There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time.
I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.
It doesn’t come in an envelope.
It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day… but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.
Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy.
I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head-faked into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited — every day, all over again
Bob Goff (Love Does)
Hey blog. It’s super long time no see… But 2017 is continuing to be a pretty epic year and I figured it was time for a little life update.
I can’t honestly believe that it’s already November.
Christmas music has started playing in Starbucks (and in our office if I’m being honest). I’m in the midst of planning advent calendar festivities for our house. The church seasonal programme is already out. And I have no idea, and yet every idea, where this year has gone.
Me and Ochan have been married for just over 7 months. Seven beautiful, full-of-laughter, not-perfect-but-yet-perfect months.
I am thankful.
Today I turned 20 weeks pregnant. That’s a whole-half-of-a-pregnancy down, from now let-the-countdown-commence, pregnant.
I am thankful.
Oh, and last week I left my nice, stable, job to jump in feet-and-heart-first with Ochan and joined his company full time.
I am thankful.
So, when I say this year has been and continues to be one of change and new beginnings, I’m really not kidding…
And in this season where everything is exponentially changing, I’ve been finding that the foundational, unwavering daily rhythm has to be one of thankfulness. To to get up each morning and just spend time with Holy Spirit, in the quiet place of thankfulness. To not get caught up in the to-do list, and the day’s schedule, and the million thoughts that try to steal away my peace and centre – but to rather first of all fix my gaze upwards and still my heart.
I’ve been re-reading Love Does by Bob Goff recently (which I always recommend!), and I guess in the fullness and busy seasons of life, it can be easy to forget to quiet and position your heart to experience that invitation from God that really does come afresh each day. That invitation to engage. That invitation to live. That invitation to slow down enough to connect with our people and our world with the heart of Jesus. That invitation to be a vessel in the place that God has us.
So, in the million thoughts and in the sometimes-worries, and in the the changes of my home, and my body and our family… I am thankful, and I am daily choosing the road of thankfulness.
I’m thankful for being married and I’m thankful for my husband. Married life is a joy. Ochan is a joy to me. The joy of doing regular life together each day. Of cooking, and eating and Netflix marathons. Of the fact I asked him to order me some decaf earl grey tea, and a huge shipment of 12 boxes just showed up. Of travelling and adventuring and discovering together. That’s all a joy. Not perfect. Not always easy. But filled to overflowing with thankfulness.
I’m thankful for being pregnant.
For the little boy that we will welcome into the world next year. For the privilege of growing this little life and journeying into Motherhood. For the effects of pregnancy – the good and the not-so-good – because they are a reminder of the gift that God is weaving together and the fact that this is a miracle of grace. (And maybe writing about the Japanese maternity system will be another blog post in itself… ;))
I am thankful I get to work with Ochan, Soichi and their team.
That even though this brings a level of risk and uncertainty and at times, fear – that following this journey God has us on has never ever seen us abandoned or unprovided for. That this adventure is one of trust and enlarging my heart to follow in faith every step of the way.
I am thankful for the many gifts that God has given in this season. Because all is grace, and all is gift. And all is a reminder of the only Gift that holds all things together and makes joy possible – that which we see in Jesus.
Earlier this year, we had a beautiful, wonderful young high-school girl come and intern with us at my previous company. Now, we have welcomed many amazing interns as part of this program over the years, but this particular girl really challenged me. I got to work with her every day over her placement and spend a lot of time talking with her and hearing her heart and her hopes. She was Japanese, but had mastered English to an almost native level. She had a big heart for people. She worked her socks off every day. She loved to laugh, and joke and share her joy.
And she was dying. Cancer. Such a brutal cancer. Such a dark contrast against a life so filled with light.
But she taught me a lesson about thankfulness, in every season. She taught me about the importance of slowing down enough to live every moment. She taught me about loving people fully and without restraint or fear, and seeing the world through big, beautiful, fearless, adventure-seeking eyes. She taught me that living a thankful life is living a brave life.
She taught me this lesson of accepting the invitation to live a full life every, single, possible day that we have in a beautiful, yet at times, heart wrenching way.
Recently, I heard the news that she finally lost her fight with cancer. I don’t have all the answers for what appears as tragedy – why some are taken early, and it feels like too early. I don’t have the balm for the wounds that her loss will have left in her family.
But I do have hope. Because I know that her story and her light will continue to shine. That her battle wasn’t really lost, but won. That her short legacy has touched more people and had more impact than she will ever know. That her challenge will be one that I pray that I carry with me every day for the rest of my life – when I am tempted to fear and complain and give up and get distracted by all the small and big things that are not infinitely important. That I will live differently because of her lesson.
This week I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah in my devotional times, and yesterday I read these words:
2-6 This is the way God put it:
They found grace out in the desert…
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!
God told them, I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
This passage was written to Israel, in a place of darkness, and hopelessness, and rebellion. And they were given this promise. And so are we. That there is love, love and more love. Always. That there is always a reason to be thankful. And that thankfulness is a choice each day – an invitation that we are given afresh every morning.
To life a live where love does.