A lot has transpired over the past couple of months in my life, my families life, and a lot of it has made me step back and absorb life. My word this year is ‘intentional’ — having purpose, and being deliberate in all aspects of life.
One aspect of that was being more deliberate in my Bible reading and relationship with God. I have a group of friends that I’m reading the Bible through with, they are my accountability people. It’s the first year that I’ve made it past Numbers in my bread program. I’ve always fallen short in fully completing a Bible reading program. The other night I told my family that I was realizing that the Bible is brutal. The hate, the killing, the deceit, cheating, the mutiple wives and tons of children — who then all fought and killed and vied for positions. I was like ‘I’m ready for the New Testament’, which my brother replied, ‘just get me to Jesus’. And honestly, that’s all it takes…regardless of what you’ve done or where you currently are in your life, Jesus is the answer. He loves us beyond words…”It is finished” then silence, but it transcends all time.
Another aspect was focusing on stepping out of my comfort zone and doing my part to foster and build friendships, and doing things to build old relationships. This lead me to attending the final farewell of Gateway at the 700 Howdershell location. This piece of land holds so many memories. From attending youth camp here as a child, to then attending college there (when I thought I wanted to be a teacher). It was there as my parents were leaving and we were standing in the parking lot that I saw my dad cry for the first time. I’m sure at some point previous to this he possibly cried, but non that I remembered (loving beyond words — it seeped from his eyes). It was here that I formed friendships that have lasted through the years. To many it’s just a bunch of buildings; to me it’s where I met God. It’s where I believe my love for old buildings and historical churches comes from; being formed and ‘tended’ in an environment under stained glass windows, marble, and plastered walls…one draws solace when one encounters it again. Not only the respect for the structure (I grew up in a carpenters home, and also with a grandfather that fashioned things out of wood — I love looking at the craftsmanship), the quiet that seeps into your soul brings rest and peace.
Then there is the aspect of trying to be intentional in letting my family know what they mean to me. Being willing to say ‘I love you’ more. I’m a very much a stay to myself individual, I’m not one to be affectionate, I definitely do not initiate personnel contact — very random hugs. I think I come by it honestly, my family are all pretty much the same — though after we’ve lost some and had some blows that shook our foundation, we are all a little more open than we were. We know we love one another, and they would be there in the drop of a hat…but I feel that we are more Neanderthal than anything. We can just grunt or nod in a successive manner and carry on a full conversation; knowing in the end that regardless of what was said or not said…we are loved beyond words. If words are being said, you pay attention. If you’re invited to sit down to ice cream (our favorite food group), then you are accepted…especially if the ice cream is being shared. It takes practice to be open, and something that has to be done daily.
But loving beyond words, being intentional in your life and deliberately being open also opens you to hurt. It opens you to feel. It opens you to know disappointment. When you are told news concerning people you love, it drives right to the heart. But never stop going beyond the words.
When you attempt to be intentional and deliberate, and foster relationships it makes it harder when it’s not reciprocated. When you are blown off and continually told “I’m busy” “I have to work” “I don’t go anywhere” to then find out that you were lied to, and realizing that people make time for those they want to make time for, and they go places with who they want to go with. You want to revert back to the high walls and self preservation mode; but you know that to move forward and be your best self that it may actually require deliberately removing some people from your life to be your best self. To allow yourself to love yourself beyond words.
The love that goes beyond words…the love that you know regardless of what happens, what news is told, what stressor comes your way, or what craziness there is…that you can just grunt and understand that you have an army standing behind you. That’s the love that matters.
Be deliberate. Be intentional. Love beyond words. Be strong.