Learning to Live Well
"But learning to live well in ordinary time isn’t a call to elevate moments; it’s a call to draw close to Christ.
What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves, but the presence of Christ with us
in the midst of them.” – Oswald Chambers
I came across this wonderful quote awhile back. Yesterday, I experienced some of what I think Oswald Chambers meant. Last night my home was filled with people for a blessing shower for a precious young couple. We have given several of these showers through the years for the children of special friends. We wanted to bless the daughter and fiancé of our friends, Jan and Dan. Jan and I have been friends since third grade. I’ve watched her youngest daughter grow up into a beautiful, godly woman. So along with some dear friends, we planned a special evening. I was busy creating it for weeks in my mind. The invitations were sent setting the theme for our night - winter wonderland. I decorated the house with white birch trees, tiny white fairy lights, white candles, and little touches of mercury glass and white tulle and fur graced the tables and the mantle. Silver vases of beautiful fresh white tulips were scattered throughout the house.
The other couples hosting brought beautiful desserts served on gorgeous crystal plates. We wanted to provide a special evening. Ken had planted beautiful flowers around the fountain and worked hard to get it working again to beckon people outside to enjoy the wonderful weather God gave us.
The front door was decked in white, as well, with baskets of fresh tulips and baby’s breath to greet the young bride and her groom.
I had such fun planning and preparing a creative coffee/cocoa bar for the guests to enjoy.
One of the husbands who had come to help us set up kept commenting on how calm we all were. He was expecting chaos and frenetic activity as we got things ready. But everyone was taking care of their part and filling in the gaps where needed. God had assembled a team for the evening and we were functioning in our gifts. One was the gourmet cook, one took care of designing the invitations and tending to many of the last minute details, one was there to serve and greet with joy, and I was doing what I love - creating an atmosphere of beauty to bless and welcome those who enter. The peace of Christ was at work among us. I noticed that even as the time came near for guests to arrive it was especially quiet in the house. I looked around and some of the hosts were writing and reading over their blessing cards for the couple. At a blessing shower, after everyone visits and enjoys the food and drink, we all gather to speak words of wisdom, Scripture, and blessing over the engaged couple. We were preparing our hearts to be vessels of love and truth as they listened. We understood that was the most important aspect of our evening. Christ was present among us.
That night, I loved listening to the conversations, the laughter. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food that had been prepared with such love.
Then we all moved into the living room and began to speak words of life and love. As we gathered, Christ drew us close to Himself in the moment. The power of the Word was poured over this young couple as the voices of experience shared life lessons they had learned in their own marriages. Marriages that spanned from 22 years to over 40 years. There were words spoken of hard lessons learned from couples who had weathered the storms that life can bring and from those who had lived through the pain of divorce.
It was intimate and rich and Christ was speaking through us as we shared our hearts. It was beautiful.Their parents blessed and encouraged them. Most of the young people present just listened. I sensed they too were taking in the wisdom and presence of Christ in the room.
I noticed there were some themes and Scriptures that kept surfacing throughout the night.
As I looked around the room and listened, my heart was filled with gratitude.
My home looked beautiful. It had become the winter wonderland wedding theme I had envisioned.
The food was delicious and the fellowship was sweet,
but what would last in the life of this couple was the presence of Christ in this moment.
He was speaking through the men and women who had lived lives of faith in their marriages. He was in our midst as we tried to share the truth of the joys and sorrows in the life they were beginning together. The time together was honest. There was a willingness to be vulnerable, because everyone who came was there because they were invested and committed to this couple. God had drawn them to come to be a blessing. We all knew that they had been busy preparing for a wedding, but it is a marriage with Christ as the foundation that will last.
He is what holds us together when life breaks and wounds us.
We had written our hearts of love and words of wisdom on little cards and placed them in a beautiful white box to take to their new home.
I thought it was interesting that the couple and their parents lingered in our home after everyone had left. You see when Christ presence is there in your midst, you want to stay and soak in every moment.
Finally, I had to send my life long friend out the door as she moved toward the sink to start doing the dishes! We sent them home with bundles of white tulips and lots of yummy desserts.
I pray that in the years ahead the truths that poured over this couple in our home will strengthen and encourage them in their own marriage journey. I pray that the sweet fragrance of Christ will linger and permeate their new life together. (2 Cor. 2:15-17) I believe God will use them powerfully for His kingdom work. They have answered the call to a life of ministry and I see Jesus in them.
Learning to live well really is a call to draw close to Christ as Oswald Chambers wrote.
Most of our days are ordinary days, but Christ in the midst of them brings meaning that lasts.
After everything was cleaned up, we crawled into bed with weary bodies and full hearts. The alarm clock rang early the next morning for us to attend a morning of prayer at our church. I wanted to be there in my spirit, but my body did not want to get out of that bed! As soon as we walked in the door at church a lovely woman came up to me and began to speak words of encouragement about my writing. I didn’t even know that she read the blogs. She blessed me with her words and the Lord used them to help me press on to answer the call of Christ for my life on that ordinary day.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
The new year has arrived whether or not we are ready for it. Last year seemed to fly by. When I reflect on 2015, it is the moments when I drew close to Christ that truly have made an impact on my life and marriage. The truth is marriage, and the majority of our lives, are mostly filled with ordinary moments. But, Christ can take those moments and the special ones, like giving a blessing shower, and turn them into meaningful moments that last....moments that offer hope and truth and love....only because His presence is evident and powerful in our midst.
It is Jesus who brings purpose to our days and renews our vision.
Father, thank you that your Spirit is at work within us and among us. Thank you for the opportunities you give us to bless and encourage one another. Give us your eyes to see and ears to hear when a tender word of blessing or message of wisdom is needed in the ordinary moments of our lives. Draw us close, Lord. Then equip us with the faith and boldness to speak those words. Help us to be diligent to store up the truth of Scripture in our hearts so that our words speak Your truth and offer grace and love. Teach us how to do that well so that the power of your presence ushers rich meaning into our relationships and deep joy in your presence.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
Treasure your ordinary moments this week and make them count. Invite the presence of Christ into the midst of those moments and speak a word of blessing to someone in your life today. That is part of how we learn to live well.
Grateful for His blessings,
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