Friday, March 7, 2014

TRANSFORMATIONS

I walk through our empty home, the walls barren and lifeless. Some stand in their skeletal form, simple wood frames waiting their transformation. The sound of my footsteps echo as I make my way from one dusty room to the next. A few cardboard boxes remain. They are the last bit of evidence of the memories we made under this roof.

I can see it as it once was, walls covered with pictures, all furnished and cozy. I hear the voices of our kids, the laughter, a few tears, music playing in the background, our pets scurrying about.

Most of the items that filled our home were recently sold at an estate sale. I watched as people I'd never met before purchased our trinkets and treasures. From furniture to fine china, it all had to go.  The hardest to relinquish was my grandmother's piano. So many memories are woven into that one object. Easter baskets nestled on top of it when I was a little girl. My grandmother's hands, and the music they made. The first time I heard my son play a song he'd learned in school, a melody that sank deep into my soul.

Our house is just a shell now, a work in progress until my parents move in. The transformation of an old house is never pretty.

As I stand in an empty room that is crying out to be filled again, I realize this isn't just about a home remodel. It's a renovation of my life as well. I am being transformed too. It hurts to be stripped of securities, tangible memories, items I used to pour so much of my love and energy into. But there is purpose in the process. Walls of resistance are being torn down. Old ways that no longer serve anyone are being discarded. Just like our hundred year old home, I'm being prepared for something new. What will the end result look like? Only the Master Architect and Designer can see the final result.

Demolition and reconstruction are messy, painful and unnerving. They always cost more than we expect going in, but the end results are worth it. My house and me, we have much in common.

"The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation."
~Adrian Rogers

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ASHES TO ASHES

Ash Wednesday. I've never really practiced Lent or honored this day. But why not? Does this day -- do these next forty days -- present me with a unique opportunity to become a present...a gift to my Lord?

I think of Ash Wednesday and my mind fills with words that feel like gravel in my mouth -- religion, legalism, sacrifice. How do I experience this beauty from ashes without drowning in religiosity? Religiosity doesn't save us, it confines us. Legalism doesn't free us, it binds us. Sacrifice done only for the sake of the calendar, birthed out of duty, isn't necessarily a gift from the heart. And isn't that what the heart of Lent should be?

So how do I jump into Lent this Ash Wednesday and know it will be meaningful? How do I breathe love into these next forty days? Is it really about giving up chocolate, caffeine, or my favorite TV show?

Lord, how would you like me to honor this day and the season of Lent? I cry out to Him, because isn't it supposed to be all about HIM? I pray for a sacred list. What I get in return is a love letter.

"Give me more time -- in fellowship and in prayer. Give me your early mornings and spend time with Me."

Really, Lord? Am I not supposed to give something up?

"Give up your habit of worrying. For the next forty days, choose to not worry about anyone or anything. Give up worrying."

Worry? But it comes so naturally to me. It's as easy as breathing. I've always been a compulsive worrier. Are you sure you don't want me to give up chocolate or TV??

My heart knows better. So I make the decision to give Him my early mornings, and to give up my addiction to worrying.

It's my love letter back to Him.

"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. with thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God."
~Philippians 4:6

"You hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for Your answer." 
~Psalm 5:3