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Tearing Down Walls and Unlocking Gates - And More Monday June 21

When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.

~ 2 Corinthians 7:5

Paul is describing a set of circumstances that feel very familiar to me from certain times in my life. Because although Paul was a mighty man of God, maybe in part because he was a mighty man of God, he faced conflict, battles, fear and I'm sure discouragement. And then comes one of my favorite phrases in the Bible - But God . . . .

And this "But God . . . " instance came in the form of providing another person to bring joy and encouragement. But reading this made me wonder something - How many times has God tried to give me a "But God . . . " blessing in the form of another person and I simply shut them out? Because, even though I love being around other people, I have a very high wall built around myself. And there's an iron gate with a pretty secure lock on it. And I am becoming aware that I have a strong tendency to lock out those "But God . . . " blessings in the forms of other people and stay hidden behind my big wall, peering out occasionally to share a little with those outside and then retreating to my perceived safety again.

Paul could have done that. He could have been kind and gracious, spoken to Titus and welcomed him, and yet refused to receive the encouragement and comfort that Titus offered. Paul could certainly have claimed trauma from how others treated him and closed himself off relationally. But he didn't. He chose to receive the blessing. I don't want to miss out on any more of those blessings, I don't want to hide behind walls and locked gates. I want to live with my hands and heart open to receive those "But God . . . " blessings He is so faithful to send.

I asked my niece to draw an illustration for this post and she did a really good job.

Here she is hard at work drawing. I think she's hired 😊

We're vacationing in Maine this week with family and loving (almost) every minute of it. We enjoyed a family reunion Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Today we enjoyed time at the cabin just being together.

Later this evening we went out to eat at a seafood restaurant called Anglers. The service was excellent and the food was delicious! But spending more time with extended family who are still in the area after the reunion was the best part!

And then after dinner we went to visit an uncle and aunt who live in the area.

It's been an amazing day and I am looking forward to another one tomorrow.

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