Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Holy in the Ordinary

The well-worn book, A Tree Full of Angels, resting on my nightstand invited me to turn back the cover once again and listen to its now familiar message.

It was the sub-title that first captured my attention, Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary. A few pages in and I was mesmerized.
Penned by a Catholic nun, some of the language—unfamiliar to my Protestant ears—resonated with my child-of-God heart, my identity free of denominational ties. It quickly earned a spot on my 2014 list of favorite reads. I often return to my underlines and again hear the whisper of God through faded ink.

The holy in the ordinary, our holy God shining through ordinary humans like me -- and you. How encouraging! What an honor!

Experiencing the holy (or perhaps believing I’m experiencing it) in my ordinary days hasn’t always been my story. For many years my ordinariness mocked my heart for holiness, the desire dangling just beyond my grasp. I kind-of knew something was there; others recognized it in me too, but my head couldn’t grasp what simmered in my heart. My hope dulled.

But the God of hope who fills us with all joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13) took me by the hand and gently led me on a path that allowed truth to flow upward, from my heart to my head. My believer started believing. And the gospel of grace shone more brightly. I began to recognize God’s holy in my ordinaries. 

Some of my 2014 favorites
Funny -- it didn’t happen with my initial decision that fall evening during my college days—as necessary as that decision was. It wasn’t the years of professional ministry—although they continued to clarify my heart.

It was truly in the laying down of my striving and learning to listen and enjoy the friendship of God that created space for me to embrace the gospel and begin to experience the holy in my ordinary. 

As I pondered this post and sharing these words, it dawned … every book I’ve enjoyed this year was the story of holy in ordinary. Whether fiction or non-fiction, memoirs or biographies, novels or short stories, that holy thread in ordinary days was the theme stitching the book together. No wonder they resonated so strongly.

What about you -- how are you experiencing God in your life? How does the holy in your ordinary show up? What have been some of your favorite reads of 2014?

(To be continued next week with some of my favorite Christmas reads.)

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called the children of God (holy)! That’s who we really are”. I John 3:1, The Message (parentheses mine).

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