When I spoke at Q Women a few weeks ago, God created an experience that was a bigger blessing to me than I imagined. Has that ever happened to you? Have you gone into a situation, thinking you were going to go in, do your thing, and then come home and that would be that, only to have God drop a word right into your heart that changed you forever and for good?
If you’ve had that happen to you, then you know it’s really pointless to try to explain it the way it happened or the way you experienced it. Those kinds of moments are so intimate and uniquely designed to speak to your specific situation—your DNA, your history and your future, your vocabulary, your understanding of things—that the story never translates well when you try to share it. What you know is that God broke through your ordinary way of looking at the world and gave you a glimpse of what life can really be like and, because of that, you sit back, take a deep breath, and start living life with brand new eyes.
So, I’m not going to try to tell you what happened in Nashville, Tennessee. Not today. Maybe one day, if you and I sit down for a long lunch or have the opportunity to enjoy an extended walk outside, beneath the deep blue sky. If we ever find the time and space to make that happen, I will do my very best to explain the many ways God reminded me that he is good, his plans for me are good, and he delights in me. I don’t mean to sound selfish or exclusive, here. God’s message for you is the exact same as the one I’m telling you he shared with me. It just so happens, however, that my time in Nashville was like a date with God—just me and him, and him telling me I’m the apple of his eye and that he’s in this for the long haul.
I couldn’t escape him. We cannot escape him. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. His love for us is endless and without condition. His love for YOU is endless and without condition.
Today, after church (and I realize this is an odd transition, but hang in there with me), my friend asked, “What do you have planned for the rest of the afternoon?” and do you know what I said to her? I said, “I’m going home and I’m going to organize my linen closet.” It’s my latest project.
We have had towels in our linen closet that we received as wedding gifts, nearly thirty years ago. No one wants those towels. No one wants to use those towels. They’ve held up over the years, and they carry a lot of sentimental value for me, but honestly…they are nearly thirty years old. So, this afternoon, I threw them in the trashcan. Last week, I organized my kitchen cabinets. I threw out old vitamins and tea bags and petrified saltine crackers from when I was writing Every Little Thing. The week before the kitchen cabinets, I cleaned out my pantry. I got rid of expired spices and sauces I will never use. I wiped down the shelves and I went to HomeGoods and bought containers to help keep stuff organized.
“It feels like a spiritual practice,” I said to my friend in church when I told her about all my organizing and making space. And it is. It has become an act of worship for me—this making space and getting rid of things I no longer need and that no longer serve me or my family well. It is my Advent ceremony, and it is a direct extension of my date with God in Nashville.
Jesus has come to give us life, and the life he’s got planned for us is an abundant one. I want to have room to receive what God wants to give. And this is not about possessions or monetary wealth. But, the physical act of creating space to breathe beneath my roof and in the corners of my home, reminds me that God is in relentless pursuit of us, he is closer than we’ve ever imagined possible, and his love for us is more than we can handle.