When we have a request or longing, each of us LOVES getting a 'yes' answer much more than a 'no' or 'maybe.' You and I REMEMBER these OPEN DOORS as they relate to our children, with smiles and joy. I remember like it was yesterday, the day our daugther Cristi was born, after 5 years of infertility! And the day twelve years later when Alex and Anya walked into the conference room to meet us at the orphanage in Ivangorat, Russia. I am wondering what you treasure up in your heart as that OPEN DOOR memory surrounding each child's entry into your family. Maybe it was the day you finished preparing the adoption dossier, or that day you learned you were expecting, maybe the day your baby was born, or the day the court hearing was finalized, or maybe the day your foster son came home. Which is that OPEN DOOR you remember with excitement???
Well, the Lord has been filling me with this same type of deep joy over a new kind of OPEN DOOR that the Holy Spirit invites us to experience, both inside of and beyond our own families. I call them:
- The External Open Door
- The Internal Open Door
- The Heavenly Open Door
I see them right now as clearly as I see the front door of our house! While that door is closed to ward off the bitter Atlanta cold of winter, these three are doors the Lord intends to ALWAYS remain open!!! And when we focus on the OPEN DOORS over the CLOSED DOORS, we receive joy and blessing and purpose and hope! Let me explain!
The External Open Door
Jesus takes John to heaven in Revelation to show him what is actually going on while we are all on earth. The Holy Spirit reveals that
I have set before you an OPEN DOOR which no one can shut! (Revelation 3:8)
This is the External Open Door of God's purpose for our lives. As we are walking fully in that purpose, not only walking through the door but sticking to the path the Lord has planned for us on earth, I just love what our spouses and children and friends and neighbors and coworkers will see...they see this: "They will learn that I have LOVED you!"
I see it as the door the Lord opens and then holds open-- never to be shut again! It is a PERMANENTLY open door, because as Jesus says 'no one can shut it!'
The Internal Open Door
Next we come to the Internal Open Door:
Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone opens the door I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
So, how would you like to go out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the Lord every day, for some meaningful and heart-to-heart conversation? But the INTERNAL door, unlike the EXTERNAL one, is one that you and I must pull open, rather than leaving it shut! This is the type of relationship we need with the Holy Spirit in order to fully experience the joys and goodness of God along the path appearing beyond that External Open Door above.
Practically, it means that when there is a struggle in our family between me and one of my children, I "open the door," so to speak, by asking Jesus to help me see what He sees and understand what He understands, so that I can love them the way He loves them! And when the relationships are smooth and harmonious, I keep this door of gratitude and dependence open as well.
This Internal Open Door is primarily a spiritual door and not primarily a psychological door. Yes, we have had chronic challenges, such as reactive attachment disorder or the scars of abuse, neglect, and loss, for which psychologic principals can help provide coping mechanisms. But such principals have never effectively healed brokenness or filled emptiness. The Internal Open Door allows my Lord Jesus to pour into me His healing, nurturing and equipping love that must flow through me to them. Particularly in and beyond every challenge and success, such love comes supernaturally and transformationally.
The Heavenly Open Door
I think this final door is my favorite one, as it reminds me of our shared destiny.
After this I looked and BEHOLD, a door standing open in hearven!....And the voice said, 'Come up here and I will show you what must take place!' (Revelation 4:1)
We read with excitement to see how our stories will end! And we see through this Heavenly Open Door rainbows and thrones and crowns and crystal and best of all, our Lord and God! And we understand what we all are created for....to give our Lord honor and thanks, along with eternal worship for the only One who is worthy!
Knowing this shared destiny, it becomes much less monumental to me what our children major in, whether they finish high school or college, whether they choose the kinds of friends that I prefer, or whether they watch too much TV or are on instagram too much! Instead of becoming consumed by those aspects of life, I am ever seeing the Heavenly Open Door, for me and for my husband and for our children, endeavoring to live in such a contagious way that others inside and beyond my home will want to come peer through it with me. Once they do, I trust that the allure of the King's glory will surpass the distraction of the world's attractions.
In closing, dearly beloved, I pray all this is 'new for you' in 2014, and that it stays in your view and mine!!! Staring at these 3 OPEN DOORS!!!
In 2014, Lord, let us be those who BEHOLD! This means, in a word, FOCUS!!! May this be the year that you and I FOCUS so much on these 3 OPEN DOORS, that all inside and beyond my home will want to join in, as we walk daily through YOUR EXTERNAL OPEN DOOR, holding open as well MY INTERNAL OPEN DOOR, and seeing all along the HEAVENLY OPEN DOOR that has eternal longevity. Amen.