I spent the majority of last winter praying, planning, purchasing and then assembling much of the furniture and other decorations in our living and dining rooms. Since we had come in under budget on the purchase of our new home, we had a larger cash flow available than we had originally planned for which greatly opened up our options for the inside décor.
Catching the vision of how we should decorate the new home was actually kind of fun and scary at the same time, especially since I had never done it before. Most of the furniture we had in the past was either purchased with money we received as gifts on the occasion of our wedding, or was given to us through the years by friends and family. When we moved from Oklahoma back to California in 2009, we made the decision to just sell most of our stuff with the plan to purchase new things when we got re-settled in our hometown.
Well, with everything that began to happen with Piper’s health when we returned, that plan took a back seat to our life that was suddenly exploding all around us! A friend at work gave us a nice leather loveseat while another good friend gave us a practically brand new queen mattress and frame that they didn’t need! So, with those two major items, we were really set as we had enough other furniture left to fill in for the other areas of the house. And on top of that, the small cluster home we rented already had a refrigerator and washer and dryer left behind by the previous renter (Isn’t God good?).
But, when we moved across country and bought a home, we figured it was time to finally get some new stuff! The only problem though, was that Piper was not able to really communicate her thoughts and desires for the home. The saving grace for this dilemma came about in Piper’s and my oneness of heart and mind throughout the 46+ years of our relationship! As I poured through magazines, and various home décor websites, I simply “knew” what styles and colors she would like.
Someone asked me the other day what Piper’s favorite color was and without any hesitation I replied “red!” So you would not be surprised when you walk through our front door today that we have lots of red highlights around those two rooms, with the main foundation of the living room being our beautiful red leather couch!
Well, it’s been almost a year now since all of that took place, but I couldn’t shake the feeling whenever I walked into the living room that it was missing something. We had one wall near the front door that just seemed to beg for a little more attention! Then one day a few weeks before the kids came for a visit last month, I felt the leading to get a large poster to hang next to Piper’s bed that boldly stated the unofficial theme of our marriage: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV) I was suddenly impressed that this needed to be one of the first things we both saw each and every morning.
Once I found the perfect large-sized poster in one of my favorite poster and art websites, I looked through a few more pages and found another mostly red poster that exclaimed one of the most often uttered phrases in our home, that being: “Praise the Lord!” The combination of the background coloring with musical notes and a guitar reminded me of Piper’s and my early years in ministry and brought special warmth to my soul.
So I quickly re-measured the wall next to her bed and figured out a way to put both posters up. But by the time they were delivered a few days later, I had gotten the inspiration to put the “Praise the Lord” poster in that open space I mentioned earlier near the front door in the living room! Then after our daughter helped me to put it up in just the right spot and perfectly squared on the wall, I stepped back off the ladder looked up at the poster and then at Jamie and Piper… and with a great big happy sigh declared: “Ah… now the room is complete!”
Suddenly every other piece of furniture, framed pictures, clocks, curtains and even the area rug in front of the couch seemed to blend together into a serendipity of melody and oneness! In fact, everything else looked better and more functional than before. And you know what? God says the very same thing about us! In Colossians 2:10 the Apostle Paul teaches us that “God has made us complete in Christ.” (God’s Word ©)
Without Christ we are like our living room before that final small but important item was added. In that position we find ourselves walking around this life as separate, independent and many times anxious-about-who-and-what-we-are, individuals that are fully dependent and focused on our own strengths and weaknesses. But once we ask Jesus into our lives we suddenly sense that we are a strategic part of a greater existence. An existence and/or power that is now complete in Him!
I like what I read in my inbox this morning from the daily encouragement email that I receive from Joseph Prince Ministries each day. In line with what we are talking about in this blog he stated: “Don’t focus on the lack you see in your life. Focus instead on how IN CHRIST, you are complete in everything at this moment and instead of weaknesses, lack and defects, you will see His Strength, (His) wholeness, (His) soundness and (His) completeness manifesting in you!”
That kinda says it all doesn’t it? With and In Him you and I are never alone, never needy, never weak and never without the strength to do whatever we are called to do each and every day of our lives… no matter what the circumstances are saying that may differ from what the Word says!
That thought was a great comfort to me this morning as I was helping Piper to consume her breakfast drink. Yesterday she swallowed with ease and actually ate quite a bit more than she has been recently, but today… well, today was a different story. Almost every time I gave her some of her protein drink it would come right back out! But after the third or fourth attempt and as the frustration started to rise up in me, I suddenly started to laugh and put down the drink, looked her in the eye with a big smile and cried out: “You know? YOU, MISS PIPER, ARE COMPLETE IN HIM!” and then I repeated it a few times to make sure everything in heaven and hell heard me!
And while it didn’t happen immediately, she did eventually get into a rhythm of swallowing and drank a good amount of her breakfast! Like I said, Isn’t God good!
You and I are NEVER alone, and we are NEVER to be doing ANYTHING without the revelation knowledge that WE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM!
So I encourage you to think on and then ACT on that TRUTH this weekend! You’ll find a new SKIP in your walk, a new CONFIDENCE in your every decision and a new JOY in your heart… so much so that it shouldn’t surprise you when people start asking you: “What happened to you?”
Have a GREAT weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to do everything today with the knowledge and CONFIDENCE that I am COMPLETE in him?”