Recapturing Us in the Midst of Our Rush

Recapturing Us in the Midst of Our Rush

January 12, 2017

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)

Devotion Graphic

Do you ever wonder exactly what God wants you to do, especially when you have so many demands to manage?

So often, we want big directional signs from God. But God just wants us to pay attention to what He places right in front of us. I learned this early in ministry when I had dreams to do big things for God.

However, when I looked at what was right in front of me at that time, it was my neighbors, Ken and Mary. They lived down the street and were known for their amazing hospitality, adorable farmhouse and parties that stepped out of the pages of a magazine.

Mary was alive with creativity and always thinking of ways to bless others. Ken adored living out his retirement years helping his bride create a haven for family and friends.

But cancer swept in and before long, Ken laid Mary to rest in the arms of Jesus.

I remember seeing Ken not long after Mary’s funeral. I knew I needed to stop and say something. But what?

When I reached Ken, I just bent down and gave him a hug. “How are you, Ken?” Tears filled his eyes, “Not so good. The silence is killing me, Lysa.”

And with those words, I knew this interaction with Ken was an assignment from God. He was stirring my heart more and more, as I began to sense I should invite Ken over for dinner.

I started having this argument with God in my mind, “God, he’s going to expect food. My cooking doesn’t even hold a candle to Mary’s. Are you sure about this?”

But Ken hadn’t asked for an amazing meal. What made his heart ache was the silence.

So I smiled at Ken and said, “Well then, you must come to our house for dinner. I can’t always promise it will be tidy and I’m certainly no great cook, but one thing is for sure — my house is never silent.”

Thus started a tradition — Monday night dinners with Ken.

We never had a properly set table. But the noise of our family was an orchestra of comfort and healing to Ken’s
lonely heart.

We wanted to live out today’s key verse, Romans 12:9-10, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

Being knee-deep in the realities of small children made me feel like this wasn’t my season of life to make a difference to the outside world. But God used my offering of what little I had!

We just did life, and let Ken join in. I would often ask about Mary’s ways of doing things, and his face would light up at the opportunity to keep part of her alive.

And slowly but surely, as we all made time for these special dinners, we recaptured the sacredness of relationships that so often gets lost in the rush of our days.

One night, as Ken was leaving our home, he made his way over to a bush in full bloom. He tenderly picked up one of the flowers and pressed his face close, breathing in its scent deeply.

He then looked back at me standing in the doorway and said, “Don’t miss this. Don’t rush through your life, Lysa. Make time to stop and breathe it all in.”

I’ve never forgotten that.

Eventually, Ken met someone who could cook, got remarried and moved away.

But my family and I still preserve that sacred space for Monday night dinners. We invite co-workers, acquaintances and friends who feel like family to join us. We take time to talk. Laugh. Process life. Breathe it all in.

Although our to-do lists and schedules tug at our attention, we don’t allow anything to take priority over these moments. I refuse to let the people I’ve been entrusted with get my “less” instead of my “best” because I’m distracted.

I’m so thankful God entrusted me with that small assignment to give Ken noise all those years ago. A little gift placed in the hands of a big God can change the world. It changed ours, and it changed Ken’s.

It amazes me that what started out as a simple gesture to help a grieving neighbor became one of the greatest ministry blessings of my life. And I’ve done a lot of breathing it all in ever since.

Dear Lord, help me see the assignments right in front of me. I desperately want to unrush my schedule so I can love those You have entrusted to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 John 1:6, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you long to be someone who pours out the love of Christ but have struggled with feeling empty yourself? Join us for the FREE Online Bible study of Lysa TerKeurst’s book Finding I Am and discover how Jesus can fill the empty places in your heart. Because when we know we are fully loved by Him, we are freed up to truly love one another well. Sign up here today.

Get the most out of the study by purchasing your copy of Finding I AM here.

CONNECT:
Want to know if Lysa is speaking in a town near you soon? Be sure to check out her speaking schedule here.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one small assignment that God is calling you to fulfill? Commit to begin living that out this week.

© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Loved this and needed this word 🙂

  2. I can’t share today’s devotion on fb 🙁 it keeps saying there’s an error when I try to pull the link back up on fb

    • I usually copy-paste the link onto my Facebook timeline, so maybe try that? 🙁 I’m not a member of the P31 ministry team or whatever, but I hope this helps. It stinks that you can’t share it 🙁

  3. This brought tears and a smile. Yes, let’s tend to those we have in front of us with love!

  4. Karon Fluharty says:

    .ure, stop and smell, make a memory. See what God has put infront of us NOW! Good read.

  5. Thank you, Lysa, for the reminder that hospitality isn’t only about the food.

    A young man showed up at worship, and we invited him to Sunday dinner. My cooking is also less than stellar (I tell people that I’m a woman of many talents, and cooking isn’t one of them). He taught our son the finer points of chess. We showed him our favorite off-the-beaten-track park. He explained how he worked as a consultant, earning enough money and arranging his time for repeated mission trips to Eastern Europe. We prayed, and we laughed. I have no idea what I gave him to eat, but he blessed us with his faith and wisdom.

  6. What a great reminder! I’ll be thinking of what small actions of love I can do for those around me today!

  7. Stephanie says:

    God truly spoke to me through this message. I read First 5 this morning and the reflection question asked when have I been disobedient to God? I jotted down a few things and asked God to show me other areas where I’ve been disobedient. And then I read this and wow did it really shed some light on areas I have not walked in love. I pray God would guide my steps today and help me walk in love. Thank you and have a blessed day!!

  8. Early hours of the morning this touched my heart. I’ve been right where Ken was. Silence was not golden. Thanks to a loving God many of my girlfriends would appear spend the night. Just having someone there made a difference. You are truly the woman of the hour. She

  9. For the past year I’ve been visiting my husband’s 90 yr old aunt in a nursing home. She has no other family. It has been a blessing for both of us since I only have my husband as family.

  10. There is a woman that I somewhat resent at my workplace as I feel that she has taking some of my ideas and run with them and calling them her own in developing them. That’s not the particular issue what is is that she that has turned around and blocked me from being effective in working with her and moving the initiative forward. I resented this and have not got too many positive thoughts about her especially when she does things to aggravate the situation from time to time. However a couple of days ago because I’m on training with her this week I realized I need to let this attitude go and I prayed that God help me stop being jealous. Reading this devotion this morning this woman came to mind I immediately protested thinking I don’t want to do that either but if I really want to change the thoughts maybe I need to step out and ask her about the initiative in terms of how she’s faring and provide her with encouraging wordS expecting nothing in return just support her because I do believe in the initiative and her abilities to get things done.

  11. Sometimes it’s the small things that are really the big things,the most sweetest, precious things. Thank you this was a blessing.

  12. I like this reminder in that the small does matter. God can turn our “small” into His “big”. I’m also in a very busy and difficult season of life. We have a super-active toddler and another baby on the way. I have a hard time committing to most things because either my toddler’s nap will get in the way or I’ll be too tired from pregnancy. But God understands our limitations and He provides for what we can do. Similar to the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, He simply used one little boy’s five bread and two fish. I’m sure the boy thought his lunch was quite unimpressive to the crowd, but God’s touch made it multiply. I guess it’s time that I pray and ask, “What is my five bread and two fish? Is it a quick visit to my Muslim neighbors? Is it reaching out to friends who are feeling isolated? What can I offer God that He can multiply today?”

  13. One small assignment I feel as though God is calling me to fulfill is to serve my family. Show them in small gestures how much they are loved. Also reaching out to friends and just touching base to see how they are instead of waiting for them to reach out to me. God has blessed me with the opportunity to make time to do these things and I want to make sure I am not giving them my less instead of my best because I’m distracted. Thank Jesus for speaking these wonderful words through Lysa’s serving heart.

  14. Thank you Lysa for reminding me to STOP and see what’s God has placed right in front of me.

  15. I really love
    d everyone always Lord wants world peace & love, Kindness Really love God fills our heats with deep Love inside our hearts one another
    The love doesn’t go away inside our hearts. , Love my family dearly always have never felt loved when I was child not now try
    so hard when I really love them so much but Im not loved or feel that ever been loved.

  16. Kathy wyg says:

    Good morning….Lysa…..thank you for this story/devo….I teared as I read…what an
    Awesome ministry for you & your family…thank you for sharing it w/us….

    Have a blessed day…………..Kathy wyg

  17. Beautiful!!

  18. The sign in my large country kitchen states that “in our house we do loud really well,” among other things! It is amazing that those who enter this home comment about peace (thank You, Lord), even though the floor needs to be replaced, the table has more paint and marker than original stain, and feeding a multitude takes a miracle. Oh, it is good to bless others right where we are.
    Lord, may I be filled with Your perfect peace and overlook imperfections.

  19. I’m wondering if the “I am
    Would be an appropriate study for my (not so anxious to do a study) husband and me together without joining the women?

    Also would love it if Lysa would make it out to the PAC northwest – I’m in Washington (Olympia) and closest speaking engagement I saw was California…any chance you’d come
    My way Lysa?

  20. This really touched my heart! Thank you!

  21. Beautiful story of birthing a ministry. It reminded me of 20 years ago when my husband and I opened our home to weekly small group meetings. Our daughter and her boyfriend and our younger son attended too. Later she married the boyfriend, spent 23 years in the military at the end of which he went back to get his master’s in theology and now is the pastor in charge of all small groups in their large church. They host a group for dinner with kids every Fri night! Our son went on to host small groups in our home during high school and later in his apt. My husband and I are no longer able to participate ourselves due to my health constraints but the legacy lives on. Right now my main ministry is to my octogenarian mom. I’ve been spending Sunday’s with her so her companion can attend church and fellowship. It is VERY hard on me physically to add another ‘work’ day to my week. I really needed this devotion. Thank you. ive consider asking to have this cleared from my schedule. May God strengthen me to this ministry that’s right in front of ME!

  22. Such a good reminder that we sometimes miss seeing the lonely. My mom is in a nursing home now, and after essentially staying with her for five days (she lives in another state) I have come to see that there are so many elderly who live in these facilities for their final years and studies show that up to 60% of these residents NEVER have a visitor!
    I live just a few minutes from an assisted living/memory care facility and will become a regular volunteer there very soon. It just takes a smile, a word, an act of kindness to make someone’s day; my eyes have been opened to a place Jesus would ask us to go! Won’t you consider “going with me”?

  23. Oh my…. God spoke truth to my heart today and gave me an answer through this devotion. I am completely blown away. The opening question of “Do you ever wonder what God wants you to do, especially when you have so many demands to manage?” immediately caught my attention because I prayed almost this exact sentiment two days ago. And I feel like I have an answer ” God just wants us to pay attention to what He places right in front of us.” Now my prayer is to help me pay attention to those people right in front of me and to refuse to let my family get less than my best. This has been a balm to an aching heart today. Thank you.

  24. I am trying so hard to do that more myself. For Christmas Eve I had invited some family, friends, a few people from church…and a few neighbors. One of my neighbors who I had only talked with in our yards and on our front porches came into my home and hugged me and thanked me for inviting them. I just kept thinking, I cannot believe I waited so long to do this! I want to do better this year at inviting others in.

  25. Cheri Pickett says:

    Thank you, Lisa, for your words today.My husband passed away very suddenly a little over a year ago and I miss his voice, his untidy (in my brain) way of doing things, all the reasons I married him. Your gesture of love to Ken was exactly what he needed at that time.

  26. Breathe it all in.
    Thanks Lysa!

  27. Tears about being the hands and feet of Jesus!
    Thank you for your encouragement today ! I’m going to stop and smell the roses.

  28. Living for Jesus says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us what a blessing. I too look for more ways of God to use me for his glory.God Bless.

  29. Lysa. Thank you. I’m at a stage in my life when I don’t know what God wants me to do. I’m retired and I don’t know what to do for God. Nothing seems to be ‘it’. Reading this made me look at my husband and realize he’s right here. We have a good marriage but I can do better. Thank you

  30. This is beautiful! I too often let the busyness of life interfere with seeing what is right in front of me! We are recent empty nesters finding ourselves just as “busy” as before. I want to breathe it all in and not miss the obvious! Thank you!

  31. “Being knee-deep in the realities of small children made me feel like this wasn’t my season of life to make a difference to the outside world.”

    This! Yet I’ve been struggling with accepting this. I feel so floundering.

  32. Thank you so much for great devotion!

  33. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I for one get so caught up in the motions of the days demands or the days worries I forget to smell the flowers, give extra hugs or laugh more. God I ask you to place those simple daily messages so close they smack me in the face. Guide me the meaningful moments in life we take for granted. Slow me down to see all the beauty you have placed in this world. Love with all I have. Amen

  34. Thank You so much for sharing that. I just lost one of my part sisters the day before Thanksgiving 2016. It has been so hard trying to deal with her death. My mom told me today to treat my bible but I left that in Winslow, Az at my old home. So I told her I would download one on my phone today and I did. As you can imaging my nieces, nephew and the grandkids she had are still taking it hard. I have been trying to help two of them. Her second oldest daughter and her only son. They have been living with me in Mesa, Az now and it’s been hard. I had just stayed a new job that I liked but I was struggling with losing my sister and I quit. A week later my nephew text and said he wanted us to bury him by his mom, my boyfriend and I found him but he decided to stay out and drink, he was jumped and couple of days after that my niece went to see him and they stared drinking again.then she wanted to give up also. Just to add to this my niece list her boyfriend just a few weeks before she lost her mom and she was with both of them at that time they passed away. Imagine how she feels because I can’t. I know losing a loved is hard but to be with two people you love and being there with them when they passed away I can’t even imagine what goes through her mind. But back to everything else. I know alcohol is a really bad addiction and yes I struggled with our alot and finally in 2008 I stated going to church again after almost 15 years after my grandmother’s death. I met some very good people who still encircled us to do better because they’ve been through it also. I started going to a Today night group called The Most Excellent Way rib by Frei Campbel, And that’s also where we meet his wife Linda and Robbert Lindgren. They have telly Blessed us and I’m Very Thankful His or then in our lives. Not only have I lousy my sister bit I have also been through so much my while life and finally have dealt with it through God and going to counseling. I have a rare disease that there is no cure for called Achalasia.i have had it since I was born with many surgeries and still dealing with it. Just reading what toy have written got to my heart because God had been taking to me and I didn’t know what it was until I read this. But I still need to listen and open my mind. I love studying God’s word and I know this book would definately help me. The words you wrote just touched my heart, knowing that God is still trying to reach me and hasn’t not given up. But thank you for sharing your story. I’d love to read more if possible. May God continue to Bless You.

  35. 💗

  36. Wow! What an awesome reminder. So many times I put on the back burner that tugging because, well, I’m not gonna have time to put something nice together, or I need a day to rest too! But this is such an awesome reminder that I must slow down, breathe it in, bless others because in the process what I gain is eternal lessons!

  37. Thank you Lysa!! Good reminders to not forget the ministry that’s right under our nose!! I love your devotionals!!

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