I have many fond memories of going to my grandparent’s house. There were certain things you could count on, certain corners that remained the same.
There was the cookie jar. Sitting in the corner of the counter, it always held cookies. The cookie jar wasn’t air tight so Grandma put the cookies in a plastic bag with a twist tie to keep them fresh. It didn’t really work, but the day old cookie was something I could always find at Grandma’s!
Then there was the closet. This was generally the first place I went upon arrival at their house. Grandma’s closet was built along one side of the bedroom with a door at one end along the side. It made for a long narrow room with clothes hanging on one side. At the very back of the closet, Grandma stored her purses. She allowed us to play with the ones not currently in use. After choosing a purse, the next stop was Grandpa’s study.
Grandpa sorted his mail in the study and often threw away mailings without opening them. Today it would be credit card applications. Fifty years ago it was something different, but an unopened envelope was especially valuable to me.
From the study, armed with a purse filled with Grandpa’s discarded trash, we went to the kitchen to play bank. My grandparent’s house had a double hung window in the kitchen that opened into a four season entry area. There were two doors into the entry area, one from the kitchen and the other from the living room. It was the perfect set up for one person to sit behind the window while the other person went through the drive up lane (kitchen to the living room). The open door even provided a slot through which we could pass official bank documents and “money.”
I am a grandma now and I treasure my memories of going to grandma’s so I want to create the same kind of memory opportunities for my grandchildren. I love nothing more than when my granddaughters come into my house and make a beeline for familiar places.
A few weeks ago, I picked two of my granddaughters up from daycare and brought them to my house for a couple of hours. Finley, the oldest, went immediately to the living room. I could hear her moving about but I didn’t know what she was doing. Soon she appeared and wanted me to help her put on a princess dress which I gladly obliged. (I have a wardrobe of princess dresses from when my daughters were in dance class. I saved all their costumes and they are perfect dress up clothes.)
She disappeared again and didn’t come to the kitchen until dinner was ready. Later I discovered what she had been up to. There are built in cabinets next to the fireplace and she had emptied one of them to make a bedroom for her baby. There were blankets and all the necessary comfort items in the cabinet and all my stored decor items were sitting on the hearth. I smiled the whole time I put the area back into order.
Last week my youngest granddaughter was over and she disappeared into the living room for a long time. At one point she came out and said, “Help. Help.” Following her to the toy box, I noticed she had completely emptied the toys but couldn’t quite reach an old cordless phone laying at the bottom. I helped her retrieve it and smiled at her delight with the phone. (I think she thought it was a TV remote.) As I surveyed the mess of toys, I had to chuckle. It is the oddest assortment of things and very little of it is new to my grandkids.
I am okay about that. You see, there is something comforting about the familiar. In a world where change is continuous, we need the constant, the familiar that doesn’t change. It might be Grandma’s almost stale cookies or the purses at the back of the closet or the unopened mail in Grandpa’s trash can. I want to be a place my grandchildren can come and count on familiarity — no matter what that is.
As I explore HOPE I find there is a constant that hope hangs on. HOPE is confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment. What is it that gives hope confident assurance?
3We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.Romans 5:3-5
In a world filled with problems and trials, we dare to hope because we are right with God and, therefore, our future is secure. This world is not all there is! Our hope is further strengthened by the truth that God loves us which is evidenced by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
This gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t just “enough” to get us by. The word translated fill our hearts is the same word used in Matthew 9:17 to describe what happens when new wine is put into old wineskins. Jesus said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.” Imagine a wineskin bursting and the wine spilling out. It wouldn’t be a gentle leak. It would be a gush and difficult to contain. It would make a mess!
That is God’s love for you – difficult to contain, spilling over, messy, beautiful and sustaining! And that is where our hope is grounded! Amidst all the change and chaos of life, His love for you and the hope of eternity is real, unchanging, and constant! Sit in it often!
That is great news!
Happy Hump Day!