As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Simply Feeling Welcome

I'm stuck.

Well, that sounds a bit dramatic, but I don't like the term "writer's block". It isn't so much a block. It's more like a bump. You know, like when you are driving with an open cup of something and you hit a bump and it spills. Well, I hit a bump, and the stuff I was going to write about spilled.

So I thought I would drop in and write about my "writer's bump", tell you what I remember, and maybe let things come to mind. In truth, I write better this way anyway. When I try to write "formal" stuff, it is hard. I don't think I am formal. If my friends are reading this, they are laughing as they mutter, "When did you ever think you are formal?"

Formal is something I look at and admire, but it isn't me. I have a lovely friend who does her whole house up every year at Christmas so Southern Living might show up and take pictures at any time. Truly, it is stunning, and I go, sip coffee, chat, and admire. Then I come home, move a magazine or book I've been reading with the children, pick my laptop up off the floor by the couch where I worked on it that morning or last night, pull the wadded throw over me, and snuggle down. My coffee cup sits on a coaster on the carpet so I can reach it easily, and when Rob comes in to watch TV, I move my legs and let him have part of the couch.

Formal is not something we can be accused of. In fact, one time we had a friend come over for a game night, and he rotated out of a game, so he sat down on our couch to watch TV until his turn. He fell asleep and stayed there until the next morning. We thought that was the best compliment we could get.

I've never wanted a home where people were afraid to come in and relax. I've never wanted people to feel they had to be a certain level to be loved on or find refuge with us. Really, I guess that has always been our goal. We have always wanted our house to be a refuge for anyone in need of a place to hide and hang out. Granted, we have our rules. Colored drinks stay in the kitchen or dining areas. Shoes don't go on the furniture. There are certain behaviors that are not acceptable, and guests have to treat each of our family memebers with respect. Yes, we have rules, but they are reasonable, and if folks follow them, they are welcome in our home.

I think God is like that. I think God wants to open His home to anyone who wants in as well. I believe He wants us to know Him as a place of refuge. I think He wants us to know He is a place of rest. Granted, He has rules too, but they are reasonable, and anyone willing to live by His rules is welcome with Him anytime.

Maybe the desire for everyone to feel comfortable spills over into my writing. If I am honest, and I do try to be, the reality is I've never been good at vocabulary. As much as I admire users of big words, I am not one of them. The "reading level" program on my computer usually ranks my writing somewhere on a 5th or 6th grade level. That doesn't sound too impressive for someone who was halfway finished with her classwork toward a master's in math. Yep, that's me. My brain can work at a high enough level to do Master's level math, but my writing level sits right around a 5th or 6th grade level.

And, I confess my writing ability bugged me for a long time.

I tried to console myself by saying I don't want anyone to feel lost when they read something I write because sometimes God uses my "bumps" to provide something profound, and when that happens, I want it as easy to understand as possible. And really, that is true, but it never struck me that my writing level was a gift until last week.

I have been in contact with a dear pastor in Valsad, India, and he invited me to lead a women's conference. The Lord has not opened the door for that yet, but He did use the situation to teach me that speaking in words that "anyone" can understand is a gift. I like to think anyone in America who reads my blog or website can read over a sixth grade level, but one of the wonderful things about the internet is the global connection. There are those who know English for communication purposes but could not understand it at "higher reading levels". Thankfully, the Lord is more concerned about communication than impressive vocabulary. He doesn't need big words to get His message across, which means everyone can feel comfortable listening, even those with the smallest of vocabularies.

Have you ever considered the first sentence God spoke concerning salvation in Christ? The first sentence was simple, "I love you." For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.... It doesn't get any easier than that, and it didn't even come in a formal note. Instead, He sent this simple message via a stable. A place anyone could go if they were humble enough offering a message anyone could understand if they listened.

Now, I am not trying to reduce God in any way. In truth, I don't know that any of us can comprehend the true glory of God. That is the very thing that amazes me even more. Such a glorious God communicating in such a simple way for anyone to understand. Strangely, it can be so hard to understand something so simple.

Wishing you the simple life and the ability to understand the depth of it......

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