Paint cans jostle around, encased in the machine. Meanwhile a man beams through a brilliantly toothy smile, wrinkle-creased eyes waiting patiently for the lull of mixing to cease. We met just moments ago and yet we have arrived in conversation at a family chat about our Father.
Sure there are a handful of generations between us and skin colors and cultures are right diverse, but we are family. Already we are reminiscing on the goodness of our Lord and the true worship that comes from a heart of gratitude. He does a light skip step as he dabs a splat of paint on a lid and talks about how he nearly charges the sanctuary every Sunday morning to sing praises in the choir. You see he’s been singing those same old Gospel hymns for ages and his gratitude shines forth like the Son. He cannot contain His joy regarding who God is- and now neither can we. The paint swatch is dry and we talk about how if we all never meet again, we will meet again at home… We look up and all smile, having that certain knowing that the presence of our Father was with us all…right there in the fluorescent swept department store.
Then I go side by side with a special friend and splash paint on walls and see our children giggle and play with utter delight and we press on trying to get something accomplished…and I marvel. With so much going on in life, she gives her day away and pours in to the task.
And a pang of hunger catches our stomachs and our hands are getting tired as we out Karate the Karate Kid and the message comes that chocolate smothered lattes will be delivered and our children will be fed and that help is on the way… and though their days have been lived already they keep going and give more….and I marvel.
And freedom is given, and trust is allotted to choose a color in the first place and kindness is ever modeled in the foundations of leadership…. And I marvel.
And a call from Momma, and a text from a sister, and a phone call from a friend to my best friend, and I am swept up in a swirl of gratitude over all this… The Lord begins to speak to me about family. His family, our family…our eternal family. And maybe it doesn’t move you, but I was moved to tears… because genuine love never produces anything less than a genuine flood of emotions.
The weeks flow in and no sooner ebb back out like a tidal wave of time relentless and unceasing… and if we are not careful we let others slip through walls of water like life drained straight out. In moments of forgotten care, we can inadvertently toss lives off our shores and out into the deep.
We can get so caught up in our own interests that we can forget what is happening in the lives of others….and I am guilty at times too…hanging on to my own life instead of sharing the space of my raft.
Yet families do not forget… they see, they reach, and they meet… life is not a solo mission and who ever lived it without love and compassion never lived a true life at all.
What happens when our lives become so ensnared with “to dos” that when we look up from our keyboards and our electronics our landscape has in fact become strange land?
If we are not careful the cares of this life will leave us lifeless and Jesus’s love that is boundless can become all bound up in our own self-centeredness.
~Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
As the Lord spoke tenderly to my heart about family and what it looks like… He impressed upon my heart that His family does not wait to be family when they reach home, but rather they bring the comforts of home to family here…wherever they go…
Because our heavenly family is being established everywhere, it is in our connecting and serving one another that we sample a side of heaven down on Earth.
His sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters…. We serve and share and come alongside well before we cross to the other side. We are meant to be entwined in life together…encouraging, exhorting, and simply loving –Already.
~I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love….~ Colossians 2:2
And I saw a snapshot of the week.. and it looked like HIM to me.
No selfish ambition, or vain conceit…just a bunch of the King’s children all around seeing each other’s lives and going all in – in order to glorify the one that is All in All- HIM.
When it is no longer about us but about Christ in US….then we begin to see the evidence of what is so very precious to the heart of God… true family.
~We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16