"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
— C.S. Lewis
my friend katy has the above listed as one of her favorite quotes. it is also one of mine and so befitting of a new year. of new beginnings. and of His mercies that are new each and every morning.
new years lists. my list is twofold: one part gratitude; one part good intentions. maybe a dash of resolve. but not too much. i may be partaking in new years the old fashioned way, but i'm not going to waste my time compiling a list of specific, totally unrealistic resolutions like keeping my home organized or remembering to take my multivitamin every day.
my mother always said that whatever you do on new year's day sets the proverbial stage for the rest of the year. i've spent the first half of the morning desperately trying to clean and organize the kitchen while chloe and parker tear apart the living room. and i have already accepted the fact that the daily vacuuming up of pixos will be a part of my inestimable future.
i figured i needed to take a break from and make sure i got in the 'new year's day blog'... you know, to ensure that i will continue it the rest of the year. my morning started with my two "snuggaly-buggalies" in my bed. chloe slept in my bed as we both fell asleep in our failed attempt at staying up to watch the ball drop. i realized last night - and with even greater clarity this morning - how very few new years eves and new years day mornings i will have like these... and how very, very precious they are. party hats and noise makers ... a new years toast with bubbly... all fade into transparency in comparison to this.
there is no better way to begin a new year that to fill your mind with gratitude over all the things you are thankful for and in doing so, that gratitude inevitably flows within, filling up your heart. it goes without saying that these two precious children are on the top of my list of the what i am so very grateful and thankful for. not just their existence, but their health, their happiness, their giggliness and silliness and especially their "snuggaly buggalyness". i am thankful for all of the things that we consider the barest of necessities and the things that we take for granted so often: health. a home to live in. food to eat. clothes to keep us warm. i am so thankful that i have a great part time job that allows me to spend so much time with my children. i am so very thankful for a God who is faithful, who calls us unto Himself, who remains true to His promise that He will "never leave us or forsake us".
to imagine, as c.s. lewis describes, myself as a living house, i am more than a work in progress. i'd like to trade in my scarlet "D" for a sign that says, "construction zone". and at the top of my list of good intentions is my intent to move out of His way, to stop running away, and to simply allow Him to reconstruct this dilapidated structure. i intend to abide. i intend to love Him - not as he has asked us to, but as He has commanded us to....
oh, like scores of others - i believe in God, i believe the bible, i attend church, i pray... all of these things so often in vain, for they are all lip service and ritual without a relationship with Christ... and without following the greatest of all the commandments.
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (NIV, Mark 12:28-30)
heart. soul. mind. strength. all so easily distractable. so easily compartmentalized. and so easily deceived. pressed for time, we stretch them all too thin. it becomes difficult to imagine pouring them all into One Great Love. it isn't through our effort. but through our surrender. and intent.