It makes me feel better to tell myself this isn’t “normal.” I’ve made more mental lists than I can remember and more paper lists than I can find. I’ve been lonely as our family has been apart and anxious as I’ve anticipated greater separation. I’ve felt guilty for knowing the drive-thru menu by heart and ashamed for buying lettuce for salads I never made. I’ve been paralyzed about cleaning out my closet and impulsive about packing family photos. I tell myself it’s okay, because a multitude of changes are colliding, instead of “just one,” like leaving a job or selling or home or emptying a nest or changing sides of the country. I’ve been living in packed boxes between empty walls for quite a few weeks now. But in the midst of the commotion, I’ve seen God over and over. I’ve been loved so well.
Sometimes we are most aware of God’s presence through the presence of others. Worker bee friends have dropped off empty boxes for me to fill. Dear ones have paid for my lunch and bought me coffee. Friends have spontaneously prayed for me when they saw need in my eyes. Sacrificial sisters have bubble wrapped dishes and stuffed paper around … stuff. No one said, “Why in the world are you keeping this?” One brought homemade soup and cornbread = comfort food. They were not afraid of our commotion or my vague plans. They bravely came into our swirl of change, actively loving well.
As servant-hearted sisters have been present, I have been so aware of my tender-hearted God’s constant presence. Through their loving model, I have been reminded that God manifested His love for us by sending a human being to be with us = Emmanuel. He showed us His presence by putting His person among us. We may not be able to see God, but we see His love through others. We know He is with us when His people are with us.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:11-12)
This week we will host a small open house for Jacob’s graduation. I, too, will graduate into “empty nesthood.” We will have our boxes in the garage by then (I hope/plan/pray), but the walls will be empty and the stuff of our lives and family will largely be sorted, boxed, and ready to move. The table will be uncovered, because I packed the tablecloths. The usual centerpiece will be absent, because it’s in box #64. For home decor, we will rely on God’s love through us. For fragrance, we will depend on the aroma of His Spirit. For hospitality, we will adorn this house-building with the love that has been spread over us time and time again in this season of change.
Your presence is a powerful demonstration of God’s presence. Your love is a powerful expression of God’s love.
- Who needs to feel God’s presence this week?
- Who needs to see His love?