I have been through a hard-to-find-words-for-particularly-trying-and-complicated season. It’s not one that I could pinpoint exactly what was so trying or complicated… the only way I know to describe it is that I have felt a cloud or fog around my heart and mind. I’ve still gone about my business, doing my gig, but inside at times have been in much turmoil. A lot of question marks – about God and about myself and about this life He has given me. A lot of reading and praying and searching. It has been nothing brought on by another person. I can see some stressors for sure but nothing to cause so much angst.
Finally after a few months of this intense turmoil, I carved out some space upstairs in our bonus room for seeking Him. All through His Word it says seek me and you’ll find me when you seek me with ALL of your heart. Keep asking and the answer will come. He says that those who worship Him will worship in Spirit and in truth. But I found that my daily life had little room for His Spirit and truth and for seeking Him. We run at 100mph 14 hours a day and then wonder why we have run out of gas. We sign our kids up for everything under the sun, scroll social media for hours on end (just check your battery daily usage status – my phone use was at 8 hours a day between calls and email and social media – the same amount as a FULL TIME JOB!), schedule girls nights, obsess about our bodies, work endless hours, go on dates with our husbands, make time for movies and the newest restaurants. And then are left scratching our heads at our lack of peace.
Shortly after Wills died, I was praying about whether to go back to baking. I felt that I would jump in too quickly and then not grieve him properly but my heart was ACHING to get back in the kitchen. One morning, I said heck with it I’m just gonna bake but felt overwhelming guilt for feeling so much joy in baking. So I took it to the Word, went to my knees crying, asking God to confirm if I could start back to baking (don’t always trust your conscience!!!) and opened my bible and it fell to Haggai and this is what I found (emphasis mine):
Then on October 17 (WILLS’ BIRTHDAY! WHATTTTTTT!!!) of that same year, the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. 2 “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: 3 ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! 4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And NOW GET TO WORK, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’
So naturally I started back to baking – gladly minus the guilt… but the book of Haggai has stayed a thread in my heart and mind over the last few years and I haven’t understood why. In this season of seeking His kingdom first (not perfectly but definitely trying to prioritize my relationship with Him over any other in my life) He has brought some clarity to this book and it’s thread in my heart and I wanted to share it with anyone willing to listen.
A remnant of Israel has returned to their ruined city to rebuild the Temple and are so overwhelmed at what needs to be done to the Temple that they stop working on it. And then start building fine houses for themselves while His Temple was in ruins.
“The word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses (Old Testament shiplap?!?!?!), while this house lies in ruins?’ Now the Lord of Armies says this: ‘Think carefully about your ways…'” Haggai 1:3
Personally, I have read that many times and assume He is still using this book of the Old Testament to talk about the Church today, but I look at where we go to church and it’s growing! People are tithing and showing up and serving and making room! The building itself is not in ruins and it’s full as a tick every Sunday. So I’ve been at a loss of what this could mean for me. And then one day in my carved out space upstairs it hit me like a bolt of lightning…
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
He’s highlighting the neglect of His Spirit in ME, in His people, in this generation. We are so busy serving and going and doing and fretting and looking to the left and to the right that we have lost the art of being still in His presence. He has not called us to anything but Himself. There may very well be a call on your life – a very specific one – but it will pale in comparison to the call to delight yourself in Him and let Him be your all in all. Any and every purpose will flow from that place.
I believe with every fiber of my being that as we keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking that He WILL show Himself to us in our many question marks. Our pursuit of Him absolutely requires turning our face to Him and away from the world and oh how He will reward that turning!!! As Ruth reminded me many times, it is HIS work to do, our job is to remain in Him and to fix our gaze on Him. Only took five years to sink in (#dumbsheep)!
All of this to say – I have not been in a place to write the last few months but this morning, it washed over me like a fresh wave and I knew I could finally share this little tidbit to encourage anyone reading that may feel a desire to more of Him and less of this world… I have found it so sweet to be loved by Him in the midst of my fog. I have never tasted anything sweeter. Turns out, all He needs is a little time and a little sitting still and a little faith and a child begging for more of HIM… hope to share more at some point but for now, will leave it at this 🙂