, words of encouragement and hugs and laughs. And did I mention flowers?
No one leaves their home or them with empty hands or without feeling loved. On our last visit, we came home with freshly harvested sweet "taters" that still had the dirt clinging to their roots and an armload of the biggest, most beautiful sunflowers I've ever seen . . . and feeling loved.
Thank you, my sweet friends, for being living sunflowers of God's love in our lives.
P.S. Those sweet "taters" made an awesome sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving. YUM!