I’m writing a quick entry tonight because right now, I’m up to my earlobes in paint and spackling and feel like drywall dust has finely coated the lining of my lungs. My back hurts from lifting dozens of boxes of books, and no matter how much I step outside to breathe in the cool, moist air, fresh from newly fallen rain, I can still smell wood stain and caulking in my nostrils. My kids likewise, could share similar sensations for they have been steeped in the same work and accoutrements of home fixin’ up as I have.
For a little over a week now we’ve been pitching, packing and prepping our home to put it on the market. Living in a house for almost 20 years means a lot of work! Even more than that, however, it means countless opportunities to live together as the body of Christ to the glory of God.
Imagine the multitude of mixed emotions everyone is experiencing—anticipation over moving to a new house combined with a pervading sense of loss, as a whole lifetime of memories are packed into every crevice of our home for me and for each one of my children who all grew up here. There is this feeling that we are all leaving a big part of ourselves behind in this house, and we’ll never see that part of us again.
There isn’t anything simple about getting ready to move. From the sheer amount of work that has to be done to the emotional journey everyone must make as part of our preparation to start a new season of our lives in a new home, we need the Lord’s grace and help. And we need each other.
We Need the Body
In going through my library today I came across my notes from a worship conference I attended in August, 2009, just three months before Chris died. The primary message of the weekend was how God made us as a body in Christ Jesus. He made us to need each other and He called us to live with each other, not only for God’s glory but also for our good.
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.” ~I Peter 4:10-11
I love how God encourages us to use everything He’s given us, by His grace for His glory. This is not limited to the big things we do; it is a call He’s given us to carry out in all the little things we do on a daily basis.
For our family, a tiny part of the body of Christ, these verses are playing out as we embark on this grand new adventure together of preparing to move. As we sort through books and toys from the early days of my kids’ lives, or go through the box of Daddy’s special things he collected over the years, we can glorify God in how we value each other, even as we decide what to keep or not keep, and who might want a particular item.
We can communicate love and care even as we spackle holes in the wall side-by-side, or wash paint brushes out at the end of the day. We can be sensitive to each other when one of us gets tired of packing one more box, or show compassion when a sibling picks up something that was Daddy’s, like his Robert E. Lee needlepoint picture and is suddenly overcome with a deep sense of missing their dad.
Worship is Not Limited to What We Do on Sunday Morning
All these and thousands more moments of our days are opportunities for us to worship God. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That verse assigns importance to even the most seemingly trivial and routine things of life, like eating or drinking. For us right now, it also includes filling nail holes, spreading mulch, taping boxes and staining wood trim.
What we do and how we do these things can be a means of expressing the love God has for us in Christ. Nothing is too small to communicate His love. As I re-read my notes from the WorshipGod09 conference, I reflected again on a message shared about the vision and need for the local church. From my notes,
“We need the body, the local church, because we need to see, feel, taste, hear and smell God’s love. The deep love of Jesus must reach the level of our sensate reality otherwise we won’t truly experience it. God uses the body as the primary means to be the tangible expression of His love for us.”
Last weekend, our good friends, the Jacobsens from Massachusetts came down to help us with a long list of projects on our “to do” list for getting the house ready to put on the market. In just the first 24 hours they were here we tackled more than I ever imagined possible!
As they worked alongside us, mingling with the strong smell of stain and earthy aroma of mulch was the sweet fragrance of Christ’s love. Reverberating with the pounding of nails and the buzzing of a drill was the sound of the Lord’s voice singing over us, His children.
Our friends’ sweat and laughter and strong arms were all tangible expressions that the Lord has not only called us to this new journey, He is with us; He is our help and strength. That first night as I went to bed, even though tired and exhausted I rejoiced at God’s kindness and I smiled as I recalled seeing my kids hard at work and having fun at the same time.
As Christ’s people, the Church, we have the most unique and greatest opportunity to be three-dimensional realities of His love as we live and work and serve one another, building one another up so that we might attain unity in Jesus our head, and bring glory to our great God.
Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile shared this beautiful sentiment on this subject in his talk at the WorshipGod09 conference:
“When God hangs the artful portrait of the family, the Church, on the refrigerator of the cosmos, there is no response of, ‘What’s that a picture of?’ or ‘What a nice try.’ The only response we can make is, ‘How excellent are Thy works, O Lord! Great is Your glory, Lord God!’”
What a glorious thought!