I had an interesting experience this week. I was walking around our church parking lot; spending time thinking and praying. While doing so, I realized how much I love our parking lot. Weird, huh? I mean, I think it's kind of weird. It's not the nicest parking lot. It's not the prettiest parking lot. It's not the most well-kept parking lot either. So why do I love our parking lot? Because it's a familiar place where I have cried, processed fear, confessed my sins, made declarations, shared my heart with my wife and friends and chosen to believe God's goodness when circumstances told me otherwise.
As I was walking, I said to myself, "This parking lot isn't much to look at, but I love it because I've shared deep fears and worries with God and He has encountered my heart. The manger wasn't much to look at either. Isaiah the prophet also tells us that Jesus wasn't much to look at either. This parking lot is in good company." I'm not trying to equate our parking lot with the arrival of the Messiah or the Old Testament prophecies of His coming, but to simply say that some of the everyday common places and experiences can be places of encounter, transformation, growth and healing. That's our parking lot.
- When I walk that cracked and faded asphalt, I remember God speaking to me about how to lead when I'm afraid.
- I remember making important decisions about staffing.
- I remember walking and thinking of my deceased parents, my son getting married, my wife's need for leadership, empowerment and encouragement.
- I remember getting wisdom for the decisions that I was facing. I remember the warm and salty tears as I mourned the things I had lost.
- I remember dreaming of what is possible.
- I remember stopping and staring at the Gateway building and looking back at all the ways that God has touched people's lives because of our commitment to love, lead and live as Jesus did, in this geographical space.
Where is your common everyday space that stirs your emotions and jogs the memory of your encounters with God? If you don't have one, you should find one and stay faithful to that place. There is something powerful about creating memory stones of encounters where we make the common, sacred.