Third Monday • Advent 2022

December 12th, 2022

STRIPPING

{Packing, Moving, Packing}

When I read the title of today’s devotional I was wondering how the word, “stripping” would fit into my life and how I might be able to share my thoughts with you. Just hearing the word, “stripping “can open one’s thoughts! The story written by Jan Richardson was her story and her experience and it included “stripping” wallpaper and she being a gifted writer elegantly shared a story intertwining the removal of wallpaper and repainting a wall with beautiful comparisons to her own life story. I highly recommend her book which I am currently reading called, “Night Visions-searching the shadows of advent and christmas.”

As I’m sure you noticed I added my own “title” for today under, “Stripping” called {Packing, Moving, Packing}. The scripture I chose for today comes from Genesis 32 focusing on Jacob. The biblical account of Jacob can be found in Genesis 25 thru Genesis 50.

There are times in our lives where God will take things away, in some cases takes everything away that we find comfort in to help us regain our first love. Our first love is God, himself. God who created us and breathed life into us. Our beginning is God. As we grow and live things seep into our lives that distracts us from our first love, we may even forget our first love. In the case of Jacob, he ran away to a new land, took multiple wives and became very wealthy looking for happiness.

Does any of this resonate with you. It definitely did with me, I try to live by saying I have no regrets, I have made plenty of mistakes and made some bad choices but they also taught me very valuable lessons. Sometimes we must hit rock bottom, then dig a bit deeper before we decide to look up and ask for help. In some cases, we find ourselves running away from God. Okay, so we run, but why do we run? In my cases, I think it started out as just looking away from God to see what else was in the world, I became distracted and that led to walking away and before I knew it I was running in a new direction and God was no longer my anchor. I never completely left God but my relationship suffered because distance grew.

It’s been more than a decade since I experienced personal devastation and I had to learn to trust God, to return to my first love. It did not happen quickly, there was a lot of pain and anger involved. My wounds ran deep, I needed to uncover why they hurt so badly. It was more than ripping a bandage off, my wounds had healed, reopened and healed again, the result was scars and calloused scar tissue. Slowly and steadily I began to pay more attention to my needs and focused on my wholeness. God generously placed some very caring individuals in my life and like healing ointment on sore damaged skin, these beautiful people helped the healing of my soul.

I chose the “{Packing, Moving, Packing}, because I feel like I’ve done a lot of it, back in 2003 I moved from an apartment to a house I had built; 2005 sold the house, pack the house, moved to an apartment/unpacked; 2008 bought a condo, packed/unpacked; 2009 moved out of condo to an apartment packed/unpacked; 2022 moved to a new apartment packed/unpacked. These moves have taught me that I can live without most of the things I possess, my needs are very basic and I am learning to love me, all of me because I was created by God and He loves me. God has never left me alone, even though many times I felt utterly alone and scared.

In the end, my life (your life) will always be about me (you) and God and will always be. God can bless me (you) and remake me (you) into the person he wants me (you) to be, he first has to take away the things that have gotten in the way of the relationship.

Genesis 32:24-28, (Jacob wrestled a man and in the end, his name was changed to Israel).

“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?”“Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

God of making

and unmaking,

of tearing down

and re-creating,

you are my home

and habitation,

my refuge

and place of dwelling.


In your hallows

I am re-formed,

given welcome

and benediction,

beckoned to rest

and rise again,

made ready

and sent forth.

- Jan Richardson

Friends, I have JOY in my life because of God. God has blessed me with the wonderful gift of you in my life. May you have JOY in your life today and always. I pray that your advent journey is all you need and want it to be. I am blessed to have you traveling with me. May God bless you and keep you ~ 🛐

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen.32.24,Gen.32.25,Gen.32.26,Gen.32.27,Gen.32.28&version=NIV

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