"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they would live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being..."
A few children fidget, some look attentive, and the parents nod in agreement, the sun gleaming through the living room window. Because each one of us is there in that moment, right there, right then. And the Word says He has made us and He has determined the time we would live and the place we would dwell. Just like in Esther, I smile at my Audrey girl. Yes, 'for such a time as this'.
We ask around the circle if anyone has a song to share or sing. I can always count on precious little Sara to request her favourite.
"This is the day!" she bounces and shouts it out joyously. And we all smile and join together, "This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made... we will rejoice, we will rejoice, and be glad in it..." just simple voices together in a simple little homechurch.
I once thought the hymn was boring. Old fashioned. Not particularly moving in any regard. But then, I started listening to the words. Yes, THIS is the day. Today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, TODAY. THIS very day. It is here and it is holy and God made it and I'm in it. And it may be all I have. There's no promise of a tomorrow, after all.
This is the day. It's so simple, yet it challenges me to humbly give thanks and remember Who causes the sun to rise and gives me breath to inhale.
This is the day - I will rejoice and be glad in it. No matter what this day throws at me. Whether it is a beautiful, picture book day with river walks and peaceful children and the perfect marriage.
Whether it is a messy, wild and crazy day with screaming toddlers, spilled drinks, and disagreements. Whether it is a scary day with sickness and unknowns. Whether its a dull day of the mundane, the done-it-all-before, the here-we-go-again.
Because I've started to realize that everything, yes everything, depends on my perspective. My day is what my perspective says it is. My day is as good or as bad as my ability to surrender to the One who made it and rejoice and be glad in what He gives.
Whatever it happens to be. And, believe me, I understand - it isn't always pretty.
But often times it is much more precious and beautiful than we can imagine, if we will just change our perspective.
See, when we combine this truth in Acts about being created on purpose, for a purpose -right here, right now, the mundane and the difficult can be utterly transformed into the holy and the awe-some.
"Awesome" is really just some major awe. And I'm learning to live in awe. In awe of all I have and all I don't deserve and all my Saviour freely gives. I desperately want to live in awe of every day.
My soul cries out for mercy on the days I toss up my hands and forget that indeed, this is the day the Lord has made and if I want joy, I best do what He commands - surrender, rejoice and be glad in it.
And the next line to the sweet and simple little song goes something like this, ".... this is My commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full..."
Oh, that. I know it all too well and all too deep because I've lived the unloving walk and I've screamed at the kids and I've pouted and whined that my life was one big trap created by this family I had to take care of and I've cried myself to sleep with my back stubbornly facing my bewildered husband.
And I've watched a gracious God, all glory and honour to Him, I've watched Him take me and reshape me in ways only a true Savour can. He is wiping away the greedy, the painful, the shadows of the past, the blind eyes, the hard heart, the blurred vision, the never seeing that THIS is the day. He's taking this most unlikely girl and teaching her a thing or two about what it means to walk in joy and rest in Him and know that every day, no - every moment matters.
And it means letting go of the, 'what about me?'. No, it has to become, 'I'm all about Him'. That's where the joy is hiding. In that secret place of soul surrender.
He's giving me His eyes to see. To see how far I still have to go. To see that without Christ in me, I'm a mess. Without Christ with me, Emmanuel, I'm hopeless. But with Him, yes, with Him, I can walk in a completely altered reality. There is no mundane. There is no boring. There is no calling too simple or too small or too seemingly insignificant.
Wiping the tear from a crying child's cheek and bending as low as I can get with him, is my calling.
Cleaning dishes when they pile up, is my calling.
Visiting with those who desperately need a smile, is my calling.
Happily listening to descriptions of how my children made or plan to make yet another Rainbow Loom project, is my calling.
Hugging and loving, and making lunches for my husband, is my calling.
Willingly offering apologies when I undoubtedly mess up, is my calling.
Listening to the Lord's voice and obeying in the simple in the everyday, is my calling.
Because when God takes you and shakes you and places you - He has a purpose right there and right then.
Not in a few years when the kids are bigger or when you can actually do real ministry. (How many times have I heard this lie that women believe?)
If you have a family, and children, and people around you - welcome to your ministry, friend. No, not in five years when you go on a missions trip or start some group you've been thinking about, no - right now.
He 'determined the times set for us and the exact place we would live.' And He did this so that we would 'seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being.'
Breathe out. And praise God. He places us right where we are not so we can flounder and lack joy. No, He places us right here so that we may seek Him and find Him and our purpose in Him right where we are in this very moment in history.
If the baby is up all night crying, stand, hold your baby, and seek the Lord and find Him there.
If your 8-year-old is arguing with you again, pause, seek the Lord and find Him there.
If your feeling hopeless in a sea of mess with a less-than-helpful husband, seek the Lord and find Him there.
If you're about to lose your cool and you know you're about to scream at the kids, stop, breath - seek the Lord and find Him there too.
And in a sunset, He's there.
And the breeze, He's there.
And in the silly, sweet, clucking hens, He's there, oh, yes, He is. I know this full well.
It's these everyday simple moments of seeking and finding God, the Creator, that we are transformed. Slowly, yes, but surely. For He is faithful. These are the moments when we start to learn that concept of 'this is the day'.
This is the day He has made for me. For you. Right now. Right here. Let peace prevail, let perspectives be shifted, and let the commandment to love one another (our husband... our children...) bring us to the heights of a Christ-centered, heart-altering, life-lifting, fullness of joy.