“It contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun.” ~Philip Yancey
We have many frequent visitors to the porch on our farmhouse, which at first glance absolutely resembles nothing special. It’s one of the few things that has yet to be refurbished after all of these years. But even in its state of semi-dilapidation, with peeling paint, broken chairs, scattered leaves and most days being overrun by birds and dogs, it has become a refuge to not only me, but so many others.
The porch has seen many seasons, incredible highs and yet many lows, trials and tribulations over time. It has served out a multitude of beverages, much needed conversations and some days the cold, hard truth followed by long periods of silence. The most common saying on the porch …..There are no rules on the porch.
It has been filled with hilarious, comical stories, and been rocked by gut-wrenching laughter and pure, honest joy. It’s provided a picture of magnificent views of creation that we have been blessed with around the homestead. Of vibrant spring and summer flowers, playful hummingbirds and multitudes of relaxing sounds that one can only dream about that are soothing to the ears, the mind, and the spirit. And in the fall it’s picture perfect with an amazing array of colors and splendor that some days bring a simple peace to wounded hearts and weary souls. It’s my own favorite spot for sitting, for soaking up the light and warmth of sunrises in the mornings, for witnessing magnificent moons and stars I can’t even describe in words. The place where I feel most safe and secure and connected to the God of wonders beyond the galaxies.
I call it our life with a view. It’s something I don’t ever want to take for granted and am humbled to experience whenever my heart desires. Our little slice of heaven seems like a dream, one I never wanted or imagined or could have ever pictured for myself. I am forever grateful for the blessing.
Our porch has seen many hard times and darkness as well. It’s listened to tales of sorrows and regrets, and witnessed an abundance of tears. It’s housed the broken, the damaged, the lost and the tormented who are starving for peace, for love, and for grace. It’s bore the weight of knees buckled under worthlessness and held up those staring down their demons, teetering on the brink of the unknown, who are searching for the truth but still looking for it in all the wrong places.
The best thing about the porch?
It never turns you away. It’s always open, always inviting, always there to comfort, to offer solace, no matter the season, the trial, or the tribulation. It graciously beckons you to “come on back now ya hear!” despite the circumstance that has brought you to it.
On December 13th I stood alone on our front porch, shivering in the cold while basking in the glow of another enormous, beautiful full moon illuminating everything surrounding me. Like many others who have found themselves on the porch I stood a dishelved mess, with a twisted soul inside asking God for answers and guidance. I stood wondering if it was worth it, if everything we had been pouring into the lives of others during 2016 was really worth it in the end because I was exhausted, discouraged, and starting to feel like a crazy person myself.
But day after day since then God has given me the answer to my questions over and over and over again. Not the cold, hard truth but the forgiving, merciful, grace filled truth instead. I believe He has asked us to keep going forward with the task at hand that He has given us and we have been trudging through for almost a year already. To not give in to the “look out for number one” lifestyle that some days, most days, seems so much more enticing, fun and easy. “Everybody’s doing it”…..heck why not us? Instead I feel He is asking us and guiding us to continue to feed grace, and mercy and love into those who are starving. And to give up ourselves daily in the trenches of Kingdom work in our own backyard and on our porch for the greater good of His work here on earth.
Being IN the world but not OF the world can be so incredibly treacherous and extremely difficult and taxing in every single aspect at times for all of us. This year I hope to share more of an unedited version of some of the adventures we have experienced and opportunities the Lord continues to give us personally to bestow simple, yet life-changing grace upon grace in our little, redneck world on the farm. I think we reach more people if we are honest, even when we are struggling in this world ourselves.
Why do we do it? Why are we gonna keep on doing it? Why do we give of ourselves, our time, our possessions, our finances and some days all we have left? Because we want people to understand the essence of the Gospel. Because we live with a peace that surpasses all understanding deep in our hearts, a peace The Father gave all of us so long ago with the gift of His Son on the cross. A gesture of love, mercy, and grace if only we open our hearts to receive it and believe. A peace and promise I hope everyone can experience before it’s too late in this scary, cynical world.
Time is already ticking my friends. Another year has come and gone in the blink of an eye. What task at hand is God urging you to tackle? What measure of grace big or small is He asking you give to someone else, even when it’s the hardest and some days the most unpleasant task to do, in order to nourish the lost and turn their eyes towards Jesus this year for the better of His Kingdom which offers eternal life? ETERNAL LIFE! Something we are freely offered even though we are undeserving most days.
If you need a place of refuge, a place to restart, reboot, to connect with creation, to connect to THE Creator……stop on by….the porch is always open and so is He. And when you leave at the end of your visit you will always hear us say because of Him… “you come on back now ya hear?”
Thank you Lord for the lessons, the joy, the mercy, the promise of forgiveness and the grace and humble blessings of 2016. I can’t wait to see where Your Will takes us yet another year.
*Picture unedited as we all should be*