The most precious piece of art I have in the home, is the one hanging over my bed. It simply says, “Always kiss me goodnight.” Although I do not have an earthly being to portray this special endearment to, this serves as a friendly reminder that I should honor God for the day I’ve completed. To express my love and gratefulness for Him, and to thank Him for all . It also retells the greatest story ever written, God loves me so much, despite, despite, despite. We are part of the same body and the sharing of positive words between each other, each day, is dynamic.
My childhood was deeply religious. The family enjoyed a good party from time-to-time. However, honoring God was vital. Using the Lord’s name in vain was a big deal in our household. So much so, that if anyone ever attempted to say things like “Oh My God” or “Oh Lord” out of the context of prayer, there was always a family member lurking in the background to remind us “Hey, don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.” This came with a finger pointing, accompanied by a head twist, to boot. As I look back, it was hilarious and serious all the same. A kind of seriousness still ingrained in me ‘till now. My words to God and about God are concrete, loving, caring, and most of all, authentic. These moments are precious and are entered from a place of delightful admiration.
The special features of such remembrance leads me to this. As a visionary and implementer, my creative spirit is always on fire. In the past, excitement grounded in God’s creativity would cause me to share all of the wonderful ideas I had up my sleeves. The issue was, these ideas, hopes, and promises were often shared with people who, at an afterthought, struggled with the meaning of integrity. Before I knew it, my God-given plans were stripped from right under me. They were stolen and rebranded by people who did not have need of anything. They were married, had great families, and financially well-off. At the time of these reveals, consistent betrayals broke my heart, and brought such sadness into my life. From my viewpoint, this group had everything; nonetheless, greed and the need for more and more were quite prevalent. I lost my sense of trust. Instead of firing off outward unpleasantries, I eventually ended those friendships with grace and complete understanding that God is a God of integrity, community, simplicity, peace, and joy. Therefore, it was more than okay, to move on.
Whenever I revisit this topic, I think of the Parables of the Tower Builder and King Warrior (Luke 14: 25-33). These brief and stunning parables acknowledge the concept of self-renunciation toward real discipleship. Discipleship, meaning a student or one who learns. The book of Matthew tells us that God desires our whole heart (10:37-39). In the parables above, Jesus discussed the objectives of building and of going to battle, representing construction and destruction. We construct pure relationships with Him, when we learn and apply His teachings. We can destroy ourselves and others around us, when we don’t or when we make hasty decisions. It is as simple as that. C.H. Spurgeon declared that Jesus was most interested in quality more than quantity. He left the comforts of His father’s home and gave up everything for us, because He knew of His inheritance, that of, to live with our God forever. His inheritance is also ours when we put Him first. He desires from us realness and not replications. Spurgeon said “He panted after the substance, and the shadow did not content Him.”
These parables offer much richness. And, although the embedded lessons they provide are clear, this does not mean that a life devoted completely to the Trinity is always easy. Throughout my lived-experiences, I am tested every day on matters such as forgiveness, patients, compassion, sacred speech, and relentless kindness. What brings this all home for me, is when I remember Jesus was sent to teach, give, and to start the construction (The Tower) of what is now His church. He fought for us! The cost of building such a place takes careful decision and planning. Foundations can be laid, but what good is that without the protection of walls? Jesus came at a great costs and one He willingly fulfilled. He continues to teach me on understanding, preparation, and application; representations of the very creative ideas and thoughts He gives to me. In His classroom, I become kinder, wiser, and more forgiving, even when my soul tells me to lean toward a different direction. You know, those moments when my mouth wants to speak on what’s in my head and not what He places in my heart 🙂 Those enough-is-enough moments! Whew indeed! On specific test days, I am conscious not to become comfortable with the laziness of some inhabitants I sometimes allow to share my space. The ones who refuse to do their own work, and instead hang on to take more than they are willing to give. I remember then, that which cost naught, is truly worth naught. Right then, the implementation of God’s words and directions as daily gifts, are valued exponentially.
Divine and loving father, when it’s time to close my eyes to rest, my words of praise, that kiss to you Heavenly Father, must always be sent with a sincere and gentle “Thank you”. Thank you for the triumphs, challenges, and for teaching me how and when to pick my battles. Heavenly Father, your daughter who tries, as your constant disciple. With all my love, Charlotte.
Listen to me read this prayer:
Source: Spurgeon, C.H. (1865). Counting the cost. In Christian T. George (2017), The lost sermons of C.H. Spurgeon. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic.