Let it Shine
Hello my friends!
I guess this is a quarterly newsletter now? Turns out I’m *not* amazing at planning a house build, homeschooling, being sick for the first six weeks of 2022, and also maintaining any semblance of a writing life. Anyway. How have you been?
I totally get it if the answer to that is a complicated one. Even aside from any personal struggles you’re walking through, there is a lot of chaos, heaviness, and darkness to contend with right now in general. I feel it too, the groans of our broken world.
Those of us who are believers and followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us. As the culture pushes God himself and his created order further and further away, it makes sense that we are going to continuously feel less at home here. Honestly, it makes my heart ache for heaven more, and the time when everything wrong will be made right. There is no sweeter, more comforting, or more hopeful promise.
But until heaven, how do we navigate through the dark days here?
I bet you already know instinctively, but let me remind you:
We are to be the Light.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught this: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Light radiates. It illuminates. It reveals. It gives clarity and visibility. It awakens. It spreads. It pushes back the darkness. It tells the Truth.
When we radiate the Father’s glory - the overflow of his presence in our lives - we take back ground from the enemy, who seeks to snuff out any spark of light he can detect.
I’ve noticed that the more the world around me spirals, the more I crave carving out a simpler, quieter life. In that pursuit, I have to be so mindful not to choose isolation over connection. What good is my light if it’s tucked away? After all, Jesus specified we are to “shine before others.” Being a light to my neighbor is going to look different when we live on 18 acres of land versus ½ an acre. How I impact my local community shifts now that we homeschool versus when we walked down the street to the neighborhood school each day. My light cannot impact someone if it never reaches them in the first place.
Let me say it this way: Wherever we find ourselves on this earth, at any given moment, those exact coordinates need to be illuminated WITH God’s glory FOR God’s glory.
Believer, you are marked by the Father’s brilliance. It emanates through you so that you can pass it on. And because He is the Source, your Light is forever returning glory back to Him (the rightful owner). I love the passage in the Bible describing Moses’ face when he came down from Mount Sinai after talking and dwelling with God: it SHONE. His face actually radiated light! (Exodus 34:29-30). There was no mistaking the power of God’s presence in Moses’ life. Let that be true of us too. When people see us, do they see the evidence of our Father’s glory in us?
Maybe you remember the song from childhood that says “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” (….maybe you’ve already been singing it in your head since first opening this newsletter?!) What if those lyrics were planted in our hearts for such a time as this. For such a culture as this. Let your light shine with boldness, with gladness, and with purpose; we have been called to a radiant life that speaks of the brilliance and abundance of God.
Let Him shine -
Speaking of planting words in our hearts, I recently came across an old video of Aven reciting her bedtime blessing. It was a short compilation of important truths I put together that she could memorize and revisit as she grew. At some point along the way of more babies and a couple of moves, we forgot about the bedtime blessing. But I’ve revised it a little bit, and we’ve been saying it as a family at bedtime. I’m astonished at how quickly the kids memorized it - even my two year old! Here it is, if you’d like to create a version for your own kids.
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am a bright light shining into the darkness.
Nothing can separate me from the faithful love of God.
God seeks my good and his glory in all things.
In him, I have a hope and a future.
God so loved me, he made a way to dwell with me forever.”
A few favorite things :
Spring at the Barn of Blooms / Any locally-owned nursery
I’d just like to shout out local plant nurseries, and the people that keep them running. They are magic. If you happen to be local to the west Georgia / east Alabama area, the Barn of Blooms is a nursery that boasts some adorable Magnolia-ish vibes. They have tons of varieties of plants, flowers, & trees, plus a little cafe on site.
Even if it’s not this specific one, just find a small, independent nursery near you that you can wander around and support. I promise, it’s a really different experience than making a Home Depot run for plants. :)
HANG WITH ME HERE OKAY. This is not a gag gift, but it could pass for one! It’s a waterproof notepad and pencil that you can hang in your shower (apparently there are lots of us that remember important things only while in the shower). But the thing is…they actually work! The paper dries completely so you can take the notes with you. I use mine to jot down random things but also to list people/situations I’m praying over so I don’t forget.
This conversation between Megyn Kelly and Andrew Klavan
I randomly clicked on this podcast episode the other day and it sucked me right in. It’s one that will leave you thinking and pondering some really important topics. (You can watch on Youtube or just listen in your podcast app).
Good + beautiful words to leave you with :
“The key to bearing God’s fruit and becoming holy, godly image-bearers is to remain in step with the Spirit. ‘Walk by the Spirit’ - don’t take a step forward without remembering him, listening for him, relying on him. This posture of the heart is so different than willpower-Christianity. It’s not striving; it’s attachment.” - Phylicia Masonheimer
“For the Christian indwelt by the Spirit, all ground is holy ground.” - Jen Wilkin
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots. The other is wings.” - unknown
A prayer for you to pray this week: God, let my response to the world around me simply be to shine your light where there is none. Help me to do so.
Thanks for reading my newsletter! I have to tell you how grateful I am for a space in your inbox. If this edition brought someone to mind, please pass it on to them! Or if you want to talk with me one on one, you can reply to this email and it will come directly to me. Talk to you soon!
I always love reading your newsletters. Thanks for sharing. They are always beautifully worded.