Wednesday, September 14, 2011

he took the trash out

i opened the cabinet under the sink and saw an empty trashcan. no, not a trashcan that was recently emptied of its contents. a trashcan that was missing its bag.

i think this is one of my nagging issues in life. i see what isn't there rather than what is, what hasn't been done rather than what has. in this instance my wonderful husband had taken the trash out without even a single prompting from me (he usually does this, and quite well). but he forgot to put a trash bag back in. this often annoys me to no end, and i normally like to point it out to him. but this time something, perhaps a nudging from the holy spirit, stopped me. i realized i would be chastising him for something he didn't do rather than thanking him for something he actually did, and constantly does.

it was one of those humbling moments. the kind where i sat back and wondered how many other times i looked at what wasn't rather than what was. how many miracles from god did i overlook because my expectations weren't met? how many acts of service were done unto me that i ignored? how many times did i miss a blessing because it wasn't up to my standard? time for a change in perspective.

so i closed my mouth and pulled out a trash bag and said thanks to my husband.
and then this week i asked why he didn't finish cleaning the kitchen (even though the dishes were all done)....
i guess i'm still a work in progress

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"but it's nice to say that we played in the dirt"

here is an email i received from a friend and woman i highly respect in response to this post.

"Interesting. I just came across this. As you can tell I don't get out much. You thoughts are well written and spot on. I believe religion is man-made. And many Christians profess to have a relationship but they actually don't even know the Lord. But as I read this it occurred to me that repetition of action is not absent in relationship. I get up every morning and make coffee and kiss my husband of 21 years before he goes to work. Relationships grow cold not because of repetition, but because we stop seeking and seeing our mate. I too become frustrated by those who want worship without effort. Who see worship as hands raised to a song that lift their emotions, instead of hearts bent in obedience.

And, it is not because I'm cool that I use expletives. I am just comfortable enough with my Lord to know that He will not fall off His throne. I trust His love, and know that sometimes, the lost can relate better to someone who isn't afraid of bad language. We have turned holiness into superficial stuff - modest dress, pleasant language but inside the cup is rotten. I am letting God work on the inside, and slowly the outside is reflecting that change. And Lord forgive me, but sometimes I use expletives to show Christians how little it takes to upset them.

Lori Mondshine"

yes she is the very same lori mondshine mentioned in the post.

i wanted to clarify that i do agree that relationships do not grow cold because of ritual, religion or repetition of action. in fact ritual, i believe, is a natural response of our created soul, a necessary reaction to both the carnal and the divine that humans experience. and i also agree that relationships grow cold when we stop seeking. when we replace seeking with ritual.

and the second part of her message made me laugh, out loud.

"your comebacks, they're quick"

a few weeks ago i was talking to my sister-in-law, the same one who buried her baby. she mentioned someone making an offhand comment implying molly's death was a consequence of her parents' sin. as if god was punishing her and my brother. i was appalled and speechless. shocked at the absurdity a so-called christian (or perhaps a legitimate christ-follower who is gravely mistaken) could utter about his lord.
cara's reponse?

"you don't know my god."

those words have been echoing in my mind ever since she said them. i don't think god is above punishment. nor consequences. but i also know he is a loving, forgiving, merciful god. a provider, comforter, counselor. a father who buried his own son.

"you don't know my god."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"it kind of hurts"

"The art I create is an image of beauty in pain"

my sister-in-law wrote that in her artist statement on her website. she creates beautiful pieces. but, as she stated, they are all, or almost all, inspired by the pain she is experiencing from burying her 3 day old daughter.
life is heartbreaking. it is painful. it hurts. and yet our god has not left us to drown in our sorrows, to suffer in the agony of loss and grief. he has blessed us with beauty. despite the pain. in the pain. as a result of the pain. it doesnt diminish the pain. but it gives us a clearer view of our god.

to see cara's beautiful art click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

NOT a beautiful mess

This is what my husband's office currently looks like. Believe it or not, this is actually a vast improvement from months past. Once upon a time (a month or two ago) boxes lined the walls, and there was no hint of organization. Today boxes only line one wall (2 or three deep) and a desk now holds some semblance of order.
We have lived in our house for nearly 8 months. The majority of those months Ben was not otherwise engaged (with work or flight school or anything really). Yet our office continued to look like this. Now he has started flight school, kissed every bit of his free time good bye, and I am left with this mess.
Today I went in there to look for an important document to scan for some of that annoying life paperwork we all deal with. After a fruitless search I burst into tears, furious with Ben for not putting his office in order before getting too busy, but mostly furious with myself. I felt helpless and out of control in "his" mess. Yet "his" mess is also my responsibility because my important documents are lost in its midst.
It was then that God whispered to me in one of those oh-so-annoying teachable moments. As in this physical mess, I often feel so overwhelmed and out of control with the mess of my life and sin and disobedience that I just want to give up and wallow in it. I move nowhere because I don't know where to start, much less have any idea of where I want to end up. God reminded me that though I made the mess, he has already started cleaning it up. "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:6
It is comforting to know that God has already started sorting out the mess of my life, organizing and sorting and making beautiful what I have trashed. I need not throw up my hands in frustration or defeat but rather turn to the perfecter of my life.
The teachable moment left me with a small smile and a sigh, but the office is still a mess, and I still cannot find my document, and my husband is scheduled to be busy until we move out. I am praying that I will not have to wait until the day of Jesus Christ to see order in my husband's office again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

are you?

early on when ben and i first joined our a small group at the church the pastor asked us about getting involved. the conversation is fairly irrelevant, except that at one point he said (and i quote)

"if we are not feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and taking care of widows and orphans, we SUCK!"

it is so refreshing to hear pastors use words like suck. its like speaking the vernacular. but that's not my point. his vision for the church is so basic, almost primal, and yet it feels like exactly what god is asking of us. big beautiful buildings with stained glass crosses and high tech children's ministries, in my opinion, only scare people away. but love. love invites. love speaks. love listens. love heals. "love covers a multitude of sins." (and isn't it sin that we are trying to hide inside those big beautiful buildings with the stained glass crosses??)

then i got to thinking. am i feeding the hungry? or clothing the naked? or helping widows and orphans? doubt it.

are you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are we there yet?

in my very christian world perhaps one of the things i hear most is "praying for god's will for my life." small groups discuss it, pastors preach about it, and devotion writers try so often to describe it. all the talk reminds me of annoying children in the back seat of a car asking their parent's "are we there yet? are we there yet?"

you'll know when you are there.