Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. Home – that’s a subject I find myself writing about often in this blog. You might say I adhere to that old saying, “Home is where the heart is.” My heart has always claimed home.
So Papa and I live in this house which we call home. It’s just an ordinary house, nothing fancy; it has that country farmhouse look to it, especially plunked down in the middle of a field that we purchased from an elderly farmer to make our building lot.
I do love my home. I’m happy in it. And I hope that when folks come to my house they feel welcomed and ‘at home.’ But this place that I call home is just a house that Papa and I have lived in for over 16 years now.
There have been other places we have called home over our 39 years of marriage. His hometown is in the central part of our state, mine is here where we live. The home in which I spent most of my growing up years in is only a few miles down our country road. That place was the anchor that I tethered myself to while Papa and I wandered across the country from one place to another during a good portion of our married life.
No matter how far away I wandered though, I knew home was still there waiting for me. It was a difficult task for me to relinquish my parents’ home after they both died and my sisters and I decided to sell it. The ties that bound were strong.
Having lived in several homes in four different states, home takes on an entirely different meaning for me now as I’ve matured not only in age but also in wisdom. But even more importantly, as my faith deepens and matures, the thought of home evokes an even more profound meaning than it once did.
The words of an old gospel song ring through my memory bank:
This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
This home here on this planet revolving around the sun, on this earth held in place by the omnipotent hand of its Creator, is really just temporary. My permanent home lies beyond in a place I can’t describe but will know and recognize it when I finally see it someday.
But for now, I offer up praise and thanks to God for the earthly home He has provided, for the wondrous work of artistry He paints on the day and night canvas right outside my window, and for the loved ones He has given me in my life to share this home with.
In this crazy, mixed up world, I can only feel at home when my thoughts are centered on the One who loves me beyond measure, enough to die in my place, enough to leave His glorious home to enter ours. His name is Jesus.
What signifies ‘home’ for you?
[Day One’s theme in the “Developing Your Eye” photography challenge this summer -which I missed due to my hibernation lethargy – was “Home.” The photo above which I captured on a sunny early September day represents both the theme and my thoughts today.]
“God’s thoughts, his will, his love, his judgments are all man’s home. To think his thoughts, to choose his will, to love his loves, to judge his judgments, and thus to know that he is in us, is to be at home.” ~ George Macdonald
Now there’s a word that scared the daylights out of me.
The thought of being alone stirred up a restlessness inside of me that soon heightened to nothing short of anxiety. Being secluded or separated from other people caused me to feel trepidation, which I managed to hide well for a very long time.
I grew up the youngest of three sisters in a relatively small family. No aunts or uncles on my mother’s side since she was an only child. My father was the youngest of his family and most of my cousins from his side were old enough to have been my parents. So my fate was always to be the youngest in a family of older folks.
Even my own sisters were considerably older than I was. When I was a youngster interested in playing ‘house’ with my dolls and tootling around on a tricycle, they were teenagers interested in boys, music, and their friends.
Honestly, I experienced a lonely childhood being the youngest. My sisters were beyond the age of playing with me or even having the arguments and little spats that most siblings experience. In essence, it felt like I was an only child. By the time I was six, my oldest sister got married and by age nine, my next sister joined the ranks of wedded folks.
I can still feel how loneliness washed over me time and time again even though I lived in a loving home with two parents and my maternal elderly grandparents until they passed away when I was nine. And I can distinctly remember the scary feeling of finding myself…well… by myself.
Embedded in my memories are incidences when I jumped off the school bus after a day spent learning, skipped home, and couldn’t find my mother, who was either in the basement doing the laundry or somewhere where she wasn’t in clear sight when I walked through the kitchen door. Near panic seized me and I would run frantically through the house shouting for my mom only feeling at ease again when I heard her familiar voice calling back.
Didn’t like it. I avoided it as often as I could. And that mode of operation continued through my teen years and even into adulthood. Oh, I would sequester myself into my bedroom reading, listening to music, or daydreaming alone just like any normal teen girl but I still felt assured when someone else, either mom or dad, was at home with me.
Because I didn’t want to be totally alone. Privacy was one thing but isolation was the scary monster lurking around any solitude.
Feeling off balance from that loneness was one of the hardest obstacles I encountered when I graduated from college (never had to be alone then as there were always friends and a roommate nearby), secured a teaching job in a town a couple of hours away from my family, and moved into an apartment alone.
I hated it. I dreaded coming home from a long day of teaching middle schoolers to an empty and lonely apartment with absolutely no one there. No family. No roommate. No pets. Nothing. Just me and the solitude of an attic apartment on a quiet street in a town where I didn’t know a soul.
Just so I had someone to converse and spend time with, I became fast friends with my neighboring landlady whose husband worked night shifts. She was kind and didn’t seem to mind when I showed up at her door so I didn’t have to endure an evening by myself.
My phone bill (in those days long before cell phones) was high with long distance calls to my parents, my boyfriend (who lived quite a distance away from me), friends, anyone to talk to so I wouldn’t feel so alone. One lonely evening everyone I telephoned wasn’t home. Since there were no answering machines, the sound of the ringing phone in my ear just droned on and on while no one answered. It felt like I was the only human being on planet earth. Again that scary feeling of isolation reared its head overwhelming me. I literally cried myself to sleep many nights hating the seclusion and separation I felt, totally forlorn.
Being by myself seemed like the worst solitary confinement on earth. I came to the realization that my idea of never marrying was ridiculous. I was not equipped to live life alone without a loving spouse to share it with. So I was ecstatic when my boyfriend proposed to me. Married, I wouldn’t be alone.
Fast forward several years. Three children growing up in our household in the suburbs meant lots of activities and a noisy household filled with people. And even though my husband traveled overnight in his position as a sales rep, I wasn’t completely alone since children, friends, and neighbors were always around, and I kept busy all the time so I wouldn’t actually have much ‘by myself time.’
Recently I found an old journal from a ladies’ retreat I attended one weekend many years ago with my church. I recall how lovely and fun it was socializing and studying God’s Word with the sweet gals there, but one of our scheduled activities was to go off and find a quiet spot in the idyllic setting – a retreat center in the woods of the Pacific Northwest – and spend time alone.
I can still recall how unsettled that made me feel. This is what I wrote in that journal dated September 24, 1996 – exactly 20 years ago this week:
We talked about waiting for the Lord, quiet time, and solitude. The retreat center here is perfect for this. But solitude and quietness are scary to me. I’ve realized I tend to fill up my time with chatter and being with others. I would really like to change that. I desire quietness sometimes because of all the noise and hustle and bustle of our household but I also fear the silence. Sometimes I feel like I’m on sensory overload between the kids, the TV, the noise of traffic, etc., and I’m angry when someone interrupts what little bit of silence we get by turning on the TV or stereo. Right now, I enjoy the quietness I have in the mornings after my husband’s gone to work and the kids have gone off to school. But still a part of me doesn’t want to be alone in solitude. I’ve feared that all my life. I do realize though that I’m not alone. The Lord is always with me if only I choose to be with Him.
Apparently, what I wrote then I soon forgot because after that retreat I continued to fill up my time so I wouldn’t be by myself. Classroom volunteering and parent teacher organizations at my children’s schools, sports boosters, church activities galore, leading Bible studies, social engagements, lunches with friends, and even 13 years spent filling up my ‘spare time’ with a part-time position in a ministry I had a real passion for. I wasn’t happy unless my calendar spaces were full of things to keep me from spending time alone.
I think that’s why the empty nest hit me like a ton of bricks, knocking me off center, and honestly, freaking me out. Our home, which had been a busy beehive of activity for so long, sat silent when our last child graduated from college and moved out of state to begin his career. My last living parent, my beloved Dad, passed away the year before that. My husband was still working long hours even though he wasn’t traveling any more. But suddenly, I was alone. Really alone. A lot.
That’s when I turned to this blog and pouring my heart and soul into writing posts for it. Still filling up those moments of solitude by reaching out to you, my readers, via this online highway of connectedness.
Circumstances have changed significantly lately. My home is no longer a picture of quiet solitude. For the last 18 months, our daughter and granddaughter have found sanctuary from a heartbreaking situation by living with Papa and me. Our home is filled with busyness, laughter, and noise again with our sweet little one. My quiet time is sparse because while her Mama resumes doing what she is so very good at, her hospital nursing career, Little One is under Nana’s care.
Other life changes once again derailed our train of well-made plans when my husband was unwillingly forced into semi-retirement at age 61 this year, but he is happy and contented working part-time in a position where he just fulfills his job duties at work and then comes home and can forget about it. The weighed down boulder of responsibilities he once had has been lifted and he no longer brings his job and its problems home with him. Peace of mind is priceless, it’s true.
I haven’t had much alone time for over a year and a half, and I’ve shocked myself by actually missing some solitude. But even in the midst of all these changes and the return of a busy household, I do get snippets of time when Daughter and Little One are away and Papa, working various hours in a more random schedule, is also gone and I am alone.
I can do whatever I feel like doing or not. I can sit on the front porch swing uninterrupted and read. I can clean out a closet and reminisce over the things I find there. Or I can just curl up on the family room couch, enjoy the silence, and do nothing. And here’s the shocking revelation – I like it.
I’ve come to appreciate those moments of solitude, something I never thought would happen. Finally, in my quiet alone time, I realize that I’m not feeling lonely, or isolated, or fearful. It’s a surprise to me. And a welcome one at that.
I truly do have the best company and always have. His presence wraps around me like the warm, fuzzy fleece throw that is draped over our easy chair. He has promised to never leave me, never forsake me, and never leave me feeling alone. The issues and problems of life still continue but He helps me face them and persevere through them.
I like the way devotional author Erin Keeley Marshall once wrote of Him, “Next time loneliness hits, imagine yourself resting in the shelter of his palm, and realize being alone is an impossibility since his hand never lets you go.”
Who is He? My Savior, my Redeemer, my Jesus. And I believe I’m finally accepting and yes, embracing the lesson about solitude He’s tried to teach me for all of these years.
“Isolation is aloneness that feels forced upon you, like a punishment. Solitude is aloneness you choose and embrace. I think great things can come out of solitude, out of going to a place where all is quiet except the beating of your heart.” -Jeanne Marie Laskas
It was the time and the season. For some reason, I don’t go dormant in the winter as some folks do, instead I become dull, listless, and inactive in the dog days of summer.
Summer’s heat and humidity always catch up with me, drag me down in a wilting, simpering heap, and toss me around like the wet dishrag that I feel like. My sweet Southern friends, I do NOT know how you stand it.
A muggy, oppressive July and August devoured my energy like a ravenous hot-breathed wolf scarfing down its prey. And apparently, it also consumed my words and thoughts because I just…could. not. write. And I didn’t want to spend the time it took nor the motivation.
I needed a respite. I needed a sojourn. I needed a rest away from the computer, away from my blog, away from the feeling of letting readers (and myself) down with the scanty schedule of posting I was doing.
To put it succinctly, I was just plain tired. Tired of heat. Tired of humidity. Tired of hunkering down in my air-conditioned but stuffy house instead of breathing in clean, fresh air. Tired of being imprisoned inside instead of enjoying the summer day’s sunshine on the backyard deck, the front porch swing, or anywhere outside at all. Tired of staring at a computer screen and frantically trying to think of something….something…anything(!!) to write about.
This blog became my chore. And there weren’t enough cute stickers in the world to adhere to my chore chart to make me want to accomplish the task of writing. Frankly, I didn’t want to even be online at all. Social media just perturbed and annoyed me. My email inboxes filled up with stuff I had no desire to read, so I embarked on a delete and purge mission and called it quits except for reading emails from family and one beloved far away friend who totally understands me.
Hence, a few weeks ago, I informed those of you who still click on your email notifications when my blog posts are published or those who click on my Mama’s Empty Nest Facebook fan page or on my personal page links that I was taking a sojourn from writing.
And I did. I managed to rest physically when I could get a good night’s sleep and launched myself into a mental vacation by reading several books just for enjoyment and not taxing my brain with anything that required deep thinking. However, I didn’t necessarily rest emotionally because life and its situations don’t go on sabbaticals and challenges keep popping up in front of me like roadblocks causing detours for unsuspecting drivers.
As I ran around this track of life that I’m on, (sweltering and sweating like crazy), I just got too weary to vault over the hurdles and writing became one of those barriers. So instead of attempting to sail over it, I knocked it down. I may have kicked it a few times too just for good measure to make sure it stayed down.
But then, a freshening gust of air blew in. September arrived and that meant one thing – fall’s coming. Autumn. My favorite season of all. Warm but balmy days of sunshine and Crayola crayon shades of blue skies sandwiched in between evenings of falling temperatures and a bit of a nip in the air. Delightful weather that causes me to throw the windows open wide and inhale that freshness that I love and air out my stale house.
This coming season invigorates and revitalizes me. I don’t know why I relish it so much, but I welcome fall with arms stretched outward as far as I can spread. With the promise of autumn, my creative juices start to flow again, words swirl around my mind once more. It’s like I awaken from a heat-induced coma.
So I’m back. I’m not sure I’ll return to my regular posting schedule as before (T, W, Th) because I’m adjusting to some life changes which require much of my time, but I am feeling renewed enough to write again.
There may be days, however, when I just share some photos with you. Earlier this summer, I wanted to take part in “Developing Your Eye,” a WordPress photography challenge, but I just didn’t have the energy to pursue it. So you know what they say, ‘better late than never.’
The themes for the 10-day challenge encouraged amateur photographers like me to think differently about how we capture what we see with the camera lens, and even though the challenge is long over, I may decide to share my interpretations with you.
Whatever transpires, I’m grateful that I had the good sense to take some time off and indulge in a sojourn from the blogging/internet world. And now that I’ve returned, I hope you come along with me as I continue this journey in Mama’s Empty Nest. No road map needed. I’ll just go where life and the good Lord take me.
“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” ― Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God
I’ve been a little AWOLYK (absent without letting you know) in both the blogging world and also in social media.
Some of you may wonder what’s been occupying my time because I haven’t written much at all lately or even showcased many of my photos. My Facebook page looks pretty vacant except for items posted by my daughters when they tag me and I finally made the decision to stop using Twitter. For me, it’s a waste of time.
I guess I’ve chosen to unplug myself for awhile. So what have I been doing? Papa and I did take a little trip to visit family for a few days, enjoying the time off to spend with loved ones and just relaxing.
But lately, I’ve been lacking in the inspiration to write department. Frankly, I haven’t felt inspired to do much of anything very productive. Call it the dog days of August, but I’ve been feeling this way since the beginning of July. And it continues. Perhaps it’s just the summer doldrums….or not.
Whatever the case, I’m taking a hiatus. I began blogging pretty regularly here at Mama’s Empty Nest over six years ago and before that, I wrote sporadically on another blog site. So that equates to about seven years of writing from my heart and soul.
My inspiration to create this blog evolved from finding myself somewhat at wit’s end while dealing with the empty nest syndrome when my last child completed his college education and set off for new horizons launching his career far from home.
Add the fact that my last living parent had passed away by then and I turned to what I always do best when I’m overcome by thoughts, emotions, and perplexing situations – pour out my heart in words.
But that was six years ago. I came to terms with my empty nest and a lot of other life changes and those words I tapped out on my computer screen to share with you helped me do so. My hope is that in some way, my words encouraged others as well.
So where will my words take me from here? I know there are more words to come…they’re just not coming to me right now. Because of that, I’ve decided to take a sojourn – a period of time when you stay temporarily in one place – and embark on a break from blogging.
I don’t know how long I’ll be off the grid, but I want to inform my loyal readers why I’ll be silent for awhile. My sojourn could last a week or two but it may also be a bit longer; I’m just not sure yet. If I follow your blog, I will still read your posts so I don’t get too far behind.
But I am certain I need to do exactly as my photo above says – regroup, refocus, and recharge. And remember why I began this blogging journey while considering where I venture from here.
In the words of The Terminator though, “I’ll be back.”
“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” ~ Doe Zantamata
It was raining cats and dogs…and bears…and turkeys.
Ever have one of those days when you think, “Wow, I should just have stayed home?” You know the kind of day I’m talking about where one thing after another happens and it truly makes you wonder if there’s a message somewhere in it for you.
This past Saturday morning I had a hair appointment. Nothing unusual about that. Except that my stylist was on vacation so my appointment was scheduled with the salon owner. But that’s not unusual either. I like her and she did a beautiful job on my hair.
All was good…so far. The salon is not located in my hometown but a 30 minute drive or so away from my house. Rain had been falling steadily but gently on my way there and we’ve needed rain for quite some time now. So, still good.
But later as I stepped outside the salon in my new ‘do,’ it was pouring. And I had left my umbrella in the car.
Luckily I had parked near the salon door, so I threw my purse up over my head and dodged the raindrops to my vehicle. On my way home though, a deluge hit. Major downpour. Rain coming down in sheets.
Visibility on the road, even with the windshield wipers on super speedy and headlights on, proved very poor. I could barely see the car directly ahead of me and I kept my distance from him as he kept tapping his brakes to slow down through the heavy (that’s putting it mildly) rain.
The old saying, ‘raining cats and dogs’ seemed appropriate as I slowed down along with most of the traffic heading eastward, except for the maniacs who were zooming far above the legal speed limit past us all on the four-lane highway in the heavy rainstorm.
One passing motorist weaved over the line into my lane and I thought he was going to sideswipe me for sure. That’s when I started thinking maybe I should have stayed home today. Just as I was considering finding a spot to safely pull over and wait out the torrential downpour, a break came in the storm.
Rain still fell but not as heavily, so I kept driving. With the lull of the storm also came less traffic as I got closer to home. I turned my wipers onto a slower speed and was grateful I could see the highway better now.
And that’s when I spied it, a large black animal lumbering across the four-lane from the opposite side directly crossing in front of me so closely that I had to slam on my brakes to prevent hitting the creature.
A bear! A bulky, fairly large black bear so close I could see his eyes. He loped in front of my car, and entered the front yard of a house near the roadway, coming just feet away from that home’s front door. And of course, I didn’t have time to even think about trying to take a photo of that bear with my cell phone.
Yikes! A bear crossing all four lanes on the highway! Reminded me of the time when a bear scared the beejeebies out of me as it came around the corner of my house while I was sitting on my front porch swing.
Still driving home, I thanked the good Lord that I hadn’t hit that bear and that the rain, although continuing, wasn’t as torrential as it had been. Eventually, my heart rate reached normal again. I turned onto a side country road, a short cut to my house.
Still raining. Still thinking about the bear and the heavy rain. I came to a rise in a hill and was startled yet again.
Standing in the absolute middle of the road was a huge, brown, ugly dog. Just standing. Not moving. Facing me, the oncoming car.
Slamming on the brakes again, I expected him to run off the road into the woods nearby. Nope. He stood his ground, staring at me, and maybe it was just my imagination but it seemed as though he was outright defying my vehicle and me. I literally had to steer my car onto the grassy berm on the side of the road to get past him and he continued to glare at me. Let’s just say I was glad it was raining and my car window was up all the way.
Shaking my head with disbelief from that encounter, I drove on past the weird Bigfoot-like wooden creature that someone erected on this country road (in the photo above) thinking I would be glad to get home. And I must admit, I was formulating a blog post in my mind about all of this too.
The phrase, raining cats and dogs (and bears), was rambling through my mind when – you’re not going to believe it, but it’s the truth – a black and white cat started running down my side of the road towards me.
Really??? Again, I started to wonder what in the world was going on. We live in the country and yes, it is a bit of a wild kingdom out here. I’m very accustomed to having deer appear out of nowhere while driving and other small wildlife, but bears?
And now a dog AND a cat? On the same day within 15 minutes of each other? What next? No sooner did that thought cross my mind, I found out. About a half mile from my house, a small flock of wild turkeys decided to step out in front of me onto the road.
You can believe that I was one happy person to finally arrive home, pull my car into the garage, and breathe a sigh of relief that I was back safe and sound.
The rain still gently fell but the downpour was over and my brush with wildlife was finished as well. Or so I thought.
As I sat in our family room beside the open French door that leads to our backyard deck, I started telling my daughter about my wild drive home. Out of the corner of my eye through the screen door, I saw a nondescript brown blur. Something was making its way around our yard.
Are you kidding me? Nope. I opened the door, stepped out into the rain, peered around one of our backyard trees and there it was. Another wild turkey just hanging out at our house.
Raining cats and dogs and bears and turkeys. I decided I would not wonder what would come next. Didn’t want to know.
So I stayed home the entire rest of the day while the rain stopped and the sun emerged. And I hoped all the cats and dogs and bears and turkeys stopped crossing my path at least for the day.
“Into each life some rain must fall.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (He never said anything about bears, dogs, cats, and turkeys!)
You’re either in or you’re out. You can only straddle the fence for so long before it becomes necessary to choose which side of that boundary marker you’re willing to jump into.
I find this is true in all aspects of life. Make a decision. Choose which side you’re on. We learn that at an early age and you can witness it on any elementary school playground. Line up on this team or that one but you can’t just hang in the middle.
Except that’s where a lot of us cling – to the middle of the road. We don’t want to jump on this or that bandwagon because it might be politically incorrect or we might offend someone, even our family or friends. So we compromise (not that that’s a terrible thing, it’s good in some instances) to keep the peace or not be different or in the minority or….you can fill in the blank.
Choose your side. It’s evident in the political arena which is so fired up for the upcoming November presidential election that it reminds me of a wild WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) show gone rogue with manic behavior and ‘roid’ rage.
It saddens me that people can choose to get oh, so riled up over politics or insert your favorite
obsession passion here, yet still choose to be apathetic and indifferent to faith in God.
Today, July 26, is All or Nothing Day. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t been contacted by a complete stranger who just so happened to have read a blog post or two of mine.
A few weeks ago, I opened my email inbox and noticed a message from a stranger. Now I will admit that I’m a sceptic when I get unsolicited emails and usually just hit the delete button.
But every so often, I get an email that my heart tells me to open and read and, believe it or not, I have had some absolutely wonderful email conversations with a few blog readers who were complete strangers to me. Those rare occurrences have blessed my heart with the stories they’ve shared with me and how reading my written words touched them enough to reach out and contact me. In the words of an old friend of mine, “It’s a God thing.”
So something in my heart implored me to open this email:
“Happy Wednesday! I wanted to send a note after seeing how you embrace a healthy, mindful home and life on your blog. I wanted to let you know about All or Nothing Day on July 26th, a day dedicated to living life to the fullest. I’m a 10 year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there I decided it was all or nothing from that day on.I’m emailing you because I wanted to ask if you would be willing to help spread the word. It would be fantastic if you joined me on your blog in remembering why we’re here and what we’re most passionate and proudest of.”
Okay, I used to work in journalism. I know how to check out facts. Plus at my ripe old age, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. I wanted to ascertain this was legit. So I did what everyone else in the world does. I googled the writer of the email.
I discovered she is exactly who she says she is. A cancer survivor. Someone who chose to fight with all she had and wage a war (and it can be a long war with battle after battle) against the rogue cells in her own body which wanted to snuff out her life.
But more than that, she is an advocate who embraces life with gusto, passion, and much vigor to spread awareness not just about cancer but those affected by the particular one that she had been diagnosed with – mesothelioma.
This lady is all in.
I emailed her back and asked her to tell me more. She didn’t ask for a monetary donation to her cause; really she didn’t ask that much of me. All she hoped I would do is write a little on my blog about what All or Nothing Day might mean to me.
It’s the least I can do. One cancer survivor to another.
According to Heather Von St. James, this is what All or Nothing Day embraces:
“…it’s all about celebrating those moments where we’ve gone all out and also highlighting what our passions and proudest moments are in life. It captures the spirit of how I’ve tried to embrace each day since my diagnosis over ten years ago. As a cancer survivor I’ve dedicated myself to being an advocate for those affected by mesothelioma, spreading cancer awareness and educating on the continued dangers of asbestos…along with my family it’s what I give my all to every single day! I’d love for you to join by creating a post on your blog with what All or Nothing Day sparks with you, I think the beauty of this day is that it’s so different for everyone and it would be fantastic to see what you share to help inspire your readers!”
So there you have it.
A decision to make. You’re either in or you’re out.
I’ve thought, pondered, and asked the Lord what I should write to signify what All or Nothing Day means to me. What inspires me? What sparks the flame of passion within me? What do I most want to share with my readers?
The answer became quite clear. It comes right down to a basic part of who I am – my faith.
I’m either a believer in Jesus Christ or I’m not. I either place my complete faith and trust in Him or I don’t. I’m either all for Him or all against Him. I must choose sides even if I want to stay in the comfortable middle.
Because that is what He requires of me. I don’t want to be like the church of Laodicea, a spiritually dead church, written about in the Book of Revelation in the Bible (New Testament). Those believers were lukewarm about their faith in Christ. They weren’t hot – being on fire or passionate about their faith in God – and they weren’t cold – strongly against the things of the Lord – either. They were just apathetic, listless, unconcerned, and lethargic.
Jesus rebuked them in Revelation 3: 15-17 (The Message version): “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.”
Strong words but truth. Lukewarm believers, like those in that ancient church, claim to know the Lord, they may even attend church, but they are complacent. They straddle the fence. Not all in nor all out. And they can cause more damage than those who completely reject Jesus.
Lukewarm believers claim to be Christians, but their hearts aren’t changed. They lack the kind of love for the Savior that requires zeal and passion. They aren’t on fire for Him. Only repentance can change such a heart and those who are ‘hot’ for the Lord commit themselves completely to Him.
All or nothing.
When folks examine me and how I live my faith and what fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) I may exhibit, there’s one thing I hope they see in me.
A soul on fire for Jesus. And nothing less.
Because it’s all or nothing and I’m totally in. All in.
Click here: Soul on Fire