Olivia is five. She’s a chatty little ray of sunshine. When the family was together for Father’s Day, her extroverted personality was humming with all the togetherness. Her aunt pointed out how she used the “big words”—stable and productive. She sounded so smart. Those words weren’t on her kindergarten vocabulary list, but she used them in context without missing a beat.

Like Olivia finding words to describe her world, we take in so much without our knowing. How we grow and learn is often a mystery to us. We are naïve to think we are no longer shaped as we mature into the second half of our lives. We are people who are always being formed. The question is what will our transformation look like?

Being intentional is critical to what we become. The things and people we interact with daily shape us. This is the kind of exhortation I would tell others without one bit of hesitation (especially young mothers); however, when I think about my experience over the past few years, I’d say I was lucky.

I don’t mean lucky as something that happens by chance. My luck was manifested in the way that even though my awareness of the transformational process was lacking, things have turned out for my good. 

During those years I picked up and then laid down several things I could do for God. I kept trying to do things for God and He kept asking me to let them go. God was handing me bricks. In a process of learning to live surrendered, God was building a new house for me, with me—a house that didn’t look like something old or familiar, but something that now feels true.

“Every house is built by someone. 
And God is the One Who has built everything. 
Moses was a faithful servant owned by God in God’s house. He spoke of the things that would be told about later on. 
But Christ was faithful as a Son Who is Head of God’s house. We are of God’s house if we keep our trust in the Lord until the end. This is our hope. 
(Heb. 3:4-6 NLV)
I’ve sought God a lot over the past few years—too much, some might say? I was Mary. I’m sure there must have been a Martha somewhere in the kitchen thinking I was wasting my time. I wondered the same thing on many occasions, on days when the sun melted red upon the horizon and the world seemed to have passed me by. 

Something I learned a long time ago helped me during this time. When you don’t know what to do, when you feel a lack of direction, do what you know to do. Jesus ministered on the earth with resources at hand to unassuming people, each of them made in the image of God. Most of the time that’s what He wants from us---to live out of and give from his provision in the ordinary and mundane. The person we are to love and minister to is the person standing right next to us.

God takes the opportunity to show his sufficiency when we find ourselves with a lack of clarity. 

During those days in the shadows, I was with God the best I knew how. Undoubtedly, He was with me. He taught me through my writing practice and had me circling passages of Scripture for weeks on end. He gave me new friends; people I could not have known had the path gone another way. He called me to care for my father and pray for my children. He gave me the joy of being a grandmother. Jeff and I made it to the “best is yet to be” part of our life together.

Ordinary days are the bricks to building extraordinary lives.
Would I say I’m lucky? I would, though in the past when legalism held me in its grip, I would have bristled at the word. I had no idea God was bringing me here, not at the beginning. I had moments of strong resolve along the way, but if I am honest, there were times of weakness when He carried me; times I wanted to go my own way. God in his grace, and with a sure hand, made me miserable when I tried. He guided me, a prod here, a nudge there; ever faithful to turn me back to the path. I have not walked alone.

I’m betting I’m not the only lucky one—the only one sitting in a house not built with human hands. Maybe you’re holding on at the moment, waiting for revelation, wondering what God is doing, and why He keeps asking you to pick things up and then set them down? Could it be that He wants you to know something about his faithfulness you could know no other way? 

I don’t know who needs these words, who has lost hope and needs the reminder of the unfailing love of Jesus? I wonder whose heart is ready to open to the One who will not leave nor forsake? Is that you? Are you willing to wait, to pick up and put down until understanding comes? 

Hang on, friend. Someday you’ll stand on the porch of a new house and say with me, “I was lucky.”

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” 
(Ps. 23:6)

(Thanks for reading, my friends. I struggled for days on end about sharing this story. The "me" in memoir is still a struggle for me, but I thought this might help someone a little further down the path. Others have certainly helped me along mine. We are transformed for the sake of others. Please read  Part Two of this story: When the Lord Leads from Behind)


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