beholding Glory: Kingdom come here on earth {blessed are those who mourn}

Written by Nacole Simmons

I'm a non-conformist, fashion-loving southern mom of four girls, wife to one good, steady, car-building man, Jesus-follower, grace-seeker, poet-at-heart who adores nature. I'm a homebody and love spending weekends with my family either in our backyard reading books in the hammock, gardening, or in the country riding horses and roasting marshmallows over a campfire under a starry sky. I'm honest to a fault, and love writing the brave things & speaking straight to the elephant in a room because I can't do small talk.

May 6, 2013

kingdom come

There is a way for us to behold glory, and it looks like reaching across the table and just crying with someone who’s hurting, not saying much.

Sometimes all you can say, your arms around them, is this sucks.

I understand what it means to be angry at God–I’ve been there–it’s okay.

Because really, that’s what God wants to say to them if He could, audibly, but He wants to use us.

Jumping into someone’s life and offering advice is a sacred thing. They’re making room for you in their secret places, their inner chambers, their heart of hearts, letting you see all their dirt and grime, the dust on the furniture, the stack of food-crusted dishes in the sink. And the last thing they want you to do is point it out, or to look embarrassed when they make apologies. It’s best to just give some serious disclosure —girl, look, you don’t even want to see my dishes right now–they are way worse.

There is a way to behold glory and it’s not in pretending we are righteous. It’s not in our walls and our thick layers that protect and our fears that keep others at a distance.

See, I have this huge dream to behold glory, to see Kingdom come here on earth. It’s a scary dream really, because I’ve been burned enough to put my faith right out.

But that’s the thing about hope–it’s stronger than fear. It just keeps enduring, keeps flickering back on and won’t be snuffed out. Satan hates this, I think.

There is a way to behold  glory and this dream is that The Church will trust God to save the millions, and stop marching forward with our crusade in haste, leaving the wounded and the weak in faith falling to the sides in our wake. I hope that we will love well the few right around us, that we will make the time to reach across tables, across pews, across airplane aisles and checkout counters, really see the people behind the eyes we are looking into.

I don’t like conquests just for conquest’s sake, and I don’t think God does either.

I dream that we will reach out with a hug when that someone walks in the door a little tear-eyed on a Sunday morning.

I dream of bringing groceries by to the family that lost an income, not because the pastor announced the event in the pulpit, and we think our name may be printed in the bulletin, but because they whispered it to us, they trusted us, and we quietly showed up, Jesus at their door.

I dream of personal, one-on-one, left-hand-not-knowing-what-the-right-hand-is-doing kind of ministry.

I dream of a time when we don’t call it ministry. We just call it Love.

Compassion doesn’t mean feeling sorry for someone–it means entering into suffering with them. This is what Jesus meant when he said Blessed are those who mourn.

Because last I checked, I sin every day and God said none of us is righteous, not one.

We are still using a grading system for our sins, for their sins, his sin, her sin, this group’s sin, that group’s sin, and just like the Pharisees we have so many unspoken rules.

Because of this, doors have been slammed shut in my face, too.

We think we have come so far. Yet, we deceive ourselves to think that we really have no sin, that we are not in a perpetual state of sinner-saved-by grace, a hopeless state of constant sinning, if not for the cross and grace of one very scandalously loving God.

We could ask ourselves this revolutionary question: How do we know they don’t go to sleep every night, sobbing, asking God to forgive them, to change them too, the ones we push away?

So I dream and I dream big. I dream of a time when all the walls will come down and we will love fierce. A time when we won’t be cowardly afraid of what’s thought of us if we invite that pregnant, unwed friend to church and sit next to them, or have coffee with a gay friend, or invite that family from across the tracks over for hashbrown casserole.

I have hope, and this hope swells inside my chest til I believe it will explode and this is the question I’m asking: Shouldn’t we plead for all?

To tell them God is for them, that He loves them. Period. And if they trust us enough, maybe we get a chance to share the gospel.

I dream of a day when we don’t draw a line and throw words of hate back from our side, but instead, walk over to the picketers and boycotters and get to know them, share a meal together.

Because really, we are filthy rags and our love of self stinks.

So I dream of a better day when maybe pastors wear t-shirts and jeans, and church can be anywhere people are gathered in the name of love, and the red carpet is laid out for all, like our Father does for us, for those who come looking for love a little dirty and maybe their appearance a little different than ours.

I don’t dream of great exploits in God; I don’t dream of being a hero.

I do dream of beholding glory. I do dream of Kingdom come here on earth.

I dream of changing one stranger at a time with our genuine care, and I dream of a church, rising up out of the ash of their own bridges burned and beginning to build a crossway of Love.

27 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for this. You put into words what is in my heart and you are stirring me to go on!

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Barbara,

      Oh, I am so very glad. I’m truly honored this touched you in that way.

      Reply
  2. Laura Boggess

    These are beautiful dreams, Nacole. We need to keep dreaming them. That is where the change starts, with the dream. Lovely words, friend.

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      (((Laura))), lovely friend. I love seeing your gorgeous face. Thank you for being here, for supporting me, for believing in me.

      Reply
  3. Heather

    On my way into work this morning I listend to “Hallelujah” by Shawn McDonald. The song is about the beautitudes. I listened to this song multiple times this morning and God spoke to me, specifically using ” Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”. It hit me, these are not only words that God gives us but they are a promise to us. It is a promise that we will be comforted. It’s a beautiful reminder especially since I work at a local homeless shelter. These are His promises and He never lets us down. Usually I start my work morning off with staff Bible study and then a daily devo from bibledue sent to my inbox. They way God works are amazing! He used you to speak to me. Thank you for your willingness to let God use you.

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Wow, this comment? Heather, this is beautiful and leaves me speechless. The ways He gets our attention, the way He loves, lets us know we’re beloved–amazing, isn’t it?

      Reply
  4. Sharon

    All I can say, with tears in my eyes, is thank you for putting into words exactly what is inside my heart today. This is a Monday after hearing and crying with some of the dearest people as they shed their masks in search of reality. It hurts to love like this and it is raw as it makes me revisit some of my own issues, but it is the only way Jesus really wants it to be.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Oh Sharon, *praying* for you right at this moment, for you and your friends. They, and you, and we all will find solace in our Heavenly Father. It does hurt to love like this, and I’m the biggest doubter of them all, but God sheds such grace on me. Thank you for this gift, your words here today.

      Reply
  5. Ro elliott

    Beautiful Nacole…dreaming with you….that love will truly cover….look at you…venturing out….xoxox. Blessings

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      (((Ro))), you dear friend, you. I’m so glad to see you over here. Yeah, look at me out on that limb, huh? Who would have thought it? I love you.

      Reply
  6. Kris Camealy

    beautiful, challenging words, Nacole. These are dreams of God, of Gospel made flesh… yes. Dreaming with you!!

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Kris! So very nice to see you here, friend. Oh yes, Gospel made flesh–exactly. Thank you for these words–they encourage me so much.

      Reply
  7. Alene Snodgrass

    Love your words and wisdom. This is the hard truth of serving the messy, “Compassion doesn’t mean feeling sorry for someone–it means entering into suffering with them.” It’s the suffering and struggling with them that kill my heart. Beautiful!

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Alene, girl, if I have any wisdom, it’s from knowing what it’s like to be on the outside, to be pushed out and judged, treated differently. Your words are very sweet, and I appreciate them–truly. I admire what you do. For now I’m at home, but I’m praying God will give me strength to do the dreams He places in my heart. Thank you for being here– (((hugs))).

      Reply
  8. Holly

    Yes. Yes. and Yes. If it is true that the Kingdom of God is now then this is exactly it. I want to open my eyes daily, look at those in front of me, and behold glory–even if he is dressed in rags or smells unkempt or if she wears too much makeup or yells at her kids. Let us swim daily in that grace ocean, for we are all drowning (thank you Josh Garrels).

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Wow, I don’t know why I did not see these comments until now. I just happened to notice there were more here than the day I posted. I’m sorry, Holly. *Thank you* for your lovely comment, friend. You are a treasure to me, and oh yes, kingdom come, and I hope it looks radically different from what we expect.

      Reply
  9. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    Oh holy. Yes. I read this beauty, friend. Bless you as you venture out and proclaim the truth in the ways he’s made you to do. Amen to this dream…I’m sharing in this with you!

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Again, I’m sorry it took so long to answer these comments–I didn’t see them. Ashley, friend, you bless me. xo.

      Reply
  10. bluecottonmemory

    You are so right. . . so right. . . – sometimes it takes, though, a lot of humbling, a lot of pain to see this, to live this – you speak what’s in my heart:)

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Ooh, Maryleigh, a lot of pain, a lot of humbling… Lovely friend, I suspect when we ask God to show us His glory, for his kingdom to come here on earth, we know not what we really ask, yes? And this is why we should follow Jesus’ example and pray it anyway, no matter the cost.

      Reply
  11. Rick Dawson

    Well done, Nacole – well done. Well written and truth spoken, uncomfortable as it may be.

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Wow, thank you, Rick. And I am so sorry I am this late in answering comments– I did not see them until now.

      Reply
      • Rick Dawson

        Better late than never – cliche though it may be, it is true – as it what you wrote.

        and, you are welcome 🙂

        Reply
  12. Amy L. Sullivan

    Nacole,
    I like you. Yep, and do you know what? I quote pull quotes from this piece all day long.

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Aww, shucks, Amy. *No words*, friend. Just taking your hand. Honored. {So sorry it took me so long to comment; I did not see these until now}…

      Reply
  13. Brave Girl Stacey

    Oh Nacole- Thank you for being brave and bold and writing this! WOW! It’s timely! So much of what you said I want to scream from the rooftops! I especially like this sentence: “How do we know they don’t go to sleep every night, sobbing, asking God to forgive them, to change them too, the ones we push away?” I was one of those “ones” who was pushed away. I cried myself to sleep many times wishing someone would just “be Jesus with skin on” for me. Then, even when they were “Jesus with skin on” I still did and said things to hurt them as I clamored and scratched the cold floor of my dark cave trying to make sense of an all consuming love that Jesus gave without me having to “do” anything.
    If we could all just take off our masks of presumption and measurement and behold each other, what a different world we would be in. It starts with each one of us. Individually choosing to walk in love. It’s a conscious choice to surrender ourselves. To say, “not my will, but yours Lord”. To walk alongside another, no matter the cost, is service and love.
    Thank you for writing the words that I sometimes struggle to find!
    I’m going to share this on my Facebook page!
    Blessings to you Nacole!
    Stacey

    Reply
    • Nacole Simmons

      Oh, Stacey, I’m so sorry it took so long to respond; I did not see these other comments until now. I wish I had read this when I posted this write–what a lovely, vulnerable unmasking you have left for me here. Can I just take your hand and whisper *yes*, I hear you, I *see* you, God sees you. He sees us, He loves us, calls us beloved. I love what you said–“It starts with each one of us…to walk alongside another, no matter the cost, is service and love.” Just beautiful, Stacey.

      Reply

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beholding Glory: Kingdom come here on earth {blessed are those who mourn}

by Nacole Simmons time to read: 5 min
27