The Invitation: a good invitation?

You’re invited into a quiet, intimate conversation in your favorite comfy place. It’s just you and me in the pause you create in your day. Are we meeting in the morning at the kitchen table with a hot cuppa? Or is it the comfy, oversized chair near the window on a chilly, rainy day? This post is an invitation, and you picked it up. You are here for a purpose. We both are.

Invitation: You're InvitedAn invitation is special. Imagine a beautiful, ivory, embossed envelope on top of the stack of mail as you retrieve it from the box. Because you have received similar envelopes over the years, you immediately form an idea of the secret contents inside—a beautiful, matching card decorated with frilly calligraphy, a smaller envelope, and a response card you’ll fill out. A finger gently slides under the edge of the flap and removes the beautiful card. Wait. What? The ornate card is—blank?

Not a single detail is included. You have no idea who the guests of honor might be. You assumed the event was a wedding, but you can’t be sure; it doesn’t say. It’s impossible to know where you are going or when to arrive. At this point, there’s no reason to believe you’ve actually been invited, except that the invitation was delivered. Why would you attend the event? How could you? What kind of invitation was extended?

This scenario reminds me of my own wedding invitations sent more than two decades ago. We sent beautiful, white and purple invitations to friends and family. Invitations and response cards were tucked in crisp envelopes.

We forgot one detail: maps. Our wedding took place before everyone carried little computers in their pockets with GPS apps. To make things more complicated, the church asked that we change the location of our reception at the last minute, and we settled on the brand-new park district building in the next town. We provided maps in the church lobby for our friends and family, but that made one assumption: all our friends and family made it to the church.

What happened there? We put time and effort into creating a beautiful invitation and reservation card; each invitation was carefully and neatly addressed; and we hoped everyone would come. Local friends had no problem, but forgetting to include a map made it difficult for our distant friends to find the event.

What makes a good invitation? What do you really need in order to say yes to the invitation that appears in your box? I’m curious what you think.

~jennifer

 

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Remembering with Purpose

Do you wonder how a collection of my memories could be useful in your life? I’ve walked circles around that question and come to a sweet pause—the path diverges right there. I’ve gawked at the train wrecks in my storyline, captivated by the damage and long-term consequences. That never led to healing, transformation, or victory. The myopic perspective emptied the story of any sweetness, light, or power.

Story is powerful. We can experience refreshing, exhilaration, and even healing when we take time to read about others’ victories and deep soul transformation. How much greater the impact when the story reveals the presence of the Lover and Rescuer of the soul through the highs and lows! During the good, bad, and desperate moments in our lives it takes special eyes to see Him. (He is there, I promise.)

For me, to lean in or not to lean in; that’s the question!

Today I’m thinking about my story in a little coffee shop in Iowa. (I love to write in little, caffeinated hidey-holes.) The opportunity to share the beautiful plot twist written into my story by the Author of faith sprawls in front of me, and I’m taking it.

When I sat with little vignettes and tried to capture them, the purpose emerged from the shadows. I remembered details, but I took extra time to find three things: the power in the memory, the plans of the Enemy, and the presence of Jesus. These three pieces are important to the transformation that follows. They are also common elements in every story. Mine. Yours. Everyone’s.

Then I began to think about two questions that have the ability to shift perspective on nearly any life story.

What do I believe about God based on what has happened to me?
What is true about God based on what is written in Scripture?

Something settled in my soul in those two questions. I almost heard and felt Kachunk! in my spirit. These questions begged to be answered, and I understood why. My perspective about God is critical. It’s only in relationship to Him that I can understand some of the story details, events, and characters. I may never understand the hows and whys in my story in this life, but I have no hope of a healthy viewpoint or healing without God.

I hope you’ll have keener insight into your own story after reading White Wave Crashing. When my eyes took in the scenes of my life at a glance, I overlooked the presence of Jesus. I was angry He overlooked the indelible ink falling to the pages of my life. Was He invisible? Unconcerned? (The answer is, “No!” but it took time to discover that.) I hope you find that to be true as well. He loves us. Deeply. And He wants to sit with us in the exuberant joy, the deep sorrow, and the painful grief.

When you begin to remember, I hope you’ll find healing for your soul, too. There is victory over the enemy of our souls when we step forward and tell of the things God has done.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on remembering…and its purposeful place. Share below or at my  Author Page.

Blessings!

~j