“And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil…”Genesis 3:22
Fellow brothers and sisters, friends and family, strangers even:
Welcome back to the blog. If you are new here, allow me to just say ... welcome.
That up there is me, Claire. I know once again I have made myself a stranger to you. Believe me that it has been unconsciously done… for the billionth time (insert shy monkey emoji here).
I find that the most difficult part in writing is not the topic nor the message I would like to portray but simply the beginning. I always find it to be a little unsettling trying to captivate your attention, trying to make you want to stay and read the words that are bound to follow.
As a young woman, sometimes it is easy for me to question what it is that I have to offer. Maybe some days you find yourself struggling with this question as well.
As I look to scripture, to God, I am however reminded of the most beautiful offerings, commandments even that there ever was.
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.John 15:12-13
I believe we often forget the power of offering nothing more than just ourselves. The real and vulnerable you, who walks through hills and through valleys! Like I mentioned previously, I know I am guilty of this myself!
To stay though, is to allow me to do what I know I should do more often, offer you a piece of myself. A piece thats not all put together, as someone who doesn’t have all the answers, a raw and imperfect person… just like you.
So, allow me not to waste anymore time and to begin with todays discussion.
2020… what a ride it has been already. I am sure like most of you, this world has been troubling my heart deeply. Every day on the news is something possibly worse than the thing we all thought couldn’t be worse.
Do you believe there was once a time that evil did not exist? That only good filled this world?
Stop for a moment, close your eyes and take a trip back to Genesis with me. Imagine a place of pure beauty, where all things flowed together in perfect harmony. Things didn’t just grow here, they flourished.
You can also imagine being there with your closest companion. I know how it is, you may be reluctant to bring them along to this paradise but don’t be! The tension, disappointment, shame, sadness, or misaligned motivates you often feel in today’s world doesn’t exist here in the garden of Eden. Your relationship too lives in perfect harmony, you both are connected beautifully to one another.
God saw all that he had made, and it was VERY good…Genesis 1:31
I probably don’t have to tell you what happened next but if you’d like to refresh your memory or know the more in-depth version, read Genesis 3.
To sum up the plot however, we just call this point in the story “The Fall” and believe me… we’ve been “falling” ever since.
We did the one thing God told us not to do and sin entered into the world. I don’t have to spell out the consequences sin has on our lives today because each of you know it, see it, feel it. 2020 has displayed one of the best illustrations yet of sins consequences thus far.
I have been challenged, as I am sure many of you have been challenged.
Often, very often, people ask me how I (small town country girl from Ohio) ended up working at a hospital in Detroit, one of the most dangerous cities in the US. A hospital that’s known for seeing the most penetrating trauma’s in all southeast Michigan.
A hospital that wouldn’t be many peoples first choice… second or third even (which I realize is why I probably got hired in so fast lol).
Again I say, I have been challenged.
Like the day I questioned all of humanity as I stood, staring at a young man with 18 bullet holes across his body. 18.
Or the day when a boy, brought in not yet 15 with a gun shot wound to his head… inflicted by his older sister (early 20s).
These are the day’s I question not only how I got here but how did we get here!? How…why have these incidents become the new normal!
The fall may have taken away all our perfection here on earth but what it didn’t take was our deep longing inside to go back to the way things once were, back to the garden of Eden, back to a life of perfect harmony.
Some of you may be guilty of allowing “the fall” to steal your joy and your hope without even being aware of it. So, let me remind you the choice is yours to make!
Revelations is the one book in the bible that speaks directly of the future. It prophecies what is still yet to come. It is confusing, it is difficult to read, but it holds a lot of value that is worth addressing. It holds hope of the future.
…Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who is seated on the throne (God) said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true… IT IS DONE. I am the Alpha and omega, the beginning and end. to the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life…”Revelation 21:3-6
Here, God displays the second garden that is still to come. A day in the near future where He will wipe away every tear. Where we will live a life without pain or tears, there will be no more death or mourning. A new life of perfection will once again exist.
Yet, that is the future and as for today we are stuck living a life between two gardens.
Like those who surround me, there was once a moment I too questioned, how did I get here? A period of time where I dreaded going to work and dealing with the same things over and over again. I admit I was tired. I was weary. Temporarily I had lost sight of my hope, my joy, and my purpose.
Praise be to God; however, who did not let that moment last more than a couple weeks. He eventually pulled me back and reminded me who I am, whose I am, and the purpose I am entitled to act upon! He reminded me of the hope that is to come!
"...for those who are in Christ Jesus... we have an obligation..." -Romans 8
Every day brings a new challenge. There are good days and there are bad days. Days filled of joy and hope and others that seem barely tolerable to get through, we all have them.
Nevertheless, remember each day is also filled with opportunity, with an obligation. God has given you a purpose to serve Him by serving those around you.
When you feel you have nothing to offer remember the story of Jesus. Remember how great the blessings were when he offered the sacrifice of himself. To love, to listen, to support. Do not minimize the effect you can have on someone by simply just offering them… you.
It is a daunting task to live a life like this, a life between two gardens. Remember that although perfection may not exist here on earth anymore, your hope and joy still can!
How I, the sheltered Ohioan country girl, ended up here is a question I can only laugh at because I know that it is only by the grace of God.
Keep the faith my friends.