Finding Grace in a Clean Room

 

Yesterday, my sister showed me what it looks like to love like Jesus loved.

I pray that the Lord will continually keep my heart soft toward my sister. Some days it shows. Some days…not so much. And even after the “not so much” days, my sister gives me glimpses of what it means to have a child-like heart. One that forgets mistakes and still pursues love.
This is one of the many examples of that heart.

“Dear Mary, I want you to know what a blessing you are! You have such a soft, tender spirit, always thinking of how you can bless others, so I wanted to bless you! Faith”

As I read the words colorfully printed on the dry erase board, I was amazed. Stunned. This girl, after all she’s seen of me, is able to say that I have a “soft, tender spirit, always thinking of how (I) can bless others.”
Conviction hits me, but it feels good. It cuts deep, but it is seasoned with grace and inspiration.
She calls out from her room,
“Open your door!”
I open my door and find that my room is clean. Bed made. Blanket folded. Clothes hung up. Counter organized.
This kind of act reveals Christ’s love at work in my sister’s heart, and reveals how I need that same love to work in my heart like it is working in hers.
I’m instantly reminded of 1 Corinthians 13. The love chapter. Among the list of attributes that love is clothed in, I’m drawn to one in particular
Love “keeps no record of wrongs.”
My sister showed me that.

I have a record of wrongs. It’s a long list, my friends. It’s a list I try to keep neatly tucked away where no one can see. But my sister has seen it. I wish she hadn’t. I wish that I could have prevented so many of those wrongs from ever happening.
But, my sister reminded me that love, even upon seeing the endless list of my wrongs, keeps no record of it. Chooses to forget it. Just like God.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25

I am thankful that the Lord reveals Himself to me in my sister. His unconditional grace can be seen in the tasks that seem small, but unveil a much greater picture.
God has seen my list of wrongs. Not one of them is hidden from Him. And yet, He chooses to forget them. Forgive them.
My heart is a messy room. Clothes lying on the floor, bed unmade, dust gathering on the shelves. But God, rich in grace, surprises me. I open the door to see that my room, my heart, is clean.

Now, we’re still sisters. Our rooms get a little messy sometimes.
But I’m thankful that God’s grace is the perfect cleaner-upper.
And I’m thankful that He’s taught my sister to be a cleaner-upper, not only around the house, but around our hearts.

When God Meets You In a Lavender Field

IMG_2872

“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you?” Matthew 6:30

My best friend decided to take me on a “filed trip” today.
Little did she know that God had divinely appointed that “field trip” to speak comfort to my soul.
We hopped in the car and began driving. She drove us along West Beach, up the hill, past the strawberry fields where I used to spend my summers, until we finally reached our destination. My heart leaped with joy as I saw the sign up ahead that read, “Lavender Wind Farm.”
This girl, she knows me.

We spent the afternoon with our friend strolling through the lavender farm, soaking it all in. Breathing in the heavenly fragrance. Delighting our eyes with spectacular color and beauty.
And the Lord met me there today.
I have been drawn to the wonder of creation, more so than ever this summer. And I believe this shift in thought, this unexpected awe, has been the Lord’s faithful answer to my prayer.
I left school with uneasiness weighing heavily upon my heart, leaving me anxious about returning home. It felt difficult to uproot myself from a place I had spent the last two years in. It was where the most significant growth in my life had occurred. It was where the joy of deep friendships were rooted. It was where the support of my church family was established. My life felt rich in meaning there, full of purpose and spirit.
Leaving that behind felt a little hard.
Going back felt like returning to the old me, the worst of me, the me that disappointed. Struggles that found themselves far behind me in California always seemed to reemerge when I found myself at home.
Impatience.
Selfishness.
Lack of discipline.
Absence of faith.
I have been praying that the Lord would change my heart and attitude. And slowly, He has begun to.
Now, I’m not a finished canvas. I can still count plenty of moments where the qualities mentioned in that list get the best of me. However, the Lord is faithful to work in us when we simply come to Him with the desire to be changed by His grace. That’s all He asks. If we come to Him with willing hearts, open and ready for transformation, He is sure to bring it about.

 “May the God of peace Himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again. God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

You may ask, what does this have to do with lavender? I’m brought back to Matthew 6. When we gaze upon the elegance of these flowers, do they not magnify God’s providence? The Lord is faithful to nurture the blossoming beauties of this earth, clothing them in splendor and glory. He provides the rain to make them sprout and the sun to sustain them as they grow.
How much more does our Heavenly Father love His children?
If He is faithful to do all this for flowers, which are here in summer’s season and gone by the chill of winter, how much more faithful is He to us?
As I beheld the treasure that stood tall and marvelous before me, I was filled with hope.
I am even more cared for by my Maker than some of His finest masterpieces. When life presents challenges, hope can be found in His faithfulness.
Faithful to be present in all things.
To bring peace in the midst of uncertainty.
To breathe life into the tired soul.
To transform even what seems to be the most calloused heart.
To make me look more like Him, which is far more splendid than even the loveliest of flowers.

And that, my friends, is true joy.
Unwavering joy among every season of life.