Seven years ago, I was asked to write this post. I never published it and I honestly don’t know why. I don’t remember why Preparing a Place was discarded and forgotten. But I do know why I want to publish it now.
Preparing a Place
I don’t remember a time when I have felt more honored or more sheepish. My friend, Debbie Hughett, has asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, Musings on Prayer. Her request was to contrast CoziNest (simple, beautiful, cozy, home) with Our Lord “preparing a place for us.” (John 14:2) I am honored to guest-post, Debbie, and in so many ways…. I love you for asking.
Debbie had no idea what she was asking, but HE knew. You see, my heart has not been a very welcoming place for Him for a few years. I can blame it on moves, not finding a church home in a new community, preachers teaching from Hollywood headlines, etc. etc., (not my current church 🙂 ) but I know the real problem. As a child, I was known to stomp my feet, march down the hallway and slam the door to my room when I didn’t get my way; and I’m pretty sure that I’ve done just that as an adult with my FATHER. I’ve taken up the welcome mat and kept that door shut indefinitely. And… just like as a child, it was over something juvenile. I didn’t get my way.
How Cozy is My Nest?
Now, as Debbie has obediently followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, I’m forced to ask the question, “How cozy is my spiritual nest? How simple is my faith? And as He prepares a beautiful place for me someday, have I, in turn, made my earthly nest a cozy place for Him to dwell?” Do I feel at home with Him? No, not in a long time. But, in His everlasting love and mercy, He has ever so gently nudged me through Debbie, 7 years ago, and a Covenant Bible Study today, to “Come Unto Him,” again. This is where I feel sheepish. We all, like sheep, have gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6):
Here is the scripture Debbie originally referenced:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also… (John 14:3)
Isn’t that the ultimate form of welcome? I want you where I am. Let me repeat that… I want you where I am. He wants me where He is? Who am I? I’m a foot-stomping, hall-marching, door-slamming, mat-taker-upper… brat! I’m reminded of Jesus writing in the sand while those around Him asked to stone a woman to death. (John 8: 6-11)
Jesus doesn’t stomp His foot…no He simply writes in the sand. You may recall, as the adulteress was thrown in front of Him while self-appointed judges asked to stone her, He first addressed them, not her. He knew they were testing Him on the Law, so He faced their accusers. It’s amazing that as I read this, I noticed for the first time that they were both facing accusers. Jesus and an adulteress, facing the same crowd of finger-pointers. And His response…”You, without sin, cast the first stone.” One by one, they left, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. She was alone with The Son of God. He straightened up from His drawing in the sand, looked into her face and offered these words of comfort….”Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.” Oh my! Alone AND forgiven.
I’m reminded…He wants us where He is, in a warm, forgiving, cozy space without a single accuser. On earth, we can have that in our prayer closet, but someday, we will have it in the place He has prepared for us.
Today, I am forced to see myself as a woman thrown in the sand. I am forced to see myself as He does. I’m the one who doesn’t stay in the sand, but gets up and stomps my foot in it. I have tested my Lord just as surely as those men did thousands of years ago. But where are my accusers? Who stands to cast a stone? Not a single person. Why? Because they do not matter as much as one grain of sand in my salvation. I am face to face with THE ONE who wants me where HE is. And home, my friends, is where there is no condemnation. Simple. Cozy. Beautiful. Home. with HIM. Because of HIM, I am not condemned.
I originally drafted this post 7 years ago. So much has happened in those 7 years, but suffice it to say, I am now face to face with this same question. During the study, Covenant, by Kay Arthur with Precept Ministries God has once again reminded me of the importance of giving my WHOLE heart and life to HIM. I am faced with the question again, “Have I prepared a place in my heart and in my life, where HE is KING?”
In all honesty, my home is filled with all sorts of things I love, but not enough of WHOM I love. Are the things wrong? I’m not sure yet, but I’m open to the possibility. As I think about preparing a place here on earth for HIM to dwell, I know it is in my heart, not my home per se that HE lives. But has my heart become so crowded that there’s no room for HIM? Is HE forced to once again, be turned away for lack of space? Has HE found a more suitable place in a cave with animals than with one HE created in HIS image? I’m 61 and as I get older these questions weigh heavier on my heart than they did when I was 31.
The future of this website and in particular this blog is under the prayerful watch of my LORD. I’m not sure as I write this where it’s going. I know that when I drafted this post 7 years ago I was convicted that my house needed remodeling. It was time to redecorate with my DESIGNER. As Covid forced us to stay home, like many others, we noticed things that needed physical updating in several rooms. We began planning what to do in each room and then each week in our study, the LORD began to show me areas in the chambers of my heart that needed sweeping, updating, and sprucing. I am seeking a freshness. Cleanliness. I want a clear vision in each room, without clutter and needless stuff that could fill barns to overflowing, but leave me empty and wanting.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
“Now who will own what you have prepared?”
This sentence spoke to me. In my business, I go to a lot of estate sales. When we do finally arrive at the place HE has prepared for us, there’s a lot of stuff left over that our family doesn’t want or need. Have you noticed how the next generation doesn’t want or seem to need the heirlooms we want to pass down to them? They also desire a simple, more minimalistic lifestyle. Oh, that I might be a student of this generation!
What if we passed more love, joy and kindness or goodness down to the next generation? What if our kids remember us for our faithfulness? What if our neighbors tell others how patient and gentle we were them? What if we prepared a place here that others want to mimic in their own homes? A place where rust or moth can’t destroy, and a place where if a thief tried to break in and steal, they would find things we would want them to have?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
There are nine characteristics of the fruit. Only 9. I pray that our homes will be filled with love which is likely the only real path to joy. I ask that the LORD help us to be at peace with our families and neighbors. I beg HIM to help us be longsuffering with our fellowman, since HE is our ultimate example of this. May our hearts be filled with kindness and goodness toward each other. Like Thomas, I pray that we can see and feel HIS scars so that we are faithful in return. I ask that our judgment and callousness be replaced with gentleness. And so that all this might be real and obvious in our lives, I ask for self-control and discipline.
I am prayerfully preparing a place. I hope it’s a place where people feel loved, experience joy and know HIM deeply. HE has a long way to go as my DESIGNER, but HE is faithful. I pray my heart is open and receptive to HIS plans.
Thank you, Lord for wanting me where YOU are. Thank you for preparing a place for me. I want YOU where I am. In my heart. And I pray that my home is where YOU want to be, so that others will want to be here, too. Fill my home with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.