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Moments of Clarity

Matthew 20:32-33 “Jesus said to them, what do you want Me to do for you? They said to Him, Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”

Outside my living room window 100 aspens were shimmering in the breeze. It was around 5:30 p.m. and the sunshine darted through the clouds dotting the sky. The aspen leaves were a creamy yellow except for the moments when the setting sun would break through and light them up in a dazzling blaze of lemony yellow. A cloud drifted by and everything was back to a dull cream. This kept happening, and each time I would race out the door to take a picture when the sun had lit everything up so brightly.

What I witness in nature God so often uses to speak into my heart. Those flashes of brilliant sunshine through the aspens reminded me that God brings beauty and clarity in a moment and it’s ours to grasp quickly before it’s gone. Maybe we have that flash of insight, hmm, he’s not the one, or this job shouldn’t define me, or I want more creativity in my life. Maybe it’s wow I was short-tempered back there, or our home needs a spiritual reset. Clarity is curative. That bright flash of insight points us into truth.

A friend in L.A recently shared a hard decision she made to pass up a big business opportunity in favor of a more genuine, personal track. Her clarity came when she realized she had missed so much life in the past ten years. My favorite boutique owner in Sun Valley told me that she had taken the risk to close her store on Sundays. Her clarity came because she’d been working non-stop and realized she needed a spirit-focused rhythm in her life. A young man told me this weekend that he had realized he never seriously considered the message of Christ. He said his mother’s negative Catholic experience growing up had shaded everything he had been told. In a moment of clarity, of revelation actually, he realized there’s more to the gospel story than what he had been told, and so he’s investigating Christianity. An older friend of mine shared a new perspective she gained– that her husband had sacrificed so much when they were first married, and now, with his health declining, was her time to sacrifice for him. That clarity brightened her words, actions, and attitudes with new compassion. Each of these friends experienced a moment when God brought their life into clear focus.

Dear ones, don’t we all need God to break through with clarity in some fashion? Are we in a situation like Elisha’s servant, surrounded by enemies and unable to see the mighty army of God protecting us? (2 Kings 6:15-17) Are we like the disciples after the resurrection, walking with Jesus but not even realizing it?  “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him: and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?” (Luke 24:31-32)

I’ve experienced moments when, like the sunshine breaking through the trees, God’s insight gave me clarity. Ideas like wanting to honor all that God has given me in a day—to savor the beauty all around and also to view each obstacle as an opportunity for growth.  To work hard with excellence but keep identity rooted, not in what I do or what I own or what others think, but in the sole fact that I’m a blood-bought daughter of Christ, the King. Wanting to love people the way that Jesus loved people. It’s in the details that I ask for greater clarity and insight. How do I honor God in my day? How do I love people like He did? Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Join me in praying this week, Lord, open our eyes. Break through our cloudy commitments and bring Your bright Presence to illuminate our way. We want to see You, Lord to follow You. Amen

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Establishing Your House

I’m just waking up from a turkey-induced coma. Life has pretty much consisted of cooking, eating, and talking about cooking or eating. But the beauty of God’s word still shines into whatever saturates our week. A new favorite chapter is 2 Samuel 7. The background is that David felt blessed and desired to honor God. He said, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.” (2 Samuel 7:2) David wanted to bless and honor God by building Him a house.

Do you know how God responded? Something to the effect of, you want to build Me a house? How about I build you a house?! God said, “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever!” (2 Samuel 7:16) David, who wrote 75 of the Psalms, described as “a man after God’s heart” was so full of worship and gratitude toward God that he wanted a tangible symbol of his honor for God. But God took that symbol and went Almighty with it. God honored David! God said, after David passes, “I will establish your seed and his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-13) God kept this promise through Jesus, son of David, our risen Lord and Savior.

How many times have we felt so blessed that we just wanted to show our honor and praise to God? This week as I’ve gazed upon my beautiful children, laughed with my family and friends, I’ve ached with the desire to show God how grateful I am. I have prayed along with David when he just SAT before the Lord and said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18) It doesn’t make sense to me that God pours out honor and blessing and favor on His people. But I am grateful. I hold to the promise that Jesus made in John 12:26, “If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” 

Mary Oliver’s poem “I Wake Close to Morning” reminded me this week that the goodness of God will be obvious to anyone looking in:

Why do people keep asking to see

            God’s identity papers

When the darkness opening into morning

            Is more than enough?

Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.

Think of Sheba approaching

            The kingdom of Solomon.

Do you think she had to ask,

            “Is this the place?”

In this final month of 2020, I pray that honor and gratitude fill your house. I pray that the beauty of each new day is enough to warm and inspire you. And I pray that the graciousness of God shines richly throughout your home!

Get my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion for yourself or as a gift this holiday season anywhere books are sold.