Archive for July, 2012

Emotional Over Plastic Wrap

If you’re like me, you can stay awake for hours obsessing about an off-hand remark from someone. For instance, if you asked your best friend if she could stop by for a visit and she said, “I can’t come over right now.” you wonder what she really meant.

Maybe she has a new best friend, or maybe she is mad at you for a similiar comment you made unknowingly. Perhaps what she meant to say was, “I’m tired of being friends with someone who is so needy. Instead of being your friend, I’m going to join a knitting group where I’ll be able to mindlessly use my hands while conversing with woman who actually have something to say!”

As you continue to mull over her terrible words, you begin to analyze your husband’s behavior. Why didn’t he eat peanut butter this morning? He always eats peanut butter! Before you know it, he’s run away with a massage therapist you met once, and you decide you need lipo-suction. But you can’t afford it. Then you consider a second mortgage, but how will you afford it if your husband has left?Then you realize you probably imagined most of it since you aren’t sure your husband even knows the massage therapist. Plus, he wouldn’t do that.

Three hours and four bathroom trips later, you fall asleep at 5:45 and have to be up at 6:15.

I’m not saying that happens to me. But it might.

However, I never thought I’d get emotional about plastic wrap. My friend, Carla does. She bought the big roll from SAM’s about eight years ago and it is finally coming to an end.

She’s sad. I’m not so sad about mine since when I bought it four years ago, I did something wrong immediately and the plastic tore incorrectly. I tried taking it out of the cardboard roll thing, but when I did, I broke something. So now it tears funny and something is broken.

I resorted to scissors (who decided how to spell that word???) tied on a monofilament line that gets caught in my pantry drawer whenever I try to cover something. So when this plastic wrap goes, I’m buying another one and hiring someone from SAM’s to install it.

But Carla is sad. Eight holidays, two weddings and one grandchild later, she remembers all the cooking, cleaning and covering she did as an inanimate object kept on rolling and she kept on living.

I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it.

I sure hope I don’t dream about it.

I need to get some sleep.

Brighten the Corner

Crying most of the day, I could hardly function. No one died. I wasn’t losing my house. Or my family.

I attended my own pity party.

Why is Tom gone so much? Why am I home so much with Mom? How can I do great things when I’m stuck here? The stench of my thoughts must have burned God’s nose.

It had only been a week since I’d finished the chapter about contentment in Pricilla Shirer’s book, “Resolutions for Women.” I even signed the resolution.

And now I whined and cried to God because I was confined to a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, air-conditioned house. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a pool?

Pitiful.

Mom’s caregiver didn’t come in until later that day. I sat next to Mom as we listened to the radio. The announcer spoke of a woman who wanted to do great things for the Lord. Then her father became an invalid. She took care of him for the next several years.

She wrote a song during the time of care for her father. Here are the lyrics:

  1. Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
    Do not wait to shed your light afar;
    To the many duties ever near you now be true,
    Brighten the corner where you are. 

    • Refrain:
      Brighten the corner where you are!
      Brighten the corner where you are!
      Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
      Brighten the corner where you are!
  2. Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
    Let not narrow self your way debar;
    Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
    Brighten the corner where you are.
  3. Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
    Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
    Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

We lifted the chorus together. Her voice, low and raspy–mine, younger and stronger. Mom’s wrinkly face shone from the corner of her cheery, green room. She brightened that corner.

I smiled. God answered me. He didn’t yell. He whispered to me through a song written by a woman who thought what she did didn’t count for anything.

All those acts of service the world doesn’t recognize, the Lord treasures.

He knows.

Now I know.

I’ll talk to you next week. I’ve got a few corners to shine up.

What about you?

 

Unexpected Gifts

Call me crazy, but I’m memorizing the book of James. After one month, I know about 90% of chapters 1 and 2 which is good for a 50+ woman who used to memorize whole books in a single bound.

James 1:2 and 3 is a sort of oxymoron. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

How do joy and trials work together? It’s a God thing. All good things are God things.

I’m facing a trial right now. Probably, you are too. The question is, how do we live these verses out?

We live out God’s Word by believing God’s Word. In other words, we move on to part B:

“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

According to Beth Moore, (my new best friend) the first definition of perseverance or endurance is “nerving oneself” as in trying to stay on your feet. I can understand that since my husband is a professional fisherman. And once upon a time, I was his deckhand.

On rough days, I did aerobics all day. As the boat moved one way, I moved the other, just to stay on my upright. I was exhausted, but I persevered through those rough days.

The second definition means “heroic endurance.” That’s a great term. Thanks, Beth.

Putting those two together, we hold on to Jesus in a balancing act that keeps us upright. And as we hold onto Him, He produces endurance in us. We know this by verse 4:

“Let perseverance finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I don’t know about you, but I lack a whole bunch. Mostly wisdom about this trial. James has an answer to that, too. Verse 5 states:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

I’m asking. I’m pleading. He’s answering. Generously.

In fact, this trial is a gift that will pay dividends down the road. Maybe in a few months. Maybe in a few years, or I might have to wait until heaven. I’m okay with that as long as I trust and don’t doubt.

Check out verse 6 to find out why.

For today, I’m going to hold onto Jesus. He gives me sure footing in a world that is as rough as the Gulf of Mexico.

Hold on, friend. Believe and don’t doubt. Trials are beloved gifts to conform us to the image of Christ.

How could I pray for you? Message me. We can face that rough water together.

 

 

 

The Drop-Off

I noticed them when I entered the busy Starbucks. A squirt of a towhead with a black skeleton shirt with his lanky, pre-teen sister. Stationed at a table, the boy popped up every few minutes, walking on his tiptoes like my little girl did. Their handsome father wore shorts and flip-flops.

I wondered if they were home schooled with Dad as their teacher. Or maybe he wore a fireman’s uniform–one day on–one day off. His eyes were riveted toward his kids with a huge smile stretched over his face. It made me smile as I sipped a half-caf-grande in a real mug.

I need to get out more.

The boy passed my chair two more times until I saw his eyes light up. “There’s my mom!”

I thought that an odd thing to say.

Then Dad kissed both children unashamedly and glanced up at a woman with wavy hair that matched her daughter. I thought I detected an emotional response to each, but as quickly as I noticed it, it was gone.

Both children met their young mother with a sweet greeting as she smiled and checked her cell phone. When I looked back at the father, he’d disappeared.

I swallowed.

It wasn’t what I thought. That’s the problem with getting out. There is sadness. But it must be seen. If I don’t see what is happening, I might assume that everyone was like me. From a family with a mom and a dad who not only loved each other, but on most days, liked each other.

How could I write to an audience that grew up differently. How could I care for them, when I don’t even know them.

It is good to get out, it’s just not comfortable.