Hammocks and Monuments

I knew it was coming, and yet when I saw it sitting on my porch I danced with joy. My mom sent me the most amazing gift today.

I grew up in the Church, but it wasn’t until high school that I really understood and accepted the love and realness of Jesus. During this time my best friend and I would visit a dear woman’s home and she would serve us delicious natural sodas and talk with us about the sweetness of Jesus. She taught us about prayer and about the power of the Holy Spirit. She showed us what it looked like to enjoy Jesus in the simple things– I remember hiking one day with her and she handed me a little yellow leaf and said, “Do you remember on ‘Christy’,” (our show of choice), “when Alice hands Christy the leaf and says ‘Hold on to hope?'” Tiny pieces of dried leaf still crumble out of my Bible on occasion.

My bestie and I would spend hours lounging in her beautiful Brazilian hammocks, reveling in all we had learned— as well as talking about boys and who knows what else. I often long for my high school days, when the newness of relationship with Jesus was so exhilarating. I heard it said once that you don’t necessarily miss a place when you leave it, but the person you were when you were there. Some days I miss that girl, swinging in hammocks, breathing in God’s majesty.

But today…today the package arrived. I called my mom as soon as I opened it, and the first thing she said was, “Did you pick them up and smell them?” She knows me too well! As I scooped up the coarse, yet oddly soft hammock, I breathed in the familiar fragrance, still lingering from the home I had spent so many sweet hours in. I couldn’t help but anticipate the sweet talks and snuggles my girls and I will have swinging in them. And my prayers for them to have their own “hammocks” bubbled into my chest.

I have many of these little monuments. Tiny moments that reverberate through my daily life, reminding me of how God has been patiently guiding my heart to His. Most of them are because of women who took the time to love me, to share their lives with me in ways that are so profound even I will never fully comprehend how deep the ripples go. They didn’t need to plan anything, or spend any money, they just let me be a part of their worlds. I got to see them living their lives as mothers, wives, friends and co-workers– honoring God with every task–especially the mundane.

I will never again be able to put silverware in the dishwasher, or make the perfect over-easy egg without praying for one of these women, and consequently being thoroughly thankful. My relationship with Jesus is what it is today because they opened their lives to me.

I have always loved that the specific ways Jesus gave us to tangibly celebrate him; communion (Luke 22:18-20), and baptism (Matthew 28:19)- are so similar to things we (hopefully) do daily; eating and bathing (it’s ok mama, I know these are luxuries some days). While the former are obviously practiced with a high level of sanctity, the latter give us a chance to reflect on all he has done while we go about the mundane ebb and flow of daily life.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5

Young women, open yourself up to being a part of a Godly woman’s life. Spend time scrubbing dishes, grocery shopping or folding laundry- the best conversations happen during the rhythm of the day-to-day. “Older” women, open your home, reach out to the younger women around you, invite them over for coffee and don’t stress about making it exciting, be selfless enough to show them what real life looks like with Jesus. You never know what monuments are being built by simply giving someone your time.

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