The ministry of the lake

Every time we go to the lake Brad brings a book along as if he’s going to have some magical time where he isn’t watching the kids to read.  Sometimes I grab a book too, just to play along with this fantasy.

Even if I had a half an hour of solitude, I would probably spend it people watching.  I’m convinced the lake is full of the most interesting people in the county.  There are the moms that dip a toe in the water with their toddler, young adults horsing around in the deep end, teenagers getting in trouble, adolescents twirling off the high dive, grandmas waiting in the shade with a towel, leathery ladies frying in the sun and chain smokers at a picnic table.

It you were to encounter some of these people in public, they might be what you refer to as “sketchy”.  You may avoid eye contact on the sidewalk or lock your car doors while driving by.

Despite the diversity of the lake crowd, in my 20 some years of swimming there I have never witnessed anything worse than a slew of curse words spoken too loudly.  No fights, arguments, or illicit substances.

It turns out the diversity of the lake crowd results in unity.

There is one purpose for going to the lake and it’s to have fun.  It doesn’t matter if you like to swim, eat burgers, play putt putt or fish, the lake has it all.

In the bible Paul tell us that unity in the church is going to look a whole lot like diversity.   He says that some people will be teachers, some pastors, others prophets, evangelists or apostles and that their jobs are to equip the church until we are one unified body.

I love the lake because it’s fun and unpretentious.  Nobody expects you to be who you aren’t and it’s OK if you are still rough around the edges.

Likewise, in the Kingdom of God you are accepted, whether you’re the leathery lady or just dipping a toe in.

Jesus wants you.  His desire is for you to have fun and be yourself, stepping into your identity as a child of God.  He needs everyone, the rebellious teen, rambunctious adolescent and the waiting Grandmas, for the Kingdom to be fulfilled.

You are desired.

Instead

The grass is growing again.

Last summer we were over our heads in a drowning restaurant, racing to get an addition built and trying to keep a homestead and family from falling prey to many weeds.

It broke us open.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

 Through our brokenness, God has prevailed and has not left us.  The past year has been one of immense growth and change.  We have found the “insteads”.  

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,

the oil of joy
instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:3

 I walked outside on a warm summer night and noticed we nearly have a lawn again.  I looked at the overhang that is almost finished, the garden that, despite the weeds, is flourishing, the new herb patch that brings me joy and I can see that God brought us out of a spiritual desolation as well as a personal one.  Our life is flourishing again, and we are forever closer to the One who provided it all.

Instead of complaint, He has given me a spirit of thankfulness.  Instead of frustration, a spirit of patience.

Instead of fear, He has given me faith.

Transformation

The other day I saw the first butterfly of the year fluttering outside the kitchen window.  I smiled with thankfulness for this season of renewal, joy filled me and I heard God say,

“Verily, verily I tell you, the Kingdom of God is like a butterfly: enter and be transformed!”

Photo dump

Yesterday and today were shitty days.

As the days wore on it felt like one rock after another was piled onto my back until I was slumped over and sad.

But! The story gets better, it gets better because I have friends who at the drop of my hat will pray for me and my shitty day. And not just say they will pray, but literally stop working and pray to God for my life, and then take the time to send me eight minute long voxes with words that the Spirit gave them through prayer.

I am so blessed.

Then I spent time looking through pictures from the last 3 months because I took nearly 2000 photos that needed edited.

To look through these moments, many already forgotten about, and to see a good life is pure joy. For that brief moment a shutter opens to capture light and darkness and shows it is good.