bring home the flowers

I read recently a challenge to learn the difference between hearing and listening. A few days later, Evan came home with a bundle of pretty blooms, not knowing that the week would hold bad news of loved one's health, and a brief hospital jaunt to monitor baby girl's growth.

The week ended with bedrest, a healthy little girl, bed head/no makeup on repeat, and the strange, sorrowful anticipation of a Grandpa soon to be in the most wonderful of all sleeps. I'm not sure how the Holy Spirit works but I do know that in the middle of this crazy, He spoke to my husband to fill our home with my favorite comfort element in fresh flowers, He spoke to friends to drop off the sweetest gift bundles, and baked goods (aiding this momma's sweet tooth and two year whirlwind going cabin fever crazy), and He spoke to women I admire to pick up their phones, call, and pray with me in real time. God promptings illuminating humanity to her best form.

Today I remembered that challenge, pre-flowers, pre-bedrest, pre-crazy. Learn to listen. New eyes, new posture. I picked up the first thing I saw in the binding of a small black hymnal. One that only found it's way into our room because it matched the color-scheme (I'm not that holy), and flipped it open: "By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne." Words simple and true turned holy fire and alive among the walls of my living room. I'm learning more and more that our dwelling spaces are perhaps the most profound places for God's voice to speak. Places where we are at our most natural, most relaxed, most stressed, most ______ version of ourselves. The walls and rooms where we cry, laugh, bring babies home, and cook meals of comfort within. And it is there that the Gospel is opened up to us in the unique measure of our availability to enter into it in all our realness.

This week, this little black hymnal, listening to the voice of God speaking in my own home: The Gospel isn't just for the elite, it isn't just for the intellectually driven to pick and prod at, it isn't just for those who believe. The Gospel is for everyone in all walks, seasons, and crazy weeks of life. Let's learn to be listeners, not just hearers. Learning to listen as flower gifters, and conversational streams of hope to those who feel like they are at the end of their rope, or those who very literally are shutting out this world with sleepy eyes. Listening and engaging as the human touch to deliver the eternal assurance in all situations, to go beyond just hearing a feel good scripture, and actually engaging it in all of life's complexities, so that Spirit of God can raise all circumstances Heavenward, and call His people by name that much louder to His glorious throne.

And in between it all, if you have the urge to bring home the flowers or to put the heirloom hymnals up on your shelf, even if only because they match your color scheme, do it. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and dwelling spaces profoundly when we simply listen to the placement and outlining of the Gospel sound singing out in the walls and the people who make them home.