“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Our town recently gained a fabulous wine store. Not only is the selection unique, the prices invite any budget. Both swing the door wide open to welcome those curious about wine and others who know what they like. On my first visit in, my friend and I got an unexpected lesson in a particular wine that is known for its “Rutherford dust”. This dust gives a distinct taste and becomes a trademark of sorts in wine. And if I understood correctly, the dust comes from the location of the vineyard.
This made me ask what marks us? What are we known for? What kind of “taste” do we leave with those we interact with? According to scripture, we are to be known by our love for each other. And if the location of a vineyard matters to its flavor, it only makes sense that our relationship to our Creator would matter too. The closer we are, then love should be our most distinct note. I wonder how we are doing?
This declaration rings throughout everything this couple builds and it is so encouraging. They know their mission and have set their course. Just walking around the beautiful grounds of the Magnolia Silos gives clear evidence. From the shops, to the food and all the details in between; excellence, care, protection, beauty, welcome and love are on display at every turn. And after not visiting this place in a few years, I think I appreciated it even more during a recent trip.
One thing a friend and I noticed was the amount of security that protected the property inside and out. What a picture it was to remember the importance of protecting those in our home, those entrusted to us. And I have felt the need to step up the “security” in our home through prayer. It is a weapon that can easily be forgotten, but I am telling you it is powerful. With satan openly wanting to destroy our homes and families, what better way than to go to the One who can do something about it?
“Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:12
A gifted Bible teacher recently highlighted this verse and it was so encouraging. We did not come into this world knowing how to speak or what to say; we need to be taught. We also need to give ourselves and others grace while we are all learning. Perhaps nothing is more painful or more uplifting than words. And as we are going about our everyday activities, we can ask to be taught and helped by the very One who made our mouths. Because there is nothing like sweet words spoken and you never know how much someone needs them.
If Friday nights concert was not enough, Sunday night was Mercy Me with friends. What a night! One song of theirs in particular keeps running through my mind. Over and over they sang, You are holy, you are righteous, you are one of the redeemed, set apart a brand new heart, you are free indeed.” What an incredible reminder of who we are in Christ because of the cross! Sometimes I know I forget, but yet again, worship serves as a reminder. When we know who we are and whose we are, it makes all the difference. And with this reminder my prayer is to live accordingly.
Our oldest daughter and I got to see a long awaited concert last night. For hours we worshiped and heard stories of redemption. It was so good! We had both had long days and walked in tired. She took a picture of us before the music started playing and I noticed my wearied look. However, after hours of worship, we had another picture taken of us. What a difference worship makes!
I was reminded of how I have felt lately. Since our family had the dreaded virus, I have felt tired, defeated, discouraged and just plain down. It physically took a toll. Just like the enemy to take advantage of us when we are weak and he has seemed relentless lately. But what a weapon worship is and last night I saw the enemy defeated!
I had forgotten how strange it feels to sell your home. Having strangers come and go, without you being here, is odd. What do they think when they walk in? What catches their eye? Do they have any idea what stories have been lived within these walls? Do they know that the dining room is the designated place for birthday celebrations and that my mom gave me the dishes that are on display? Can they even imagine all the meals that have been eaten around our kitchen table and the prayers that have been prayed there? Do they walk into a little room off of ours and know several babies called that their room for years? Do they know it has become a bit of a nursery for me too as I continue to grow?
Home is more than walls, paint and tile. It is a place to belong. It is a place where grace abounds, while we all are growing up. It is a place where tears flow freely and laughter soon follows. It is not perfect, but it has served us well. And we will continue this story on to the next home in excitement mixed with the sadness that comes with change. I’ll keep you posted:)