Monday, April 30th, 2018
When I rolled over at 6am this morning, and peeked out the window, I could not believe my eyes.
The texture of the clouds was incredible.
Now, I’m rarely out of bed at 6am, but this morning I bounded out of bed.
After photographing them, I settled down in our sun room with my bible, specifically to read the book of Ephesians. Paul and I have been trying out a new church, and their current sermon series is on “7 Words to Change Your Life.” Last week’s message/word was “Thanks,” and at the end of the message, the pastor suggested reading Ephesians for more context and guidance in being thankful (specifically to God). I’ve always loved Paul’s letters, but I hadn’t read Ephesians before. One of my favorite passages was this one:
“I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you may understand the wonderful future he has promised to those He called.”
The first verse is the ringer for me: I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly…
I don’t know about you, but I can do a better job of this. The thankfulness lives in my heart daily, I see it and recognize it, but do I stop and tell God? Stop and thank Him? No, not everyday. I need to step it up; the day is never to busy, too full, to thank God.
My other motivation to the quiet time with my bible this morning was Paul. My husband Paul, not Apostle Paul, haha. The sermon yesterday was on “Help,” and it really resonated with us both. I was on the verge of tears the entire sermon, and when we walked out, I knew it would be a deep conversation starter for us.
The sermon focused not only on asking for help, but knowing when and how to give help. This resonated with Paul and me very differently, but still profoundly. On our way home, I expressed to Paul first, how thankful I was that we weren’t in need of any great help. We’re both healthy people, no loss of spouse or children, no job loss, we have a house to live in, food to eat. The only real help I’ve needed recently was help through the loss of Burke. But through that pain, God really showed me the quality of friendships I have. The incredibly special, selfless, caring friends and family that gave their time, their words, their prayers, their love when I really did need it the most. They gave me help, even when I didn’t ask for it, they just stepped up and were there.
Overwhelming in a good, beautiful way.
And then God brought me a friend who had been a key part of my healing with Burke, who ended up going through the loss of their pet, exactly one week after I lost Burke (the exact same appointment time and everything – exactly one week to the minute), and I was able to reflect that love and support back on them. God gave me that opportunity to give help after a wave of receiving help.
This all can’t just be coincidence people. I mean, really.
So after I shared my reflection on the sermon, Paul said he really resonated with the closing verses, 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
He felt inspired to dig into the Word more; he wanted to start reading his bible when he woke up in the morning, so he could pick a verses to focus on for the day.
Our cat, Finn, is always on the bed with us when we wake up in the morning; I open my eyes to him staring quietly at me, and the moment our eyes meet, he starts to rumble-purr, the sign of ultimate contentment and excitement from him. Paul said he felt like Finn was a great analogy for God; He sits on a edge of the bed, expectantly, waiting for you to wake up so together you can explore the day He made for you. For us to recognize that, and to not blow right past Him, but to stop and talk with Him.
When I was photographing the sunrise this morning, that’s all I could think about. I imagined myself sharing those awesome colors and textures with a God that enjoys our delight, and it was a wonderful way to start the day.
If you are interested in listening, here are links to the Thanks sermon, and the Help sermon.