Pull Up a Chair With Me?

Sunlight slants sideways from the east — left through rippled green maple leaves — onto the black metal patio table, green canvas umbrella, and light-tufted flower plants of orange, red, and yellow. The feathery Celosia plumes are beautiful and I find my eyes drawn here often.

Cotton seeds circle and float in aimless patterns; the breeze is desultry, slight. A thumbnail-sized tan and grey moth flutters and lands on the glass deck door. A cotton seed entangles in a maple leaf’s margins for a moment before it flips up and is free and gone.

I return to the Bible book of Romans, my second glass of cold sweet coffee halfway through and my green water bottle the same. Romans 8 continues from the last time I picked it up. Wow, that “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.” That He would live in me is unfathomable sometimes.

You live in me, God? You “make your home with me”? You are Immanuel, “God with us.” God who dwells, tents, lives with me, IN me. Thank you, God. You honor me with your presence.

“Yes, I found it! Zank you, God,” chirps my youngest son. All six and a half years of him have just scrambled up from under the table where he found a missing Lego piece. This is the second time he has burst into thanking God for something this morning. I love it, and yet his next sentence unnerves me.

“I won! Zank you, God!” His “th’s” are sometimes still “Z’s” and I crack a sheepish smile at that and the fact that he has just thanked God for winning an Ipad game. I am grinning and yet wondering if a conversation is due now that God has been credited for an electronic game victory. No, I’ll wait to see how the future unfolds. I’d rather he be growing and seeing gratitude in the things around him than not.

The verses in Romans continue, moving into a new thought, and I write out verses in my journal, underlining and interacting with the material. Faced with the God of the Universe’s statements of residence and his connected thoughts, I am forced to take stock of my responses and actions. My pen scrambles and scrawls. Question marks top sentences, and yet my response flows back into gratitude as well.

That you live in me?! Wow. The wonder of that should never cease to amaze me.

An ethereal transparent sheath of cotton seed has snagged on a yellow tufted plant in my garden box. At times out of sight, at times undulating in the breeze,  it’s all I notice now. Tremors on a still plant that dance and sway in the slight wind around it. The seed senses and responds to the air around it in a way the plant is too firmly rooted to the earth to do in kind. By the cotton seed’s tremors and dance, however, I can see the air’s constant currents.

It reminds me of the spirit dancing in me too.

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  1. Bill (cycleguy) on June 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    First mistake: drinking cold sweet coffee. Nothing is disgusting as hot coffee. Cold sweet coffee sound even more…aaaaah (can't think of the right word) wretched? 🙂 As you can tell I am not a coffee drinker. But I am a drinker of Romans. just finished reading it for the 3rd time and getting ready to head back for #4. Stuff awaits!

  2. Unknown on June 24, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Love your take and the glimpse over your shoulder into your blessed life. And thanks for the reminder to constantly be amazed at the love, grace, and mercy of He who lives within us.

  3. Lisa notes... on June 25, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Romans 8 is the best, yes? So many truths in there that can blow us away if we really take the time to think about them. The Spirit is dancing in us too. Love that, Jennifer.

  4. Alecia Simersky on June 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    It's such an awe-struck thing to think about, God in us. As close as the air we breathe. So beautiful.

  5. Micah on July 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

    So cool for your son to have those responses, associating God's provenance with the victories he experiences and living in gratitude and joy through doing so. It's an amazing thought to consider that God abides with us, makes his home with us, individually and corporately. Reflecting on these mysteries always brings to mind just how profound and huge so many of the truths He's given us are, they are truly beyond searching out, and all the more beautiful for it.

  6. Jennifer Dougan on July 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm


    What?! Cold coffee is yummy too. 🙂 My husband would agree with you though. He doesn't like coffee either.

    Romans IS so deep, huh? I was just working my way through ch 8 some more this morning, out on the deck.

    Jennifer Dougan

  7. Jennifer Dougan on July 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks,Floyd. I need that reminder often too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on July 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Yes, I find myself hovering around the same chapters in Romans for a while, processing them slowly bites at a time, and then returning to get the whole chapter chunk feel too — with brain breaks away to Psalms some days too.

    Thanks for stopping in,
    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on July 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm


    Isn't it?! It leaves me amazed and awed each time too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on July 15, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Oh, Micah, I agree.

    Jennifer Dougan

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