Today's team journal is written by our Event Coordinator and beloved sister, Sami Hudgins.
This weekend, we moved… and I’m exhausted. In the span of 3 days, we painted our kitchen, dining room, family room, office, and mudroom, and moved all of our stuff from one house to the other. It was laborious, yet rewarding work. Now, I’m sitting in a home cluttered with boxes and miscellaneous items I almost forgot we had. I'm trying to focus in the midst of chaos.
This is the first home that my husband and I have owned. We have taken on the project of building it together, and are eager to make it a place that has our special touch and where we gather with people that we love. Moving into this home is the first of many changes happening to us this summer. Jack is transitioning jobs, I will be starting graduate school, and we will be settling into a new house church family.
It seems that the Lord has us in a season of rebuilding.
As we approached this season, I felt the Lord preparing me to choose Him above all else. He was constantly reminding me that He is the only one and driving me to step away from idols and distractions. In the short time that we have lived here, I’ve been tempted to make even this home an idol: to take ownership and control over it and to make it into what I envision it to be. I am tempted to build this house without first considering what the Lord’s plans are for these walls. I am starting to realize that it is not just this home I am building right now. I'm beginning to question what life I am building.
We are constantly faced with the choice of building up our own lives to the world’s standards or allowing God to use our lives to build up His kingdom. God has been using the process of preparing this home to reveal where in my heart I am building up my own kingdom over His. So today I sit in the midst of chaos, setting my eyes on Him. I’m asking that He would teach me to build up His kingdom and correct me where I am trying to build up my own.
This is God's Kingdom.
“The God of the heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:20 (ESV)
Here, Nehemiah is speaking about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Servants of the Lord will come from near and far to rebuild the city, and yet their work earns them no right or claim in the city. It is the Lord that will make me prosper. My heart longs to glorify God and build up His kingdom by serving Him well, without expectation of earning a right or claim.
My husband and I found ourselves on the empty living room floor the first night we had the keys to our new home, surrendering it to the Lord. We asked Him to take it from our hands. Since that moment, I’ve been tempted to leave that posture of surrender; I’ve wanted to rise up claim and success as a new homemaker. I’ve wanted to take it back for my own pleasure and glory. I do this so often with the things that I surrender to the Lord; I give them over to Him and then catch myself trying to take them back. But He reminds me that He has this world in His hands, He is on the throne, and He is working all things for His good. I can fight against that, or I can surrender all of the things to join Him in this goodness.
The Kingdom of God cannot be shaken.
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus shared his inheritance with us, “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” for us! (1 Peter 1:4 ESV).
Jesus earned us the right to an inheritance in the kingdom of God, which is everlasting. This is contrasted with everything that we might claim in this world, which is ever-fading. Sisters, Peter encourages us this way in 1 Peter 3: let us not put our time into external adorning, but let our adorning be the of the inner heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit! We can choose to spend time on our own images, on making our homes flawless, on trying out a new diet or exercise plan, on building up our careers. These are all deemed good and acceptable by the world, but they are all fading away. In years to come, my skin will be wrinkly, my eyes might have circles, my hair will be gray, my career will come to an end. Our homes will be invaded by mice, infested by mold, and broken down by time (these are a few real-life examples that the DWITW Leadership team experienced in their homes this week!) We could spend all of our time, day in and day out, trying to build up our own lives; but we could also choose to spend our time learning to live as image bearers of Christ.
Lord, make us women that pursue heart change over outward adorning; humble us before you, and make us women that will build up your kingdom and not our own!
Stand in awe of the Kingdom of God.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28 (ESV).
I have a tendency to dismiss the true magnificence of God’s kingdom; I don’t often stop to stand in awe and wonder at what the Lord has created. My heart is not often overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the gift that He has given to us. No, instead I am captured by the things of this world, the things that cannot compare to what is waiting for us. My pursuit of worldly passions belittles the gift given to us by grace.
Lord, forgive me! Today, I choose to stop and worship you for all that you have done.
The Kingdom of God dwells among us.
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20 (ESV)
We strive to put all things perfectly in place, driven by what we can see before us. The building of God's kingdom is often less appealing that the building of our own lives. Our finite minds crave the satisfaction of visual completion. The kingdom of God cannot be observed, but it is dwelling deep within us. So how can we participate in the building up of this kingdom? Paul claims in 2 Timothy 4 that he fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. He is a prime example of what it means to build up the kingdom of God. In this letter, he reveals that he did so by keeping his eyes set on the truth of the Word, by keeping his eyes set on Jesus. In whatever season we are in, may we relentlessly build and behold the kingdom of God, which is indeed among us.
Lord, make me a woman that pursues you over all the things of this world; make me a woman that wakes up looking to you alone. Help me not to spend my energy and time pursuing the things that will suit my own passions, but to use it in building your kingdom. Help me in my moments of unbelief, help me to know that though this kingdom cannot be seen, it is true that it is among us. Stop me in my business so that I might stand in awe of its magnificence. All glory be to God.
Samantha "Sami" Hudgins serves as the Event Coordinator for Dayton Women in the Word. She is an Air Force wife and fur-baby-mama to Charlie. Her heart longs for women to join together to seek and find truth in God's Word.