Memories Found

I’ve lost my latest journal.  I think I left it on a plane.  And it saddens me because it is where I’ve recorded how Jesus has moved in my life so much over the past year.  There were only a few blank pages left. Losing my document of it doesn’t take His work in me away.  No matter how weak my memory tends to be.  But remembering is important.  It honors God and spurs me on.

What is it I want to remember from this past year?

  • I want to remember the power of consecrating each day to Jesus.  Not living by my power.
  • I want to remember that the Holy Spirit has been growing me up.  We’ve got a history of growth.
  • I want to remember to hold tightly to God alone.  Let go of all that isn’t meant to last.
  • I want to remember to pray.  With authority. Knowing it is my Jesus-died-for right.
  • I want to remember that my eyes have grown sharper.  The enemy’s disguises can be exposed.
  • I want to remember that Jesus provides.  A marriage that deepens, family that gives graciously, friendships that meet longings and beauty for the sheer joy of it.

Material loss can be a good thing.  Loss of a journal, or photos, or a long-time home and its abundance of contents, can push me to take inventory of that which is not material: an inventory of lasting wealth.

Writing thoughts down is my way of taking inventory.  Journalling helps me process my days.  But the journal is not the prize.  God’s faithful, continuing, work in me is the prize.

When I was a girl I was obsessed with Barbra Streisand.  I knew every line of the songs in her movies.  “The Way We Were” sent me into a dramatic performance in front of the oval mirror in my bedroom.  “Mem’ries, light the corners of my mind, misty water-colored memories of the way we were.  Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind, smiles we gave to one another,of the way we were.  Can it be that it was all so simple then?  Or has time re-written every line?…”

My 13 year-old self had no idea that there’s nothing simple about memories nor that time may or may not re-write each line.  My 13 year-old self had no idea that I had a specific role to play in God’s story.  My 13 year-old self didn’t understand that Jesus is the hero in the story of life.  My 13 year-old self didn’t know the type of choices I’d need to make in response to the story.

Would I choose to be a striver?  Would I choose to be complacent?  Or would I choose to follow the Hero and allow Him to grow me into the woman He created me to be?  Would I choose to remember how he has lovingly, patiently, faithfully led me into his Kingdom of Life?  The abundant life?

I may not remember where I place my keys or my phone or my journal.  But I remember Who’s I am and who I am because of Him.  Lord, help me to keep remembering.

The Riches of my Residence

As we drove from the Dulles Airport to the condo we would now be living in, my husband said, “Well, we’re Virginians now.”  “Are we”, I asked?  “Or are we Californians living in Virginia?  And…when do you think we’ll call this home?”

A couple days later after running multiple errands my husband asked, “Where next?”  I replied, “Let’s go home”.  I instantly felt like a traitor!

This morning we visited a church; the first in the daunting exercise called the hunt for a new church home.  The pastor preached on Ephesians 1.  Practically the first words out of his mouth were that our truest residence is in the heavenly places!  (Guess I should have included the Holy Spirit in our conversation on citizenship).  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  Eph. 1:3-4

I’ve been wondering “when”.  When will this feel like home?  When will I stop being a Californian?  When will Community Christian Church of Moorpark in California not be “my” church?  And likewise my perspective spiritually, has been as if the “heavenly places” are my future home.  But the truth is I’ve already been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.  Before this world of Californians and Virginians was even created God planned to give me everything.  Before I was born Jesus secured/made possible my adoption into the riches of his love and the Holy Spirit was applied as the downpayment for my glorious present.  The heavenly places are here and now.

When Paul was writing about all of us who have faith in Jesus having every spiritual blessing he was in prison!  Yet he knew he was already a free person because he understood the spiritual realities of his heavenly residence.  He also knew our struggle/fight here on earth is from a place of victory, not a fight for victory.

I need not wrestle with what to call myself in the different places or circumstances I find myself in.  I’ve already been named.  Daughter of God the Father; redeemed and forgiven through Jesus Christ according the the riches of his grace; given the Holy Spirit as the downpayment as I am transformed by his grace – so that I can enjoy the benefits of the riches of my residence.

 

 

An Unpolluted View

There we sat, with our one way tickets, waiting to board the plane.  The wall of windows in the terminal framed a stunning view of the mountains.  My mountains.  That bald, generally brown, towering range that had served to give me my bearings all through my childhood and youth.  On this day they had a few blankets of green thrown on them and a squirt of white on their high peaks.  And on this day, they showed off through an amazingly clear February sky.  Startlingly clear.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  These old familiar friends were now serving as the opening paragraph in this new chapter of my story.  If they could speak they would be saying, “This is where you come from”.

The time had come to board the plane to where I am now going.  My husband, who I’ve always teased for being a heavy-footed, bull-in-a china shop kind of guy, was ever-so-gently-kindly-tenderly leading me toward the plane.  The gate faced away from my bald mountains.

As we began to take off the tears came (once again).  I looked out the window and our ascent was directed west.  This kept me on the side of the plane that was traveling along side my due-north mountains.  The valley where I’d left my parents was spread out below me at the foot of those dear mountains.  Again, I was struck by a view seemingly void of any pollution.  There was nothing to obstruct my view of where it is I come from.

The plane made the expected u-turn and now heading east I could see all the peaks and valleys, lakes and trails.  And I twisted my head and body to look out behind the plane toward the far off valley where we had raised our own little family; our home of 24 years.  I was treated to a panorama of the glistening Pacific.  Again with no obstruction.  And a sob escaped.

I’ve noticed over the months that have led up to this move that I’ve gone back to appreciating the gift that is California.  The gift it has been to live my entire life here.  My youth in one valley and my adult years in two other valleys west of there.  I’ve also noticed that in the number of years this state has been in a drought my appreciation for this gift has experienced a drought.  My drought was not a product of my state’s drought.  It was a product of my own restlessness.  A desire for something different with an accompanying waning of love for my state.

But as the window on the plane took me over my mountains and then presented the desert, the desert also spoke to me of my childhood and youth, and I whispered, “I love you California”.  Thank you God, for placing me in this part of your world.  What a privilege.

While the flight continued to what my husband and I, and many well-wishing friends and family, have named our “Adventure”, the Holy Spirit allowed me to mourn the cost of this adventure.

And He reminded me that everything of value has a cost.  But nothing is lost.  Nothing is lost.